Gutteral mind: Taking a bite out of fetish

An examination of what we talk about when we talk about sex(y)

Slip ‘em the hot beef injection. Hide the salami. Put the beef in the taco. Look at that ass, that’s grade A, top choice, meat. Bite me off a piece of that. Sometimes when I talk about sex without actually talking about sex, I get confused. Am I talking about doing lunch or doing it? A really nice steak or a really great ass? Rack of ribs or rack of tits? People, I prefer straight-up terms, like “fucking,” to Porky-style euphemisms. But hey, that’s just me.

For a certain sect of fetishists known as Vores – short for Vorarephilia – a carnal act is often the same as a carnivorous one. Vores get an erotic charge out of eating someone or being eaten. For some readers this may seem weird, sick, and remind them of waking up in cold-sweats after seeing Silence of the Lambs – understandable responses. For others, viewing Silence of the Lambs meant that Hannibal Lecter replaced Nick Carter as the pin-up poster above their bed.

The cannibal narrative is a common one: foreigner gets captured in a strange land, tied to a spit, and then threatened with becoming the main course for the whole village. A cauldron or a flame gets hotter and hotter, people start sweating, and usually a rescue occurs. It’s almost as generic as a Meg Ryan movie, and who doesn’t think she’s cute?

The Encyclopedia of Cannibal Movies On-Line has over 500 entries from a wide range of genres: horror flicks, porn, and French New Wave are all represented. A Google search of “cannibal fetish” yields about 393, 000 hits. Clearly, this fetish is not so niche as it may seem at first glance. As with any fetish, it’s actually fairly culturally pervasive. At least in my mind, talking about a sexual object as if it were a piece of meat is simply a hop, skip, and a jump from wishing someone was a piece of meat. Maybe people who find weird things sexy are just better at reading subtext than others. It is the sexualisation of the narrative and not the narrative itself which is deemed to be perverse.

Society draws lines when it comes to what’s culturally accepted as sexy. On closer look, these lines prove to be drawn in sand – constantly changing and easily washed away. Is there really that big of a gap between eating someone out and fantasizing about actually eating them? Vampires eat people all the time and boy, are they ever considered sex symbols.

Vore-ism stands at the crossroads of many fetishes. There’s your good ol’ bondage-style vore-ism, where the person who is served as the main meal is hog-tied or gagged with an apple, or it can go further, to humiliation fetishism, when the person is basted and stuffed. Furries may enjoy the idea of eating a certain animal; necrophiliacs may just like the fact that they’re dead. But as in most fetishes, the main theme is power. Vore fetishists who fantasize about being eaten talk about being completely subsumed. They liken it to returning to the womb. Those who fantasize about eating think of it as the ultimate submission. You do not simply control the other person; they become a part of you. These themes of power and submission resonate through almost all sexual encounters, mainstream or not.

The difference between fetishes that society commonly accepts and those it labels perverse is that one is ubiquitous and the other requires reading between the lines. People are rarely asked why they find lingerie sexy. It’s not that it’s natural (what’s natural about lacy undergarments and push-up bras?), but because it is constantly sold as the epitome of “sexy.” Someone with a fetish, however, is subject to questions. But I think a deep philosophical querying of why something makes you cream your panties is healthy. If you don’t have a fetish, or find vore-ism just too strange, go home and ask yourself why you think tying someone to a bed is sexy as opposed to tying someone to a spit. The answer may surprise you. For Freud, the only unusual sexual behavior is none at all. As long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual then I don’t see anything wrong with it. But hey, that’s just me.

Has Julie whet your appetite? Satisfy your craving every other Thursday in the Mind&Body section. Or you can send her your deepest philosophical querying of fetish to