A dispassionate look at necrophilia

Under the innocent-looking heading “Sunday wrap-up”, countenance wrote:

Aw, hell no.  What next?  Are they going to say that dead people won’t be allowed to vote?

How many unsuspecting people innocently clicked on that link?  I clicked on it and now I’m psychologically scarred forever… oh wait, I was rather “eccentric” even before that; never mind.  Anyway, here’s an excerpt:

Prohibiting sex with a dead body corrects an obvious omission in the law, Beiser said.

If the measure passes, sex with a corpse would be a Class 2 felony, with punishment ranging from probation to seven years in prison. Unauthorized removal of a corpse would be a Class 4 felony, with a penalty ranging from probation to three years.

As a libertarian, I must ask myself, “Where is the victim when it comes to necrophilia?”  By and large, the comments contain some good points.  For example:

captain hero  said: Will this outlaw sex with dead animals? Phone/Web Cam sex with the dead? What if a person has a signed, notarized consent form permitting their partner to have sex with them post-mortem?

jimharris said: Spending time on legislation to stop sex with the dead…(and you wonder why the state is going bankrupt..).

Dick-Butcher said: They didn’t take this far enough because they made one-felony-fit-all for the offense. They should divide this into more categories such as hate-necrophila where the prosecutor alleges the sex is a hate crime because the corpse was of a different race or religion than the accused, or child-necrophilia if the corpse is under age 18, or patriot act-necrophilia where the accused is Muslim or cyberstalking-necrophiia if the act is recorded and placed on the internet. After all, you can never have too many laws on the books.

All good points.  The ancient Jewish sages once said “A person’s will is his honor”.  In other words, what is considered dishonorable for you may be perfectly honorable for somebody else; it depends on the opinion of the person in question.  As for me, if somebody decides to have sex with my body after I’m dead, I really don’t care.  As a matter of fact, I might consent when I’m still alive.  Consider what happens to your body after death: It rots in the ground, maggots and worms eat away at it, the skin peals away, the organs shrivel… well, you get the idea – and you’re going to worry about somebody messing around with it for a few minutes?  What about the embalming process?  Most Orthodox Jews do not have their loved ones embalmed; they consider it dishonorable.  I’m pretty sure some Muslims feel the same way.  It all depends on your priorities and sensitivities.  There is no “one size fits all” and if I am able to posthumously donate my organs, then I certainly have the right to grant legal immunity to anybody who has sex with my corpse.  If the State prosecutes anyway, then it is dishonoring me.

What if somebody used the body of one of my loved ones after her death?  Honestly, I would not want to know about it.  As long as I don’t know, no harm has been done.  As far as I’m concerned, the idiot who walks up to me and tells me is the real criminal.  This would be one of the rare cases where it really might be justified to “kill the messenger”.  Some things are best left unknown.

Does “society” as a whole suffer as a result of lewd acts upon the dead?  This might be the case where such acts are common and known.  But if only the perpetrator knows about it, then it is difficult to see what harm has been done.  If I were to stumble upon somebody engaging in such an act, then I would ask myself which course of action would be best for the family.  Typically, the answer would be: Don’t say a word about it.  If the survivors found out, it would only cause them untold, and needless, anguish.  Aren’t they suffering enough already?  I would also consider how much money would be wasted, by the government, in prosecuting the perpetrator.  Many thousands of dollars of tax-payer money would go down the drain.  I might consider hitting him over the head with his own shovel, but his embarrassment at having been caught might be punishment enough.

What about diseases?  I might be wrong, but it seems to me there would be health-risks involved with necrophilia.  Bizarre diseases, and bugs, might be passed on to the perpetrator’s living sex partners.  This is true – but it is also true that other sexual practices, and extramarital affairs, put spouses and girlfriends at risk.  Should they all be made felonies?  We need only look at certain Islamic nations to get an idea of what sort of society we would live in if such a mentality were taken to its logical conclusion.  I, for one, would not want to live in such a society; I’d rather endure the occasional perverted oddball than give the government those extra powers.  This is one of the prices we pay for freedom.  Some people will take their freedom and do strange, even disgusting, things.

About jewamongyou

I am a paleolibertarian Jew who is also a race-realist. My opinions are often out of the mainstream and often considered "odd" but are they incorrect? Feel free to set me right if you believe so!
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10 Responses to A dispassionate look at necrophilia

  1. destructure says:

    I’m no hater. I’ve always supported legalizing corpse marriage. I just don’t think it’s anyone’s business what two corpses do in the privacy of their own crypt. But it does raise some worrisome questions concerning gender rights. I mean, how are women supposed to have sex with the deceased?

