Psychology has tried its level best to explain everything which is wrong with the human brain. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders is filled with a number of disorders that tell us what is going on in the mind when we are suffering. However, there are still a few disorders that are baffling for mankind and psychologists, psychiatrists, and scientists who are doing untiring efforts to understand them. Paraphilias have been a mysterious subject for many decades and there have been many efforts to unveil the mystery. Some of them are categorized, classified, and have been understood while others are still a matter of concern for the professionals. Necrophilia is one of those paraphilias which have gathered a lot of attention. We shall discuss in detail about necrophilia in this article and how it affects the sufferer. Before moving anywhere further we are going to first discuss what necrophilia actually is. Let’s find out more about necrophilia.
- What is necrophilia?
Necrophilia is derived from two Greek words Nekros which mean “corpse” and Philia means “love”. As strange as it sounds, necrophilia is a paraphilia in which the perpetrator finds sexual pleasure in having intercourse with a dead body. Most of the time the corpses used for sex are not fresh but dug up from the graves in mummified or putrefied condition. There are some other necrophiliacs who prefer bones. Necrophilic has sexual attraction to corpses. There are a lot of variations found in the subject and therefore psychologists still struggle to give it a cohesive classification.
- Classification of Necrophilia
Necrophilia is classified into many types. It was first documented in a book named Psychopathia Sexualis (2) written by Krafft-Ebing. Since then there have been many attempts to form a cohesive classification but psychologists couldn’t find one. One of rather an important classification, as outlined by Aggarwal, came in 2014 which tells us different types of necrophilia or different variations found within necrophilia. These are as follows.
- Necrophilia / Necrobestiality
The first type is necrophagia. Necrophilia is sometimes seen as itself and other times it is also seen associated with other types of paraphilias including cannibalism (eating a person or an animal), sadism (taking pleasure in inflicting pain to someone) and vampirism (drinking the blood of a person or an animal). Necrophagia is a practice of eating the flesh of the dead and the sufferer takes pleasure in eating the flesh of a corpse. The difference between necrophagia and cannibalism is the fact that a necrophagic person will only interested in eating the flesh of death while a cannibal will either kill the person or take a body part of the person while he is alive. Cannibals also use dead bodies of their loved ones for spiritual purposes. On the other hand, macrophages mostly feed on dead bodies in order to get sexual pleasure. Necrophagist has a vast spectrum as there are some Necrophagist who just want to lick the genitals or breasts of a dead person. Then there are some Necrophagist who just want to devour specific parts and then there comes those who just eat the whole body of a dead person.
The second type is necropedophilia. It is clearly represented in the name that necropedophilia is sexual attraction the corpses of children. These people not only found pleasure in having sex with a child but also with a dead child. The bodies are usually dug up to use them.
The third type is necrophilia. This one is also known as necrobestiality and it is referred to the practice feeling sexual attraction towards the corpses of animals. Moreover, the sufferer can also feel pleasured by killing animals.
There is a fair possibility that these types of necrophiles have normal relationships with living beings too.
- DSM-V and ICD
There is no specific or unique code assigned to necrophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM5) published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is found under the list of other uncommon paraphilias and 7 of those paraphilias are specifically named while necrophilia is found under ‘Code 302.9’ which is “Paraphilias Not Otherwise Specified”. While the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders which is published by WHO has given in ‘code F6’.
These classification systems have focused on the description of necrophilic behavior while no one has addressed the thoughts and motivation behind this behavior. The reason behind this is the fact because there are so many causes of having sex even if you look at normal sexual behavior. These reasons and motivations can be assessed by a variety of tools found all over. Even though necrophilia is found in a number of a few people the motivation can’t be any less diverse than the normal sexual behavior.
However, Aggrawal has presented one of the most useful of classification in 2009. He presented 10 different types of necrophiles. He has also defined these qualities on the basis of motivation and intentions of necrophiles. These categories have left great impact by defining the intention of a necrophile from being near to the corpse than to the ones who are aroused by touching the dead bodies and others. Like any other classification system, these categories have their limitations but these are mostly viewed as temporal. The reason behind this is the fact that a person’s desires and needs fluctuate thoroughly throughout the course of his life. Necrophiles need can also diminish or vanishes completely. That is why a necrophile under custody is studied under one of these categories while looking at his history and the possibility is kept in mind that his necrophilic behavior could be fluctuated from thoughts to actions as well as from lawful to unlawful behaviors.
