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Come undone: The strange case of the ‘ejaculate fetishist’

In a previous blog I briefly examined semen fetishes and the acts of ‘bukkake’ (most commonly seen in hard core pornographic films where a group of men all simultaneously ejaculate over a women or man), and ‘gokkun’ (where a man or woman consumes the semen of one or more men from a drinking receptacle, e.g., cups, glasses, beakers, etc.). In that article I noted that while there is a fair amount of (non-academic) literature about bukkake, references to semen fetishes appear to be rare with nothing published in academic journals.

However, since writing that article, a case study of a 39-year old man with an ‘ejaculate fetish’ was published in the Journal of Psychiatry by three Turkish medics (Dr. Safak Taktak, Dr. Mustafa Karakus and Dr. Salih Murat Eke) –  ‘The Man Whose Fetish Object is Ejaculate: A Case Report’. (In fact, Dr. Taktak has published a number of interesting case studies of paraphilic behaviour including shoe fetishism and paraphilias more generally [see ‘Further reading’ below]). Following a crime of molestation, the man had been arrested by Turkish police. (In fact, it turned out the man had already spent 10 years in prison for armed robbery when he was in his twenties and was released from jail when he was 31 years old).

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The judicial authorities demanded that the man had to undergo a psychiatric assessment because one of his behaviours was the buying of ejaculate from young men that he would then smear on his genitals for sexual satisfaction. The act of smearing semen on his body had begun in prison when he would smear semen on bodily wounds and provided (presumably therapeutic) relief (as the prison did not provide medicine or cream for bodily injuries). The paper also claimed that the act of taking semen from each other and applying it to wounds and sores was commonplace in the prison he was at. Following his release from prison, he continued the habit and “became obsessed with it and he bought semen from different people on a monthly basis and spread it on the genital area”. Fifteen days prior to his psychiatric assessment, he was accused of molesting a 16-year old adolescent while trying to buy semen from him. The adolescent was reported as saying:

“A man held my arm and said that he had a job for me and he would give money if I do that job. I told him if I can do, I would do. He said he would be there [an hour and a half] later, and told me to find him. After he came, he told me that he buys human sperm, and asked me if I give him sperm, which surprised me a lot. Then he took three or four plastic bags out of the pocket of his jacket full of white things. He said these bags are the sperms that he bought from three or four kids. In exchange of sperm, he gave things like money, stereos and televisions”.

The adolescent’s father found out what had happened to his son and caught the man who had wanted his son’s semen. The man told the father that he wanted the semen to alleviate itchiness. During the psychiatric examination by the authors, the man was described as having mildly depressive emotions, natural psychomotor activity, sufficient cognitive function, and no delusions and/or hallucinations. He also had a history of alcohol and marijuana abuse (but since leaving prison he had stopped abusing these substances). Using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) the authors said he had inconsistent behaviour, difficulty in controlling his impulses, was angry and short tempered, displayed antisocial behaviour, was sexually deviant, had obsessive sexual thoughts, was socially isolated, and had a negative self-perception. They also wrote that his psychological profile suggested an antisocial or schizoid personality disorder.

The paper also noted that his father has also been in prison on a number of occasions, and that his mother and her relatives looked after him and his younger brother, and that they had “a hard life” while growing up. From the age of 11-12 years old, he started masturbating regularly (sometimes a few times a day). During early adolescence he began engaging in frotteurism (rubbing his genitals up against other people) particularly on bus journeys. Now, as a man, he claimed he could not masturbate without the use of other people’s semen. He began buying other individuals’ semen when he got out of prison (“from 30 young men in exchanges for money”) and always carried semen with him wherever he went.

The authors noted that unlike most other fetishes, the sexualisation of semen as a fetish did not occur until he was in prison (i.e., adulthood rather than childhood or adolescence). I’m not sure why (based on the evidence in the paper) but they also speculated that the man’s semen fetish was used to overcome low self-esteem and a sense of failure” and that the fetish behaviour “occurred from a trauma caused by the bad attitude of [his] parents at an early age, and [that] such negative experiences contributed to the emergence of fetish behavior”. The paper also claimed that: “He discovered the fetish object to deal with the anger for the negative events he faced when he was in prison for ten years for armed robbery. Impulse control is likely to be impaired because of the adverse conditions created by the prison”.

