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Necrophilia

Necrophilia

Overview
Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia or necrolagnia, is the sexual
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

 attraction to corpses
Cadaver
A cadaver is a dead human body.Cadaver may also refer to:* Cadaver tomb, tomb featuring an effigy in the form of a decomposing body* Cadaver , a video game* cadaver A command-line WebDAV client for Unix....

,It is classified as a paraphilia
Paraphilia
Paraphilia is a biomedical term used to describe sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her...

 by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the most influential worldwide. Its some 38,000 members are mainly American but some are international...

. The word is artificially derived from the ancient Greek words: νεκρός (nekros; "dead") and φιλία (philia; "love"). The term appears to have originated from Krafft-Ebing
Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing
-Bibliography :* Heinrich Ammerer: Am Anfang war die Perversion. Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Psychiater und Pionier der modernen Sexualkunde. Styria premium 2011 in der Verlagsgruppe Styria GmbH & Co KG, Wien-Graz-Klagenfurt, ISBN 978-3-222-13321-3....

's 1886 work Psychopathia Sexualis.

Rosman and Resnick (1989) reviewed information from 34 cases of necrophilia describing the individuals' motivations for their behaviors: these individuals reported the desire to possess an unresisting and unrejecting partner (68%), reunions with a romantic partner (21%), sexual attraction to corpses (15%), comfort or overcoming feelings of isolation (15%), or seeking self-esteem by expressing power over a homicide victim (12%), or not interested in conversation(5%).

Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 writes in The Histories
Histories (Herodotus)
The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the seminal works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that...

 that, to discourage intercourse with a corpse, ancient Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ians left deceased beautiful women to decay for "three or four days" before giving them to the embalmers.

In some societies the practice was enacted owing to a belief that the soul of an unmarried woman would not find peace; among the Kachin of Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

, versions of a marriage ceremony were held to lay a dead virgin to rest, which would involve intercourse with the corpse.
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Encyclopedia
Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia or necrolagnia, is the sexual
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

 attraction to corpses
Cadaver
A cadaver is a dead human body.Cadaver may also refer to:* Cadaver tomb, tomb featuring an effigy in the form of a decomposing body* Cadaver , a video game* cadaver A command-line WebDAV client for Unix....

,It is classified as a paraphilia
Paraphilia
Paraphilia is a biomedical term used to describe sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her...

 by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the most influential worldwide. Its some 38,000 members are mainly American but some are international...

. The word is artificially derived from the ancient Greek words: νεκρός (nekros; "dead") and φιλία (philia; "love"). The term appears to have originated from Krafft-Ebing
Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing
-Bibliography :* Heinrich Ammerer: Am Anfang war die Perversion. Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Psychiater und Pionier der modernen Sexualkunde. Styria premium 2011 in der Verlagsgruppe Styria GmbH & Co KG, Wien-Graz-Klagenfurt, ISBN 978-3-222-13321-3....

's 1886 work Psychopathia Sexualis.

Rosman and Resnick (1989) reviewed information from 34 cases of necrophilia describing the individuals' motivations for their behaviors: these individuals reported the desire to possess an unresisting and unrejecting partner (68%), reunions with a romantic partner (21%), sexual attraction to corpses (15%), comfort or overcoming feelings of isolation (15%), or seeking self-esteem by expressing power over a homicide victim (12%), or not interested in conversation(5%).

History


Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 writes in The Histories
Histories (Herodotus)
The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the seminal works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that...

 that, to discourage intercourse with a corpse, ancient Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ians left deceased beautiful women to decay for "three or four days" before giving them to the embalmers.

In some societies the practice was enacted owing to a belief that the soul of an unmarried woman would not find peace; among the Kachin of Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

, versions of a marriage ceremony were held to lay a dead virgin to rest, which would involve intercourse with the corpse. Similar practices existed in some pre-modern Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

an societies when a woman who was engaged to be married died before the wedding.

Religious aspect


Acts of necrophilia are reportedly displayed on Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

 artifacts of Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

. It was reportedly used as a method to communicate with the dead. See also: Necromancy
Necromancy
Necromancy is a claimed form of magic that involves communication with the deceased, either by summoning their spirit in the form of an apparition or raising them bodily, for the purpose of divination, imparting the ability to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge...

.

