The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Consensual Necrophilia

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,219 times Debate No: 48698
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (2)




In case there's uncertainty here, I'll provide some definitions:

Consensual: relating to or involving consent, esp. mutual consent. In this case, consent would be acquired before the person's demise, and will require the signature of both the person whose body is to be used and the proposed partner. Both would have to be in their right minds before providing their consent.

Necrophilia: sexual intercourse with or attraction toward corpses. In this case, it would embody the former mainly, with attraction being implied.

This would be implemented by making it lawful for those at the legal age of consent, while still alive, to give and record consent for posthumous sexual acts to be performed on their bodies and for these wishes to be honored within a short period of time (roughly a week) thereafter, during which time the corpse will be kept at cold temperature for short term preservation. After use, this claim to the corpse ends. It would be similar to committing one's body to scientific research after death, though in this case, there would be a distinct limit to use. Both of those involved would be made aware of the risks involved in such sexual acts as a part of signing this contract.

Obviously, there would be limitations to who could put up their body in this way, such that someone who dies with a terrible disease that could be transmitted post-mortem would not be able to utilize this system. Dealing with basic safety concerns such as this should require little effort, as diagnoses would be made regardless.

I have set it to 4 rounds, 8,000 characters a round, with 72 hours for us to make our arguments. The only restriction I've placed is that you must have completed at least 5 debates. As I am getting extremely tired of forfeits, I will also request that whomever accepts this debate be prepared to take it to its conclusion. If one of us does forfeit without reason, voters are advised to afford the other debater the full 7 points.

The structure of this debate will be as follows:

R1: Acceptance only
R2: Opening arguments and rebuttal
R3: New argumentation and rebuttal
R4: Rebuttal and conclusion

Yes, I am aware that there have been a lot of issues going around in the forums regarding what is reasonable to discuss here on DDO. However, I feel that debates like these must be had in order to better understand our views, instead of just feeling them viscerally as we so often do. I will be happy to engage with any and all arguments people have against this case.


I accept the CON side in the debate over the resolution and subsequent policy outline provided, and move forward with all definitions provided in the opening statement.
Debate Round No. 1


I'll start by thanking my opponent for accepting this debate. We've had a short conversation by email beforehand, and he has made it clear that he will take this debate seriously. Much as I am not a necrophiliac myself, I feel this kind of topic warrants serious discussion, as we must endeavor to understand why we feel what we do about these topics instead of just going by gut feeling.

And I know I have an uphill battle to fight here because there are likely very few people on this site who don't find necrophilia abhorrent. Most of the people who read this topic are likely going to have a very strong response to it from the outset " the thought of having sex with a corpse is inherently disturbing to most of the population.

However, what everyone who reads this must recognize is that I am not discussing anything that requires that anyone engage in this practice. My argument is not supporting practicing necrophilia in public " it remains a private act, just as any sexual act would be. I have simply created a system whereby consent can be acquired from the person whose corpse is to be used. As such, this does not increase the incidence of necrophilia, it simply affords necrophiliacs a legal, safe route for engaging in their fetish.

The reasons I take the Pro side of this debate are all detailed in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

What does this hierarchy look like?

At the bottom is the physiological needs, most basic to our survival. Above that is the need for safety and security, which is also among our most basic needs, protecting those above it.

Let's talk about these first. The basic physiological needs can be obtained by any individual who is capable of their own continued survival. These aren't affected by our sexual tendencies, as they are a basic component of our lives.

Safety is at least partially involved. While aspects like shelter and stability aren't affected, we can look at safety from the perspective of what happens to the humans involved in this necrophilia. In the status quo, they are attracted to corpses, but have no legal recourse for expressing that attraction. They cannot acquire the permission of the person whose corpse will be used, thus violating both that person's property rights to their corpse after death, and the property rights of their families to that corpse and its well-being. Everyone who engages in this act is automatically engaging in criminal behavior, and that criminality places them in the shadows of society. This relegates them to the fringes of society, and it is in those fringes that they are more likely to commit other criminal acts, thus affecting the safety of others. In general, this status also reduces their sense of belonging, though I will get to that more on the higher needs.

The remaining three needs " love, self-esteem, and self-actualization " are a little less basic, but no less necessary. Maslow refers to the bottom four layers as "deficiency needs," which, if not met, cause anxiety and tension.

Let's look at love. Really, what this boils down to is a feeling of belongingness (apparently not a made up word!). This really establishes an individual's ability to form and maintain emotionally significant relationships in general. Whether this involves a friendship, familial relationship, or intimate relationship, that sense of belonging is necessary in order to form them in any lasting sense. A person who feels that their actions are being actively put down by society, whether in the legal or social sense, does not feel any sense of belonging in that society.

