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Real Dead Ringer For Love
January 24, 2012 3:21 AM   Subscribe

Is Necrophilia Wrong?
posted by veedubya (248 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes. It's nearly as wrong as it's possible to get without being a child molester.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:23 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes. Yes, it is.
posted by zardoz at 3:23 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:27 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is very wrong indeed.
posted by h00py at 3:28 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't see how.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:31 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm into sadism, necrophilia and bestiality...am i flogging a dead horse?

old as the hills...
posted by marienbad at 3:33 AM on January 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


Well, I mean, sure, okay, ick, but if you put a body in the ground eventually it's going to decompose into the soil, and plants will gain nutrients from it and with the help of the sun and the rain they will grow into big, strong trees. Those trees will bear fruit, fresh and plump, which will soon fall to the ground, to be gathered up and prepared and baked into a range of delicious pastries and delicacies. And there was a movie about a dude who fucked one of those pastries, and it made a quarter of a billion dollars.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:34 AM on January 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


In principle, no, there's nothing inherently wrong with it. However, we don't exist in a moral bubble. Society functions in part because we're willing to make a collective pact to try not to step on each others' taboos.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:36 AM on January 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


Our dead loved ones become, essentially, property. Just as we wouldn’t want someone breaking into our home and making a concubine of our toaster, we would not want the same for the bodies of our deceased loved ones.

HOLY CRAP! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING YOU SICK...what? You sure had no family?... Definitely?...Well OK then, go nuts, sorry to bother you.
posted by PlusDistance at 3:38 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Use contraceptives.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 3:39 AM on January 24, 2012


I'm not sure if I'm alarmed or bemused that MeFi has used the "necrophilia" tag 8 times...
posted by Harald74 at 3:43 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


We have some pretty definite rules in Western societies that can apply to figuring this out:

1) The rightfulness of a sexual act is in the consent given, not the act itself.
2) That a person has a will that lasts after death, for the disposal for their belongings, intellectual rights, and even their body.

So, I suppose necrophilia is alright if somebody wills you their body for sex after death, but otherwise, no.
posted by Jehan at 3:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [59 favorites]


So, I suppose necrophilia is alright if somebody wills you their body for sex after death

Well since you mentioned it: The Necrocard
posted by AndrewKemendo at 3:51 AM on January 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Terrible piece of philosophy.

Awesome George Costanza monologue.
posted by PlusDistance at 3:52 AM on January 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


I am curious if anyone is going to make an argument for necrophilia in this thread. Okay, not for necrophilia, but perhaps presenting a way in which it could be viewed as "not wrong," if not "right," as a thought experiment. It's one of those things we find instantly repugnant and vile and all of that subset of reactions that make us want to scrub down in a hot shower, but I'm trying to divorce myself from all of that and seriously consider the question.

At the moment, I am still very much on the "Oh GOD no" side of things, but there are definitely devil's advocate, for-the-sake-of-the-argument things I'm hashing out in my brain.

Stand by, I guess....
posted by tzikeh at 3:53 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was a teenager, many many years ago, I was in a punk band called Necrophilia.

We had a song called "Dead in Bed," and our band motto (this will only make sense to old punks) of "If it ain't a stiff, it ain't worth a fuck."

Fun band.
posted by spitbull at 3:53 AM on January 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


No, but only if you are sure the corpse is a corpse, and the person consented prior to death. In the case outlined in the post, the gentleman was only accidentally a necrophiliac as he was unaware the corpse he was fucking was a corpse. Unless you have made prior arrangements with your partner, if they are merely passed out or asleep, and not a corpse, it is wrong.

I intend to have my consciousness transferred into the computer core of an interstellar battle robot prior to death. I won't be needing my meat body so I would be open to willing it to one or several, perhaps a collective, of ladies who would like to make use of it. As long as I can watch of course, it would be inefficient to include genitalia on my giant battle robot body so I have to make some sort of accommodations for the ladies
posted by Ad hominem at 3:54 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well since you mentioned it: The Necrocard

Awesome. Though if you also have a donorcard it might be a little tricky working out who gets what and when.

Oh word, you have the appropriate pieces tanned and stuff for everlasting pleasure to your bereaved mate. Wow, there's a market there.
posted by Jehan at 3:59 AM on January 24, 2012


I loove playing devil's advocate and the only kind of fucking a dead body I can justify is unintentional fucking of said dead body due to drunkenness or senility or some other kind of impairment.

Anything else is just really wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. Don't fuck dead people. There is no reason to do that (apart from the above).
posted by h00py at 4:01 AM on January 24, 2012


It's not wrong enough.

Necroneptocraniofemtophagialistc - the consumption of micro-particles of dead relatives' brains - is worse.

Though with a bit of lemon, maybe some garlic, who's to say?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:02 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And that shouldn't be a reason, that was a legitimate mistake, man!
posted by h00py at 4:04 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and the person consented prior to death...

I really think that as a society we grotesquely overestimate the importance, value, relevance or even sensibility of "consent" when it comes to our post-mortem flesh-vessels. "Consent" should not even exist for such things as organ transplant. If you're dead and you've got a liver then somebody else gets the liver and too fucking bad if y'all didn't sign a bit of paper beforehand and your hysterical mother just keeps saying "nonononono" over and over.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:04 AM on January 24, 2012 [55 favorites]


Right, nobody gets to eat my brain. I've already marked my organ donor card and specified my brain is to be donated, so it is going to someone desperately in need of a brain due to an accident. Unless its zombies, if a zombie can catch and kill me they have a right to eat my brain.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:06 AM on January 24, 2012


Yes. It's nearly as wrong as it's possible to get without being a child molester.

I disagree entirely. Genocide, rape, other sexual assaults and abuse, murder, hate crimes, these are all a lot worse than desecrating a corpse. Necrophelia is a little gross but I'd rather someone sodomize me 100 times over after I am dead than assault a live person, wouldn't you?
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:14 AM on January 24, 2012 [40 favorites]


But the reason we ought to be upset by someone violating a dead loved one is not because it will offend the deceased, but because it offends us. Our dead loved ones become, essentially, property.

This is the core of his argument and he just sort of skips over it lightly, making a flat assertion with no backup. I might quibble with the first part --- okay, maybe it will not, but "would have" doesn't count for shit? But the second I think is absurd on its face: A dead body is not the same thing as a toaster. It is an entirely different class of thing which evokes deeply felt and well-nigh universal emotions in living humans. You can't just blandly assert that and say and theefore, the appropriate rubric to discuss how to treat it is our concept of property rights.

God or no, the body is sacred because of its status as the vessel of consciousness.
posted by Diablevert at 4:16 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Necrophilia is hilarious
posted by Seiten Taisei at 4:17 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


OMFG I started to sound out "Necroneptocraniofemtophagialistc " but no, I don't want that word in my limited toolbox of perverse sarcastic jokes.
posted by sammyo at 4:18 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


God or no, the body is sacred because of its status as the vessel of consciousness.

Well, you can't say something's "sacred" if you take God out of the equation. I'm drinking Ardbeg single malt but once it's gone, the bottle is just fashioned glass ready for the recyclers.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:22 AM on January 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


I sincerely hope you're not going to fuck it then.
posted by h00py at 4:27 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


OB rotten dot com FAQ entry:

Q. How would you guys feel if someone posted pictures of your dead body on the internet?

A. We probably wouldn't feel anything, what with being dead and all that.

This is an example of the deep divide between modern and ancient thought. In practical scientific terms, there is no difference between a corpse and a toaster. But we have deep and powerful instincts to believe in certain mystical associations, and few such connections are more powerful than that between the body and personality that lives within it.

So the basic argument is sound on certain terms, but good luck getting it to fly with very many living people.
posted by localroger at 4:28 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes.
posted by timsteil at 4:28 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just think fucking something that was dead would feel really bad. I wouldn't fuck a chop, for instance.
posted by h00py at 4:29 AM on January 24, 2012


I sincerely hope you're not going to fuck it then.

In my defence I do rinse.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:29 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


God or no, the body is sacred because of its status as the vessel of consciousness.

What about my giant robot body, I didn't mention it on a lark. I at least half believe that at some point in the future we will be able to transfer consciousness to some other vessel. Right now, some people think of the human body as the only vessel capable of containing them ( I suspect some people view it differently, that the body does not contain them, but is them). But what if that was not true, what is the place of the human body in a world where we can transfer the consciousness to a new vessel when it our body wears out.

I think there must be something deeper at work here than logic. Let's say you believe in heaven. Your friend dies and their consciousness goes up to heaven and smiles down on you. Do they care about thier body still? The person that is them is now in heaven.

It has got to be like the fear of tiny holes and spiders. Something deep in our brains left over from millions of years of evolution. An instinctive "don't mess with dead bodied you will get sick" fear we will never shake.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:31 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not Advocacy but Reflection

Yeah. Sure.
posted by Splunge at 4:34 AM on January 24, 2012


On the one hand, yeah. Dead people are dead, and if everyone believed that was that and was less sentimental, that would be a good thing. But on the other hand, it's such My First Philosophy Essay level insight that I'm loathe to agree with it just on principle.
posted by lucidium at 4:35 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


as long as the corpse consents, i see no issue here.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:36 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, and I'll tell you why, there's no reason my body should be having more fun dead than alive.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:37 AM on January 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


I can't see how.