Classification


A ten-tier classification of necrophilia:
  1. Role players
  2. Romantic necrophiles
  3. People having a necrophilic fantasy – necrophilic fantasizers
  4. Tactile necrophiles
  5. People having a sexual fetish for the dead – fetishistic necrophiles
  6. People having a necromutilomania – necromutilomaniacs
  7. Opportunistic necrophiles
  8. Regular necrophiles
  9. Homicidal necrophiles
  10. Exclusive necrophiles.

Research


In 1958, Klaf and Brown commented that, although rarely described, necrophilic fantasies
Fantasy (psychology)
Fantasy in a psychological sense is broadly used to cover two different senses, conscious and unconscious. In the unconscious sense, it is sometimes spelled "phantasy".-Conscious fantasy:...

 may occur more often than is generally supposed.

Rosman and Resnick (1989) theorized that either of the following situations could be antecedents to necrophilia (pp. 161):
  1. The necrophile develops poor self-esteem
    Self-esteem
    Self-esteem is a term in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame: some would distinguish how 'the self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, the...

    , perhaps due in part to a significant loss;
    (a) He/she is very fearful of rejection by women/men and he/she desires a sexual partner who is incapable of rejecting him/her; and/or
    (b) He/she is fearful of the dead, and transforms his/her fear — by means of reaction formation
    Reaction formation
    In psychoanalytic theory, reaction formation is a defensive process in which anxiety-producing or unacceptable emotions and impulses are mastered by exaggeration of the directly opposing tendency.-Theory:...

     — into a desire.
  2. He/she develops an exciting fantasy of sex with a corpse, sometimes after exposure to a corpse.

The authors also reported that, of their sample of 'necrophiliacs,':
  • 68% were motivated by a desire for an unresisting and unrejecting partner;
  • 21% by a want for reunion with a lost partner;
  • 15% by sexual attraction to dead people;
  • 15% by a desire for comfort or to overcome feelings of isolation; and
  • 11% by a desire to remedy low self-esteem by expressing power over a corpse (pp. 159).


At the end of their own report, Rosman and Resnick wrote that their study should only be used like a spring-board for further, more in depth, research.

Minor modern researches conducted in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 have shown that some necrophiles tend to choose a dead mate after failing to create romantic attachments with the living .

In animals


Necrophilia is known to occur in animals, with a number of confirmed observations. Kees Moeliker allegedly made one of these observations while he was sitting in his office at the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam, when he heard the distinctive thud of a bird hitting the glass facade of the building. Upon inspection, he discovered a drake (male) mallard
Mallard
The Mallard , or Wild Duck , is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand and Australia....

 lying dead outside the building. Next to the downed bird there was a second drake mallard standing close by. As Moeliker observed the couple, the living drake pecked at the corpse of the dead one for a few minutes then mounted the corpse and began copulating with it. The act of necrophilia lasted for about 75 minutes, in which time, according to Moeliker, the living drake took two short breaks before resuming with copulating behavior. Moeliker surmised that at the time of the collision with the window the two mallards were engaged in a common pattern in duck
Duck
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered...

 behavior which is called "rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 flight". "When one died the other one just went for it and didn't get any negative feedback — well, didn't get any feedback," according to Moeliker. This is the first recorded case of necrophilia in the mallard duck- though not the only recorded case of homosexuality
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

 within the bird family.

The film The Cane Toads: an Unnatural History shows a male toad copulating with a female toad that has been run over by a car. It goes on to do this for eight hours.

In the case of a praying mantis, necrophilia could be said to be part of their methods of reproduction. The larger female will sometimes decapitate or even eat her mate during copulation. However, this only happens in 5-31% of cases.

New Zealand


Under Section 150 of the New Zealand Crimes Act 1961, it is an offence for there to be "misconduct in respect to human remains." This statute may be applicable to necrophilia, although it should be noted that there is no case law as yet that would test this observation

India


Section 297 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) entitled "Trespassing on burial places, etc", states as follows:
Whoever, with the intention of wounding the feelings of any person, or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby,
commits any trespass in any place of worship or on any place of sculpture, or any place set apart from the performance of funeral rites or as a depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse, or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies,
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Although Necrophilia is not explicitly stated in IPC, a necrophiliac may be convicted under the above section in the Indian Penal Code.
There have been several allegations by relatives of dead women, that the dead bodies of their kin were defiled in the night by mortuary attendants, but none have been proven.