Now, my point here is not to state that these people would all be engaging in every sort of relationship if this type of law were implemented. Nor am I saying that all individuals involved in this practice are going to be perfectly well off in these relationships as a result of such a policy. However, acceptance in society, to any extent, will make a big difference in terms of how these people interact with the society around them. It will reduce their sense of loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression, and as such improve their interactions with those around them. Society doesn't need to actively condone their acts in order for them to feel more a part of that society.

Onto esteem. All humans have a need to feel respected, not just by themselves, but by society at large. You must be both accepted and valued by others. Gaining recognition is an important part of this process, and in order to be recognized, a person will often go to great lengths in their work or hobbies. This produces a sense of value in society.

Esteem is removed completely when the legal structure disallows their actions. They are not accepted by society. They are not valued. This leads to low self-esteem, or even an inferiority complex, where a person is plagued by doubt and uncertainty. In this case, they would most certainly feel that they don't measure up to society's standards. As this attraction is involuntary, there is no way for them to alter it, and therefore they will always feel that they are socially inferior, even if they don't engage in the behavior itself.

Lastly, self-actualization. Maslow described this best:

"What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization...It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."

A variety of people express this very differently. A person may have a strong desire to express themselves as a dancer. Another may require the production of children in order to be self-actualized. To be self-actualized, one must master the previous levels on the pyramid. In essence, someone who is incapable of obtaining esteem, love or security cannot ever reach the point of self-actualization. Necrophiliacs cannot under current laws ever become self-actualized. They can never fulfill their full potential as their potential is actively denied by a society that deems their actions as being so unreasonable as to be illegal. As such, they will always fall short. These people can never be self-actualized. This means that none of the benefits of self-actualization are available to them. The list is extensive:

Efficient perceptions of reality (judge situations correctly and honestly)
Comfortable acceptance of self, others and nature (accepting of their own human nature with its flaws)
Reliant on own experiences and judgment (independent)
Spontaneous and natural (true to oneself)
Task centering (having a mission to fulfill in life that goes beyond oneself)
Autonomy (resourceful and independent)
Continued freshness of appreciation (renewed appreciation of life's basic goods)
Profound interpersonal relationships (marked by deep loving bonds)
Comfort with solitude
Non-hostile sense of humor (the ability to laugh at oneself)
Peak experiences (ecstasy, harmony, deep meaning)
Socially compassionate
Few close intimate friends rather than many surface relationships

These are all characteristics that are valued by the majority of humanity " hence, we tend to view those who achieve them as being role models. Everyone should be provided the best opportunity available in order to reach the point of self-actualization, and thus, we should not deny opportunities when they do no harm to society at large or to any individuals beyond themselves.

Alright, that's my case. I leave it to my opponent to establish his and rebut mine.


Resolved: Consensual Necrophilia should be allowed


I would like to start my argument by emphasizing the point made in the second paragraph of my opponent’s opening remarks, and asking that all personal bias be laid aside by the voting community; that they make their decisions based upon the validity of the arguments presented.

That being said, I shall proceed by first providing my response to my opponents statement, then introducing the basic argument behind disallowing “consensual necrophilia”.


My opponent has introduced a logically sound and self-contained argument in the above statement, and I take no issue with any facts or conclusions drawn within these arguments. Unfortunately, the ideas presented in no way support the actual topic being debated today. What has been presented here is a well laid out argument that “consensual” necrophilia would operate in a commensalistic manner with society, providing benefit to the individual and enacting no harm upon society. Again, I take no issue with this finding.


The problem that we face in this debate is almost wholly the issue of consent. For a frame of reference, let us see what the the denotation of this word is in the eye’s of West's Encyclopedia of American Law:

“Consent is an act of reason and deliberation. A person who possesses and exercises sufficient mental capacity to make an intelligent decision demonstrates consent by performing an act recommended by another. Consent assumes a physical power to act and a reflective, determined, and unencumbered exertion of these powers…There must be a choice between resistance and acquiescence.”

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. 2008 The Gale Group, Inc.

(full excerpt available here:

When we understand the full meaning of consent in the legal sense, we can start the journey towards understand why “consensual necrophilia” should be disallowed. Our definition tells us that for consent to exist, a person must “posess[es] and exercise[s] sufficient mental capacity to make an intelligent decision” (West’s). It must be found self-evident that a deceased person is not of stated mental capacity, and therefore does not possess the capability of extending their consent.