So you're ok with people fucking the dead bodies of children.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amusingly, Giants in the Playground just killed off their goth necrophiliac necromancer character today.
There were always way more necrophiliac necromancer jokes than necessary around the NERO LARP events, presumably the same held for table top role-playing games.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:39 AM on January 24, 2012


OMFG I started to sound out "Necroneptocraniofemtophagialistc " but no, I don't want that word in my limited toolbox of perverse sarcastic jokes.

At least you didn't try to sing it to the tune of a song from Mary Poppins.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:40 AM on January 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


So you're ok with people fucking the dead bodies of children.

As long as they're not related to them. 'Cause necrophilia is one thing, but necrophiliac incest? THAT'S where I draw the line.
posted by delfin at 4:40 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


BAM. That's worse than contemplating violating the lamb roast, that's for sure.
posted by h00py at 4:40 AM on January 24, 2012


Damn, I forgot the whole bestiality taboo thing.
posted by h00py at 4:41 AM on January 24, 2012


So you're ok with people fucking the dead bodies of children.

That's...not exactly what I said but since you're backing me into a corner on this I guess I'll have to go ahead and say that I don't actively encourage it but I'm not going to lose a whole lot of sleep over all the dead children who are apparently going to be fucked left right and centre once the seething masses of necropedophiles are given the go-ahead by me saying "whatevs dudes just clean up afterwards".
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:42 AM on January 24, 2012 [35 favorites]


Plus lambs are babies. It's all so confusing.
posted by h00py at 4:44 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, do you have any idea how uncomfortable it is to get ashes out of your... wait, was that out loud?
posted by delfin at 4:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So you're ok with people fucking the dead bodies of children.

When did Rick Santorum become a MeFite?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [29 favorites]


What about zombies?
posted by Burhanistan at 4:47 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I certainly think it would be more logical for us to eat the dead than it would be to copulate with them. But then I'd have another moral dilemma: "Was this cubicle farmed?"
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:48 AM on January 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't think a sane person would want to...ever. It's as clear a sign of a deep mental illness as I can imagine.

I just see no way to justify it in the cold light of day. Perhaps as a religious ritual, or an altered state of consciousness perhaps...nut even then, if you're worshiping a God or some after-life state, it would necessitate the body was treated with some respect for that state itself.

This is an ethical quandary that has nowhere to go and no landmarks to try and navigate with, there's just no way, not to see this as deplorable and revolting thing. I mean, it's not like violence or something really damaging to anyone except the necrophiliac himself. He is his own victim, and perhaps anyone who witnesses it.


And on a practical or materialist plane, a corpse is just not a good thing to get so close too. One could probably have more fun with a car tire.
posted by Skygazer at 4:51 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Necrovelcrosomnambulododecatacofunambuloism - the desire to gather the dead, make them stick together in their dreams while they walk around twelve-sided Mexican dishes and are tossed out the window.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:54 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's hot!
posted by h00py at 4:55 AM on January 24, 2012


Hang on - am I the only one who finds it weird that without my consent, my body can be stripped naked, injected with chemicals, dressed up again, covered in makeup, and used as the centerpiece of an elaborate ritual in front of friends and family?
posted by NMcCoy at 4:57 AM on January 24, 2012 [54 favorites]


or not
posted by h00py at 4:57 AM on January 24, 2012


It could be weirder.
posted by h00py at 4:58 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm stopping now.
posted by h00py at 4:58 AM on January 24, 2012


...and the person consented prior to death...

Isn't that a Louis CK bit?
posted by scalefree at 5:01 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If necrophilia's wrong, I don't want to be right!
posted by scalefree at 5:02 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry. I misspelled the last reference.
It should have been Necrovelcroyokobongosaccovanzettidefenestrattiatiwallawallaipsofactotem.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:03 AM on January 24, 2012


This guy is flogging a dead... oh wait.
posted by unSane at 5:03 AM on January 24, 2012


Parts is parts.

OK, I'm stopping now too.
posted by scalefree at 5:03 AM on January 24, 2012


Yes.
posted by Simple Answer to a Simple Question at 5:04 AM on January 24, 2012


I don't think a sane person would want to...ever. It's as clear a sign of a deep mental illness as I can imagine.

My understanding is that to the contrary, thrills from pushing or breaking a personal or social taboo is fairly bog-standard normal human psychology, for the ill and healthy both.

Being a sexual serial-killer is a sign of deep mental illness - that's violating more than just taboo, and getting off on something fundamentally different from just secretly doing something frowned upon but essentially victimless. Desecrating the dead? Maybe. Maybe not. I bet psychologists would say mental illness, but until a few months ago, those idiots still classified blindfolds and fuzzy handcuffs as mental illness.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:05 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Meatloaf reference is my favorite part of this.
posted by jon1270 at 5:07 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and the person consented prior to death...

A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course.
And no one should roger a corpse, of course.
That is, of course, unless that corpse says okay before it's dead.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:11 AM on January 24, 2012 [53 favorites]


what's wrong with you guys? two dead people should be able to do what ever they want
posted by pyramid termite at 5:11 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is it too late to say it's dead boring?

BTW spitbull, you stole that joke from Stiff Records (I may even have the lapel badge somewhere).
posted by epo at 5:12 AM on January 24, 2012


NAMCLA.
posted by unigolyn at 5:12 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Of course, we need to identify, legally, what constitutes a sexual act with a dead person. We don't want to get into another "I did not have sexual relations with that dead woman" kind of situation, do we?
posted by annekenstein at 5:15 AM on January 24, 2012


Well, I mean, sure, okay, ick, but if you put a body in the ground eventually it's going to decompose into the soil, and plants will gain nutrients... ...a movie about a dude who fucked one of those pastries, and it made a quarter of a billion dollars.

Thanks for that, now I'm imagingin an xkcd-style graph of ick-vs-time. It would be shaped kind of like:

/````---...__

Someone dying during the act is sad, but not really a disgusting act of necrophilia, so early in the graph ick is low. Ick rapidly skyrockets with decomposition, then eventually lowers and disappears as the body is ecologically recycled back into the living.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:16 AM on January 24, 2012


Okay, here's the only way I would ever have sex with a dead woman cadaver.

Aliens would have to land on Earth and promise to bring peace, end hunger forever, give the human race the secret to time travel AND immortality and faster than light space travel.

I'd hit that stiff like I was a James Brown Sex Machine.

Get up..get on up..get up-ah, get on up. Stay on the scene, like a sex machine...
posted by Skygazer at 5:19 AM on January 24, 2012


Here's the thing...necrophilia was happening so much at some point in history that they needed a word for it. Think about it.
posted by Fizz at 5:20 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sexual relations with compost is something to be avoided, for sure. Worms have teeth, you know.
posted by h00py at 5:20 AM on January 24, 2012


Kissed is a 1996 Canadian film abou a young woman whose fixation on death leads her to study embalming at a mortuary school, where in turn she finds herself drawn toward feelings of necrophilia.

While creepy, I don't recall it be sensationalistic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:21 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If people can stomach it*, Cormac McCarthy has a book about a necrophile. It's called Child of God.

*"It" meaning Cormac McCarthy's painful writing.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:25 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's dead wrong.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:25 AM on January 24, 2012


Use contraceptives.

Seriously. Dead man in mortuary impregnates woman
posted by zarq at 5:27 AM on January 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


obligatory webcomic
posted by -harlequin- at 5:30 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


In practical scientific terms, there is no difference between a corpse and a toaster.

Also, don't fuck toasters.
posted by chavenet at 5:30 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I guess it depends on whether rigor mortis makes you hard ;-)
posted by jannw at 5:31 AM on January 24, 2012


In practical scientific terms, there is no difference between a corpse and a toaster.

There is 110 volts of practical scientific difference if you forget to unplug.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:33 AM on January 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


In practical scientific terms, there is no difference between a corpse and a toaster

I'll, er, have the cornflakes thanks.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:34 AM on January 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


I've never heard any complaints.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:34 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


British comedian David Mitchell explores this issue in a funny yet interesting way here.
posted by Quilford at 5:35 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't be caught dead with a necrophiliac.
posted by strangememes at 5:37 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, I love The Rolling Stones.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:38 AM on January 24, 2012


Any attempt to change the necrophilia laws is dead in the water.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 AM on January 24, 2012


I'm dead tired. Hope there's no necrophiliacs around.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:41 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kissed is a 1996 Canadian film abou a young woman whose fixation on death leads her to study embalming at a mortuary school, where in turn she finds herself drawn toward feelings of necrophilia.

While creepy, I don't recall it be sensationalistic.


This is based on Canadian author Barbara Gowdy's We So Seldom Look On Love, a wonderful collection of short stories from a gifted writer.
posted by Fizz at 5:41 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Q:What did the necrophiliac say about his ex-girlfriend?
A: "She's dead to me now."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:42 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


But if you're a necrophiliac, at least you know your partner ain't gonna kiss and tell.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:44 AM on January 24, 2012


This is how I determined that I genuinely have no feelings about what happens to my dead body. Doesn't matter if somebody fucks it. I am not there anymore. I do not believe personally that I will be anywhere, but for sure and certain I am not there. It's a piece of meat, it's not me anymore. And I am *very* picky about sex while alive. I'm icked out by even the thought of casual sex, let alone rape. But when I'm dead? Eh. Let 'em do what they want. I will not be there to be hurt or upset by it.

