Serial Killers And Sexual Sadism
According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are two forms of sadism. The first is “Sadistic Personality Disorder,” a condition in which someone “is amused by or takes pleasure in the psychological or physical suffering of others.”
It’s safe to say that all serial killers fit this diagnosis. Whatever other rewards they may derive from their crimes-a warped sense of omnipotence, media celebrity, even, at times, money-the fundamental fact is that they enjoy what they do. Making other people suffer and die is their idea of fun.
The second type of sadism identified by the DSM is “Sexual Sadism.” This is one of the major paraphilias -a perversion of the erotic instinct in which the suffering of a victim is not just generally enjoyable but intensely arousing, often to the point of orgasm.
The essential feature of sexual sadism is a feeling of sexual excitement resulting from administering pain, suffering, or humiliation to another person. The pain, suffering, or humiliation inflicted on the other is real; it is not imagined and may be either physical or psychological in nature. A person with a diagnosis of sexual sadism is sometimes called a sadist. The sadistic acts performed or fantasized by a person with sadism often reflect a desire for sexual or psychological domination of another person. These acts range from behavior that is not physically harmful although it may be humiliating to the other person (such as being urinated upon), to criminal and potentially deadly behavior.
Although sadistic sexual fantasies often begin in the person’s childhood, the onset of active sexual sadism typically occurs during early adult life. When actual sadistic behavior begins, it will often continue on a chronic course for people with this disorder, especially if they do not seek help.
Intimacy is a great concern for most violent serial sex offenders. What offender behavior suggests is a sort of one way intimacy where the victim is physically revealed to the offender, and completely under his control. Through this forced opening of physical intimacy, the offender may perceive an emotional and spiritual intimacy as well. Yet the offender takes pleasure in either the notion that intimacy is being forced from the victim, or the fantasy that the victim really has a desire for him to experience her intimately. He has revealed the victim in a private, intimate and violent way, devouring the victim’s own sense of personal security and control. Though incredibly unhealthy and destructive, this is how the violent serial offender achieves intimacy. That is how he understands it; through his violent criminally sexual behavior.
In the act of controlling something, dominating it and forcing it (a kidnapped victim) to submit, something spiritual will happen. The fantasy being that sexual domination equals the re-creation of the victim, and the enlightenment will follow that amounts to the offender giving life to something that was before lifeless. The offender sees himself as a god, making from every victim a new source of energy. In fact, from this individual’s perspective, the offender is doing the victim a large favor. Each victim would then reinforce this fantasy. Again, the victim is the object for offender, selected here in generally non-random ways for scripting into a complex fantasy of spiritual and artistic metamorphosis.
There is no universally accepted cause or theory explaining the origin of sexual sadism. Some researchers attempt to explain the presence of sexual paraphilias in general as the result of biological factors. Evidence for this viewpoint comes from abnormal findings from neuropsychological and neurological tests of sex offenders.
For an interesting article on sexual sadism, go here.