In some cases, where a woman was alleged to have been rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

d and murdered and the autopsy
Autopsy
An autopsy—also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy , autopsia cadaverum, or obduction—is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present...

 surgeon failed to find any signs of rape, the relatives have approached the authorities for a second postmortem. The second postmortem is invariably conducted at a different hospital, often necessitating the deposit of the body overnight at the mortuary of the second hospital. In cases where the second autopsy surgeon finds signs of rape, the defendants have been known to allege that the dead body was defiled by drunk mortuary attendants at night. However, no such allegation has been proven in a court of law.

United Kingdom


Sexual penetration with a corpse was made illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 2003
Sexual Offences Act 2003
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that was passed in 2003 and became law on 1 May 2004.It replaced older sexual offences laws with more specific and explicit wording...

. This is defined as depictions of "sexual interference with a human corpse" (as opposed to only penetration), and would cover "depictions which appear to be real acts" as well as actual scenes (see also extreme pornography
Extreme pornography
Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is a piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that criminalises possession of what it refers to as "extreme pornographic images". The law was enacted from 26 January 2009...

).

As of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which makes significant changes in many areas of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland and Northern Ireland...

, it is also illegal to possess physical depictions of necrophilia, electronic or otherwise. Necrophilia-pornography falls under the governmental description of extreme pornography
Extreme pornography
Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is a piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that criminalises possession of what it refers to as "extreme pornographic images". The law was enacted from 26 January 2009...

, of which, possession is classed as illegal under the aforementioned act.

United States


As of May 2006, there is no federal legislation specifically barring sex with a corpse. Multiple states have their own laws:
  • Alabama
    Alabama
    Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

     - Class C felony
    Felony
    A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

     under 13A-11-13
  • Alaska
    Alaska
    Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

     - Class A misdemeanor
    Misdemeanor
    A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act in many common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions and regulatory offences...

     under 11-61-130
  • Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

     - Class 4 felony under 32-1364
  • Arkansas
    Arkansas
    Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

     - Class D felony under 5-60-101
  • California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

     - Felony under Health and Safety Code 7052, up to eight years in prison
  • Colorado
    Colorado
    Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

     - Class 2 misdemeanor under 18-13-101
  • Connecticut
    Connecticut
    Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

     - Class A misdemeanor under 53a-73a
  • Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

     - Class A misdemeanor under 11-5-1332
  • Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

     - Second degree felony under chapter 872.06
  • Georgia
    Georgia (U.S. state)
    Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

     also has a law prohibiting necrophilia http://vatavia.net/laws/georgia.html#Necrophilia
  • Hawaii
    Hawaii
    Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

     - Misdemeanor under 7
  • Iowa
    Iowa
    Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

     - Class D felony under 709.18
  • Minnesota
    Minnesota
    Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

     and Nevada
    Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

     also have laws prohibiting necrophilia
  • Nevada
    Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

     - Class A felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison with the possibility of parole under NRS 201.450
  • New York
    New York
    New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

     - Class A misdemeanor under 130.20
  • Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

     - Second degree misdemeanor, fifth degree felony under 2927.01
  • Oregon
    Oregon
    Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

     - Felony for "Abuse of Corpse" ORS 166.085
  • Pennsylvania
    Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     - Second degree misdemeanor under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5510, "a person who treats a corpse in a way that he knows would outrage ordinary family sensibilities commits a misdemeanor of the second degree".
  • Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

     - Class A misdemeanor http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/PE/content/pdf/pe.009.00.000042.00.pdf
  • Washington - Class C felony for "Sexually violating human remains" RCW 9A.44.105
  • Wisconsin
    Wisconsin
    Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

     - Class G felony under 940.225 (7)

Further reading

  • Lisa Downing
    Lisa Downing
    Lisa Downing is a literary critic, author and academic. She is Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Exeter.Downing's work is innovative in its dialogue between the critical humanities and the sciences, especially psychiatry...

    , Desiring the Dead: Necrophilia and Nineteenth-Century French Literature. Oxford: Legenda, 2003
  • Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis. New York: Stein & Day, 1965. Originally published in 1886.
  • Mary Roach
    Mary Roach
    Mary Roach is a columnist and popular science writer. Raised in Etna, New Hampshire, she holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Wesleyan University and currently resides in Oakland, California...

    , Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003.