I am aware that this is an uncommon point of view.
posted by Because at 5:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I posted this once before...

Drunk walks into his neighborhood bar-grinnin' from ear to ear. Barkeep says "what are you so happy about?" Drunk replies "well, last night I was walkin home after closing, along the tracks like I always do but THIS time I found a woman tied to the tracks, just like in them old movies." I untied her and took her home and we had sex ALL NIGHT LONG...on the bed...on the table...on the floor...on the KITCHEN COUNTER!!!" bartender says "You luck bastard, was she beautiful?" Drunk says "I dunno...never did find her head"
posted by orme at 5:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, to be honest I was thinking of how unpleasant it would be to fuck a dead body. I didn't think about someone fucking my dead body. I feel mildly jealous, I guess. (Of my future dead body. You know, getting more action and all.)
posted by h00py at 5:47 AM on January 24, 2012


Definitely stopping now.
posted by h00py at 5:49 AM on January 24, 2012


Use contraceptives.

Seriously. Dead man in mortuary impregnates woman


The last line of the article: "In a bizarre twist, (woman) plans to sue the dead man’s estate for child support."

Now that's some straight up soap opera ish right there.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:50 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nekromantik 2 is, as memory serves, a fairly straightforward (even romantic) film about a female necrophile who is attempting to 'overcome' her desires toward the death and maintain a relationship with a living man. As you might expect, there was a great deal of controversy on the film's release, and the film's final scene is still vividly etched in my mind two decades later... but all that said, I'd certainly recommend it to anyone seriously interested in the topic. Might make a nice double-bill with Kissed?
posted by stinkycheese at 5:53 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


These terrible necrophilia jokes are killing me.
posted by Skygazer at 5:56 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm dying here!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:00 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting fact/Dexter spoiler (?): Molly Parker (one of Canada's premiere actresses IMHO), who plays a necrophile in Kissed, was also Colin Hank's sister/"Whore of Babylon" victim in the latest season of Dexter.

As a Canadian, I was somewhat embarrassed to see her reduced to such a dire role in an increasingly rediculous series, but I guess actors go where the paycheques are.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:01 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is how I determined that I genuinely have no feelings about what happens to my dead body. Doesn't matter if somebody fucks it. I am not there anymore. I do not believe personally that I will be anywhere, but for sure and certain I am not there. It's a piece of meat, it's not me anymore. And I am *very* picky about sex while alive. I'm icked out by even the thought of casual sex, let alone rape. But when I'm dead? Eh. Let 'em do what they want. I will not be there to be hurt or upset by it.

This is just about my own view. Someone using my dead body for sex is about as awful to me as finding out that someone with a hair fetish has gathered up sweepings of my hair from the barber's and is putting it to some prurient use. Not something I am thrilled about but, ultimately, what do I care?

Le morte de bea arthur nailed it early on: the reason it is bad is nothing to do with the act itself but rather because there are other people left behind who will be dismayed to know that their loved one's recently-vacated flesh is being used as a sex toy. So far as I can see, every other argument advanced here -- and telling, many are not arguments, just gut reactions -- is rationalization pretending to be reasoning.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:01 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Necrophiliac Rodney Dangerfield: "Take my wife, please. Just bring her back when she's dead."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:01 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or was that necrophiliac Henny Youngman?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:02 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I want to ask a necrophiliac is, do you fantasize your partner is alive? Or, conversely, when fucking a live person, do you fantasize that they're dead?
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:03 AM on January 24, 2012


There once was a hermit named Dave;
Who kept a dead whore in his cave.
You must admit;
She smelled like shit;
But think of the money he saved!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:04 AM on January 24, 2012


Hang on - am I the only one who finds it weird that without my consent, my body can be stripped naked, injected with chemicals, dressed up again, covered in makeup, and used as the centerpiece of an elaborate ritual in front of friends and family?

Honestly, wakes are every bit as creepy to me as necrophilia. Why display a corpse like a Christmas ham?
posted by uncleozzy at 6:06 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Le morte de bea arthur nailed it early on....

And... scene!
posted by zarq at 6:08 AM on January 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Why display a corpse like a Christmas ham?

Hey listen I know I said I would, but, uh, I don't think I'm going to be able to make it to your Christmas dinner this year...
posted by griphus at 6:12 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is that rigor mortis or are you just pleased to see me?
posted by MuffinMan at 6:12 AM on January 24, 2012


Metafilter: I forgot the whole bestiality taboo thing.
posted by GoingToShopping at 6:18 AM on January 24, 2012


Hey listen I know I said I would, but, uh, I don't think I'm going to be able to make it to your Christmas dinner this year...

AMEN!
posted by zarq at 6:19 AM on January 24, 2012


Hang on - am I the only one who finds it weird that without my consent, my body can be stripped naked, injected with chemicals, dressed up again, covered in makeup, and used as the centerpiece of an elaborate ritual in front of friends and family?

People use their wills to dictate what's done with their bodies*, seems easy enough to put "no open casket funerals/wakes" in your will. I'm guessing most open casket funerals and wakes are without the express consent of the deceased, but I've never been to one where the deceased had asked not to be displayed.

*I also once saw a will where the person explicitly left their soul to "Almighty God," which seemed like a genius move; if you get to heaven and God's not buying it, you just pull out the will and say "look, it says here you HAVE to take me."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:20 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here we are again with visceral reactions of disgust being equated with morality. The only metric I have for right and wrong is who is hurt by this? If I decide that necrophilia is wrong absent the hurt done to those mourning the dead, then should I also re-examine all the other non-normative sexual activity in the light of how disgusted I am by it? Scat fetishism? BDSM? Once community standards set in and everyone rules out the sex that grosses them out, what are we going to be left with, the blue laws of yore where the only sanctioned form of sexual expression is married couples, missionary position, in bed with the curtains drawn and lights off?

Fuck that noise, this is the same mentality of catering to the blandest middle of the bell curve that's given us Applebees, Monopoly, Dan Brown, and Michael Bay. Necrophilia is an odd thing to make me want to tilt at the windmills of the mediocritization of America, but I'm sick of the shallow cowardly xenophobia and the people who make a virtue of normalcy.

So to those pervy corpse-fucking med students etc... let your freak flag fly. I can't be bothered to give a shit.

So you're ok with people fucking the dead bodies of children.

Well as long as they give them a reach around. Oh please, they aren't children, they aren't even human, they are corpses.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:22 AM on January 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


I fucked your toaster
posted by LogicalDash at 6:23 AM on January 24, 2012


Bulgaroktonos: Hell and probate?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:24 AM on January 24, 2012


British comedian David Mitchell explores this issue in a funny yet interesting way here.

For the completist, David Mitchell on dead bodies that people aren't having sex with.

if you get to heaven and God's not buying it, you just pull out the will and say "look, it says here you HAVE to take me."

Do you have to accept stuff that you're willed? Like, if my jerkass roommate were to write a "hilarious" will that gave me his collection of toenail clippings from 1997-2004 and then got hit by a bus, would I have to take it into my possession?
posted by Copronymus at 6:25 AM on January 24, 2012


Someone will chase you until the end of your days until you take them, it's the law.
posted by h00py at 6:26 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your local library may be interested in historical clippings.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:26 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is a weird thread. Just like being a pedophile doesn't automatically imply you are a child molester. Being a necrophile(?) doesn't automatically imply you are actively seeking or have had sex with a dead body. And pedophilia, necrophilia, and even actively seeking or having sex with a dead body don't automatically imply you are mentally ill. I will agree though that actively seeking or having sex with a child probably means you are mentally ill.
posted by zeek321 at 6:28 AM on January 24, 2012


There's how many people on this earth? You mean to tell me this person can't find ONE person to screw? Even if he paid her/him?

Man, just carve a hole in a cantelope and move on.
posted by stormpooper at 6:29 AM on January 24, 2012


Necrophilia is gross, but it isn't wrong. There is no harm.

Honestly, wakes are every bit as creepy to me as necrophilia. Why display a corpse like a Christmas ham?

I think it comes from a number of concepts, from allowing people to verify that Person X is truly deceased, to allowing loved ones to say goodbye, to a sort of spiritual last act of caring (stewardship?) for someone. Family and friends gathering to make sure one's remains are disposed of properly. And also custom, going back to times when there were no funeral homes, and someone would die. Friends and family would come to the deceased's home and offer condolences to closer family, and the corpse would obviously be there in the house/hut/cave until enough able-bodied people arrived to dig a hole and carry it to the hole.
posted by gjc at 6:30 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you have to accept stuff that you're willed? Like, if my jerkass roommate were to write a "hilarious" will that gave me his collection of toenail clippings from 1997-2004 and then got hit by a bus, would I have to take it into my possession?

I'll do the legal research on that point and then start drafting my will, roomie.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:30 AM on January 24, 2012


I also once saw a will where the person explicitly left their soul to "Almighty God," which seemed like a genius move; if you get to heaven and God's not buying it, you just pull out the will and say "look, it says here you HAVE to take me."

