Sexual cannibalism refers to a person having sexual ideations of the consumption of human flesh, with criminologists and psychologists associating sexual cannibalism with socio- and/or psychopaths. This is now more commonly referred to as borderline antisocial personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder. The most common type of sexual cannibalism is erotophonophilia, or lust murder, where an individual has extreme violent fantasies and typically kills their victims during or after sex acts and then mutilates the victim’s genitalia. In these cases, the perpetrator will sometimes eat portions of their victims and the act can become addictive because feelings of euphoria become associated with eating people.
Both Albert Fish and Jeffrey Dahmer were erotophonophiles. Fish was a notorious cannibal who tricked a family into letting their daughter spend time with him. He proceeded to kill and consume her. Fish then wrote to the mother after the search for their beloved daughter had begun, describing how he had left her unmolested and just enjoyed the taste of her young meat. Dahmer is, of course, the most recognized cannibalistic serial killer arguably of all time, who was attempting to make a zombie sex slave that would be under his complete control. At each unsuccessful attempt Dahmer would dismember the bodies and keeps their parts for later consumption. He would eat their remains so they would always keep him company.
Although there is not one root cause of sexual cannibalism, logic suggests that sexual cannibalism is someone’s ultimate act of being a predator, eating their prey in complete domination. The cannibals themselves are often previously prey themselves, highly victimized, and by eating their victims feel they can transform from prey to predator.
Shut down in 2002 by the German authorities after the Meiwes-Brandes case, the Cannibal Café was an online fetish forum where people discussed their sexual fixation on cannibalism, their desire to consume or be consumed, and even traded recipes for human meat. It can be accessed currently from the Wayback Machine, but like anything else on the Internet, once you shut a website down there are always others willing to take its place.
After the Cannibal Cafe shut down, other cannibalistic-focused websites including the Dolcett Girls appeared, while fetish websites like the Dark Fetish Net have cannibalism as a subsect of the forums. These types of websites explore fetishes and have chat forums where users can discuss their personal interests with each other and make connections to share pictures, videos, and even tips.
On March 9th, 2001, a 39-year-old computer technician named Armin Meiwes met, had sex with, and subsequently killed and ate 44-year-old Bernd Juergen Brandes. The two had first met one month earlier via the Cannibal Cafe when Meiwes posted “looking for a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed. Brandes than answered Meiwes’ ad and came over to Meiwes’ house where the following events were caught on camera.
The tape, which has never been released to the public, depicts Brandes drinking alcohol and taking 20 sleeping pills before Meiwes attempted to remove his penis by biting it off. That didn’t work, so Meiwes grabbed a knife to finish the job and then tried to feed the severed parts of his own penis to Brandes. It then becomes apparent that Brandes is too weak to bite down so Meiwes fries the two halves of the mutilated penis for their consumption.
Meiwes then draws a bath for Brandes at his request and reads a Star Trek novel to him before he falls asleep. But, it still takes several hours for Brandes to die and when he does the video then disturbingly depicts Meiwes hanging Brandes by a hook to remove pieces of flesh that he later consumes over the following weeks.
Meiwes was arrested in December of 2002, when posts about the incident were seen online and the police tracked them to him. After searching his home, law enforcement discovered the videotape, but during trial the courts had an interesting problem. On camera and through email exchanges, Brandes repeatedly expressed his consent to the act, so the question centered around if what Meiwes really did was murder.
Armin Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter in 2004, even though many thought he should be convicted of a Killing on Request (assisted suicide) at the very least. Yet, the German court ordered a retrial after prosecutors appealed his sentence to then convict him of murder in May of 2006, where he received as life sentence. While in prison Meiwes admitted to still having fantasies about devouring flesh to a psychologist, during his second trial, which probably aided his second conviction.
Across the ocean, Gilberto Valle, otherwise known as the Cannibal Cop, was arrested on October 25, 2012 and charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. His then-wife, Kathleen Mangan, had called police after she found her husband had been consistently on the Dark Fetish Net, a fetish website dedicated to chatrooms dealing with sexual fetishes and real-life fantasies.
It was then discovered that Valle had been discussing a plan in explicit detail to torture, murder, and cannibalize his wife, as well as more than 100 other women. He described in chats how he was going to tie her feet together and “have fun” watching blood gush out of her throat after he slit it. He was convicted in 2013 in what many called a “thought crime”, since he was punished for thoughts instead of actions.
Valle spent 21 months in prison before his conviction was overturned in July 2014 since he did not actually commit the crime, he just thought about it. Since his release Valle has co-authored an autobiographical book entitled Raw Deal: The Untold Story of NYPD’s Cannibal Cop, where he freely admits that he in fact did author a gory fantasy about attacking his then wife. But, even as recently as February of this year, Valle revealed to reports that he still has dark sexual fantasies about killing and cannibalizing women, and he will not be the last.