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necrophilia image from New Medical Terms



Paraphilic (deviant) sexuoeroticism characterised by:

(1) Fantasies about or actual sexual interactions with a corpse, and

(2) The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviours cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

In necrophilia, the necrophiliac is obsessed with the state of death, which contrasts sharply with sexual homicide, in which sexuoeroticism hinges on the process of killing a person. (I feel better knowing that). The term was first used by Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s defining work Psychopathia Sexualis, published in 1886. A 1989 review of 34 cases found that 2/3 wanted an unresisting and unrejecting partner and the rest were driven by desire for reunion with a romantic partner, sexual attraction to corpses, feelings of isolation, or seeking self-esteem by expressing power over a homicide victim. Professor Aggrawal of the Maulana Azad Medical College of New Delhi proposed a 10-tier classification of necrophiliacs which incorporates the various reasons for the behaviour, which includes role playing, romance, homicide, opportunism, fetishes, fantasies and pseudonecrophilia. As odd as it seems, necrophilia was only recently made illegal in the UK, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 also made it illegal to possess depictions of necrophilia, which falls under the governmental description of extreme pornography. Even stranger (maybe not, thinking about it) is that there is no US federal law barring sex with a corpse, and less than half of the States list the act as felony or misdemeanor. In other words, one should check State laws before deploying one’s stiffie on a stiff…it might be legal. 

Note: In the DSM-5, it is regarded as a paraphilic disorder, not otherwise specified

Synonyms Necrophilism, necrolagnia, thanatolagnia, thanatophilia

Aggrawal A, J Forensic & Legal Medicine 2009; 16:316-320 
Arch Sex Behav DOI 10.1007/s10508-009-9552-0

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