And then His Almighty covers the gilded microphone and His cadre of heavenly lawyers whisper in His ear, show Him a piece of paper, pointing out the signature, shrugging their shoulders and making the universal thumb-and-forefingers "this will cost you money" sign. His almighty Shoulders tense, and unconsciously grabbing His lordly wallet (crafted of fine leather from when Jesus was in Cub Scouts), God grudgingly approves.
posted by gjc at 6:31 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think wakes served a practical purpose at one point, to make sure the person was really dead.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:33 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wolfgang Pauli referred to unfalsifiable arguments as being not even wrong i.e. not even meeting the criteria for being an interesting hypothesis. I declare the proposition not even wrong.
posted by falcon at 6:36 AM on January 24, 2012


Yeah -I'm pretty much with Jehan on this one (well I don't know if that's Jehan's personal view)...

It's icky, and I wouldn't do it, but if two people agreed beforehand to do so (and a contract is made up), then I see why legally it shouldn't be allowed. As long as they're of age to consent.

Then again, I don't see anything wrong with incest so long as no breeding takes place (or coercion/underage/power-role-abuse happens)... That is if, for example, a brother and a sister were adopted, never knew each other and fell for each other (as happened sometime these past few years in Germany) then who is to say they can't fall in love and do whatever else lovers do?

Squicky doesn't necessarily mean "morally wrong".
posted by symbioid at 6:42 AM on January 24, 2012


God or no, the body is sacred because of its status as the vessel of consciousness.

I'm pretty sure if I'm dead and conscious at the same time, I'll have much, much bigger things to worry about than whether someone is violating my corpse. If there is no consciousness left, there's nothing left of me to be sacred.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:43 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it comes from a number of concepts

No, I get it, but it's still icky. Doesn't make it wrong.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:44 AM on January 24, 2012


BTW spitbull, you stole that joke from Stiff Records (I may even have the lapel badge somewhere).
posted by epo


That was the joke. Stiff's slogan was "If it ain't stiff, it ain't worth a fuck." We added the indefinite article for our slogan.

It was wicked funny in 1980.
posted by spitbull at 6:45 AM on January 24, 2012


Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore)
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:51 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


God or no, the body is sacred because of its status as the vessel of consciousness.

This is pretty much the argument that I want to make. I think the author overstates the idea that the sacred feelings we attach to human bodies is due to religious faith. I can't think of any Biblical teaching that would lead to that conclusion--in fact, there's a long running (albeit misguided) strain in Christian theology that is borderline gnostic in its assertion that the core of the person is found in a non-corporeal soul, and the body is just an insignificant vessel where the soul resides. I doubt that we feel that bodies are sacred because of traditional theistic devotion. It's actually the other way around--our feelings of connection and care for the people we loved continue after their death, in part as a sense of reverence for their bodies that religious services have acknowledged and honored, even though it is orthogonal to faith qua faith. That is completely understandable--indeed, it's hard to imagine that it would be any other way. Those are still the hands that soothed us, and that is still the mouth that spoke words of affection to us, even if they are no longer living. No doubt there are some people, somewhere, who can say, seconds after the final breath, "Go ahead and have a good time with the body, she's dead now," but it isn't silly or unjustified for family and friends to desire to treat the body of the person they loved with respect. And if that translates into societal taboos that are codified in law, I don't see how that's a problem. The tiny minority of people who desire to have sex with a corpse will just have to make do with living people, no matter how much of a hardship that presents. They don't have an inviolable right to avail themselves of the remains of the people that others have loved. Not because that corpse is ontologically sacred, but because sacredness is an emergent property that has grown out of a lifetime (however long or short) of a conscious being loving and being loved by other conscious beings. No one has to believe in God to say there is something so special about consciousness and about love that we, as a society, find it helpful to honor the memory of that through ongoing care for the bodies of the dead.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:55 AM on January 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


This article is a hilarious troll and proof that well-meaning people can be persuaded to let anything happen.
posted by michaelh at 6:57 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Note to self: file under Legal Arguments, Novel: "Your honor, I thought she was dead."
posted by Xoebe at 6:59 AM on January 24, 2012


I never looked at it that way. I'll have to try fucking a corpse!
posted by MangyCarface at 7:09 AM on January 24, 2012


Isn't that a Louis CK bit?


Also a Sam Kinison bit...
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:09 AM on January 24, 2012


It's dead boring.
posted by panboi at 7:11 AM on January 24, 2012


Yes

I Love The Dead before they're cold
Their bluing flesh for me to hold
While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave
I have other uses for you darling
(Alice Cooper)

Why is it that I can instantly bring these lyrics to mind but stumble on Hey Jude halfway before the fourth line?
posted by philip-random at 7:11 AM on January 24, 2012


I am not a necrophiliac. I don't want to have sex with dead people. I don't want people to have sex with me when I'm dead, though by that point, it will be a little late to be complaining.

I'm just having a hard time coming up with a rational reason as to why it shouldn't happen. I think that if someone consents while alive to someone else having sex with their remains when they're dead, then it's OK. I don't see much difference between consenting to sex after death and consenting to organ harvesting after death, rationally speaking. Emotionally speaking, I'm having a very different reaction to those two things: organ harvesting can save the lives of multiple other people, whereas sex with a stiff is gross. Rationally, though, it's just organs - why are eyes, a liver, a heart, lungs, kidneys etc different to a vagina or anus? After death, it's just meat, all of it.

Of course, I think that a will is a definite need in this sort of instance. Unless it is explicitly stated that the body is available for sexual intercourse after death, then it's a big no. When it is just a body, I think that there's no harm going to come to the individual, because the individual isn't "there" any more. The wishes of the deceased's family should be taken into account obviously, and I'd reckon it's a pretty safe bet that people wouldn't want someone having sex with the remains of their dead relatives (hence the importance of the will).

I wonder how the aspect of "your rights die with you" apply here. Is a will legally binding, or can it be ignored?

I have the horrible feeling that I'm thinking about this way too much.
posted by Solomon at 7:12 AM on January 24, 2012


Necrovelcroyokobongosaccovanzettidefenestrattiatiwallawallaipsofactotem.

It's spelled Necro-B-Nimblo Alla Fassa Gosso
posted by omnikron at 7:16 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who will oneday be dead, yes. I'd like to think that in healthy a healthy, normal relationship, I can count in you to show me who you are and what you want and not suddenly change your attitude toward me because you can do whatever you want because I'm in a coma, or dead, or otherwise unable to stop you from finally revealing your true intentions.

Seriously, is it that hard to get that this is not about the dead, or the profoundly neurologically challenged, but about the living, in-control person who makes a choice to exploit a body that cannot meaningfully object?

If you are not who you are today, now, and also tomorrow, then your life is a lie. What are the odds someone is going to tell you ahead of time "hey, guess what I'm going to do to you when you die?" (except as a joke, and then not a joke about your mom or your child.)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:27 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I leave the morality debate to better minds than mine, but I have to admit, if I found out that someone I knew liked to fuck dead people, I'd keep my distance.
posted by jonmc at 7:31 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


And if that translates into societal taboos that are codified in law, I don't see how that's a problem.

I have no idea what the actual law is, but I think people who don't view it as all so terrible, are feeling not that it should be automatically legal, but that there be sensible defence available to the various pertinent charges. For instance, it is generally illegal to kill someone, so if I am guilty of killing someone, the onus is usually on me to show that it was a legal killing (self defence for example), ie self defence is a defence against the the various pertinent charges. Similarly, I'd hope that the various pertinent charges against desecrating the dead - which are necessary laws and which we should have - are founded on practical harms rather than presumed harm, such that appropriate agreements and contracts with the deceased/estate would allow a defence against the presumption of harm.

(But in general, I'm suspicious of auto-criminalising things for everyone on the grounds that the ruling class finds them repugnant. It usually seems to do more harm than good to have inflexible laws driven by the needs of a subset of the population)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:32 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like others, I agree completely with le morte de bea arthur. The "heinous" act isn't necessarily being committed against the recently deceased themselves, as it is physiologically a meat shell at that point, but rather the loved ones of the deceased. Thinking of someone "violating" my own corpse elicits an icky but rather ho-hum emotional response. Thinking of someone engaging in necrophilia with my girlfriend, my mother or father, especially within 12-24 hours of losing them, elicits violent fantasies of homicide and other terrible things I would do to the sick son (or daughter) of a bitch. Prior "willed" consent would be really high on the "ick" factor, and would most likely diminish my reaction from homicide to "RUN AWAY!"

From a purely logical point, necrophilia may not be wrong, but most people don't operate on logic all of the time, and I know I certainly don't operate on logic most of the time: "A kind, compassionate, loving, communicative significant other, who is everything I thought I've been looking for, but, for some reason, I just want out!" "Knowing that I'm doing 60 towards the next red light, but I'M LATE FOR WORK!" and "Sure, I know my father's spirit is up in heaven/has departed from his body/has faded for good, but I'm going to stab the ever loving shit out of this mortician I caught with his penis in my dad's ass!"

I'm an emotional creature, and I will do my best to justify many of my emotional-based reactions with whatever logic makes the most sense at the time. Through rationalization or intellectualization, I still react viscerally on very many important things. A death of a loved one will be pretty high up on my list of emotional-reactions over logic. Otherwise, why be sad? It's not like there's anything I can do... I should just pick them up where they died, throw their body in my BBQ pit until all the meat's gone so it doesn't spread disease and go about my business. I still have to do the dishes, and I'm not missing that movie I already bought tickets for. That wouldn't be logical.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:42 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The only metric I have for right and wrong is who is hurt by this?"