At first glance, it may seem that this particular moral quandary might be resolved by the policy outline that clear, written consent must be given and verified before the expiration of the individual in question. Under further scrutiny, this claim can not be born out. The issue arises when we see that “there must be a choice between resistance and acquiescence” (West’s). While alive, a person can provide full consent. Part of their capacity to do this (in the legal sense, remember) lies in the fact that this “choice” constantly remains at their discretion. Consent is a situational statement, and the courts have shown numerous times (cases provided upon request) that consent can be withdrawn based upon changes in situation.

This ability to withdraw consent is a main tenet of the law behind the matter, and is NOT present in the deceased. Upon death, the individual no longer is capable of withdrawing their consent if they would choose, and therefore is not capable of providing consent any longer. Regardless of whether that consent had been provided previously or not, it is negated when that “choice between resistance and acquiescence” is removed. What my opponent has laid out might fit under the idea of “contractual necrophilia” but it is in no way “consensual”.

Now that we have been able to show that necrophilia is inherently non-consensual, we must come to understand why it must be disallowed. Remember, having ceded my opponents points, I must agree that the act itself would still be non-harmful to society, but potentially beneficial to the individual. It is here that we must acknowledge that regardless of the effects of this particular act, the laws around consent (sexual or otherwise) are beneficial to society, and having a clear picture of the term helps us to live in harmony and prosperity. If we are to allow inherently non-consensual acts to be performed, then we call into question the entire structure of consent, which would not be beneficial. So, regardless of its effects on the individual, the net effect of this policy would be negative towards society. We can all logically conclude, then, that it is best for us to NEGATE the resolution.

Thank you and I look forward to my opponents refutation.

Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to thank my opponent for presenting a smart and surprising, if a bit perplexing, response. As the debate seems to have shifted to a discussion of what is meant by the word "consent," I'll be spending most of this post responding to Con's analysis on that.

Before I do, however, I have ot point out that Con has granted my entire argument from R2. Extend all benefits to the individuals involved and the benefits that result for society at large. Much as Con granted these arguments, I don't think he fully realizes just how much he did grant. Con granted that I'm providing additional security for necrophiliacs by providing information on how to stay safe while engaging in the act. Con granted that they are far less likely to engage in more extreme criminal acts, meaning that society is made safer as a whole. Con granted that these individuals will be more mentally sound, meaning they will drain fewer resources, and provide more to society at large through their actions.

Given all of this, Con's argument that "we call into question the entire structure of consent" is simply not going to stack up. Not only is this dramatically embellished " we're talking about a group of people who sign a contract before their death saying that they want this, so it hardly represents every single form of consent " but there's no warrants here at all, nor evidence to support it. I'll get into evidence that actually goes against it as I get into the definitional arguments.

So what's the problem we're having here on that end? It stems from a definition that Con presents in this round. He cites and recites the same portion because it's integral to his topicality argument here:

"there must be a choice between resistance and acquiescence."

In other words, what he's trying to argue here is that consent must be able to be withdrawn after a period of time. Since it is not possible to withdraw that consent when one is dead, and since a person providing their body for this purpose is certain to be dead when the act occurs, there is bound to be a period where they can no longer withdraw that consent. Therefore, it's no longer consent. (I hope I have this right, it took me a couple of reads to be certain)

I've got several responses.

1) I hate to play this card, but let's quote Con in R1:

"I accept the CON side in the debate over the resolution and subsequent policy outline provided, and move forward with all definitions provided in the opening statement."

The definition I provided in the first round did not include any of the verbiage he uses here. Con agreed to the definitions, and is now trying to alter them to suit his needs. By itself, that is at least a borderline conduct violation.

2) Let's look at the full definition. Much as Con cites a great deal of it, he leaves out the context for that most important part.

"In the context of rape, submission due to apprehension or terror is not real consent. There must be a choice between resistance and acquiescence. If a woman resists to the point where additional resistance would be futile or until her resistance is forcibly overcome, submission thereafter is not consent."

Note the important words here. This is within the context of rape, which means no prior consent could have been provided. Submission due to apprehension or terror isn't possible for a dead person. You cannot resist or acquiesce, because you're no longer alive.

In other words, this has nothing to do with consensual necrophilia. Con is trying to apply a standard that cannot exist for a dead person to a dead person, stating that they are incapable of consenting solely because they cannot engage in resistance. But this person has already acquiesced. The choice was made, and therefore consent was garnered.

3) Now, let's address the way that Con interprets that definition.

What Con's saying here is that a person cannot consent so long as they are not given the option to back out at any point up to the actual act. I'd say that's just plain wrong, on so many levels. To understand that, let's look at another definition of consent:

"A concurrence of wills. Express consent is that directly given, either lira voce or in writing. Implied consent is that manifested by signs, actions, or facts, or by inaction or silence, which raise a presumption that the consent has been given."

