*WARNING* The following text deals with extremely dark subject matter that has literally made me nauseated while researching it. I do, however, believe that investigating these questions may reveal dark but very true corners of the human condition, and that it is my responsibility as a person to ask them.
There are horrific cases of sexualized cannablism that seem to suggest that cannibalistic compulsions may underlie normal human lust. One of the most prominent was the murder of Bernd Brandes by Armin Meiwes. In an extraordinary example of masochism, Brandes willingly allowed Meiwes to eat his testicles while he was alive. Brandes penis was severed with a knife and eaten as well, and Brandes was allowed to bleed to death over several hours. The event was videotaped and it was verified that Brandes participated willingly.
While it is easy to dismiss one case as stemming from some sort of neurological aberrations in the participants, we also see sexualized cannibalism in modern day Africa. In the early 2000s in Congo, rape and cannibalism were reported to coincide sporadically across the region. The claims are backed by a UN investigation into the phenomena (you may have seen it alluded to in the film “District 9,” also see “Trouble Every Day” for an artistic exploration of the connection between sex and cannibalism). Rebels would go into villages and rape the women and children, then dismember them alive while eating their flesh. There are many reports of family members being forced to eat the flesh of other murdered family members after being raped. Many of the children that survived these ordeals were then sold into sexual slavery. The men committing these atrocities do not have any neurological aberrations, they simply have the power to exercise this behavior. While cannibalism has been practiced in Africa as part of spiritual traditions for centuries, sadistic sexualized torture is not part of that tradition. So why add it in? Presumably the rebels didn’t all happen to be born child rapists either, yet raping children is part of their terror campaign and they must be able to achieve an erection to carry out the task, and so it must be assumed they learned to like it. How could this be?
My question is how does cannibalism and power lust figure into the sexual spectrum, if at all? Is it an extreme form of sadism? Is pedophilia a form of sadism where the perpetrator derives a sense of power from his or her physical and emotional dominance over a child? Is cannibalism the next more extreme expression of this sexual power lust, a kind of ultimate domination where the perpetrator literally consumes all that is the other, a kind of literal predatory behavior? Is this a monstrosity inherent in the human condition that only needs the right conditions to manifest itself?