They also described the man’s semen fetish as a “mental illness” (in fact, the paper seemed to imply that all fetishes are mental illnesses which is clearly not the case as most non-normative sex is non-problematic for those engaging in such behaviour). However, by diagnosing the man has having a mental illness, it meant that he was not mentally competent enough to stand trial. The paper concluded that:

“In our case, the number of [victims] is few, but [our patient is] respectively harmless to the victims and not dangerous. He cannot control his urges and behaviors. For [these] kind of cases, generally, diminished criminal responsibility is decided but for this case, it was decided that he has no criminal responsibility”.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

BBC News (2010). Israel jails man for ‘holy semen’ sex abuse. April 26. Located at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8644637.stm

Kuro5hin (2002). A modern craving. August 5. Located at: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/8/5/71044/01543

Taktak, S., Karakus, M., & Eke, S. M. (2015). The man whose fetish object is ejaculate: A case report. Journal of Psychiatry, 18(3), 276.

Taktak, S., Karakus, M., Kaplan, A., & Eke, S.M. (2015) Shoe fetishism and kleptomania comorbidity: A case report. European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research, 2, 14-19.

Taktak, S., Yılmaz, E., Karamustafalıoglu, O., & Unsal, A. (2016). Characteristics of paraphilics in Turkey: A retrospective study – 20 years. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, in press.

Wikipedia (2012). Bukkake. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukkake

Wikipedia (2012). Gokkun. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gokkun

Come again? A brief look at semen fetishes

Recently, I was sent an email by one of my regular blog readers saying that there were “two obvious” topics” that I had not covered in my writings so far. The first one was paedophilia (which I have mentioned in passing but have never devotes a whole article to) and the second one was on semen fetish. I’m not going to go into my reasons why I have yet to devote a blog to the topic of paedophilia but the topic of ‘semen fetish’ was honestly not something that had crossed my mind. The email I was sent pointed out that my blog had covered paraphilias and fetishes concerning almost every other bodily fluid (i.e., urine, faeces, blood, menstrual bloodsaliva, tears, breast milk, snot, phlegmvomit, pus and earwax) “apart from the most obvious – namely semen”. Therefore, today’s blog looks ‘semen fetish’ although I know of no academic research or clinical studies on the topic (so not a lot of material to work with).

There is a lot of talk on the internet about almost mythical status that semen has been afforded. This is typified by a story I came across while researching this blog. In April 2010, the BBC reported the case of an Israeli man – Nissim Aharon – who was jailed for 10 years after tricking five women of various ages into various sexual acts (including rape and sodomy) by claiming that his semen was “holy and had healing powers”. Aharon pretended to be a holy rabbi and other authority figures (such as working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency) and claimed to the unsuspecting women that his “holiness” could be passed to those who touched him physically, cleansing their bodies. He was eventually arrested in August 2009. A statement by the Israeli Justice Ministry reported that:

“Over many years [Aharon] presented himself as a righteous man, as a saint with healing powers, who exploited the naïvity of women and teenage girls, while carrying out appalling sexual acts and obtaining large sums of money by fraud. He would claim to be a rabbi, and impersonate figures in authority who would then refer women and teenage girls to himself. He would give these people different explanations: among others, that a holy scent comes from him, and that his semen is a holy fluid, which by contact could heal body and soul”.

Another seemingly relevant topic that I found online in relation to semen fetish was talk on various sexual forums about the love of ‘bukkake’ and ‘gokkun’ in pornographic films. I’m aware that some of you reading this will be well aware of these semen-related sexual acts but for the benefit of those who have no idea what I am talking about, I feel duty bound to tell you (but please be warned that my descriptions are sexually explicit).

Bukkake is a sexual act (most commonly seen in hard core pornographic films) where a group of men all simultaneously ejaculate over a women or man. Original bukkake videos are Japanese in origin and date back to the advent of videos in the 1980s. However, bukkake videos (while still arguably a minority market) have been made for both European and American audiences (with an increasing number of such films made for the gay market). The Wikipedia entry on bukkake claims that the sexual act involves “the implied or overt humiliation of the person ejaculated upon” because typically the receiving person is a passive recipient and not sexually stimulated. Some commentators have pointed out that the recipients in Japanese films tend to be much more passive and submissive than the recipients in American films. Feminist campaigner Gail Dines says the act of bukkake “marks the woman as used goods”, conveys a sense of ownership and is “one of the most degrading acts in porn”. Other reactions to bukkake were summarized in the Wikipedia entry:

“A number of authors have described bukkake as premised on humiliation. Forensic psychologist Karen Fanklin has described bukkake as symbolic group rape, characterising its primary purpose as the humiliation, degradation and objectification of women. Lisa Jean Moore and Juliana Weissbein view the use of ejaculation in bukkake as part of a humiliation ritual, noting that it generally does not involve any of the female participants experiencing orgasm”.