This is important. It means that a person can give consent at any single point. As Con says, a person can also remove that consent. But that act of removal is required for the consent to disappear. In other words, if a person gives consent that their body should be used for sexual purposes after they die, their consent doesn't die with them. Until the moment they die, they can rescind that consent. The fact that they cannot rescind it after death doesn't make their choice in this regard less consensual.

Signing that agreement is a form of express consent, which is given in writing. This conveyed by the definition:

"...consent in writing, including consent conveyed electronically that bears an electronic signature..."

So when Con says that my case "might fit under the idea of 'contractual necrophilia' but it is in no way 'consensual,'" he's actually making a delineation where there is none to be made. Consent occurs at the point of signature. Whether it can be rescinded after death doesn't change the fact that contractual and consensual are one in the same in this regard.

To understand this further, let's look at some examples. If a person wants to donate organs following their death, they sign an agreement to become an organ donor. When the doctors cut this person open to get their liver, the doctors are doing so with that person's consent. The same would be true if the person decided to donate their whole body to science " medical students would have the consent to cut up that corpse and further their understanding of human anatomy.

Let's look at other examples. A person writes and signs a will. That will guarantees that certain family members and friends will receive items of certain monetary values over a specific period of time. They die. The lawyer of that person still has that person's consent to distribute the items as specified in the will, in spite of the fact that the dead person is no longer alive to consent to it again.

Another example. Let's say instead of a will, you sign a living will. You want to be resuscitated in case of any medical emergency, no matter how dire. You go into a coma, and experience cardiac arrest. Your consent to pursue resuscitation still exists, despite the fact that you are incapable of affirming it.

In essence, consent does not disappear on death, no more than it does when one goes into a coma. Legal precedent backs me up on this. The laws governing organ donation and making anatomical gifts in general are spelled out plain as day in both the UK and US, and they all say that a person can consent before death to providing pieces of themselves or their entire body to groups or individuals.

I'd really like to see applicable court cases regarding consent from Con, though I imagine that all of the cases he would provide don't state that prior consent ends upon death.

That's not to mention that, from a common sense perspective, this would be absurd. Sure, we'd all like to be able to commune with the spirit world and make sure that the owner of those organs is still cool with giving them away to a worthy cause, but we can't. And we shouldn't pretend that that's what is necessary to obtain consent for something that already received it. Unless my opponent is suggesting that we end organ donation for want of consent upon receipt of the corpse, I think this point is pretty moot.

With that, I'll hand the debate back to my opponent.


kventling forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Well that's exceedingly disappointing. After his first round post, I was really hopeful that this would become an interesting debate, especially considering that he took the time to contact me before the debate and express his interest. He's been online several times over the last few days, so he had multiple opportunities to contact me and let me know that he wouldn't be able to post this round. However, I have said all I mean to say on this issue for the time being, so I hope that kventling posts in the final round so that we can finish this out. I will have to be firm and request that he sticks to the outline provided and not give new arguments in that round.


kventling forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
Murder and child abuse cause direct harm to other human beings. I'm arguing that completely disallowing a person to express their necrophilia is harmful to others as well. Would you care to contend that necrophilia is somehow on level with murder and child abuse, and if so, in what ways is this person harming others?

Whatever you may be, or however you may feel, this is an argument from a rational perspective. I would like to see some rationality from you if you wish to contend that I am wrong.
Posted by Finalfan 4 years ago
There is a point where people should not be allowed freedom or even to live! But luckily I am no judge or executioner! I would punish most of you! "If I were king for a day.. I would make sure there is no tomorrow"
Posted by Finalfan 4 years ago
People are just messed up! We all know it! We certainly do not need to even argue that! In the same sense that necrophilia should be illegal.. so should murder and child abuse! From my perspective.. We shouldn't even need laws. But not everyone is responsible enough to act right without a nanny slapping their hand!
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
Can we not argue the issue solely because you dislike it? Or do you have other reasons why you feel that consensual necrophilia is harmful to society?
Posted by Finalfan 4 years ago
Wow! People need to just stop! "To each their own"? I don't think so! Sometimes you are just F'd up!
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
Well, as this debate went nowhere fast, I'll be interested in finding a new opponent at some point to engage in this with. Send me a friend request and we can chat about it, or if you are already a friend, send me a message and I'll arrange the debate.
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
I thought along much the same lines, Wylted.
Posted by Wylted 4 years ago
@whiteflame, Interesting debate. I love seeing these these type of debates, when taken seriously.
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
Posted by Jifpop09 4 years ago
You got to be kidding me?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Damn another forfeit.
Vote Placed by Wylted 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I thought this was going to turn into an actual. Oh well maybe next time.