Eaten to death: A beginner’s guide to vorarephilia

Vorarephilia – usually shortened to vore – is a sexual paraphilia in which people are sexually aroused by the idea of being eaten, eating another person, or observing this process for sexual gratification. Since the behaviour is unlikely to actually be carried out by the vorarephiliac, the behaviour is more likely to be fantasy-based via different media (e.g., fictional stories, fantasy art, fantasy videos, and bespoke video games). The behaviour doesn’t necessarily involve digestion and/or pain. Probably because it is both rare and fantasy-based, it doesn’t appear in any psychiatric manuals such as the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Vorarephilia can sometimes co-exist with other fetishistic behaviour such as masochism (sexual arousal from receiving pain), hypoxyphilia (sexual arousal from suffocation and oxygen restriction), and ‘snuff’ fetishes (sexual arousal from seeing someone die). In some cases vorarephilia has been argued to be a variant of macrophilia (i.e., sexual fascination and/or fantasy relating to giants). Most of the fantasies of vorarephiliacs involve the person being the ones being eaten (i.e., the ‘prey’, although a few like to be the ‘pred’ taken from the word ‘predator’). Some vorarephiliacs are known to derive pleasure – sometimes sexual – from watching some animals (e.g., snakes) eating other animals whole.

There have been many different types of vorarephilia documented including ‘hard vore’ and ‘soft vore’. Being primarily fantasy-based, almost any orifice or body part can be capable of vore (e.g., ‘vaginal vore’, ‘anal vore’ and ‘cock vore’). Very briefly:

  • Hard vore (sometimes simply called ‘gore’) is where the person is often subjected to horrific injuries and involves lots of blood because of the ripping, cutting, biting, tearing and/or chewing of flesh. It is not typically thought of as either sensually or sexually motivated.
  • Soft vore is where the person (that may not necessarily be a willing victim) is consumed alive and whole and is typically unharmed before reaching the stomach but then may be asphyxiated and/or digested. Compared to ‘hard vore’, soft vore is usually seen as more sensual and sexually oriented because of its relatively non-violent nature.
  • Female genital vore (vaginal vore) is where the person is consumed by the vagina and taken into the womb (and often referred to as ‘unbirthing’ or a ‘reverse birth’).
  • Male genital vore (cock vore) is where the person is consumed by the urethral opening of the penis and taken into the scrotum, prostate, or bladder.
  • Anal vore is where the person is consumed by the anus and taken into the rectum, colon, or stomach.
  • Breast vore is where the person is consumed by the nipples and taken into the breast.

Here’s a confessional piece I found on a psychology forum discussion group:

“I’m almost 17 now. But since I was really young, I’ve been a phagophile (with a specific interest in being swallowed whole). I’ve had a few girlfriends now, but my present one is by far the most engaging and interesting person I have ever met. She’s the only one I’ve engaged in any real sexual contact with. After meeting her, my interests expanded somewhat; she’s the only person I’ve ever been interested in eating. Fortunately this was impossible, for obvious reasons: I was still thinking in terms of “soft vore”, in which no damage is done to either party. This is where things get difficult. We’ve been together a while now and within the past few weeks, I’ve begun to shift towards “hard vore”. This includes cannibalism: I’ve been attracted especially to biting at her neck, hands, and nose. I feel that I’ve done a good job at communicating this to her, so I haven’t crossed any lines because I’ve controlled myself.”

The motivational driving force underlying vorarephilia is some ways appears to resemble that of sadomasochism from a dominance and submission perspective. Devouring someone could be viewed as the ultimate act of dominance by a predator, and the ultimate act of submission by the prey. Paradoxically, most vorarephiliacs have no real interest in cannibalism, although a few do. Possible vorarephiliacs include the Japanese man (Issei Sagawa) who in 1981 killed and then ate a Dutch woman (Renée Hartevelt), and the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer who killed 17 men and boys and engaged in both cannibalistic and necrophilic acts with his many victims between 1978 and 1991.

