Hybristophila or otherwise known as Bonnie and Clyde syndrome is a mental perversion/disorder in which people, mainly women, will be attracted to someone who has committed a heinous crime, such as murder. Women are more likely to be affected by hybristophilia than men are, and studies have shown that over 70% of sexual misconduct cases within institutions were by women. Throughout history we have seen a trend of women flocking to celebrity criminals, such as Ted Bundy, and I’m one of them. This disorder is unusual, and possibly even unsettling for many, as it does pose the question of how could someone find a man who has done something so inexcusable as murder or even rape attractive? I discovered this fact about myself many years ago, even before I knew the word for the strange feelings I had raging within my own otherwise, caring and even compassionate self. I thought for a while before deciding to share this strange disorder that I have been holding secret since puberty and possibly even before then. I have decided to write this article to put a face, and a word, on this phenomenon. I’m not the only woman who has this disorder, but this is my own story, and I accept the possible backlash and confusion it may cause. I feel it’s important to tell my story, how it is to live with hybristophilia to inform others and to shine light on this unusual disorder that many women find themselves with. I’m here to share what it’s like to live with hybristophilia and to describe what that means for myself, my family and those around me.
I would like to say my attraction to serial killers and the general boogeymen in our world began at puberty, though even as young as three years old, I showed signs of being a bit off. When Dale Earnhardt perished in his fatal car accident when I was just five years old, my first reaction was wanting to see photos of the carnage. I couldn’t understand why those around me were upset, at 5 I understood death was a part of life, but I also understood my wanting to see such violent and upsetting photos was not normal. This is the first case in which I could remember possibly being drawn to the darker things within our world, and that’s also when I learned that it’s not okay to talk about it. As I grew and entered my formative years, I discovered pornography, with it starting as the typical HBO after dark specials. Over those years, I began finding myself attracted to things that most people would deem upsetting and graphic. I plunged into anything mentioning serial killers, reading books and researching men like Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez and the like. I knew that while I found these violent, dangerous and rather evil men attractive, that it wasn’t normal. Accepting that maybe I was just dark, or weird, I continued to divulge myself in books, videos and any other materials I could access.
At 15 years old I wrote a letter to Charles Manson, while not sexual in any form, when I asked my mother to send it, she rightfully refused and that was the end of it. I accepted that it wasn’t normal, and that I would not be able to converse with the men I had spent years learning about and secretly obsessing over. Behind closed doors, I continued to feed these urges and interests in secrecy, only sharing my strange attraction and obsession with those closest to me. I met my fiancé at 14 years old, and we have been together for 8 years now. He knows of my hybristophilia, and being off beat himself, is interested in the same things I am, though not to extent that I am either. As an adult now I have learned the word for my strange attraction to horrific men, and I have met many others who share this socially unacceptable disorder as well.
With my back story told, I would like to explain a bit of what it’s like to live with hybristophilia. Many would think that because those like me are attracted to these men, in one form or another, that we ourselves also wish to commit such grievous and violent acts. This is not always true, and I certainly do not wish to hurt anyone. I am no danger to those around me, and if I didn’t tell you or open up about this secret I carry, it’s unlikely you’d ever know of my attraction to these men. I live a relatively normal life, and am a mother to a wonderful son who I hope will grow up to be a caring, loving, productive member of society. I do not condone the actions of these men, but I do enjoy hearing of it, and find myself drawn to the dark sides of these men.
For myself, this attraction is not always sexual, and I often tend to place the level of attraction according to a multiple variety of factors. For instance, I have never viewed Charles Manson in a sexual light, at least I’m pretty positive I have not. I also cannot fathom to read about the awful acts that Adam Lanza committed at Sandy Hook. I tend to not be attracted to men who have hurt children, especially those who never even became a teenager. It’s not that I view one life more precious than another, and it’s not that I don’t feel and care for the victims, but I find myself being attracted to killers such as Bundy and Ramirez, not Albert Fish types. It’s very complicated to explain, how you can be attracted to someone who has killed, but not if that person has harmed children. I can’t describe it or fully explain it myself, so forgive this shortcoming. Living with hybristophilia can however pose some challenges. When we learn of a serial killer, many people react with disgust and fear, where I tend to react with extreme interest, attraction and sometimes even arousal. It’s strange to have these feelings, even with being generally opposed to the acts which they have committed.
