Overcoming Necrophilia

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Reader’s Question

I’m 27 years old and I would love your help with one of my deepest secrets. I dream of necrophilia. I have a journal under lock and key in my bedroom, where I write down all my necrophilia-related stories.

I’ve been living with my mother since I was discharged from the Army due to disorderly conduct. I’ve been in trouble lately, arrested for exhibitionism, and I avoided the sex offender registry by sheer luck. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for a while and I’m taking antidepressants, but I think they are not working because I feel extremely depressed, and find motivation only by masturbating to my own stories. I also dream of taking a body to my bedroom and keeping it there for my own pleasure, but I know that’s not possible at all without getting into trouble again, which would destroy my mother — the only person I really love in the world.

I want to overcome these thoughts. Please don’t turn your back on me. I’m trying to find help.

Psychologist’s Reply

Necrophilia is a rare paraphilia (which are abnormal sexual desires, typically involving extreme activities) characterized by a sexual attraction to corpses. It comes from the Ancient Greek word, ‘nekros‘, meaning corpse or dead, and ‘philia‘, meaning love. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the DSM (which is the rule book for mental health diagnoses), the criteria for necrophilia are the presence, over a period of at least six months, of recurrent and intense urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving corpses, which are either acted upon or have been markedly distressing.

Not much is known about necrophilia, largely due to the shame and silence surrounding the disorder. It is believed to be rare but it also could be that many people experiencing these feelings just don’t mention them. Either way, what empirical data we do have comes almost exclusively from published case studies. Researchers have theorized that the reasons for necrophilia include poor self-esteem due to a significant loss, being so fearful of rejection that they desire a partner who cannot reject them, and feeling so socially or sexually inept that they seek out non-threatening sexual partners. Whatever the reasons, researchers suspect that emotional problems are the basis for necrophilia.

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If you are serious about overcoming these thoughts, then counseling is probably going to be the best approach. One of the best treatment methods may be cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy applies behavioral therapy techniques in order to modify distorted thinking patterns that lead to the justification for the sexual urges. CBT also incorporates relapse prevention techniques. These generally help to control undesirable behaviors by avoiding situations that may be triggers for the desire.

Another therapeutic technique that has had some success is called orgasmic reconditioning. This is a technique in which people are trained to masturbate to a more appropriate stimulus. A third technique involves social skills training. This may include working on issues like developing intimacy, increasing conversational skills and learning how to be more appropriately assertive. Many social skills training groups also teach basic sexual education. In other words, there is help out there for you. I recommend starting with an individual counselor and see what she or he suggests, then go from there.

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