However, the most infamous vorarephiliac is arguably the German Armin Meiwes. His case was referred to at length in a 2008 essay in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, by Dr Friedemann Pfafflin (a forensic psychotherapist at Ulm University, Germany). Meiwes, a computer technician, gained worldwide media attention as the ‘Rotenburg Cannibal’ for killing and eating a fellow German male victim (also a computer technician). Meiwes had allegedly been fantasizing about cannibalism since his childhood and frequented cannibal fetish websites and posted around 60 advertisements asking if anyone would like to be eaten by him. Meiwes claimed around 200 men responded to his request but only one finally met face-to-face.

In March 2002, Bernd Jürgen Brandes responded to Meiwes’ advertisement on the Internet. At their one and only meeting at Meiwes’ house, their first cannabilistic act was for Meiwes to bite off Brandes’ penis and then jointly cook and eat it. Brandes then drank lots of alcohol, cough syrup, and took sleeping pills, and was stabbed to death by Meiwes in his bath (and videotaped). The body was then stored and over time, Meiwes ate large amounts of it (about 20 kg). The one aspect that shocked most people was not the fact that Meiwes ate a lot of Brande’s body but that Brandes appeared to consent to being eaten. Email exchanges between Meiwes and Brandes were later shared in the court case:

Brandes: “Thanks for your mail. You really turn me on…Winter with the temperature at around 5 to 15 degrees below freezing is good weather for slaughter. Great to be naked and tied in weather like that and to be driven to the slaughter. Where you then stun me and I collapse. You then hang me up, jerking, and cut my carotid artery. Warm blood flows. Everything goes routinely. I don’t have any chance to escape my slaughter at the last moment. It’s a real turn-on, the feeling of being at your mercy being in your possession. Having to give up my flesh”

Meiwes: “It’ll be awesome, anyway. Your tasty body on show like that. Spicing it…Tying you up will be no problem, I’ve got rope and some cuffs for your hands and feet. I’ll really enjoy the bit with the needles. I’ll see if I can get hold of some really long ones. I can’t wait for you to be here”

It wasn’t until about 18 months after Brande had been killed that the German police started to investigate Meiwes. An Austrian student had seen Meiwes boasting that he had successfully killed and eaten another man. The police then arrested Meiwes and found human body parts in the freezer and the videotape of the killing. In court, Brandes’ consent to being killed was accepted by the jury and Meiwes was given an eight and a half year prison sentence for manslaughter. Neither Meiwes or Brandes were deemed mentally ill by the court appointed psychiatrists. Dr Klaus Beier (Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Free and Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany) was the expert witness who twice provided forensic expertise on Miewes. He said that:

“Armin suffered neither from a psychosis nor any other mental illness or any personality disorder. Quite the contrary, he had a normal IQ and his social competence was high. To everybody who had private or professional contact with him, Armin seemed to be an open-minded and friendly contemporary man who, in the forming of contacts, appeared pleasant-natured, flexible, and socially competent, even agile. Even extremely experienced police officers, who could not believe what he had done, had to put on record that, if they had not known about the offence, Armin M. never offered anything conspicuous during the entire period of investigation.”

A later paper by Dr Beier in response to Dr Pfafflin noted that:

“Before the age of 11 years [Armin] was preoccupied by the idea of incorporating another male by eating his flesh. This paraphilia caused him to seek unsolicited partners who pretended to mirror his desire insofar that they should have the wish of being incorporated. It took him years to find such a counterpart using the frighteningly developed subculture on the internet for that purpose, where people with this special inclination can encourage each other.”

Dr Pfafflin outlined some other cases of German cannibalism including cases he was personally involved in. he said that:

From my intensive knowledge of both these case histories just referred to, I have no doubt that every form of cannibalism, excepting at most those which happen in times of extreme hunger and whose only purpose is to secure survival, has a pathological, perverse background.”

Little is known about how prevalent this type of behaviour is although Meiwes claimed that based on his internet activity on cannibal fetish websites that there were at least 800 Germans that shared his passion for wanting to eat another person. The number of people that have a desire to be eaten and actually go through with it is likely to be incredibly small – but the internet helped Meiwes locate a willing victim.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Adams, C. (2004). Eat or be eaten: Is cannibalism a pathology as listed in the DSM-IV? The Straight Dope, July 2. Located at: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2515/eat-or-be-eaten

Beier, K. (2008). Comment on Pfafflin’s (2008) “Good enough to eat”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 164-165

Brundage, S. (2002).  Fetish confessions. The Wave Magazine 2(15). Located at: http://web.archive.org/web/20070927061721/http://www.thewavemag.com/pagegen.php?articleid=22026&pagename=article

Pfafflin, F. (2008). Good enough to eat. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 286-293.

