Necrophilia: characteristics, causes and treatment

Necrophilia is one of the most rejected sexual disorders in society, Because few people can understand that there are subjects who are sexually aroused in the presence of corpses.

But what exactly is this disorder? What are your symptoms and treatment? In today’s article, we’ll answer these questions. However, to understand what necrophilia is, we will first explain what paraphilias are, a category that necrophilia is included in.

Necrophilia, one of the most studied paraphilias

Sexual disorders fall into three broad categories: paraphilias, sexual dysfunctions and gender identity disorders. The word paraphilia has its origin in the Greek language. In Greek, “for” means next to, and “filein” is synonymous with the verb “to love”.

Paraphilias are mental disorders characterized by intense and repeated sexual fantasiesSexual urges towards children or people who do not consent, or towards non-human objects or situations such as suffering or humiliation. Therefore, paraphilias as well as necrophilia negatively affect the quality of life of one or more people. Some of the best known are: exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism or pedophilia.

You can read more about these paraphilias in our article: “The main sexual and psychosexual disorders”

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), these sexual fantasies or sexual impulses take place over a significant period of time (at least 6 months) and interfere with a person’s normal functioning or sexually satisfying relationships.

Features of the behavior of the person with paraphilia

Although paraphilias are often thought of as weird and extreme behaviors, they are easier to understand when you think about those behaviors which, in less extreme cases, are quite common. For example, for a person, sexting can cause arousal. However,
when an individual is aroused only by sexting, then this would be considered paraphilia, Because it has a way of satisfying your sexual desires which has a negative impact on your well-being.

Recommended article: “Sexting: the practical risk of sending spicy photos via mobile phone”

In summary, the behavior of people with paraphilia is characterized by:

  • Paraphilia is a disorder of sexual desire that lasts for at least six months. Therefore, it must have been maintained over time.
  • This includes abnormal behavior, arousal, fantasy, or pain.
  • There are many types of paraphilias in which the sufferer has fantasies, desires or even has a relationship with objects or people without their consent.
  • Psychotherapy or antiandrogens are beneficial for patients to control their abnormal sexual behavior.

Necrophilia: a strange disorder

In paraphilias, necrophilia is, next to pedophilia, one of the paraphilias that causes greater social rejection. Few can imagine a person having an intimate relationship with a deceased person. But the truth is, despite its strangeness, there have been cases over the years like Carl Tanzler, who rose to fame for his grisly story: he exhumed the body of a former patient to have an intimate relationship with her.

People with necrophilia are turned on by corpses, Fantasies with these or the fact of owning objects of the person who is no longer there, with which they can perform intimate type games. This pathology leads the necrophile to a feeling of apathy with those around him, turning his life upside down in such acts.

Social pressure against necrophilia

Some patients with necrophilia have had a life in common with the deceased person and, after their death, want to continue to mate with this person. In other cases, necrophiles may have sex with multiple victims, such as Kenneth Douglas, 1 necrophiliac from Hamilton County, Ohio, (USA), who had sex with over 100 corpses of women while working as an assistant in a morgue in this area. In this case, the necrophiliac was able to direct his life so that he could commit these acts, so that social censorship did not affect him.

But necrophilia has not only social or personal consequences, but also legal consequences, as the desecration of graves and the retention of a lifeless body is penalized in most countries. So,
many necrophiles end up in detention and have serious problems with the law.

possible treatments

Different techniques can be used for the treatment of necrophilia, usually cognitive behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy (individual and group) is the fundamental pillar of the treatment of these patients. and, in addition, it is usually part of multimodal treatment, which may include social skills training, drug administration, and hormone therapy.

The administration of antiandrogens such as medroxyprogesterone acetate (in the United States) or cyproterone acetate (in Europe) is the treatment of choice for this disorder. Treatment is long term, as deviant sexual arousal patterns may reoccur soon after testosterone levels return to normal.

Administration of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine or fluvoxamine may also be helpful.

Carl Tanzler: one of the most famous cases of necrophilia

One of the most famous cases of necrophilia is that of Carl Tanzler, a man who surprisingly
was able to exhume the corpse of Maria Elena Miracle de Hoyos who considered the woman of his life, to continue having sex with her.

Tanzler managed to glue the bones of his late beloved with hangers and cables, put glass eyes in the basin of his eyes, and exchanged the rotten flesh of it for a silk cloth treated with wax and white chalk, already that the body was in considerable condition. state of putrefaction and could therefore remain visible longer.

Learn more about this case in our article: “Carl Tanzler’s Famous and Macabre Necrophilia Case”

Bibliographical references:

  • Aggrawal, Anil (2008). Medico-legal and medico-legal aspects of sexual offenses and unusual sexual practices. CRC Press. p. 296.
  • Masters, Brian (1985). Kill for the company. Arrow. ISBN 978-0099552611.
  • Aggrawal, Anil (2010). Necrophilia: medico-legal and medico-legal aspects. CRC Press. pages 6-7. The main source is Histoires, Book V, 92.

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