Vorarephilia and Being Eaten for Sexual Pleasure
Another look at the strange world of "vore" fetishism.
Posted Apr 07, 2016
In a previous blog, I examined vorarephilia (usually shortened to ‘vore’) — a sexual paraphilia in which people are sexually aroused by (i) the idea of being eaten, (ii) eating another person, and/or (iii) observing this process for sexual gratification.
In a 2014 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, an interesting paper by Dr. Amy Lykins and Dr. James Cantor was published entitled "Vorarephilia: A case study in masochism and erotic consumption." The authors presented a new case study accompanied by a brief overview of the previous literature including some cases that I had never come across (because the material was in non-academic texts and not listed in the academic databases that I usually search). They also referenced the same academic sources as I did in my previous blog on the topic — particularly the papers by Dr. Friedemann Pfafflin (also in the Archives of Sexual Behavior). For instance, they wrote:
“Pfafflin (2008) commented on the many phrases that exist in the English language to relate sex/love and consumption, including referring to someone as ‘looking good enough to eat,' ’that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,’ and describing a sexually appealing person as ‘sweet,' ‘juicy,' ‘appetizing,' or ‘tasty.' Christian religions even sanction metaphorical cannibalism through their sacrament rituals, during which participants consume bread or wafers meant to represent the ‘body of Christ’ and wine intended to represent the ‘blood of Christ’ — a show of Jesus’s love of his people and, in turn, their love for him, by sharing in his ‘blood’ and ‘flesh.' This act was intended to ‘merge as one’ the divine and the mortal."
Lykin and Cantor also referred to two case studies in Katharine Gates’ book Deviant Desires. One of the cases was a man that allegedly fantasized that the witch in the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale both cooked and ate him. The other case involved "The Turkey Man" In Lykins and Cantor’s version:
“The Turkey Man was a traveling businessman who regularly hired a dominatrix to meet him in his hotel room to ‘cook’ him. He had designed a facsimile of an oven from a cardboard box, including rudimentary knobs and a door that could be opened and closed. He would lie down in this box, on his back, wearing only socks, while the dominatrix would describe in great detail the process of his body being cooked and eaten by her. The Turkey Man could become so aroused by this fantasy that he was able to orgasm without any physical stimulation of his penis.”
Lykins and Cantor also noted the difference between vorarephilia and cannibalism:
"In most cases [of vorarephilia], the victim is swallowed whole — in fact, several requests for fantasies included a specific ban on the chewing of the victim. This is an important aspect that separates persons interested in vore versus those interested in sexual cannibalism — in vore, the victim is swallowed whole, while still alive. Though consumption most often occurred through the mouth, it also occurred through the vagina, the anus, or the breasts (through the nipples) of the consumer.”
Lykins and Cantor then went on to describe in vivid detail a case study of a middle-aged male (who they called "Stephen") who had multiple sexual paraphilias including vorarephilia. Stephen described himself as heterosexual with little or no problems sexually during his teenage years. At the time that Stephen was assessed, he had experience of three female sexual partners but masturbation was his current sexual outlet (two to three times weekly).