Gokkun is also a sexual act that is Japanese in origin and is where a man or woman consumes the semen of one or more men from a drinking receptacle (e.g., cups, glasses, beakers, etc.). The Wikipedia entry on gokkun claims that as the makers of hard-core pornography attempt to outdo each other, the number of men participating in gokkun videos has increased to as many as 140 in American films and 200 on Japanese films.

While there is much written about bukkake, references to semen fetish appear to be rare. The following extract from a self-confessed semen fetishist is one of a few that I have come across online. I chose the following quote because of the level of reflective introspection at the end of the quote. (Again, I also need to point out that the quote is sexually explicit):

 “I have come to terms with the fact that I have a semen fetish. This manifests itself in many ways. Obviously, it is important in my sex life. My current girlfriend is quite open-minded, so she doesn’t have a problem with facials and swallowing. She is also open to some semen play, for example drinking it from a spoon or a wine glass. I have dozens of other semen-related fantasies which I want to try out too…Another manifestation of this fetish is my taste in porn. It’s almost exclusively semen-related movies that I watch because they are the biggest turn on for me. I mostly watch bukkake, gokkun and regular facial movies…I know that I’ll probably be heckled as being gay or whatever, but I don’t mind. The fact is that guys don’t turn me on, but girls do. Perhaps the fact that I like to see girls covered in sperm is more to do with my own desire for women to accept my own semen. I’ve thought that through a lot and it seems likely. Humans tend to associate the face with the identity. And I think on some level, men associate their semen with their personal manhood and identity. To have a girl let you shoot semen onto her face is a symbolic act of acceptance of your identity. There is almost certainly a domination aspect to the act too”

One online article on semen entitled ‘A Modern Craving’ talked about “semen addiction”, “semen fetish” and those “obsessed” with semen. The article claimed it was written to raise issue and bring to the floor the concept of semen addiction”. Without any apparent empirical support the article claimed that:

“In order to relate with semen addiction, it’s important to understand the mentality of those obsessed. Semen addiction is not the pleasure of having your lover swallow your semen following oral sex, nor is it simple pleasure from pornography involving it. Instead, it is a very real sexual necessity for semen, be it digestion, foreplay or a combination of both. Why those who crave semen do so is widely a mystery. The taste, while enjoyable for some, seems not so important as the act, the eroticism, involved in swallowing semen from a man’s sexual organ. In addition, semen fetishes are not by any means limited to a single gender. While it’s debatable of which group is more outspoken of their semen obsession, it’s not such with reference to the fact they can develop in anyone; from homosexual males to heterosexual females to even heterosexual males, to a lesser extent. The insatiable desire for semen is often so unrelated to ordinary sexual addiction that while it’s possible for someone with the condition to enjoy sex without semen, the true climax of the experience can often be better represented as the reception of semen from one’s lover than as the orgasm of his or herself”

As I noted above, there is almost no empirical research on semen fetish, and the “evidence” I have collated in this blog is (at best) anecdotal. The fetish may well exist, but compared to other bodily fluid fetishes, semen fetish appears to be either much more rare or just much less reported both online and in academic journals. Finally, by my reckoning, the only bodily fluids I have left to write about are sweat, bile, and vaginal secretions.

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

Further reading

BBC News (2010). Israel jails man for ‘holy semen’ sex abuse. April 26. Located at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8644637.stm

Kuro5hin (2002). A modern craving. August 5. Located at: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/8/5/71044/01543

Wikipedia (2012). Bukkake. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukkake

Wikipedia (2012). Gokkun. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gokkun

Prophylactic shock: How dangerous is a ‘used condom fetish’?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I have covered some pretty weird sexual fetishes since I started writing it. Nothing ever surprises me when it comes to what humans find sexually arousing, but a few months ago I came across a short paper published in a 2009 issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections (which I’ve since discovered is the world’s longest running journal on sexual health) which took me a little by surprise. It was written by Vincent Tremayne (Staff Nurse, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust) and entitled Used condoms: a dangerous fetish?” Tremayne’s article is the only academically written publication that I have ever read that explores the topic of ‘used condom fetishes’ (I did some other searches of academic databases but failed to locate a single other paper on the topic). He noted that:

“For someone with a condom fetish, this might mean gaining pleasure from looking at pictures or videos portraying people ingesting or masturbating with used condoms. Others might search for discarded condoms to masturbate in to or ingest the contents. Some men ‘condom hunt’ in areas where people have public sex, such as car parks or wooded areas”

