What is a lust killer? Here’s the most basic answer: they’re one of the most terrifying sub-types of sexual murderers. What makes them different from other serial murderers? Is it the way they stalk, torture, or kill their unsuspecting victims?
Their minds are so twisted that they had to be given their own special classification. Chances are, you’ve already read about (or seen a documentary) based on this sub-type. Are they created, or born?
We’ll cover everything from how their childhood shapes their mind – to their main motivation for committing such horrific acts of violence! If you’re not scared away yet, there’s no need to turn back and run now!
What Is A Lust Killer?
Murderers in this sub-type are usually male and often have deep-seeded violent fantasies. They stalk their potential victim for days and even months in some cases. Extreme fantasies of murder always precede the crime. Quite often, they tend to plan and calculate for years in advance.
One of their most chilling characteristics is how they select a potential victim to stalk, and ultimately murder. They almost always choose their victims at random. (This is another distinguishing characteristic since most murders are perpetrated by an acquaintance, spouse, or other family member.)
That being said, their selection is random in that sense, but not in their own minds. The perpetrator usually chooses to pursue a victim based on a physical attraction. Although they may feel enraged due to their own personal experiences as a victim (usually beginning in early childhood) – they act out on an impulse that’s very different from a murder committed in a fit of rage or revenge.
They have a very specific paraphilia that’s referred to as erotophonophilia. A paraphilia is a condition that drives certain people to pursue abnormal behaviors in order to experience sexual gratification. What does erotophonophilia mean?
Erotophonophilia – What Does It Mean?
Erotophonophilia is a rare paraphilia where someone gets sexual pleasure and/or gratification from the act of taking another persons life (or fantasizing about doing so). In other words, they have to feel the life leave another human being’s body in order to fulfill their abnormal sexual urges.
They are slightly different from what’s called a ‘product killer’ who needs a lifeless corpse for sexual pleasure (as opposed to the sexual pleasure derived when someone with erotophonophilia takes a life). The process may or may not involve actual sexual intercourse.
They usually torture their victims in various ways including vaginal/anal penetration with foreign objects, forced fellatio, or postmortem mutilation. Since it isn’t completely black and white, the order in which they torture (or don’t) has to be examined on a case by case basis.
In the most extreme cases, their sadistic urges can drive them to participate in necrophilia. Many of the most infamous serial murderers fall into this sub-type.
Most Infamous Examples
Here are just a few of the most infamous examples of serial killers who were driven by sexual urges to commit their crimes:
- Ted Bundy
- Albert Fish
- Dennis Rader
- Jeffrey Dahmer
- John Wayne Gacy
- Ed Kemper
- H.H. Holmes
- Richard Ramirez
Each of the serial offenders listed above pursued an almost exclusively sexual element when they committed their crimes. For one reason or another, they became so consumed with death that they essentially decided to make it the focal point of their entire lives.
Are the experts aware of any possible causes for such a perverse sexual persuasion?
Possible Causes For Erotophonophilia
If you’re a hardcore true crime fan, you’ll probably recognize quite a few of the possible causes (according to the experts). Some experts speculate that being molested as a child plays a major role in their future behavior. Also, if they become the victim of (or witness) domestic abuse or any other extreme violence in their childhood – that can also factor into the equation.
Another major contributing factor that’s largely agreed upon is being exposed to (or viewing) violent pornography at a young age. Here’s one of Ted Bundy’s famous quotes about the effect that porn had on his behavior:
“I’ve lived in prison for a long time now and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me and without exception, every one of them was deeply involved with pornography. Without question, without exception, deeply influenced and consumed by addiction to pornography…”
Without going into the debate on the effects of viewing pornography, one thing is certain – most people who watch pornography, or were molested, beaten, raped, or a victim of domestic abuse do not end up as an infamous serial killer. Can we even trust Bundy’s quote as gospel if we recognize that he led an extremely deceptive and destructive lifestyle? How much trust would you put in the words of a proven serial offender and necrophiliac?
A few additional factors that can play a role in the development of this sickness is social isolation, romantic difficulties, and of course, personality disorders and/or mental illness. It is somewhat ironic that romantic difficulties are listed as a major factor when you consider the fact that many of them were actually married during their reign of terror. Then again, a marriage and a happy marriage are two different animals.
Is there a specific personality disorder or mental illness that we can point to as a singular driving force?
Common Personality Disorders
Once again, since the issue isn’t exactly black and white, it’s hard to pinpoint any one specific mental abnormality. Killers of this type can have a wide range of personality disorders and/or mental illnesses that range from narcissism, to schizophrenia, and antisocial personality disorder. Sometimes, they exhibit a cocktail combination of multiple diagnoses that make them that much more deadly and unpredictable.
One absolutely indisputable similarity they do share, is deriving sexual pleasure from the act of murder.
Other Popular Theories
Another common trait that many of the people we listed above is an alcohol dependence or addiction. Jeffrey Dahmer, for example, was a well-known alcoholic who rarely went a day without drinking. Here’s a quote from one of his interviews in prison:
“I should have gone to college and gone into real estate and got myself an aquarium, that’s what I should have done.”
According to that quote, you could definitely make the argument that his drinking not only heavily clouded his overall judgement, but eventually contributed to a hopeless view of the future. What do you get when you add a heavy drinking problem to an already deep-seeded violent fantasy life and an ‘odd’ wiring since birth? A notorious cannibal whose crimes will never be completely forgotten.