For the most part, life with hybristophilia is just like any other life, and for all you would know, I could be your neighbor who would feed your pets when you go on vacation. I love animals, and want world peace, but I do accept and am enthralled by the dark side this world has. I cannot place my finger on one factor that these men possess that has me attracted to them, perhaps it’s the power, the cunning slyness, the intelligence, or even just their physical appearance. I do want to make it clear that while I have this secret dark side to myself, that it does not present itself in friendly, professional or any other aspect of my life outside of closed doors. I indulge in this subject matter purely at home, and I try to define a clear line of how and when I talk about such things. I understand this is upsetting to many, and quite mind boggling to think of. To be quite honest, I don’t fully understand why I am attracted to these men in the ways that I am.
You may also be wondering how this perversion affects my home life, my sex life and my relationship with my fiancé. My home life in relatively normal, we do not censor our son, but we do not put this material in front of him or even speak of it. We do openly watch horror movies, but never has he seen any true crime material, besides for the short clip on the evening news. We teach our son to be kind to others, to love others, not to hit and to be polite. This disorder has no effects on my parenting or on how I interact with my family and loved ones. While I do not wish to reveal my sex life entirely, this disorder can and sometimes does affect my sex life within my relationship, but my partner is open and understands sexuality and what some would consider “kinks.” Because of that, we balance our sexual life with each other in a variety of ways, while maintaining a loving and respectful relationship and sex life which we are both comfortable with. My relationship is not damaged or harmed by this disorder, though it could possibly be due to the open mind and similar interest of my fiancé. Keep in mind, my fiancé is not a hybristophiliac, but does find the criminology and mentally of these killers to be interesting. Because of this, he’s open and understanding to my strange attractions. And like with most normal relationships, our activities in the bedroom, stay within the bedroom.
Hybristophilia is hard to explain to those who have never experienced it, and writing this article, finding the right words to put in here has not been easy thus far. I want to make it clear I myself am not a monster, I don’t wish harm on people in general, but I do find myself strongly attracted to and even aroused by criminals. I would like to note that while I do have communications with men in prison, I do not find myself being attracted to them, and our relationships are kept extremely platonic. My fiancé knows of my friendships with criminals that are currently in prison for heinous acts, and he is not bothered by it. I love my fiancé, and these men which I converse with know it, therefore all communication is purely friendly and I have no desire to make it anything more than that either.
Hybristophilia is strange, and also can sometimes effect how your day goes. On days where that attraction and urge is particularly strong, I may spend hours searching, watching, reading on my preferred criminals. Ted Bundy and Richard Ramirez are the two in which I spend the most time indulging in, as strange and even horrific as that may sound. I may spend days of feeling this strong need, urge and desire to watch, read about, listen to and otherwise obsess over these men. Then after that urge has generally been met, I go back to being completely normal for a little while. However, my hybristophilia is ever present, always in the back of my mind, even when I’m not showing it in anyway. I find myself drawn to the darkest of this world, and it just doesn’t turn off, you can’t turn it off even when you want to. I have been able to live a relatively normal life though, and expect that to continue. I live with this disorder, even while realizing that these very men I am attracted to could have easily ended my own life. I cannot explain it completely, though I’m trying to. I do not believe that if I met these men, I’d be the magical angel which made them rethink their ways, suddenly settling down and living normal lives. I have no fantasies of saving them, or changing them. I fully understand what they are and what they have done, and I don’t make excuses for that. I completely understand that there is evil in this world, but I can’t help but find myself finding myself attracted to those who are evil.
I know all of this may be hard to understand, and I do not fault anyone for being repulsed by such a thing. Over the years, I have come to accept this disorder for what it is. I manage it in my own ways, and have no desire to harm others to fulfill my attraction to violence, gore and the men who carry these acts out. I’m just like you, except I don’t fear the monsters, I’m attracted to them.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section. I will try to answer any questions asked. Hybristophilia is hard to define, but it’s time that someone tries. If you would like more information on Hybristophilia, there are many online resources and published books that can be accessed. If you have Hybristophilia, or have anything to add, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.