Cannibalism fetishes explained

Cannibalism fetishes typically have a sadistic nature (Picture: Getty Images/Image Source)

Warning: This article contains details that some people may find disturbing.

Cannibalism, for most of us, is considered the stuff of horror films.

Recently, however, cannibalism as a sexual fetish has hit the headlines due to allegations made against actor Armie Hammer.

Messages, allegedly sent by Hammer to a sexual partner, read: ‘I am 100% a cannibal. I want to eat you.’

Another message claimed to be from the Social Network star said: ‘If I wanted to cut off one of your toes and keep it with me in my pocket, so I always had a piece of you in my possession?’ while he also allegedly spoke of how he’d killed a deer and eaten its heart raw.

Eating the flesh of another human being isn’t illegal in British law. However, the killing or inflicting of injuries to make that happen absolutely would be.

As a sexual fetish, most people who experience sexual pleasure when thinking about eating people would be considered to have erotophonophilia (a fetish for murder and mutilation).

Although humans have engaged in cannibalism in certain situations – such as famine – these people will have specific fantasies about eating another human, getting aroused or deriving gratification from the idea or act.

The case of Armin Meiwes, a German man who killed and ate ‘voluntary victim’ Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes, is one of the most well-known in this sphere. Other killers who have eaten their victims include Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert Fish.

Due to the taboo nature of this fetish, it’s not known how many people experience these fantasies or why they come about.

Cannibal play and vorearephilia videos, art, and other forms of niche erotica can be found online. For the most part, no actual eating of humans takes place, and it focuses more on the idea of being able to consume a person or be consumed rather than actually killing them or being killed.

Cannibal play may involve biting or licking a person (but not eating them), dressing or tying a person up as if they were a food to be eaten, or eating food off of a person’s body to mimic the act of eating a person.

The overwhelming majority of people who watch or create this type of media also don’t act on cannibalism in real life.

For those with a form of erotophonophilia, sadism is at the root of their fetish. Sociopathy and psychopathy are common in people who fantasise sexually about killing, and cannibalism is part of their desire to hurt somebody.

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