Pfafflin, F. (2009). Reply to Beier (2009). Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 166-167.

About drmarkgriffiths

Professor MARK GRIFFITHS, BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGDipHE, FBPsS, FRSA, AcSS. Dr. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Professor of Gambling Studies at the Nottingham Trent University, and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He is internationally known for his work into gambling and gaming addictions and has won many awards including the American 1994 John Rosecrance Research Prize for “outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of gambling research”, the 1998 European CELEJ Prize for best paper on gambling, the 2003 Canadian International Excellence Award for “outstanding contributions to the prevention of problem gambling and the practice of responsible gambling” and a North American 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award For Contributions To The Field Of Youth Gambling “in recognition of his dedication, leadership, and pioneering contributions to the field of youth gambling”. His most recent award is the 2013 Lifetime Research Award from the US National Council on Problem Gambling. He has published over 500 research papers, four books, over 120 book chapters, and over 1000 other articles. He has served on numerous national and international committees (e.g. BPS Council, BPS Social Psychology Section, Society for the Study of Gambling, Gamblers Anonymous General Services Board, National Council on Gambling etc.) and is a former National Chair of Gamcare. He also does a lot of freelance journalism and has appeared on over 2000 radio and television programmes since 1988. In 2004 he was awarded the Joseph Lister Prize for Social Sciences by the British Association for the Advancement of Science for being one of the UK’s “outstanding scientific communicators”. His awards also include the 2006 Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology Award by the British Psychological Society and the British Psychological Society Fellowship Award for “exceptional contributions to psychology”.

Posted on March 8, 2012, in Compulsion, Obsession, Paraphilia, Psychiatry, Psychology, Sex, Sex addiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Wendie Mathews

    I am an American, but I love the British television show ‘The IT Crowd’. This case is obviously the inspiration for the episode “Moss and the German”. Very interesting research.

  2. Didn’t read the whole thing, but: why do you say “vorarephilia has been argued to be a variant of macrophilia” when that’s easily disproven by a single portrayal of same-size vore?

    More pressingly: Do you have any idea where the “re” in the middle comes from? Years ago I visited a particular vore site and found that the owner seemed to have run a search-and-replace replacing “voraphile/philia” with “vorarephile/philia”, words I’d never previously seen. After that, the “re” seemed to be everywhere.

  3. I would love to be engulfed inside a pink female blob, have her make love to me, and then digest, and absorb me, making me hers forever!

  4. As a vorarephile myself, I’d like to also mention that macrophilia is simply a subcategory of vore. And even so, it can take up various forms. Microphilia, by extent, is also a subcategory of vore.
    One thing that you didn’t seem to point out but that is very important to most vorarephiles is that it does not involve a human predator. You heard me. People who like being micro with a giantess woman are a different story, but in general, vore involves either a human, animal, or anthro prey with an animal, furry, or even monster/alien predator.
    In addition, size differences can vary greatly. The predator may be same-size, as is common with furries, or in fact much larger, sometimes as tall as a skyscraper of some sorts. But ‘macro’ may also involve rather any predator whose mouth is, within a reasonable science fiction or fantastical realm, big enough to fit the prey. In that case, animals like say a killer whale or tyrannosaurus rex would be fine, but even then it doesn’t have to be that accurate. Any reasonably big animal, let’s say bear-sized, is likely to be considered as a macro predator, especially if the prey is micro themselves.
    Many in the vore community love science fiction and fantasy, which only goes to show how their paraphilia can provide such accommodations in terms of mouth stretching, throat capacity, stomach size, and even any other body part. I must say though that in the vore community, I’ve found that there are a lot more people into vore who like anthropomorphic characters more than simply animal. If i had to take a gander and rank vorarephiles in number by which has the largest ‘community’ to the least, at least in predator preference, I’d say it would be anthropomorphic characters, animals, and then the rest such as giantess, monsters, and what not are likely tied.
    If I had to put an order on the preference for type of vore, it would be soft, unbirth, anal, cock, tail, and breast, etc. Yes tail. Tail vore is on the rise, don’t ask me how it’s done. Also, cock vore is especially on the rise. I dare say it may beat anal one day. Also, in one of your early articles you mentioned that ‘furries’ had sexual orientations around something like 31% homo, 28% straight and 41% bisexual. Surprisingly… this is very accurate for also vore

    I would like to note that another possible ‘predator’ is anime females. Some would put this under ‘giantess women’ but really it’s its own category altogether

    Hard vorists are not all that common and usually find it hard to get in the circles of soft vore-preferenced people.

