Necrophilia is a sexual attraction or sexual arousal by corpses, i.e., dead bodies. Sexual arousal is stimulation in the form of sexual fantasies or by actual physical contact with the corpse. It comes under the heading of the "paraphilias," a subcategory of sexual and gender identity disorders. Necrophile is the person affected with necrophilia. It is a rare psychosexual disorder probably due to underdiagnosis, as it is committed in privacy by an individual.

Causes and risk factors

The exact cause of necrophilia is unknown. However, the following theories may be the probable causes – an intense fear of interacting with potential living partners, a necrophile may view corpses as emotionally or physically non-threatening. The thought that corpses cannot reject, disagree, manipulate or abuse them. Some may enjoy the feeling of being completely in control. Sometimes, romantic obsession with a person may cause a necrophile to preserve the body and engage in sexual intercourse.

Clinical presentation

A necrophile is a heterosexual male between the age group of 20 to 50 years. Symptoms include intense and recurring fantasies involving sexual contact with corpses. The term ‘necrophilia’ encompasses all of the following – Necrophilic fantasies –  regardless of whether or not they are acted upon, fantasies of sexual contact with the deceased constitutes necrophilia.  Pseudonecrophilia – isolated incidents of sexual contact with a corpse without previous necrophilic fantasies or desire. Necrosadism – one derives sexual pleasure from violent actions performed on a corpse such as mutilation or the drinking of blood.  Necrophilic Homicide – the act of killing a victim to obtain their corpse is part of the sexual urge.


Medical history by the patient and clinical evaluation by the psychiatrist or psychologist helps in diagnosis. Intense and recurring fantasies involving sexual contact or arousal with corpses for a period of minimum 6 months is necessary to label a person as a ‘necrophile.’


Treatment involves psychotherapy. It involves behavioral technique, cognitive behavioral techniques, and psychoanalytical techniques. Psychological counseling is helpful. Medications such as antidepressants or antipsychotic drugs will also help in managing necrophilia. Spiritual and religious approaches are also effective in treatment.


Necrophilia is illegal in many countries, so acting out on the fantasies can create legal problems. It may result in homicide [murder] in order to satisfy the sexual urge. Social problems can occur.

When to Contact a Doctor  

Contact a doctor if someone you know needs help to cope with necrophilia.

Systems involved

CNS, reproductive system

Organs involved

Brain, sexual organs

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