Guro: Extreme Hentai and Transgression

If you’ve hung about the Internet at least a bit, you must have heard about hentai. Whatever trick turns you on, even more so if you fancied C-18 when you were little, these porn mangas and anime were made just for you. But beyond the so-called “classic” fantasies, they also stage the most unusual – and often illegal – paraphilias. Since hentai is no more than drawings, only limited by the imagination of their author, many particularly extreme subcategories coexist in the genre. The weirdest of them probably is the guro (from “ero guro nansensu”), where nothing is forbidden. Absolutely nothing. Free for all. A simple Google search gives access to the images as well as the communities producing and consuming them, brought together on websites where the guro continuously deploys new ramifications.

A discreet but active community

Spiderlol

The now famous shokushu and his pack of slimy tentacles looks dead boring compared to what this section of the web has to offer: here we’re talking about manga heroines in morbid-obesity mode, hybrids and hominoids, raping spiders, penetrations through the navel, the ears, or the eyes… and the list goes on, and on, and on. The hundreds, thousands of images coming from Japan also found their audience in the West through the byways of Internet.  Who is producing these contents? Most of the time, it is the members of this restricted community themselves who act as improvised cartoonists to satisfy their own needs, even if most of the images originate from Japan.

Producers and consumers listen to one another, they exchange and mingle in an atmosphere of sharing that is truly stunning, a world where everyone seems to know each other. Average age: twenty-five; no trolls, no flame, no internal wars. A genuine autarky, joyous and relaxed, filled with translucent jelly-like lolis.

The way the Japanese approach sexuality and pornography is complex, contradictory on many levels, and most of all hardly accessible to Western sensitivities. Still, the fact remains that those fantasies are not endemic to Japan, and that a good number of them deserve special attention. Exceptional cases, whose very existence reveals the infinite refinement of the mechanisms underlying arousal. Compendium.

Misshapen and bendable bodies

Squashed

Let’s start with distortion. The human body is deprived of its very structure. It becomes malleable and can take any shape its designer wishes to give it. Lovely schoolgirls thus end up spherical, cubic or even flattened. The ways to reach that result are an integral part of the fantasy: steamroller or rolling pin, pumps of various sizes and shapes, demonic assembly lines, you name it.

The frozen characters are reduced to consciousness-endowed objects: unable to move about, totally vulnerable, and exploitable ad libitum. Sometimes, the drawings go with a little story: “Hadn’t she been flattened like a sheet of paper, I’d already been fucking her. But given the state she was in, I didn’t really know what to do. Then I had an idea. I grabbed her by the head and rolled her up… I sat on the edge of the bed, and started rubbing my cock inside that tube of flesh, very gently… Then I cut her into tiny bits with a pair of scissors.”

As for the swollen or cubic bodies, the idea is the same: domination, from creation, through sexual use, to destruction. The spherical shape is supposed to expand all orifices, while the cubic shape erases the body to better display its sexual attributes. Questioned about this, the connoisseurs of this kind of distortions are unanimous: the complete power over the body forms the fantasy’s very crux. In an attempt to explain this along psychoanalytical patterns, some evoke the natural attraction all men feel towards breasts and buttocks, the soft tissues of the feminine anatomy, or the modeling clay they played with when they were boys. According to them, this genre projects those properties on the whole body. Subdued to their good will, totally malleable, those creatures are comforting, inviting: a brutal form of God complex, in the sex realm.

The body mod: pimp my body

Peach

Other sub-genders of guro emanated from this domination fantasy by ways of body-distortion. Among the SWB (for Short Wheel Base) buffs, the body parts judged useless are plain suppressed. What comes out? Insane creatures composed only of butts, boobs, and genitals. Yet with a well-aware head set on top. Some judge SWB too shapeless to be attractive and rather seek their happiness with hybrid creatures, midway between a woman and… a vase. They are called the Ladypots, alive, fragile, vulnerable = very exciting. Others dig heads – just heads, separate from the body. Also they are conscious, in a Reanimator style. In the “body modification” fantasies, the lack or loss of ability to move is crucial. The consumers of that kind of pornographic material explain it comes from the same track of thought as bondage. Except hentai allows the representation of everything: you can therefore fantasize unfettered about irreversible immobilization and the ultimate domination that ensues from it. An even more extreme version of what many already consider as hard-core fantasy.