Living people who just want to die in peace with whichever procedure they consider dignified are hurt by necrophilia as well as the loved ones of those whose bodies are used in ways they did not consent to.

I'm totally down for you or anyone else willing your bodies to necrophiles, I'd suggest that you give the organ folks right of first refusal at least, but hey, its your body. For myself, I've lived my life bombarded by other peoples sexuality, have been creeped out and picked over, and have hated how impossible it is to not have the sexuality of other people imposed on us in life. I would like to think that someday, if only when I die, I might be able to escape that someday for a nicer reason than too rotten.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:44 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


In my experience, it's best to wait at least two weeks after death. That way, the full-on decomposition gets the eye sockets nice and warm and the maggots act like built-in little vibrators.
posted by fungible at 7:48 AM on January 24, 2012


That is not dead which may eternal get laid,
And through strange aeons, even death may feel le petit mort.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:01 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You don't have to watch out for crabs, but you do have to watch for maggots!
posted by ignignokt at 8:08 AM on January 24, 2012


In what sense, in having the fetish, no. In acting on it? Of course it is wrong. One party is not consenting. I guess if someone consented to it ahead of time with a release.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:10 AM on January 24, 2012


What business is it of yours if, after a long day of work, a man choses to crack open a cold one?
posted by Hexaemeron at 8:11 AM on January 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


Want to fuck a dead body? Stay married for 20 years.
posted by timsteil at 8:14 AM on January 24, 2012


I think wakes served a practical purpose at one point, to make sure the person was really dead.

Or an impractical purpose, i.e. the same one, c.f. Finnegans Wake
posted by chavenet at 8:14 AM on January 24, 2012


A necrophiliac is a real casket case.
posted by pianomover at 8:15 AM on January 24, 2012


Well this is an interesting thread to start my day with.
posted by brundlefly at 8:15 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dead?!?
I thought she was British!
posted by Floydd at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just stopping by to see if there's an intelligent and well thought out conv....OH MY GOD!!!
posted by samsara at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gives new meaning to deadhead.
posted by pianomover at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2012


Related. Doug Stanhope on pictures of dead fetuses. It's comedy, for those interested.
posted by this one is danny at 8:17 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not sure I'll listen to this song the same way again.

I was working in the "lab" late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my "monster" from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

He did the "mash"
He did the "monster mash"
The "monster mash"
It was a "graveyard smash"
He did the "mash"
It caught on in a flash
He did the "mash"
He did the "monster mash"

From my laboratory in the castle east
To the master bedroom where the vampires "feast"
The ghouls all came from their humble abodes
To get a "jolt" from my "electrodes"

He did the "mash"
He did the "monster mash"
The "monster mash"
It was a "graveyard smash"
He did the "mash"
It caught on in a flash
He did the "mash"
He did the "monster mash"

The zombies were "having fun"
The "party" had just begun
The guests included Wolf Man
Dracula and his son (?!)

The scene was "rockin'," all were digging the sounds
Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds
The coffin-bangers were about to arrive
With their vocal group, "The Crypt-Kicker Five"

Out from his coffin, Drac's voice did ring
Seems he was troubled by just one thing
He opened the lid and shook his fist
And said, "Whatever happened to my 'Transylvania twist'?"

Now everything's cool, Drac's a part of the "band"
And my "monster mash" is the hit of the land
For you, the living, this "mash" was meant too
When you get to my door, tell them Boris sent you

Then you can "mash"
Then you can "monster mash"
The "monster mash"
And "do my graveyard smash"
Then you can "mash"
You'll catch on in a flash
Then you can "mash"
Then you can "monster mash"

posted by ignignokt at 8:21 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suppose this is basically like Godwin's law in that nobody wants to hear it and it will be seen as an absurdest argument. However, this is my point of view.

When it comes to controlling what a person does, where do you draw the line? When I read threads like this, I mentally replace all instances of "necrophilia" with "sodomy", "bestiality", "homosexuality", or (and I don't even know the word for this because the thought is so foreign to me) "inter-race relations".

Reading it like this makes me very sad, because many of the same arguments used in this thread were used in previous decades against some of the topics I've mentioned, and are still used in other topics.

Where do you draw the line in how you allow one person to control another person?

In terms of how squicky you think it is? That is such an incredibly slippery slope that I don't even need to touch on it.

In terms of how squicky the person's loved ones think it is? well, couldn't the same argument be made against gay or cross-racial marriages? "White people shouldn't be allowed to marry asian people because - Think of the poor grandmothers who will be SO upset about it!!!!" I think the only way this argument has any validity is if one believes that the corpse passes into legal possession of their relatives. I'm not sure what the legal validity of this may be, but I can imagine that it is very complicated - I am thinking of a case where perhaps one relative wants cremation, while another wants a sky burial.

In terms of the will of the deceased - This is the only argument that I think stands. However, I also believe that people's future corpses should be violated against their wills to extract useful organs. So I'm not completely settled on this point.

So my point is - please clearly think about the logic behind your argument. Could it be used to support other viewpoints that you stand against? If so, then either you should not use that argument, or you should change your viewpoints. There are no other options.
posted by rebent at 8:25 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


*I also once saw a will where the person explicitly left their soul to "Almighty God," which seemed like a genius move; if you get to heaven and God's not buying it, you just pull out the will and say "look, it says here you HAVE to take me."

I don't see what stops God from giving this person's soul to Satan. You don't have to keep the things you get from someone's estate.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:25 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am curious if anyone is going to make an argument for necrophilia in this thread.

Are you looking for some kind of golden enlightenment if such an argument dawns?

Its not like you can harm the dead body - so in an Aleister Crowley kind of way:
An ye harm none, do what thou wilt, Love is the law, love under will.

Now if Necrophilia is wrong, how about lying in a coffin and talking about your sexual exploits? Should such a person be in charge and if so, what should they be in charge of?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:38 AM on January 24, 2012


The real question here is about extremely hotass Viking vampires - are they dead? Undead? Differently alive?
posted by elizardbits at 8:39 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "heinous" act isn't necessarily being committed against the recently deceased themselves, as it is physiologically a meat shell at that point, but rather the loved ones of the deceased.

What about a 'gateway' argument? Ed Gein went from going out and getting the dead to making the dead.

A prevention of murder argument can be made.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:43 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


So my point is - please clearly think about the logic behind your argument. Could it be used to support other viewpoints that you stand against? If so, then either you should not use that argument, or you should change your viewpoints. There are no other options

What? Of course there are other options, I'm perfectly free to be logically inconsistent on marginal topics; I'm guessing most people are. In fact, I think demanding a logical consistency that requires all supporters of gay rights to also accept necrophilia is bad for gay rights because many people are bothered enough by necrophilia that if forced to pick "necrophilia and gay rights" or neither, they'll pick neither.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think if you're equating fucking a corpse with gay rights, or really anything that isn't corpse fucking then you're already way out of logical bounds.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


In terms of how squicky the person's loved ones think it is? well, couldn't the same argument be made against gay or cross-racial marriages? "White people shouldn't be allowed to marry asian people because - Think of the poor grandmothers who will be SO upset about it!!!!" I think the only way this argument has any validity is if one believes that the corpse passes into legal possession of their relatives...

I don't think too many people are going to factor their consent for or against being had sex with after they die into any kind of will or postmortem "processing."

And I don't necessarily think it's "squicky" at all. It transcends squicky by about a thousand miles.

If I caught my dad having group sex with 20 asian dudes while dressed up like a Victorian Noblewoman, that's a little squicky. If I caught someone having sex with my mom 6 hours after she died, that person would be in a very violent altercation.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it's wrong, I don't want to be right
posted by Renoroc at 9:09 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re: children. That's actually a non-issue because a child can't give the required pre-death consent. Minors lack capacity to make a will, and a purported will made by a minor is void. Nor can the child's heirs (typically the parents) give the body up for such a purpose because heirs do not have a property right in a corpse*, and a corpse may only be disposed of in a limited number of ways, typically specified by law.

* Heirs have been said to have a "quasi-property" right in that they can take possession of the body, make funeral and burial arrangements, prohibit an autopsy unless necessary to investigate a possible crime, etc, but this quasi-property right is defined by the exceptions rather than the rule. See Newman v. Sathyavaglswaran, 287 F. 3d 786 (9th Cir. 2002) for a discussion of the history of property interests in dead bodies.
posted by jedicus at 9:12 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]



Le morte de bea arthur nailed it early on....

And... scene!


Hey-OOOOOOOO!!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:16 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


my dad having group sex with 20 asian dudes while dressed up like a Victorian Noblewoman, that's a little squicky

"a little"? I admire your open minded tolerance of your dad's proclivities.
posted by kingbenny at 9:16 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll raise a new issue: necrophilia could be wrong if it damaged the reputation of the deceased person, or his/her family/friends, or his/her ideals.

Local politician X dies, and someone gets hold of the corpse and does all sorts of things to it, and word gets out.

100,000 people who were either supporters of X's ideas or politically up for grabs hear about it.

50,000 of them, consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, lose some amount of respect for X.

5,000 of them change their vote from X's party to the opposition. X's political successor loses the race for X's open seat by 3,000 votes.