Here, we will discuss Aggrawal’s classification of necrophilia. Aggrawal proposed a classification of 10 types of necrophilia which still hasn’t been included in DSM-V or ICD-10 but it provides an amazing understanding of the disorder.
- Class I: Role Players
Aggrawal has proposed that these people are suffering only mildly from the disorder because they mainly enjoy the role-playing and do not actually have sex with a corpse. They, however, get aroused by having intercourse with a living person who pretends to be dead. This is also known as pseudonecrophilia, simulated necrophilia, symbolic necrophilia, or necrophilia.
- Class II- Romantic Necrophiles
Here, we will discuss romantic necrophilias. These ones have only mild necrophilic tendencies because these are people who are bereaving over their loved ones and can’t bear the separation. They usually don’t agree that their loved ones have died. They try to mummify their significant others’ dead bodies and continue to have sexual pleasure with them much as they did in life. However, they mostly recover with the passage of time.
- Class III: People having a necrophilia fantasy- Necrophilic Fantasizers
They don’t actually have sexual intercourse with the dead ones but rather they are happy about having sexual fantasies about getting sexual pleasure form the dead ones. They are often found visiting cemeteries or funeral parlors for the mere purpose of seeing dead bodies as it gives them sexual pleasure.
- Class IV: Tactile Necrophiles
Here, we will discuss tactile necrophilias. These are the ones who need to touch a body in an erotic way so they can have sexual pleasure. They like touching or stroking the parts of a dead body like genitals of the dead body or breasts. Some others also seem like to lick specific parts and they also tend to take jobs as mortuary attendants or another job which has to deal with the dead ones.
- Class V: Fetishistic Necrophiles –People having a fetishistic necrophilia
Here, we will discuss Fetishistic Necrophilias. These are the ones who are more abnormal than any other classes mentioned above but they still don’t get engaged in sexual activity with an actual corpse. However, they would rather cut up a part of the dead body of a person if they get a chance like pubic hair or a finger.
- Class VI: Necromutilomaniacs – People having a necromutilomania
These are even more severe cases than the class as they don’t have sexual intercourse with the dead body and they rather get sexual pleasure by mutilating a dead body and masturbating simultaneously. In some cases, they eat parts of a corpse as well.
- Class VII: Opportunistic Necrophiles
This is also sometimes defined under the category of pseudonecrophilia. They are normally satisfied with having sex with a living person but if an opportunity arrives they also like to have intercourse with a dead person.
- Class VIII: Regular Necrophiles
They are the “classical” necrophiliacs which normally people understand. They do not like to have sexual relations with the living even having the choice to do so. They would rather seek out a dead body to have sexual intercourse with because they are more sexually attracted to a corpse rather than a living person. They rather resort to stealing dead bodies from mortuaries or graveyards for the purpose of sexual gratification.
- Class IX: Homicidal Necrophiles
This is listed as the most dangerous category in Aggrawal’s classification because these necrophiles have to have sex with the dead body to the extent that they start killing people. They are also known as lagnonectors (people who would kill a person in order to have sex with the corpse). This practice is also known as homicidophilia.
- Class X: Exclusive Necrophiles
This is probably the rarest of all types but it does not seem to be the most dangerous one as they only need dead bodies for the sexual purpose. They can’t have sex with a living and need to have a dead body which also makes them dangerous.
- FAQ about necrophilia
- What are some other names used for necrophilia?
Necrophilia is also known by these following names
- What is the motivation behind necrophilia?
Research has been conducted on the subject and researchers are trying their best to posit the motivation and idea behind necrophilia. One of the primary reasons is listed as the need for an unresisting and unrejecting partner. This reason is true however found insufficient to define every type of necrophilia.
- Is there a treatment for necrophilia?
Treatment of necrophilia is often the same as told in many paraphilias as it is suggested to treat the psychopathology associated with necrophilia. This one of the rarest disorders and there haven’t been many cases to establish an effective treatment. However, the following suggestions have been made on the basis of data collected.
- Made a cautious diagnosis.
- Treat psychopathology associated with it.
- Establishing psychotherapeutic rapport.
- Male patients can be treated with anti-androgens.
- Diverting necrophilic fantasies using desensitization.
- Lazarus, Arnold A. (January 1968). “A case of pseudo-necrophilia treated by behavior therapy”
- Aggrawal, A. (2016). “Necrophilia.”
- Pamment, J. (2019). “The Building Blocks of Necrophilia.”