The authors conducted phallometric testing and the results confirmed that Stephen had a “clear sexual preference for adult females” rather than any other age or group of people. Back in 2002, he had sought psychiatric help for two specific fetishistic sexual behaviors (i.e., analingus and podophilia, or foot fetishism). He also reported that he engaged in voyeurism (but was not wanting treatment for it). More recently he sought help for more unusual sexual fantasies. The authors’ reported that Stephen had developed an intense “interest in ‘being’ a woman’s anus." In fact, he appeared to have some kind of anal fixation as it was reported that:
“Stephen described an intense sexual interest in analingus. He reported this interest to have begun around age 13–15, during which he reported having performed analingus on five to ten children (both male and female, ranging in age from 3 to 1 years). He described having done this when the children were asleep and he stated he believed they were unaware of what he had done. He reported experiencing sexual arousal both during those events and subsequently during masturbation, despite experiencing significant guilt and distress about having engaged in the behavior, and he denied any specific interest in children as sexual partners ... Stephen’s interest in analingus crossed over into sexual arousal associated with coprophilia and seemed also to be related to his vorarephilic interests. He described fantasizing about being consumed and destroyed by a very large, dominating woman, who would later defecate him as her feces. He often fantasized about being feces or semen and being expelled by a person. Stephen reported having stuck his hand in human fecal matter, smelling it on several occasions, and having eaten feces out of a toilet on two occasions. On one occasion, he reported feeling traumatized and distraught about an unexpected negative event: To cope with those feelings, he went into the woods and masturbated while eating cow feces. Consistent with his previous assessment, Stephen reported sexual arousal associated with the thought of being someone’s anus…Following the assessment, we diagnosed Stephen on DSMIV-TR Axis I with Paraphilia [Not Otherwise Specified] NOS (partialism for women’s feet), Paraphilia NOS (vorarephilia), and Sexual Masochism, with a prior diagnosis of Dysthymic Disorder, a rule-out diagnosis of Social Phobia, and diagnosis deferred on Axis II.2”
Although a lot of what Lykins and Cantor reported could arguably be viewed as coprophilic, the coprophilic elements are clearly symptomatic of the vorarephilic primary sexual fantasy (i.e., being eaten by a large, female dominatrix and then being defecated by her). Dying was not part of the fantasy — what he really wanted was to be ‘‘taken in and then expelled (as feces).” Stephen had no desire himself to eat anyone (fantasy or otherwise) and only became sexually aroused when he thought of himself in his vore fantasy as the victim. Lykins and Cantor then went on to speculate that:
“Stephen’s reported fantasies highlighted the focus on both the act and the result of consumption — total destruction of being and personhood — and his sexual arousal associated with such acts. Consistent with fantasies produced by the vore community, Stephen reported no interest in cannibalism (having his flesh eaten or chewed). It seems possible that Stephen’s interest in feces and anal play may relate to the most tangible outcome of the possibility of having acted out these behaviors, specifically human waste and its immediate sources. Alternatively, it also seems reasonable to posit the reverse: that his interest in feces and anal play may have led him to vorarephilic fantasy. This directionality remains difficult to ascertain. Stephen’s fantasies were not entirely consistent with the typical vore fantasy, in that he appeared to be much more focused on the end result (himself as feces) than the majority of the fantasies found in online vore erotica ... It is interesting to speculate whether the set of interests Stephen experienced represent a cluster of multiple interests or a single interest which happens to overlap or only superficially resemble multiple, more common categories ... Stephen’s case suggests itself as an example of a progression in paraphilic interests. It is unfortunate Stephen ceased clinical contact again after the latter interview. Although some individuals refer to a very specific episode in early life in which they first experienced a fascination with a stimulus that later served as their erotic focus, Stephen may have experienced a slower progression over the course of adulthood."
The authors also claimed that many features reported by Stephen had never before appeared in the academic, clinical or popular literature. More specifically, they claimed that “sexual arousal to the idea of actually being body parts (e.g., an anus) and bodily products (e.g., feces, semen)” had — to their knowledge — never appeared in print before. The authors concluded in the hope that their published case study would be a good “starting point in the exploration of this unusual paraphilia."
Adams, C. (2004). Eat or be eaten: Is cannibalism a pathology as listed in the DSM-IV? The Straight Dope, July 2.
Beier, K. (2008). Comment on Pfafflin’s (2008) “Good enough to eat”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 164-165.
Gates, K. (2000). Deviant desires: Incredibly strange sex. New York: Juno Books.
Lykins, A.D., & Cantor, J.M. (2014). Vorarephilia: A case study in masochism and erotic consumption. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43, 181-186.
Pfafflin, F. (2008). Good enough to eat. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 286-293.
Pfafflin, F. (2009). Reply to Beier (2009). Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 166-167.