Harm.
posted by gurple at 9:21 AM on January 24, 2012


I'll raise a new issue: necrophilia could be wrong if it damaged the reputation of the deceased person, or his/her family/friends, or his/her ideals.

Local politician X dies, and someone gets hold of the corpse and does all sorts of things to it, and word gets out.

100,000 people who were either supporters of X's ideas or politically up for grabs hear about it.

50,000 of them, consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, lose some amount of respect for X.

5,000 of them change their vote from X's party to the opposition. X's political successor loses the race for X's open seat by 3,000 votes.

Harm.
posted by gurple


Are you trying to talk me into skullfucking Cheney's still-cooling corpse when the opportunity arises? Because it's working.

who am i kidding that shitmorsel will never completely die
posted by FatherDagon at 9:25 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, now from reading this thread, I guess the real harm is to all the people who would lose sleep worrying about whether their corpse would be violated after they died. Just because I feel like I've got more important things to worry about doesn't mean I should trivialize that even if I can't understand it.

I think consent is irrelevant to the discussion from a moral rather than legal perspective unless we're talking about some kind of assisted suicide-necrophilia thing (which would cross the line of acceptability to make legal as far as I'm concerned.

Also, I think bestiality is worse from a moral perspective than necrophilia. Animals can be harmed, and can't consent.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:27 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Skullfuck Zombie Cheney is my new favorite fake band name.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:28 AM on January 24, 2012


This is a dead issue.
posted by Chuffy at 9:32 AM on January 24, 2012


The fact (of course it's a fact) that it is totes disgusting doesn't make it wrong. Just don't tell the family, for god's sake. And if you go to work in a mortuary specifically to get access to dead bodies please try to not to act weird in front of the bereaved. Why am I phrasing this in the second-person? Somebody knows why.

SOMEbody.

Where is my blink tag.
posted by Adventurer at 9:36 AM on January 24, 2012


Animals can be harmed, and can't consent.

I don't care what the law says, that sheep was askin' for it!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:40 AM on January 24, 2012


"I think if you're equating fucking a corpse with gay rights, or really anything that isn't corpse fucking then you're already way out of logical bounds."

Ain't no fucking ballpark neither. Now, look, maybe your method of massage differs from mine, but you know touching his wife's feet and sticking your tongue in the holiest of holies ain't the same fucking ball park. It ain't the same league. It ain't even the same fucking sport. Look, foot massages don't mean shit.
posted by Chuffy at 9:43 AM on January 24, 2012


There is such a thing as lambskin condoms.

That's pretty much the full trifecta, innit?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


Witness the conundrum:

1. We (conciously or unconsciously) cherish certain parts of our inherited Abrahamic/Christian civil morality

2. Yet we have no secular basis to continue believing or enforcing much of that morality

3. OMG WTF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE FREAKOUT
posted by Avenger at 9:49 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. We (conciously or unconsciously) cherish certain parts of our inherited Abrahamic/Christian civil morality

Taboos about desecrating bodies aren't unique to the Abrahamic religions. The Egyptians and the Sumerians, to name two, thought it was a big no-no.
posted by gurple at 9:54 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have the horrible feeling that I'm thinking about this way too much.
posted by Solomon


IMHO, the most eponysterical comment evah.
posted by spitbull at 9:57 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Taboos about desecrating bodies aren't unique to the Abrahamic religions. The Egyptians and the Sumerians, to name two, thought it was a big no-no.
posted by gurple at 9:54 AM on January 24 [+] [!]


Right, but we didn't inherit our squeemishness about corpse desecration from our collective Sumerian religious tradition.

Look at all the people on this board who are struggling to rationally justify what is, esentially, an instinctual, traditional religious feeling. I find it fascinating.
posted by Avenger at 10:00 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh, no. It's putting your cock in a decomposing pile of protoplasm that has no capacity for response. What's fascinating is the equivocation of corpses with fleshlights or something. Religion really doesn't even factor into it.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:02 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I caught someone having sex with my mom 6 hours after she died, that person would be in a very violent altercation.

What if she left a note reading "it's okay, move along?"

[Lawyer] "To my dearest nephew Herbert, I hereby bequeath... let me get my other glasses, I can't be reading this right..."
posted by delfin at 10:03 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right, but we didn't inherit our squeemishness about corpse desecration from our collective Sumerian religious tradition.

My point is that I don't think we inherited it from a religious tradition, at all. Given the care with which really, really ancient people all over the place took care of their corpses, I think it's quite reasonable to think that it's fairly hard-wired and predates any kind of organized religion.

I don't think that invalidates your point; it's just that I think saying that the squeamishness comes from a religious tradition is putting the cart before the horse.
posted by gurple at 10:04 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Burhanistan, you basically just said "My feelings are the universal fact of being human. Because there is no room for differing opinions, I am at no responsibility to try to understand those who disagree with me"
posted by rebent at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kissed is a good example of how to approach a difficult topic so it isn't something like Nekromantic, which was basically a horror film.
I am positive Kissed was at least peripherally based on Karen Greenlee. I remember when the movie came out, and I'm sure that there was no mention anywhere I could find that referenced the interview with her I'd read in the anthology "Apocalypse Culture", and what do you know, it's online. A different take on the matter than the post's article uses, as it actually talks about the whole thing, rather than step back and lecture and not cite sources.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2012


> Burhanistan, you basically just said "My feelings are the universal fact of being human. Because there is no room for differing opinions, I am at no responsibility to try to understand those who disagree with me"

No, you're playing that lazy rhetorical game where one thing is substituted for the whole. But, in the case of necrophilia, if you want to justify that then you're already well inside a very small percentage.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:19 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course it's wrong. You shouldn't play with your food.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:20 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm offended. By the fact that someone in this thread said 'totes.' It's a stupid fucking word.
posted by jonmc at 10:23 AM on January 24, 2012


Well, what if I stop your heart so you are clinically dead. Then have sex with you. Then revive you. Is it rape?
posted by CrazyJoel at 10:42 AM on January 24, 2012


You fuck one corpse...
posted by CautionToTheWind at 10:44 AM on January 24, 2012


Well, what if I stop your heart so you are clinically dead

"Clinically dead" is not legally dead. Legal death typically requires that there be irreversible cessation of cardiovascular or brain function. If the person can be revived, then they aren't legally dead.
posted by jedicus at 11:05 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


<3 .
posted by hellbient at 11:05 AM on January 24, 2012


I find it kind of weird that so many people are characterizing the people who would have sex with corpses as monsters. When I think of who might actually have sex with my corpse I don't come up with much. Some folks with a really hard to indulge fetish. Probably a few curious thrill seekers. Potentially old lovers or people who would have liked to have boned me when I was alive. Or most likely someone who can't manage to hook up with the living. And I don't really have a problem with any of those people. So if doin' it to my corpse makes your day better, have at it. I'm not there anymore, and the idea of consent after death strikes me a little strange. When you're dead, you're dead. There is no point in trying to exert control anymore. My "wishes" for my funeral/disposal are whatever BestFriend wants, because BestFriend cares about things like that and at that point I won't. Might as well let the living be happy as they still have the capacity for it.

So, yeah. Folks of Metafilter, I give you permission to get sexy with my corpse if that's what floats your boat. Watch out though, I'm also an organ donor. Luckily my vision is pretty bad, so they'll probably leave the eyes. In case that would make it creepy for you.
posted by troublewithwolves at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


They don't have an inviolable right to avail themselves of the remains of the people that others have loved. Not because that corpse is ontologically sacred, but because sacredness is an emergent property that has grown out of a lifetime (however long or short) of a conscious being loving and being loved by other conscious beings.

By "default" we treat the bodies of lifelong companion animals with next to no respect, to the point where the local vet has to go out of her way to keep people from seeing their bodies get picked up by the cremation man like so many day-old newspapers.

These are conscious beings who loved and were loved -- or were treated so by their companions, at least -- yet their bodies are not sacred. Why? Because they're not human. And the idea that humans can be sacred whereas animals cannot is certainly an article of religious faith. It's not just something humans naturally believe, because many ancients believed that all things (living or otherwise) have a sacredness which can be violated, and you can still find this belief today in some cultures. Likewise, other ancients believed that the sacredness had fled from dead bodies, human or otherwise.

In short: if sacredness were an emergent property of loving and being loved, it would emerge in all things beloved. It doesn't, not outside individual hearts. On a social level it follows pre-existing cultural patterns, and claiming that specific cultural patterns are universal to human experience is not historically accurate. For example, some cultures deal with the remains of their loved ones through exposure, specifically because dead bodies are unclean rather than sacred; I very much doubt these people weren't loved in life.
posted by vorfeed at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Clinically dead" is not legally dead. Legal death typically requires that there be irreversible cessation of cardiovascular or brain function. If the person can be revived, then they aren't legally dead.

What about "merely dead" as opposed to "really quite sincerely dead?"
posted by Floydd at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


By "default" we treat the bodies of lifelong companion animals with next to no respect, to the point where the local vet has to go out of her way to keep people from seeing their bodies get picked up by the cremation man like so many day-old newspapers.

I can't say what's default or not, but plenty of people treat the bodies of their pets with a great deal of respect and have funerals and burials for them. People keep ashes of pets in their homes all the time.

