10 Types of Necrophilia

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To compliment our podcast on necrophilia, this gallery expands upon the 10 categories of necrophilia we list in the episode. Originally published in 2009, Anil Aggrawal created these classifications in the the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. Because the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders grouped necrophilia under other uncommon paraphilias, Aggrawal introduced this new system of classification to distinguish between variations.

Role Players
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This type of necrophiliac prefers for their partner to actually be alive, but pretending to be dead. Aggrawal classifies this as "mildly pathological" and states that some role players ask their partner to cover their body with cosmetics to resemble a corpse. Others may act out scenarios involving vampirism and resurrection. He also cites A Textbook Case of Psychosexual Disorders as evidence that some brothels in Paris cater to role playing necrophiliacs by making up their prostitutes like a corpse inside a coffin.

Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix in Quills. Fox Searchlight Pictures. (2000)

Like Joaquin Phoenix's character in the film Quills, some necrophiliacs are simply bereaved and attached to their dead loved one's body. Aggrawal suggests that romantic necrophiliacs will recover from this psychopathology over time.

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If you've ever visited a cemetery or funeral parlor just for erotic pleasure, you may be a "necrophilic fantasizer." According to Aggrawal a French morgue had to install a surveillance system several years ago when it discovered multiple people masturbating in front of glass cases containing exposed cadavers. These fantasizers may experience arousal simply by seeing a dead body.

Alexander Koch as Junior Rennie. (Brownie Harris/CBS/Getty)

In Stephen King's novel Under The Dome, the character of Junior Rennie molests the corpses of two young women he's stored in a kitchen pantry. Aggrawal would classify Rennie as a "tacticle necrophile" since he's aroused by touching a corpse without actually engaging in intercourse. Any kind of touching will work for these necrophiles, including licking a dead body. Aggrawal also includes medical students who get erections will dissecting cadavers in this group.

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Necrophiles who either remove objects or body parts from a dead body for sexual purposes are classified as "fetishistic." They may cut up portions of a body, wear it as jewelry or keep it in their pocket.

One example comes from Gothenburg, Sweden, where police claim an unnamed woman there was hoarding human bones for sexual situations. Pictures were found in her home, as well as bones, skulls and body bags.

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Sometimes referred to as "necrophagy," necromutilomania is when a person derives pleasure from mutilating a corpse while masturbating. These necrophiles do not engage in intercourse with dead bodies, but they may cut the body, remove its organs or eat parts of the corpse.

Beatrice Manowski in Nekromantik. Leisure Time Features. (1987)

Not only is Karen Greenlee one of the few documented female necrophiles, but she's also an example of what Aggrawal classifies as the "opportunistic" type. In such cases, the person doesn't generally have an interest in necrophilia. But they will take advantage when the opportunity arises, such as careers with easy access to the dead.

In Greenlee's case, she was an apprentice embalmer who wasn't caught until she stole the corpse of a 33 year old man, had sex with it and attempted suicide. Devin Faraci has an excellent summary of her confession at Birth.Death.Movies.

From Green Lantern #43 by Mahnke, Alamy and Mayor. DC Comics. (2009)

"Regular" necrophiles are those that prefer to have intercourse with the dead. Even if sex with the living is an option, they will rarely take part. Instead they tend to steal bodies from mortuaries or graveyards.

DC Comics super villain The Black Hand is depicted as a regular necrophile in that he prefers the dead to the living.

Jeffrey Dahmer. © Curt Borgwardt/Sygma/Corbis

The most dangerous necrophiles are those who commit murder so they can have sex with the dead. Aggrawal defines these as "homicidal necrophiles" and provides serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as an example. Aggrawal's article also describes these acts as "warm necrophilia" since the intercourse is attempted on fresh, newly dead bodies.

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The last and rarest of the various types of necrophiles are those with an "exclusive" interest in sex with the dead. This means they are unable to perform with a living partner and may go to any length to acquire a dead body.