NECROPHILIA (literally, love of corpses)

A sexual deviation consisting of a morbid sexual interest in dead bodies.This perversion seems to be confined to men. The necrophile achieves sexual arousal and gratification by viewing or having intercourse with a female corpse, followed in some instances by mutilation of the body. He may kill the victim himself, but more frequently removes bodies from graves. Kisker (1964) cites the case of a man in England who murdered a young woman and slept beside her body for the next eighteen nights. There is usually no interest in normal sexual relations.Necrophiliac fantasies are more frequent than necrophiliac acts. Also, as Thorpe, Katz and Lewis (1961) point out, “Some necrophiliacs gain satisfaction from contact with simulated corpses. In the larger cities they sometimes visit prostitutes who permit themselves to be put in a hypnotic or sleeplike state. They are sometimes waxed to give a lifeless appearance. Under these conditions the necrophiliac gains sexual gratification.”Necrophilia has been recognized since antiquity but is quite rare. It is the result of a deep-seated emotional disturbance which Krafft-Ebing and others attribute to fear of failure or rejection in sexual relations. The individual avoids the risk of humiliation by choosing a sexual object that can offer no resistance of any kind. This explanation may be partially correct, but it does not account for mutilation of the corpse or the fact that necrophiles often show no interest in intercourse with living women. Fear of rejection may be a sufficient explanation for milder sexual disorders, such as voyeurism and exhibitionism, but the necrophile is afflicted by a far more severe disturbance. He is usually psychotic, but the exact nature of his disorder has yet to be determined.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "NECROPHILIA (literally, love of corpses)," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/necrophilia-literally-love-of-corpses/ (accessed June 16, 2019).
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