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Note: Varies by jurisdiction
Note: Varies by jurisdiction
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A lust murder is a homicide in which the offender searches for erotic satisfaction by killing someone. Lust murder is synonymous with the paraphilic term erotophonophilia, which is sexual arousal or gratification contingent on the death of a human being. Commonly, this type of crime is manifested either by murder during sexual intercourse and/or by mutilating the sexual organs or areas of the victim's body. The mutilation of the victim may include evisceration and/or displacement of the genitalia. The mutilation usually takes place postmortem.
It sometimes includes such activities as removing clothing from the body, posing and propping of the body in different positions, generally sexual ones, insertion of objects into bodily orifices, anthropophagy (the consumption of human blood and/or flesh) and necrophilia (the performing of sex acts on a human corpse).
Most cases of lust murder involve male perpetrators; however, accounts of female lust murderers do exist. In general, lust murder is a phenomenon most common among serial killers. These offenders have made a connection between murder and sexual gratification. When this type of offender chooses a victim there must be something about that victim that the offender finds sexually attractive. This attractive trait might be common among all of the offender’s victims and is called the offender's Ideal Victim Type (IVT). There might be many potential targets that an offender passes by because they do not meet his IVT. Once the offender has found a victim who is ideal he might engage in stalking or other predatory behaviors before acting out his fantasy on his victim. Fantasies are a key component in lust murders and can never be completely fulfilled. The lust killer will have a fantasy that continues to evolve over time and becomes increasingly violent as he struggles to fulfil it.
The most critical component in the psychological development of a serial killer is violent fantasy, especially in the lust murderer. Fantasies accompany "intrusive thoughts about killing someone that are associated with other distressing psychopathological processes". Fantasies can never be completely fulfilled or the anger removed or the missing self-esteem restored; sometimes the experience of killing can generate new fantasies of violence, creating a repetitive cycle. The purpose of fantasy is total control of the victim, whereas a sexual assault can be used as a vehicle for control. Sexual torture becomes a tool to degrade, humiliate, and subjugate the victim. Often victims are selected by the killer to stand as a proxy, resulting from childhood trauma. Fantasies may be fuelled by pornography and facilitated by alcohol or other causes. Typically, fantasies involve one or several forms of paraphilia.
The term is also used in a related but slightly different sense, to refer to an individual who gains sexual arousal from the act of committing murder, or has persistent sexual fantasies of committing murder, even if the murder itself does not involve the genital mutilation or other characteristics cited above. As such, it is a type of paraphilia.
Although the dynamic of violent fantasy in lust murders is understood, an individual's violence fantasy alone is not enough to determine if an individual has or has not engaged in lust murder. Moreover, to conclude that an individual is the murderer because he has drawn multitudes of violent images – some of which involve women is overreaching. The Perri and Lichtenwald article illustrates the critical importance of homicide detectives employing the Criminal Investigative Analysis model developed by Roy Hazelwood FBI (ret.), profiler and one of the top researchers in the field of lust murders.