    I make joke. ha ha

    • jewamongyou says:

      It would require an entire body of law, and stiff penalties, to rectify this situation.

      But seriously, I’ve heard that there are just as many female necrophiliacs as male ones. So I’m sure they have it all figured out, not that I’d want to know…

  2. latte island says:

    I agree in principle, but necrophilia is probably a marker for people who will do bad things to living people without their consent. So, if I knew of someone who is into it, I’d probably report them, because I’d want them to be in the database, for when they start doing worse things.

  3. I have no problem with banning necrophilia. If, as you suggest, necrophilia is indeed rare, then this should really be a non-issue from a practical libertarian perspective, as a paucity of violations will result in very little enforcement of the law as enforcement will only come when someone is caught having sex with a corpse.

    Next, necrophilia is not a sanitary practice and I have no qualms about laws that protect public health. Much as there is a social cost when enough parents are scared off of vaccinating their children that measles makes a comeback, there is a social cost when

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the type of behavior involved in necrophilia–intercourse with a limp body, is one that I would want to strongly discourage in my society as similar behaviors, such as intercourse with an unconscious (living) individual are clearly pernicious. It would not surprise me if those who found necrophilia to be particularly pleasurable also found raping people drugged into unconsciousness.

    Obviously the main motivation for the necrophilia law is the ick factor, but in this case, I think the reflex points in the right direction.

    • Paul Frumkin says:

      both rape and necrophilia are about control. if the person has an outlet like necrophilia they’d be less likely to do it with living people. also, there is substantially more control in having sex with a dead body than with a living body. way i see it, there’s no harm done.

  4. ed says:

    Jew Among You: “What if somebody used the body of one of my loved ones after her death? Honestly, I would not want to know about it. ***As long as I don’t know, no harm has been done.*** As far as I’m concerned, the idiot who walks up to me and tells me is the real criminal. This would be one of the rare cases where it really might be justified to “kill the messenger”. Some things are best left unknown.”


    I think you are being unnecessarily clever here. Some guy having sex with your dead daughter’s body is wrong, regardless of if you know about it or not.

    I get what you are saying, about how it is better not to know…but you still want the guilty punished.

    Let’s say your daughter died after a brief illness. She is at the funeral home. At two am, the funeral director comes back to take care of some paperwork he forgot. At that point he discovers that somebody has broken in and is in the process of defiling your daughters remains. Being a hard man, the funeral director breaks the guys skull with a baseball bat and throws his body into the incinerator. No muss, no fuss. Doesn’t call the cops, doesn’t tell you. You never hear one word about this, and no one else does either.

    Would you feel justice had been done? Or would you rather the funeral director just scared the guy off?

    I think I prefer the first method.

    • jewamongyou says:

      I don’t think the crime of necrophilia is worthy of a death sentence. On the other hand, neither is breaking into somebody’s property – but I don’t blame a home-owner, or business-owner, for dispatching an intruder. The intruder posed a danger to the home-owner and will suffer whatever consequences his crime brings upon himself. In short, the correct course of action, if possible, would be to scare off the intruder in such a case. I’m not sure what charges, if any, should be brought against the director.

  5. ed says:

    Jew Among You: “This is one of the prices we pay for freedom. Some people will take their freedom and do strange, even disgusting, things.”


    With all due respect, I can’t agree with this. You have taken a libertarian principle, and quite logically taken it *way* past what I could support.

    Libertarian logic leading to drug legalization?…..OK, I can follow that.

    Libertarian logic leading to necrophilia legalization? …..Nope, no way, full stop, I’m getting off this train, and tearing up the rail road tracks.

    • jewamongyou says:

      I didn’t call for the legalization of necrophilia; it’s one of those behaviors that government should only get involved in when it is necessary. In essence, it’s a property crime and it should be dealt with as such – as a misdemeanor at most. The original article talks of making it into a felony, and spending scarce law-enforcement resources to draft the new law. When a person dies, his body can no longer become a victim; only his survivors can. So let enforcement depend upon the circumstances.

      I call for sensitivity, and discretion, toward survivors in such circumstances. I realize there are some other disturbing implications that can come out of my suggestions – but so far, nobody has brought them up. I might bring them up later in a separate post.

  6. LBD says:

    There is such a thing as being TOO detached and dispassionate, Jay. It is possible to use logic to reason yourself into a really bad corner. I’m with ed.

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