To test this, imagine what you think someone would do if they found their pet dead at home instead of having them put to sleep. Admittedly my experience is only of myself, but we dug a hole and buried them, which treats the body with a lot more respect than we treat most other bits of organic garbage we find in our home.

I don't really disagree with your overall point, but I think the difference in treatment for people and animals really isn't what you're claiming it is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:33 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


And yeah: as a member of a society which won't allow me to dispose of my own body in the manner I'd prefer (most cemeteries don't offer natural burial, and it's illegal in many states to be buried on private land, especially without a casket), I don't buy the idea that our hang-ups about death are based on consent or respect.
posted by vorfeed at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm offended. By the fact that someone in this thread said 'totes.' It's a stupid fucking word.

I am offended that you did not realize that I might be using a stupid word on purpose in a thread about whether it is OK to fuck dead people. I would challenge you to a duel but then everybody would think I wanted to have sex with your corpse :(

Now I can never be responsible for the death of another human and show my face in public again :( :( :(
posted by Adventurer at 12:02 PM on January 24, 2012


I can't say what's default or not, but plenty of people treat the bodies of their pets with a great deal of respect and have funerals and burials for them. People keep ashes of pets in their homes all the time.

That's why I made a distinction between individual respect and social respect. Individuals may choose to treat the bodies of animals with tremendous respect, but our society does not. For example, think about what happens if your beloved cat dies in the street rather than at home, and is found by animal control or the department of transportation. Chances are it'll be taken and cremated along with every other dead animal found that day. Likewise, this services guide from the city of Fort Worth instructs people to bag their dead pets and put them out with the trash for "safety's" sake, and in my experience this is not atypical.

Humans simply are not treated this way, beloved or not.
posted by vorfeed at 12:05 PM on January 24, 2012


And yeah: as a member of a society which won't allow me to dispose of my own body in the manner I'd prefer (most cemeteries don't offer natural burial, and it's illegal in many states to be buried on private land, especially without a casket), I don't buy the idea that our hang-ups about death are based on consent or respect.

Nonesense, our hangups about death are based on consent, respect, and public health policy. I see no problem with prohibiting thing like sky burials on suburban lawns, requiring corpses to be entombed in caskets in areas with critters who dig, or requiring that human remains be buried in places that won't be almost certain to be lost track of in a few years to a few decades. I'm not saying that all mortuary law is perfect, or even appropriate, but there is and should be more being kept in mind in State law than just the consent of, and respect for, the diseased.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:08 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


(and I don't even know the word for this because the thought is so foreign to me) "inter-race relations"

FYI: miscagenation.
posted by localroger at 12:13 PM on January 24, 2012


Falanu Hlaalu: By the way... Do you happen to know what the fine is here in Cyrodiil for necrophilia? Just asking.
Hero of Kvatch: Is it a first offense?
Falanu Hlaalu: Let's assume... no.
Hero of Kvatch: Then its at least 500 gold.
Falanu Hlaalu: Oooh, that's much better than in Morrowind, thanks!
posted by radwolf76 at 12:27 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nonesense, our hangups about death are based on consent, respect, and public health policy.

"Public health policy" is partially determined by cultural norms about what's "healthy". For instance, why does it matter that bodies might be "lost track of in a few years to a few decades", especially if they're buried naturally? They'll most likely be gone within that time. Likewise caskets -- it's quite possible, if not legal, to use a biodegradable casket which will protect the remains for six months or a year, long enough to prevent animal predation.

There is no reason why natural burial is inherently unsafe or unhealthy. For proof, see Islamic countries, where natural burial has been the dominant mode of body disposal for centuries.
posted by vorfeed at 12:39 PM on January 24, 2012


> "Public health policy" is partially determined by cultural norms about what's "healthy".

I thought a fair amount was also dictated by mortuary lobbies influencing legislation?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2012


People use their wills to dictate what's done with their bodies*, seems easy enough to put "no open casket funerals/wakes" in your will. I'm guessing most open casket funerals and wakes are without the express consent of the deceased, but I've never been to one where the deceased had asked not to be displayed.

There's very little in a will that MUST be obeyed. My grandmother very specifically asked in her will that there be no viewing of her body. But because her body after death now belonged to her family who (mostly) wanted a viewing, they simply had one.

It was repulsive.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:51 PM on January 24, 2012


There's very little in a will that MUST be obeyed. My grandmother very specifically asked in her will that there be no viewing of her body. But because her body after death now belonged to her family who (mostly) wanted a viewing, they simply had one.

It was repulsive.


This almost certainly varies by state, but my guess is that in most states a clause forbidding a public viewing would be enforceable. Heirs' rights over a body are extremely limited. I do remember that when Ted Williams died there was a suit because his will said he was to be cremated, but some heirs produced a document indicating he wanted to be frozen. I think they settled and he was frozen, but either way it suggests that the cremation clause would be enforceable, absent some other indication of his desire.

It's also important to remember that it's entirely possible that legally what your grandmother indicated did have to be obeyed, but I doubt anyone sued to make sure her wishes were obeyed.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:22 PM on January 24, 2012


Thank you, tumid dahlia. I've been saying for a while now that the height of selfishness is to declare that once you are DEAD your organs cannot be used to save living people. "But I need my whole body to get into heaven". So if you get decapitated by a helicopter blade God's gonna be all "tough shit, Amigo"? What the hell kind of religion would encourage wasting precious organs? And why would people want to follow it?

Once you're dead, you're DEAD. Literally, end of story.
posted by MattMangels at 1:32 PM on January 24, 2012


Skullfuck Zombie Cheney is my new favorite fake band name.

I anxiously await your debut album, Shitmorsel
posted by chavenet at 2:01 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Organ donation should really be opt-out instead of opt-in.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2012


And the idea that humans can be sacred whereas animals cannot is certainly an article of religious faith.

A thousand times this.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2012


I read this article and was truly shocked.

By the fact that it wasn't in Slate.
posted by No-sword at 2:34 PM on January 24, 2012


Wondering why this is coming under discussion now.

Is it to point out that there are worse things than pissing on an enemy's body?
posted by fredludd at 2:35 PM on January 24, 2012


Here we are again with visceral reactions of disgust being equated with morality.

Subjective visceral reactions should be examined closely, but they're there for a very good reason and shouldn't be dismissed. I see absolutely no problem in letting them be equated with morality. That doesn't necessarily mean that they carry over to being allowed to dictate the behaviors of others or a monolithic absolutist all encompassing morality.
posted by Skygazer at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


that shitmorsel will never completely die

He is already dead.

clinical death the absence of heart beat (no pulse can be felt). Mr. Cheney's blood pump creates flow with no pressure changes - no pressure change, no pulse.

So what kind of undead is he? Vampire? Lo grade lich?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2012


the height of selfishness is to declare that once you are DEAD your organs cannot be used to save living people

And yet, the tissue is "given" for "free" as a gift, everyone who touches the body gets a cut of the for-pay use of the material.

Why can't the heirs get paid? If the "saving" of human life is such a societal good is a for-pay use?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:39 PM on January 24, 2012


So what kind of undead is he? Vampire? Lo grade lich?

Toht. (cf. Toht.)
posted by chavenet at 2:49 PM on January 24, 2012


Why can't the heirs get paid? If the "saving" of human life is such a societal good is a for-pay use?

Paying the heirs for the corpse creates (sorry, I can't resist) perverse incentives.
posted by Pyry at 2:50 PM on January 24, 2012


Paying the heirs for the corpse creates (sorry, I can't resist) perverse incentives.

In a society which allows life insurance policies to run well into the millions, I think that's a pretty ridiculous suggestion. The only "perverse incentive" that's likely to follow from paying the family the actual worth of the deceased's organs is a significant increase in organ donation.
posted by vorfeed at 3:00 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, if there are families which are so callous they're actually willing to slaughter family members for their organs, then surely they've also heard of slavery and prostitution, both of which would seem to involve a significantly greater rate of return...
posted by vorfeed at 3:04 PM on January 24, 2012


People killing their family members for their organs is unlikely, but people killing themselves is less so. I mean, we don't let people sell their organs now either.
posted by Pyry at 3:16 PM on January 24, 2012


"Public health policy" is partially determined by cultural norms about what's "healthy". For instance, why does it matter that bodies might be "lost track of in a few years to a few decades", especially if they're buried naturally? They'll most likely be gone within that time.

Bones will last for decades in a lot of locations which if nothing else would create a lot of work for police verifying that the bones dug up when I'm digging a root cellar in my new back yard belong to the naturally deceased first wife of the former owner and not the missing second wife of the former owner.

Besides imagine the impact on resale value.
posted by Mitheral at 3:31 PM on January 24, 2012


I mean, we don't let people sell their organs now either.

Must be why I'm having such a hard time finding a decent Farfisa for sale.

/rim shot
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:31 PM on January 24, 2012


People killing their family members for their organs is unlikely, but people killing themselves is less so. I mean, we don't let people sell their organs now either.

Life insurance doesn't pay out if you kill yourself, and it'd be equally easy to do the same with organ money.

