Hybristophilia

I was asked today if I think I am open minded, I declined to answer in the moment.  But the question hasn’t left me alone.  As I’m sitting down to write my blog post about Hybristophilia, I also came across Objectum Sexuality.  On the front page of the Objectum Sexuality website there is an explanation of this type of sexuality that concludes with “Thank you for opening your mind and looking over the Fence.”  Objectum sexuality is when people are attracted to objects, one woman even married the eiffel tower.  This intersects somewhat with hybristophilia, but not very much, only in that they are both marginal forms of sexuality.  Hybristophilia, according to wikipedia, “is a paraphilia of the predatory type in which sexual arousal, facilitation, and attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent upon being with a partner known to have committed an outrage, or crime, such as rape, murder, or armed robbery.”  In other words, it’s the idea that someone is sexually attracted to someone who has committed a horrible crime.  In my (not very thorough) research that  seems to be something much more common among women.  Apparently serial killers often receive hundreds of love letters from women after they’ve been convicted.  Again to take from wikipedia:

  • One of the most infamous examples of hybristophilia is the large number of women attracted to Ted Bundy after his arrest. Bundy allegedly received hundreds of love letters from women while he was incarcerated.
  • Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer, is said to have had amorous women sending him letters, money, and other gifts during his time in prison.
  • Serial killer Richard Ramirez married a female groupie in prison who had written him over 75 letters. During his trial, dozens of women flocked to the courtroom to catch a glimpse of him.

Rapist Josef Fritzl, who detained his daughter in a dungeon for 24 years, received hundreds of love letters from women following his arrest


via tumblr

Now whether or not it’s disgusting that this person is sexually attracted to the Columbine shooters is up for debate.  There seems to be two types of women who are attracted to serial killers.
1) Passive
Women who are attracted to serial killers because they believe they can “fix them.”  Because they believe they are misunderstood.  Or they are attracted to the fame, the notoriety of the killer.  They may believe that he will hurt everyone else but not her.  Attracted to a  fantasy of violence/non-violence.

2)Aggressive
Women who help the serial killers in their crimes.  They may help hide the bodies, for example.

I first heard of hybristophilia  a few days about after reading an article on Jezebel: Disturbing: Women on Twitter Think James Holmes Is ‘Hot,’ ‘Sexy,’ ‘Cute’.  I went to see the new Batman movie with SJ yesterday.  I couldn’t help but think about hybristophilia.  There are so many men in popular movies and T.V. shows that are pretty despicable, yet are still sexualized, and revered (for various different reasons and in various different ways).  Movies and T.V. shows that come to mind are the The God Father, Scarface, the rapper in season five of Californication, and the bad guy in the newest Batman movie .  Of course there are a lot more examples, and variations on this same violent theme, but these are what are coming to mind.  And the batman “bad guy” is the freshest in my mind.  There is a scene in the movie where the villain Bane, hyper masculinized with rippling muscles and a take no prisoners attitude, asserts his masculinity by feminizing one of the other male characters.  In a scene when two board members of wayne enterprises are revealed to be working with Bane.  One of the board members got very upset with Bane for not following his wishes, and he began to yell at him saying something along the lines of “I’ve paid you a small fortune!”  to which Bane replied something like “You think because you gave me money you have power over me!?!”  At which point the other board member was asked to leave by Bane.  The board member who was having the argument with Bane asked the other board member to stay.  Bane got a bit closer to the argument board member and put his hand on his should slightly awkwardly, almost tenderly.   The other board member scared by this gesture of touch, left.   By doing this Bane asserted his power over the argument board member.  Bane has the power to tell other people what to do, unlike the board member.  Bane then begins to get closer to this board member and their contrasting weight in size begins to become apparent.  Bane begins to almost tenderly slide his hand up the board members neck that now appears scrawny.  He puts his hand to the side of his face sort of like this:

Bane then puts his hand over the board member’s face and kills him.  The board member in this scene was feminized by contrasting him next to Bane’s ultra masculinity alfa-dogness.  But this relates to hybristophilia because *spoiler alert* at the end of the movie we learn that Bane wasn’t really the top dog calling all the shots, Miranda was.  Bane listens to her every wish because he loves her so deeply.  I think this feeds into the hybristophilia fascination fantasy.  That is, to be with someone so powerful, powerful enough to kill people, but still listen to you, only you, to have the ability to hurt you but choose not to.  An ultimate love sort of fantasy, to hurt all but not you.  I don’t know, maybe something like this?  I’m sure hybristophilia takes many different forms but the fantasy that I just articulated (arguably) seems to be a narrative in lots of violent-man-bad-guy hollywood narratives.
But the fact remains there are hundreds of women out there who have written love letters to people who have committed horrible crimes, even people like Josef Fritzl, who doesn’t quite fit this control fantasy thing I just articulated in the Batman movie.  Who knows?

BUT, I’m trying to be open to understanding, open minded.  I’d say more so to the Object Sexuality as it seems less harmful….but still open to learning!

Also, I think this person is probably an idiot:

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1 Comment

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One response to “Hybristophilia

  1. There is also something about the extreme – any extreme – that inspires or attracts people, even against their will. It helps fuel cult attraction as well as physical attraction. At the level of simple impulsive attraction, this seems to affect both men and women. (Men probably write fewer love letters, period; and there are few female serial killers to help document the results.)

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