People can be sexually attracted to almost anything. An article in the Journal of Forensic Sciences tells of a man who was erotically attracted to his tractor; he wrote poetry to it, he had a pet name for it, and his body was found after he was asphyxiated by suspending himself by the ankles from the tractor’s shovel in order to masturbate (O’Halloran & Dietz, 1993). However, there are a number of other paraphilias that are relatively more common, although all are rare, and we will now review a sample of them.
Frotteurism Frotteurism (frah-TOUR-iz-um; or frottage) involves a man rubbing his genitals against a woman’s thighs or buttocks in a crowded place (such as a subway) where he can claim it was an accident and get away quickly. In some cases, he may fondle a woman’s breasts with his hand while he is rubbing up against her. This is similar to toucheurism, which is the compulsive desire to touch strangers with one’s hands for sexual arousal. This desire, usually in men, finds expression on buses, trains, in shopping malls, while waiting in line, at crowded concerts, anywhere where bodies are pressed together. There have also been cases of frotteurism or toucheurism among doctors or dentists who rub against or touch their patients. Frotteurism, however, does not usually appear in isolation but as one of a number of paraphilias in an individual (Langevin & Lang, 1987).
Zoophilia Zoophilia (zoo-uh-FILL-ee-uh; also referred to as bestiality), or sexual contact with animals, is rare, although Kinsey and his colleagues (1948, 1953) found that one man out of every 13 engages in this behavior. Contact between people and animals has been both practiced and condemned since earliest times.
Studies of people who engage in sex with animals have found that a male dog is the most popular animal sex partner for both men and women (Miletski, 2002). Sexual behaviors included masturbating the animal, submitting to anal sex performed by the animal, or active or passive oral sex with the animal (Miletski, 2002).
Necrophilia Tales of necrophilia (neck-row-FILL-ee-uh), or having sex with corpses, have been found even in ancient civilizations. The Egyptians prohibited em – balmers from taking immediate delivery of corpses of the wives of important men for fear that the embalmers would violate them (Rosman & Resnick, 1989). More recently, the legends of the vampires imply necrophilia in the highly sexual approaches of the “undead.” The stories of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Romeo and Juliet all convey a sense of the restorative powers of loving the dead and thereby bringing the corpse back to life.
Rosman and Resnick (1989) suggest that necrophiliacs desire a partner who is unresisting and unrejecting; to find one, many seek out professions that put them in con-
tact with corpses. They identify three types of genuine necrophilia: necrophiliac fantasy, in which a person has persistent fantasies about sex with dead bodies without actually engaging in such behavior; “regular” necrophilia, which involves the use of already-dead bodies for sexual pleasure; and necrophiliac homicide, in which the person commits murder to obtain a corpse for sexual pleasure. However, necrophilia is extremely rare and accounts for only a tiny fraction of murders.
An infamous case of necrophiliac homicide was that of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer, who admitted to killing 17 men and having sex with their corpses, also mutilated their bodies, tried to create a “shrine” out of their organs that he thought would give him “special powers,” and ate their flesh. In keeping with Rosman and Resnick’s claim that necrophiliacs desire a partner who is unresisting and unrejecting, Dahmer bored holes into his victims’ skulls while they were alive and poured in acid or boiling water, trying to create “zombies” who would fulfill his every desire.
On the other hand, Dahmer also had sex with his victims while they were alive; perhaps he was an erotophonophiliac, which is someone who gets sexual excitement from the act of murder itself. Dahmer admitted his deeds but claimed he was insane. A jury found him sane and guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole; he was killed by another inmate in 1994.
Other Paraphilias A number of other behaviors fall under the rubric of paraphilias, most of which are rare. The accompanying Sex in Real Life, “Other Paraphilias,” lists a number of terms and their descriptions.