    People that are into vore often grow up with it or learn to like it from a very early age, without even assigning any sexual satisfaction to it till much later. It is simply a fascination that grows on them. One thing of note is that the vore community within the anthro community is often segregated. It is usually something one does not Just ‘come to like’ because it takes a lot of faith, knowledge, and past experiences of seeing it and assigning one’s own meaning to it. Thus, a random homo furry for example may be completely against vore.

    Yet another thing of note is that the important parts of vore to many are, besides psychosexual stimulation: tongue or mouth play, a tight swallow, and a full belly accompanied with burps or whatnot. Some see soft oral vore as a journey to a safe place where they can be let out by being vomitted or magic or even a ‘full tour’ down the rest of the system as it is called. However, to make more realistic and likely because it is the interest of quite a number of vorarephiles, digestion occurs. The victim usually ‘falls to sleep’ before any massive pain, and usually even the pain as seen as a ‘realistic end’ rather than something to be sexually gratified about. It just ‘makes more sense’ than always being vomitted out or whatnot all the time.

    I would like to note that the psychosexual stimulation and psychological factors in vore are extremely important to vorarephiles. There are many factors that can come into play, such as that you mentioned like predator and prey, dominant and submissive. Also such things as ‘willing’, or unwilling. Or by what brings the predator to the prey or prey to the predator or simply what would bring about such a thing as ‘vore’ to happen. There may be chases or complicated situations. Really it can get as complicated as any romance, and may even be a romance that leads to it.

    Vore often involves other aspects, such as homo, bisexual, or even straight sexual acts before or after the vore.

    Young or growing vorarephiles, often a mid- or younger teen, tend to shy from such acts. They greatly enjoy being ‘eaten’ but usually that is the end of it.

    More experienced and mature vorarephiles have broader tastes.

    Roleplay is a very common thing in vore. While vore can be seen either in real life by humans, in cartoons or other animated films and shows, or in movies as especially well in artwork, it is also often written. Either in story form, or ‘roleplayed’. This roleplay may be entirely in a chat program on a web site or in a messaging program, but also quite popular these days in the simulation game Second Life.

    Vorarephiles are often not exclusive to vore. They usually enjoy real sexual acts, especially if not straight.

    A vorarephile may enjoy multiple ‘kinds’ of predators, such as both anthropomorphic AND animalistic.

    Vore is… a fascination that never goes away. No matter how much a person may incorporate themselves into daily life, the fascination with vore simply never dies. A person who likes vore will always like vore scenes in movies and such even if they have never sought it out online or elsewhere. Some say it is a disorder, and I often do wonder if it is, but I can tell you for sure that you can’t just wish it away. Just like people who are bisexual, transgender, or any of that sort, they are… well those people are most definitely born with a huge aspect of such orientations but a vorarephile is usually born with the ‘inclination’ towards it too. Especially since many vorarephiles seem to Not be straight.

    I guess I’ll leave it at that for now. I hope I’ve enlightened or scared off someone.

  5. Also, prey is often absorbed in the stomach and the is the ‘end’ of the story or roleplay

  6. “Materials” a vorarephile may “use” depend on what they like. If they like anthropomorphic characters to be involved, artwork, comics, stories, interactive stories, or roleplays are often the answer. For more general use or those who like animals, anything from movies, tv shows, and even advertisements, to games, the aforementioned types, and also simply what is known as ‘gaping maws’. Yes. Vorarephiles enjoy seeing the open mouths of (usually) animals. Especially if this animal has a big mouth, like say a killer whale.

    Saliva is usually a big factor in the liking of vore.

  7. Reading some of your unbirth article, I may have then left some things out. And yes, hyper endowment is also popular, and not just for females.

  1. Pingback: Q&A: Sharing Sexual Fantasies

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