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Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/jﬂm
A new classiﬁcation of necrophilia
Anil Aggrawal MBBS, MD (Professor of Forensic Medicine) *
Maulana Azad Medical College, S-299, Greater Kailash-1, New Delhi 110 048, India
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Necrophilia is a paraphilia whereby the perpetrator gets sexual pleasure in having sex with the dead. Most jurisdictions and nations have laws against this practice. Necrophilia exists in many variations, and some authors have attempted to classify necrophilia. However many related terms such as pseudonecrophilia continue being used differently by differentauthors, necessitating the introduction of a new classiﬁcation system. The classiﬁcation system suggested by the author attempts to put all different shades of necrophilia under 10 classes. Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.
Article history: Received 16 July 2008 Received in revised form 25 September 2008 Accepted 9 December 2008
Keywords:Necrophilia Necrophilism Necrolagnia Thanatophilia Pseudonecrophilia
1. Introduction Necrophilia, sexual gratiﬁcation by having sex with the dead, is one of the most weird, bizarre and revolting practices of abnormal and perverse sensuality. Also known as necrophilism, necrolagnia, necrocoitus, necrochlesis and thanatophilia, it may be seen alone or in association with a number of otherparaphilias, namely sadism, cannibalism, vampirism (the practice of drinking blood from a person or animal), necrophagia (eating the ﬂesh of the dead), necropedophilia (sexual attraction to the corpses of children) and necrozoophilia (sexual attraction to the corpses of or killings of animals – also known as necrobestiality). DSM-IV-TR1 does not assign any speciﬁc or unique code to necrophilia. Instead alongwith several other uncommon paraphilias (seven of which are speciﬁcally named), necrophilia is grouped under the code 302.9 (paraphilias not otherwise speciﬁed). 1.1. Necrophilia in gravediggers and mortuary attendants Gravediggers and mortuary attendants, who are most often found practicing necrophilia, engage in this activity perhaps because of their loneliness, coupled with easy access tocorpses.2 It is also possible, that they chose this profession in the ﬁrst place because they were necrophiles. It is known that necrophiles often chose a profession which allows them free and unhindered access to dead bodies.
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In ancient times,when dead bodies were transported across nations by sea for last funeral rites (as in cases of deaths of people occurring in foreign countries), sailors were often accused of necrophilia. Long transportation periods along with loneliness and lack of witnesses allowed, and even encouraged sailors to commit acts of necrophilia with dead bodies. In his seminal work, Psychopathia Sexualis, Richard vonKrafftEbing called it a horrible manifestation of sadism.3 Abraham A. Brill, who published one of the earliest detailed studies of necrophilia in 1941, characterized necrophiles as mentally deﬁcient, psychotic, and incapable of obtaining a consenting partner. Necrophilia has frequently been associated with cannibalism (necrophagia) and vampirism (drinking blood of humans) as all are consideredperversions. Necrophilia may be explained – in some cases at least – by the simple fact that the dead can not refuse, reject or resist; they also do not tell tales or talk back. Necrophagia may represent a ‘‘hangover” from our evolutionary past, where carrion-eating was common. 2. Variations of necrophilia Some variations on the theme of necrophilia are autonecrophilia (imagining oneself as a corpse...