But if the guro’s body mods often push the domination/submission bondage logic to the limit, sadomasochism isn’t left behind. That’s when we drift towards snuff manga. Pain and death are the two main pornographic resources of this kind of images, basically consisting in the representation of  young women dismembered, eviscerated… murdered,  as part of the sexual act. Porn dedicated to ultimate sadists, those answering to the sweet name of erotophonophiliacs.

Murder, torture, and transgression

Guro

Aroused by murder and torture, few accept to talk about their fantasy. They shouldn’t, nevertheless, be confused with the necrophiliacs, who are closer to the total-domination lovers, and who, on their part, are not afraid to speak out: “A corpse is the perfect slave; it won’t thrash about, it will never say no, won’t make the slightest noise whatever you do to it. Its sole purpose is your pleasure.”

The sadists digging the “torture porn” type of guro often have big trouble explaining the mechanisms of their fantasy. Some place the source of their arousal in the transgressive aspect of the performed act, when others completely deny it with a very open scorn. Each path seems different. One Internet user comments on the fetishisation of the fear of death, another one evokes the way it is his passion for screams of all sorts that lead him to guro. Some are aroused only by blood and viscera, others by “the anger, the distress in [the] eyes” of the characters tortured on screen.

For most experts, erotophonophilia is the most extreme of all paraphilias, very rare, and generally indicating some deep psychological disorder in the range of psychopathy. It often goes with necrophilia or cannibalism. Still, nobody managed to identify the roots of that kind of fantasies. What we do know is that they are commonly found among serial killers. Yet all the guro consumers we discovered, and who dared talking about their dreams, swear they are living a fully normal life and that no murder urge ever crossed their mind. Or almost. “I feel I have the same problem as a rapist or a murderer, except one crucial difference remains… I for my part can keep myself from committing those deeds in real life.” A few lines before that, the same person wrote: “You try oral sex, then you wonder what anal sex is like, so you try anal, and then you ask yourself what lung, guts or inverted-oral sex looks like. Think about that.” OK.

A victimless release

Zombie

Paraphilia is described as “the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations, or individuals”. At this time, 549 have been counted. Some of those behaviors are thankfully illegal: pedophilia, necrophilia, erotophonophilia… just so many urges or fantasies that cannot and shall not be satisfied at the expense of anybody. Personal freedom, confirmed by the liberty of all, extends to infinity. A shot sentence that sounds a little cliché but needs to be reminded.

So the freaks hanging out in Hidden Wiki land or creeping into cemeteries, shovel in hand and short-winded, are criminals. But there are also many other people who will never act out their likings and who, ashamed, will never talk about their turmoil to anyone. For those people, sex is an inexhaustible source of pain and frustration. Presumed guilty without having ever committed any crime, they dare not ask for help and often sink into depression. One nice example of thoughtcrime.

Guro offers an alternative to those who are prisoners of their fantasies, whether they are harmless or hypothetically dangerous. A small release with no victim. However, there is a heated debate about the effect produced by those images. Several long-term studies show that the boom of porn had a positive impact on the number of sex crimes in Japan. What about the ultra-violent guro? Does it relieve the urges, or, on the contrary, make them even more demanding? The answer to that question is far more difficult to obtain, because the disorder only concerns a very small minority. It nevertheless seems that such porn material enables a good number of people to clench their needs without having to hurt anybody. Caution: statistics can be traitorous. By no means should those images be a definitive solution substituting for psychological follow-up. Despite everything, studies as well as testimonies of regular guro users underline the benefits of porn. It’s literally FAP against crime; so why not accepting to engage in such a reflection about those images and the way they are used? It is more than time we reconsidered our definition of so-called “normal” sexuality, to help the harmless “perverts” to overcome their complexes, and help the people who could loose it and act out.

Originally translated from this post by Ms. Alice

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