Besides, if someone truly wants to die so their family can have $1000 worth of organ money, good on 'em -- they can already make the exact same choice with regards to their time and even their health, after all. Again, this is all based on cultural notions about the relative value of suicide and the "sanctity" of life... notions which are not universal.
posted by vorfeed at 3:38 PM on January 24, 2012


The shrill insistence by some that a corpse is still 'a person' is utterly baffling. If consciousness has gone, if the brain has died, it's just meat. If it doesn't belong to anyone, do what you want; hump it, eat it, throw it over a bridge.

If it belongs to someone else, let them do what they want with it, even if it involves dressing the body up like a person and playing Anita Baker music.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 3:41 PM on January 24, 2012


Bones will last for decades in a lot of locations which if nothing else would create a lot of work for police verifying that the bones dug up when I'm digging a root cellar in my new back yard belong to the naturally deceased first wife of the former owner and not the missing second wife of the former owner.

States which allow private burial often require homeowners to register the location and identity of the burial, which IMHO is perfectly reasonable. Banning private burial entirely is not.

Besides imagine the impact on resale value.

Many choices I can make on my property have such an impact, but they are my choices to make as long as I own the land. If we're going to start with this then the first thing we should ban is mobile and pre-manufactured homes, since putting one of those on your land devalues it far more than burying Grandma in the far corner ever will.
posted by vorfeed at 3:45 PM on January 24, 2012


1. We (conciously or unconsciously) cherish certain parts of our inherited Abrahamic/Christian civil morality

Taboos about desecrating bodies aren't unique to the Abrahamic religions. The Egyptians and the Sumerians, to name two, thought it was a big no-no.


yeah..isn't respect for the dead, according to anthropologists, one of the central features that distinguishes human communities from those of animals? I don't think it's more of a primal, visceral repugnance than a moral one; the source of which is probably the same as that which makes us take care of our dead.....something along the lines of being biologically programmed to fear death...or something like that.
posted by costanza at 3:53 PM on January 24, 2012


*I don't think it's more of a primal, visceral repugnance ....
posted by costanza at 3:57 PM on January 24, 2012


Necro-pedo-bestiality, or, who says dead puppies aren't much fun?
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:06 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah..isn't respect for the dead, according to anthropologists, one of the central features that distinguishes human communities from those of animals? I don't think it's more of a primal, visceral repugnance than a moral one; the source of which is probably the same as that which makes us take care of our dead.....something along the lines of being biologically programmed to fear death...or something like that.

Some animals do seem to display special consideration for the dead, though.

Also, what constitutes "respect" and "desecration" is by no means universal. Mainstream funeral practices in one area are often considered desecration in another. If entire cultures were once convinced that ritual human sacrifice was not just respectful, but 100% necessary to the survival of the species, then necrophilia would not seem to be outside the bounds of human behavior, as much as the idea bothers us.
posted by vorfeed at 4:20 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those Ragyapa's know how to have a good time.
posted by unliteral at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2012


I probably should have elaborated on this earlier. There are deep principles connecting all forms of mystical thought in human history. It's not just religion -- it's deep pre-religion, and possibly even instinctive or just buggy erroneous overlearning.

Every system of sympathetic magic has practices devolving from two common "observations." The Law of Similarity suggests that like-looking things are connected; this is why in some systems green minerals draw money and red herbs cure female health issues. The Law of Contagion suggests that objects once connected continue to influence one another when they are separated. Want to put this to practical application? Think Voodoo dolls. But it's actually much more complex.

There are good reasons to think we instinctively draw these overlearned conclusions. Every system of practical mysticism incorporates them. The only reason they aren't more noticeable in modern Christianity is that it has been stripped of its Kabbalistic influences (at least for protestants and Catholic proles).

The revulsion at necrophilia is an expression of both of these laws, of Similarity in that many people think of themselves as their body and do not draw a distinction between the meat and mind, and of Contagion in that the soul and legacy remain connected to the body which expressed them IRL for so long. Common sensical as it might be to be blase about the fate of one's own post-death meat puppet, those are deeply entrenched reactions often expressed by people who haven't even fully thought out why they are reacting. It is that, and not theoretical morality, which is going to influence the course of legislation and enforcement.
posted by localroger at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


    "Public health policy" is partially determined by cultural norms about what's "healthy". For instance, why does it matter that bodies might be "lost track of in a few years to a few decades", especially if they're buried naturally? They'll most likely be gone within that time. Likewise caskets -- it's quite possible, if not legal, to use a biodegradable casket which will protect the remains for six months or a year, long enough to prevent animal predation. There is no reason why natural burial is inherently unsafe or unhealthy. For proof, see Islamic countries, where natural burial has been the dominant mode of body disposal for centuries."
Knowing that bodies should only be in concentrated and recognizable areas means that police don't need to go nuts every time a dog digs up a hip bone from the back yard of a house, and can instead go really nuts every time that does happen. This is also more common than you might think. Additionally, here is a lot more that can go wrong on your own property, especially ones with wells, or near ones with wells, or ones that might have new wells some time in the future.

Some Islamic countries have climates and geographies where this causes relatively few issues, others do not. I'm sure Cold Chef could enlighten us on the different needs of states like Louisiana or Florida with considerable water table, population density, humidity, and soil instability problems as opposed to states like Montana with hard soil, low water tables, and low population densities.

All of the solutions to these kinds of problems are bureaucratic nightmares and incomplete anyway, I'm kind of shocked that you can't see why a state might not want to deal with it.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Thank you, tumid dahlia. I've been saying for a while now that the height of selfishness is to declare that once you are DEAD your organs cannot be used to save living people. "But I need my whole body to get into heaven". So if you get decapitated by a helicopter blade God's gonna be all "tough shit, Amigo"? What the hell kind of religion would encourage wasting precious organs? And why would people want to follow it?"

There are good, non-religious, reasons not to make organ donation compulsary. I'm a lot more comfortable with the heart on my drivers license knowing that our live organ related medical establishment lives in abject fear of scandal; knowing that bullshit like harvesting potentially viable patients or selling donations would impact the number of hearts on drivers licenses.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:43 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb has a point; in New Orleans even casket burial is a relatively new thing, like slab-on-grade housing and probably a similarly bad idea, and similarly limited to the suburbs. For centuries the standard was above-ground burial because of the water table, flooding, and easy spread of disease.
posted by localroger at 4:46 PM on January 24, 2012


All of the solutions to these kinds of problems are bureaucratic nightmares and incomplete anyway, I'm kind of shocked that you can't see why a state might not want to deal with it.

I understand exactly why a state might not want to deal with it. That's why I said that public health standards are partially determined by cultural norms about what's "healthy".

That said, if we valued natural burial we'd probably be doing it even if it wasn't the wisest course in terms of local geography, just as with localroger's example of casket burials in New Orleans. Only real and serious consequences (i.e. widespread disease) tend to change the way people bury the dead, and "bureaucratic nightmares" do not count as a real and serious consequence.

Cemetery burials already are a bureaucratic nightmare -- they're just the one we're already used to.
posted by vorfeed at 5:20 PM on January 24, 2012


You people are not taking this seriously. What, corpses can't have community standards?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:49 PM on January 24, 2012


You mean like, in general or with someone else's dug up grandmother?

The reasons not to do it are observances for the public health and because the family of the deceased are less than happy to find out you posthumously molested their loved one. In the latter case you'd be just as much in the wrong if you broke into someone's house and made passionate love to a dead person's old belongings. Cum stains on your dead wife's dress from a stranger are awful, masturbating onto her property makes you a poor widower (there, there, there) similarly the cultural history of fondling and kissing the dead as part of grieving is an accepted thing, even if it's kinda icky to some people.

Public health aside, finding it obscene is purely cultural- we plasticize, dissect, carbonize, compress into diamonds, freeze dry, freeze solid, ritually pretend to eat, dress up as and fetishize the ambulatory dead. There are air burial, burials at sea, drunken wakes, solemn ceremonies... Literal ritual eating of the dead seems to cause problems, at least if you eat the brain, but a corpse is beyond consent other than particulars of how they willed, so if it's your corpse, the functional difference between making out with a plastic skeleton and making out with a real one is the gritty texture.
posted by Phalene at 6:59 PM on January 24, 2012


i am morally opposed to death
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:34 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am deathy opposed to morals.
posted by unSane at 9:01 PM on January 24, 2012


we should get team up
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:46 AM on January 25, 2012


Thread: tl;dr

I generally draw the line at consent. Accidental necrophilia in the case of thinking your partner is sleeping is sure to give one nightmares but, if partner had consented to that type of activity, then mostly I just pity the poor surprised person. However, mortuary worker deciding to play with his work - not so cool. That person did not consent in life, certainly didn't in death.
posted by _paegan_ at 3:21 AM on January 25, 2012


the functional difference between making out with a plastic skeleton and making out with a real one is the gritty texture.

Mmmm, gritty...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:28 AM on January 25, 2012


I just want to know who all these coffin-rockers think they are?
I am an organ donor, just not Those Organs!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:43 AM on January 25, 2012


I would just qualify my earlier comments by saying although I think necrophilia, either as a participant or observer, is to be generally avoided in real life; music, dance, theater, visual arts and especially literature and cinema should make a much greater effort to employ necrophilia, more often. It's a device of metaphysical and moral inquiry that is woefully underused.

In the famous words found somewhere within Andy Warhol's Frankenstein. Which I've never forgotten:
Life, is fucking death, in the liver!
posted by Skygazer at 10:51 PM on January 25, 2012


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