In some of his interviews, it almost seems as if he’s showing remorse for his actions. It makes you wonder, if he wasn’t drunk 24/7, would he still have preyed on countless innocent people? That’s one question no one can answer with any true conviction.
Getting Revenge On A Current (Or Past) Abuser
Another somewhat popular theory is that they may be partially driven by an either conscious or subconscious revenge element. What do we mean by that? Well, if their mother was verbally, physically, or sexually abusive to them as a child – they might select a victim that either looks like, or reminds them of their mother.
If their father beat them like he would another grown man in a bar room brawl, it’s very likely that such violence could become forever ingrained in their psyche. Fast forward into early adulthood and it often seems very possible that they might be attempting to exact revenge on the abusive figure in their early lives.
Although this theory doesn’t apply in every case, you can probably understand why they view violence as a solution to their problems. That being said – aside from a few examples like Ed Kemper, their fantasies rarely result in the actual murder of their mother or father. Instead, it’s usually carried out on a completely unrelated and unsuspecting victim.
Ed Kemper exhibits almost every single element we’ve described so far. Watch the excerpt from one of his interviews below to hear it in his own words:
Fantasy vs. Reality – Do You Watch Horror Movies?
Although there is a prominent fantasy element to their crimes, it’s not to say that all fantasy turns into serial murder. Having a fantasy and deciding to physically act it out in the real world are two very different things. Erotophonophilia can’t exist without elaborate and violent fantasy, but somewhat similar fantasies can exist without resulting in murder. For example, think about your favorite horror movie.
Did the scriptwriter, actors, soundtrack composer, director, executive producers, and other staff have to physically murder someone to create an entertaining experience? Definitely not. What determines the fine line between fantasy and imagination? Is there even a line at all between the two?
Granted, maybe you think that in order to create a movie like IT or Friday The 13th – the creators would have to be at least a little bit psychologically disturbed. What about you and everyone else who paid for a ticket on opening night? Aren’t we all ‘fantasizing’ or using our imagination to escape our mundane everyday lives in one way or another?
You probably know just as well as anyone, that the fascination with the macabre is basically hardwired into all of our brains. The main difference being that most of us can watch the latest horror flick without feeling the need to reenact a fictional story line. Unfortunately for others, they have a bottomless pit of sadistic sexual desire that has to be filled at all costs!
Trying To Fill A Bottomless Pit
Ultimately, acting out their dark fantasies never leads to complete gratification. It’s like trying to fill a bottomless pit. You can’t fill a glass of water all the way to the brim if it has a hole in the bottom. No matter how much water you pour into the glass, it can never be filled.
This is one of the main reasons why their behavior usually continues to escalate until they start to become sloppy and start to leave incriminating evidence behind. We decided to use the bottomless pit example because it’s very similar to the course of a drug addiction. (Very similar, except they’re chasing sexual desire instead of a chemical massage.)
Someone who deals with substance abuse usually didn’t go from a completely drug-free lifestyle, to injecting heroin into their veins overnight. Almost 100% of the time, they tried alcohol or other ‘softer’ drugs long before they ended up becoming addicted to stronger substances.
If you view the sadistic urge to murder in the same light – it might help you understand why their behavior doesn’t stop at murder. Most of the time, once they’ve gotten a taste of their ‘drug of choice’ – they can’t stop until some outside force physically stops them.
Escalation & The Need For Absolute Control
Much like drug addiction, once they start to develop a higher tolerance – the act of murder simply isn’t enough to fulfill their fantasy. This is when they start to up the ante and implement elements of torture, necrophilia, and/or mutilation.
Often times, they want complete and totally absolute control over their victim (both mentally and physically). If they were victimized as a child and felt weak or helpless – they want to reciprocate the abuse. Since sexual murderers of this type are irreparably sadistic, they want to make someone else feel how they felt as a scared, weak, and helpless child.
Despite that being one of many motivators for their gruesome behavior, it rarely (if ever) works out in their favor.
How Does The Story End?
As we briefly mentioned above, the inability to fulfill their fantasies usually results in the destruction of society, multiple murders, and ultimately, their demise. Once investigators start to see a specific pattern in their behavior, they can start to unravel the mystery – piece by piece.
In certain cases, their predatory behavior escalates to the point where it almost seems like they want to get caught. They start to become careless or ‘forgetful’. As surprising as it may seem, a few have even turned themselves in! Once they reach this point, it becomes much more likely that they’ll be caught by a team of specialized investigators (like the BSU team in the Netflix series Mindhunter).
Once arrested and convicted of their crimes, they’re left to rot in a small concrete box until they’re put to death, or die of natural causes. In the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, and a few others, fellow prison inmates have carried out what they perceived as ‘justice’. Even in prisons, among what many would consider to be the ‘dregs of society’, serial killers aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms.
Ultimately – the story almost always ends in misery, heartache, and destruction for everyone involved. Families of their victims are left to mourn, never the same again. A piece of their soul dies along with their beloved child, spouse, cousin, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle.
What is a lust killer? They could be someone who was born with a brain that was drawn to murder. Someone who learned all the wrong lessons in life. They might’ve suffered at the hands of vicious abusers as a child. It’s also possible that they simply had an insatiable desire for sexual murder.
What do you think? Can you trust the words of someone like Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer when they tell you why they did what they did? Are people like this born, or made?
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below! We hope you enjoyed taking a journey with us into the darker side of humanity!