Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Necrophilia Definition:

A psychosexual disorder, sexual relations with a corpse.

Related Terms: Obscenity

In their 1996 article in the Whittier Law Review, Ochoa and Jones write:

"Necrophilia is defined as a sick abnormal fascination with death and the dead; or more particularly, an erotic attraction to corpses.

"Necrophilia is a psychosexual disorder and is categorized with the group of disorders which comprise the paraphilias, a subtype of psychosexual disorder involving unusual or bizarre fantasies or acts that are necessary for full sexual excitement."

The Nevada definition (2011) of the offence of necrophilia is at NRS 201.450:

"A person who commits a sexual penetration on the dead body of a human being is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 5 years has been served, and shall be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000. For the purposes of this section, sexual penetration means cunnilingus, fellatio or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal openings of the body of another, including, without limitation, sexual intercourse in what would be its ordinary meaning if practiced upon the living."

In West v State, the psychiatrist testified that a necrophiliac was:

"... individuals who seek or enjoy sex with persons that they believe to be or who are dead."

Even though such conduct should land any practitioner directly into the nearest loonie bin, it was only recently made a crime in the United States even though, as Justice Russell of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee describes it in the 1973 case Locke v State as:

"... the most loathsome, degrading and vile sexual activity imaginable, i.e., necrophilia or sexual intercourse with a dead body."

Roach writes:

"Sacramento mortuary worker Karen Greenlee was caught absconding with a dead young man in 1979, she was fined for illegally driving a hearse but not for the act itself as California had no statutes regarding sex with the dead."


  • Locke v. State, 501 SW 2d 826 (1973)
  • Ochoa, T. and Jones, C., Defiling the Dead: Necrophilia and the Law, 18 Whittier L. Rev. 539 (1996-1997)
  • Roach, Mary, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2003), page 43
  • West v State, 553 So. 2d 8 (1989, Mississippi Supreme Court)

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