A step too far: Crush fetishism and ‘animal torture porn’ (revisited)

In previous blogs, I have examined both crush fetishism and zoosadism. A crush fetish is a sexual fetish in which an individual derives sexual arousal from watching (or fantasizing about) someone of the opposite sex crushing items (e.g., toys, cigarettes, mobile phones, laptops), food (e.g., fruit), and (in extreme cases) small animals and insects, and/or being stepped on, sat upon, and/or crushed on by a person. Zoosadism refers to the pleasure – often sexual – that individuals attain by causing sadistic cruelty to animals. These bizarre and (in some cases) depraved behaviours recently made the headlines in America following the arrests of women for appearing in an ‘animal torture porn’ video.

In the first case, 28-year old Sara Zamora, a woman from Florida (USA) was arrested following her appearance in a zoosadistic fetish video entitled ‘SOS Barn’. According to various newspaper reports, Zamora is seen engaged in various sexual acts while crushing and killing rabbits (including ‘karate’ chopping their legs) and decapitating chickens. According to a report in the Miami Herald Newspaper the video was made purely for the “sexual gratification of its viewers”. The Herald report alleges that:

“In one clip of ‘SOS Barn’, Miami-Dade police say, Zamora gropes a man’s genitals with her left hand while ‘repeatedly cutting a chicken’s neck using hedge clippers with her right.’ In others, she posed ‘in a sexy outfit’ after hacking off the head of another screaming bird, or she beat chickens to death with a wooden stick…’It’s certainly horrifying. I mean these are sadistic people inflicting gruesome suffering on innocent and vulnerable and helpless animals’ said [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’] Cruelty Casework Director Stephanie Bell…So-called ‘crush’ animal torture videos aren’t new and have been the target of past legal crackdowns. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that outlawed depictions of animals being ‘intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed’, saying it was too broad and violated the right to free speech”.

The film was made at the house of (and presumably by) Adam Redford. Unfortunately, no-one knows exactly when the video was made and therefore “the statute of limitations may have expired”.

Not long after the arrest of Zamora, a second American woman – 29-year old Stephanie Hird from Arkansas (performing under her stage name ‘Megan Jones’) – was also arrested for her role in the ‘SOS Barn’ video. Described by the New York Daily Times as an “animal snuff film starlet”, Hird allegedly shot animals with an air rifle while tied down or being crushed (at least according to court documents that the newspaper had managed to get hold of. According to her social media profiles, Hird’s sexual fetishes also including foot tickling and bondage, as well as being interested in various aspects of macrophilia and microphilia (which I have covered in previous blogs). The New York Daily News story also reported that:

“Hird also appeared in the [The Learning Channel] show ‘Strange Sex’ to help a man realize his dream of being with a giant woman. The episode uses special effects to make the woman appear as if she were several-hundred-feet tall and towering over cities before manhandling her victim. ‘I love being considered a giantess and a goddess’ a smiling Hird tells the camera behind the scenes of the show. ‘Guys love being overpowered. They like being controlled. They like, you know, a woman being in charge – like she should be”.

As I noted in my previous blogs, there has been little empirical research on either crush fetishism or zoosadism, and most academically published papers are case reports. Since I published my blog on crush fetishism, some of my readers will be aware of the case study I published on a man (that I gave the pseudonym of ‘Brad’) with eproctophilia (i.e., sexual arousal to flatulence) in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The reason I mention this is that one of the other sexual fetishes that Brad also had was crush fetishism. Brad claimed he had this fetish “since birth” and went on to explain further:

“[I have another fetish that] am not proud of, but it exists and may help your study. I have a crush fetish, which is essentially arousal from seeing people step on objects or insects. This particular one has had a lot of bad publicity. As for this one, I can’t tell you where it originated. I remember rubbing myself in my crib as a baby to such thoughts, leading me to believe I may have literally been born with it. I could have been no older than 2½ years old. Keep in mind, these are very primal memories which are mostly a blur. All I recall is that around the time of those memories, I would also rub myself to the thought of someone stepping on an insect, or sometimes a machine made to crush up children like myself. Come to think of it, that last one may have been caused by seeing an apple cider press as a toddler. I also seem to recall that, and being afraid of it because of how it ‘hurt’ the apples”.

I also asked Brad if he thought there was any connection between his crush fetish and his eproctophilia. He responded that if there was any connection, it concerned “the idea of the duality” in that he would not expect to see a woman fart in front of him and similarly, he would not expect a woman to kill an insect in front of him for no real reason. In relation to his crush fetish, he also reported:

“It’s my oldest fetish with no known origin, and I like it for about the same reason as eproctophilia. Maybe that I also disliked seeing people kill bugs as a kid, while also finding it arousing. I was quite the pacifist. Also, when I first discovered ejaculation, I made the connection that ejaculating was somewhat like when a bug is stepped on. I thought about a bug squirting under pressure and then I would do the same. May or may not be relevant, but it was a connection I made as a kid”.

While this is only a small insight into the mind of a crush fetishist, the scientific value of case studies includes their utility in highlighting rare phenomena as well as their role in the generation of new research questions and hypotheses (observations made by Dr. Terry Vasey and Dr. Paul Vasey in a case study of feederism in 2011 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior [ASB]). The case I presented in my own ASB paper hopefully fulfils these values. Clearly, this is just one case study and Brad is unlikely to be representative of the entire eproctophile and/or crush fetish community. Further research is needed to assess the extent to which the case study I reported is representative of eproctophiles and/or crush fetishists more generally, and whether the etiological and developmental pathways are more complex than I initially described in my case study account. I also noted at the end of my paper that Brad “highlights the need for further research into crush fetishism as there are no empirical data on this type of fetish”.

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

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Biles, J. (2004). I, insect, or Bataille and the crush freaks. Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology and the Arts, 7(1), 115-131.

Huffington Post (2014). Woman tortured, killed animals while filming Brutal Fetish Sex Video: Cops. April 4. Located at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/06/woman-tortured-animals-fetish-video_n_5100535.html

Griffiths, M.D. (2013). Eproctophilia in a young adult male: A case study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 1383-1386.

Intentious (2011). Rabbit crushing outrage – Animal snuff film offends. December 9. Located at: http://intentious.com/2011/12/09/rabbit-crushing-outrage-animal-snuff-film-offends/

Kemp, J. (2014). Second fetish model busted in Miami for role in sickening animal torture porn video. New York Daily News, April 17. Located at: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/fetish-model-busted-miami-role-animal-torture-porn-article-1.1759487

Miami Herald (2014). Miami woman charged with role in animal torture sex fetish porn video. April 4. Located at: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/04/4040007/miami-woman-charged-with-role.html

Terry, L.L. & Vasey, P.L. (2011). Feederism in a woman. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 639-645.

About drmarkgriffiths

Professor MARK GRIFFITHS, BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGDipHE, FBPsS, FRSA, AcSS. Dr. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Professor of Behavioural Addiction 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 600 research papers, four books, over 130 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 June 15, 2014, in Case Studies, Compulsion, Gender differences, Obsession, Pain, Paraphilia, Pornography, Psychology, Sex, Sex addiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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