Tremayne’s own research indicated that used condoms can be purchased online. He made reference to a particular fetish website (Condom Swappers) which allows men to swap used condoms (by mail) for (presumably) sexual purposes. In the name of research I checked out the site and can report that at the time I accessed the site there were currently 3,984 members (with nearly 11,000 posts on 182 different topics, over 15,000 photographs, and 358 videos). There were also 45 specialist sub-groups within this particular used condom community. Most of the members appear to be gay or bisexual although that is my impression rather than anything empirically based. Tremayne reported that most of the membership (at the time of his paper) were men from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Tremayne’s interest in the topic of used condom fetishes came from his concerns about whether men who engaged in this particular sexual practice were at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Tremayne reported that:

“Some might consider this practice to be risk-free as it is accepted that organisms causing STIs cannot live outside the human body. However, a few reports suggest that some microorganisms survive in the right conditions. [A 1986 study by Dr. L. Reznick and colleagues] experimented with a highly concentrated preparation of HIV to see how long it would live in differing environments. The virus was recovered after a week from an aqueous environment at room temperature and for more than 3 days following drying. This study used a falsely concentrated viral preparation, but it is not known how long HIV could survive in a knotted condom, sent in a sealed envelope and received within a day or two”.

There are also other studies indicating that micro-organisms that cause STIs can survive on public toilets. For instance, 1999 study published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (by Dr. I. Potasman and colleagues) tested for the presence of three specific STI microorganisms (i.e., Ureaplasma urealyticum [UU], Mycoplasma hominis [MH], and Chlamydia trachomatis [CT]) in 50 public toilet bowls. They reported that five (of the 50) bowls (10%) were contaminated with at least one of these microorganism. More specifically, UU was detected in four toilet bowls, MH in three, and CT in one (with UU surviving on the rim of the toilet for up to two hours. Tremayne also reported that there is at least one case in the medical literature of a man contracting gonorrhea following the use of an inflatable doll. I tracked down the original case study published in the journal Genitourinary Medicine:

“The skipper from a trawler, who had been 3 months at sea, sought advice for urethral discharge. His symptoms had lasted for two weeks. A urethral smear showed typical intracellular gram-negative diplococci, and a culture was positive for [gonorrhea]. There had been no woman on board the trawler; he denied homosexual contacts; and there was no doubt that the onset of the symptoms was more than two months after leaving the port. A few days before onset of his symptoms, [the skipper] had roused the engineer in his cabin during the night because of engine trouble. After the engineer had left his cabin the skipper found an inflatable doll with artificial vagina in his bed, and he was tempted to have ‘intercourse’ with the doll…The engineer was examined, and was found to have gonorrhea. He had observed a mild urethral discharge since they left port… He admitted to having ejaculated into the ‘vagina’ of the doll just before the skipper called him, without washing the doll afterwards”

Other researchers have noted that gonorrheal cells can survive on various materials stored at room temperature. For instance, Dr. A. Srivastava has reported in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, that live gonorrhea calls can be recovered up to three days on both hard and soft materials. Because of this (and other evidence), Tremayne speculated that:

“It is possible that those who satisfy their used condom fetish are placing themselves at risk. It is conceivable that STIs could be transmitted by the act of masturbating, ingesting or inserting the contents into the anus. At some point, this could mean that sexual health professionals could be meeting men presenting with STIs without the implied sexual contact”.

As far as I can ascertain, there is no research and no statistics on how prevalent ‘used condom fetishes’ are but I would expect them to be fairly rare. There are certainly online accounts suggesting that some people engage it the imbibing of the contents of used condoms (check out this online forum discussion – but be warned you may find the content distasteful – no pun intended), and other anecdotal cases I came across online suggest that heterosexual females may sometimes have an attraction for such behaviour (such as an online account by Lisa). Tremayne’s paper raises interesting (theoretical) possibilities as to whether ‘used condom fetish’ could result in the spread of an STI. However, it would appear that – to date – there are no recorded instances of an STI being contracted via a used condom.

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

Further reading

Gilbaugh, J.H., & Fuchs, P.C. (1979). The gonococcus and the toilet seat. New England Journal of Medicine, 301, 91-93.

Kleist, E., & Moi, H. (1993). Transmission of gonorrhoea through an inflatable doll. Genitourinary Medicine, 69, 322.

Neinstein, L.S., Goldenring, J., & Carpenter S. (1984). Nonsexual transmission of sexually transmitted diseases: an infrequent occurrence. Pediatrics, 74, 67-76.

Srivastava A. (1980). Survival of gonococci in urethral secretions with reference to nonsexual transmission of gonococcal infections. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 13, 593-596.

Potasman, I., Oren, A, & Srugo, I. (1999). Isolation of ureaplasma urealyticum and mycoplasma hominis from public toilet bowls. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 20, 66–68.

Tremayne, T. (2009). Used condoms: a dangerous fetish? Sexually Transmitted Infection, 85, 483.