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Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!

Monday, 19 March 2007

Some stiffies are stiffer than others!

While many men I've encountered (and some women too I daresay) are attracted to anyone with a pulse, it seems for necrophiliacs, not even that is required.

Working in the public sector some years ago, I discovered this illegal fetish for the dead is not quite as uncommon as many would hope. While I am unsure of whether there was actual sexual contact with the dead, I am aware that there was an unstoppable lust and fetish for lifeless bodies as vessels for carnal pleasure.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist, Stephen HuckerMB, BS, FRCP(C), FRCPsych of the University of Toronto explains necrophilia simply as: "sexual arousal stimulated by a dead body. The stimulation can be either in the form of fantasies or actual physical sexual contact with the corpse."

For many necrophilia is a fetish for men who dig up corpses for sexual thrills. When one is not available, there is a belief that they will kill to fuifil their urge. This would not appear to differ greatly from a 1988 study by Rosman and Resnick. Professor Hucker writes: "Although the act of murder itself may generate the subsequent sexual frenzy, research has determined an alarming rate of homicide in order to obtain a body for subsequent sexual violation. Rosman and Resnick (1988) found that 42% of their study sample of necrophiles had murdered in order to obtain a body. Researchers have determined, however, that sadism itself is not usually an intrinsic characteristic of true necrophilia."

Serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and convicted necrophile Karen Greenlee have done little to dispel this. In an interview with Jim Morton, Greenlee said: "For a while I found myself thinking, "Yeah, this isn't normal. Why can't I be like other people. Why doesn't the same pair of shoes fit me just right?" I went through all that personal hell and finally I accepted myself and realized that's just me. That's my nature and I might as well enjoy it."

Kraft-Ebing research from 1896 backs Greenlee up to some extent. They found that among necrophiles, there was sexual preference for a corpse rather than a living woman. When no damage or cruelty is done to the corpse, they found it likely that lifeless condition itself, stimulates. Professor Hucker suggests: "It is possible that the corpse - a human form absolutely without will - satisfies an abnormal desire, in that the object of desire is seen to be capable of absolute subjugation, without possibility of resistance."

While necrophilia will never be a mainstream sexual lifestyle choice, according to webmaster Rob who runs the Rob's Necrophilia Fantasy site the public's perception of the fetish is far from the full truth. He writes: "Partly because digging people up is extraodinarliy difficult this day and age (for most parts of the country) given the depth of the grave, heavy metal caskets, and caskets being placed in heavier concrete vaults (to prevent grave collapse). Partly also because those interested in necrophilia, like with any fetish, are interested in various aspects. Some like a little rot (which they would be hard pressed to find any bodies like that which aren't already buried), some like the bodies freshly dead, and some simply like the bones.

"Another reason that blows away the typical stereotype, and this is a major reason, is that a passive or obessive necrophile may not have a desire to kill. In fact, necrophilia, in a more pure form, could be described as another variation of 'making love' rather than 'fucking' for lust and thusly the desire to take a life is non-existant, or in the least, not part of the necro-love process."

Although necrophiles tend to be male, there is a female community that engage in this fetish. Rob notes that: "What is a bit interesting is that those folks that I have had contact with who have had a real life experience in having sex with a dead person I would say an easy 50% were female... either having had mortician boyfriends who allowed them to play, in a morgue occupation themselves, or female morticians and funeral home employees."

Female necrophiles like a member who goes by the name LoreleiVonRichthofen are active members of Rob's board who share their fantasies and experiences freely. She writes of her fantasy : "Ideally to travel back in time and visit the corpses lying on the WW2 beaches of Normandy. It wouldn't be the same if I wasn't smeared in my lover's blood."

Considered socially immoral and in the courts, illegal, what is a necrophiliac to do? Sites such as Rob's forum allow for an open-minded and honest discussion of necro pursuits as well as related fetishes, such as somnophilia (arousal to those sleeping) and pseudonecrophilia.

Pseudonecrophiles engage in role play where one partner plays dead. It may involve a partner lying still powdered among the paraphanilia of death such as a casket or on a slab. Brenda Love's The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices tells of the case of a man in Oregon who, she writes: "would call ahead to the bordello and request that a woman lie still waiting for his arrival and remain motionless through intercourse until he departed. The client was a mortician."

While this role play is popular and legal, I should add, that for some however, it will never send the heart into a frenzy like the lack of a pulse will. Randy, a member of Rob's forum writes: "My girlfriend is into playing dead. Just roleplaying is inadequate for us though. A safe sedation would be best for both of us but we haven't worked the details out yet."

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