Finding the erotic in Brontë and Dickens: Dacryphilia continued (part 2)

In my last post, I introduced you to dacryphilia, the crying fetish. In my academic research, I’ve speculated that there could be three different interests within dacryphilia: (1) compassionate dacryphilia; (2) Dominant/submissive dacryphilia; and (3) curled-lip dacryphilia. This week, I want to go a bit deeper with all you fetish fetishists. So we’re going to take a closer look at how those with compassionate interests get sexually aroused.

Real life is shit

Some sex researchers think that someone can’t have a fetish unless they’ve engaged in ‘real-life’ sex with it. Depending on what the kink is, this might not involve full on fucking, but these peeps still believe some kind of actual contact is required. I disagree with this. We live in a digital world. In the Global North, we are most definitely cursed with heaps of technology and internet accessibility, which makes it entirely reasonable for someone to enjoy their sex life through a screen. When it comes to fetishes, I find it even more understandable that someone might never have direct contact with their object of desire. Kinks are often marginalised, either through being ridiculed or considered strange. Let’s take the example of vorarephilia, which involves arousal from the idea of being eaten, eating another person, or observing people eating each other. Any thoughts on how you’d go about finding a partner for that?

The same can be said for those with compassionate interests in dacryphilia. How easy do you think it is to explain to a boyfriend that you’re quite aroused when he cries? This was certainly the case for Angela M, who I interviewed back in 2013. When I asked her about how open she was with others about her kink, she told me:

And my lovers, I only had two. They knew about my fetish, the first sent me photos with him in distress or looking as if he was tearing up, just to make fun of me and the other was teasing me as well, unaware of how much profoundly I treated this issue.

So yeah, proper tough. Angela M is one of the most fascinating people I’ve interviewed, to the point that I actually wrote a case study of all the cool shit she told me about dacryphilia. It’s well worth a read if you’re into pretentious hipster musing on how the construction of fetish as intellect may in fact serve to legitimise a stigmatised sexual identity. If that’s not your cup of tea, read on!


We’ve already established that it might be difficult to experience compassionate dacryphilia in real-life. This was confirmed by Angela M when she told me “I don’t have any means to satisfy my kink but the videos.” So how exactly does she satisfy her kink? One common assumption is that people who are into crying get on Pornhub and search for crying videos. It’s not quite like that. Partly because the world of free porn is pretty restrictive and focusses more on crying women. More importantly, because the girls with compassionate interests want to see boys crying in more emotionally-charged scenes than the completely inauthentic ones typical of porno shoots. Check what Angela M had to say about her fantasies:

I like it when it happens all of the sudden and the character of my story is not willing to let go, to cry yet, he struggles, he represses, denies what he feels then…there’s this minutiae catharsis, when his eyes get flushed, well up with tears or the man is either shaken by sobs, has a breakdown or other such scenario. Such as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights before the death of his beloved Catherine, such as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, the Byronic hero, Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liasions.

Far from low-brow blue videos, Angela M is banging on about literary classics of the 19th and 20th century! And it’s not just literature:

That’s class A of types that I enjoy seeing. There’s also another class of men that are naturally gentle and cry more readily and they’re very candid when it happens, very at ease with their own emotions such as Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman or Pip in Great Expectations, Marco Zuluaga in Almodovar’s Hable con ella

Alongside another classic novel, Angela M’s expanded her repertoire to include theatre and arthouse cinema! There’s plenty of interesting stuff going on in this part of the interview. For example, there’s an apparent distinction being made between alpha and beta masculinities, which Angela M finds equally arousing. Elsewhere, we’ve got this whole idea of arousal via high-brow culture.

Oh so Dick-ensian

But for now, let’s focus on where Angela M finds her sexual inspiration. There’s the films of Pedro Almodovar, which are of course screen media and therefore seem to bear some resemblance to the concept of internet pornography. However, Angela M also cites a number of written texts. Essentially, she is finding the erotic in books that are ostensibly non-erotic. I find this brilliant. First, it shows the power of the human imagination, that an individual is able to follow characterisation throughout a novel to the extent that the character becomes real enough for her to orgasm.

Moreover, it challenges the idea of what the erotic is. While the erotic does refer to anything that is sexually arousing, we probably tend to think of it in normative terms. And this probably means thinking in inherently sexual terms, even if we aren’t considering outright sexual practices. However, in Angela M’s case, her masturbation material was likely never intended to be consumed as erotic. Yet the fact that she is able to consume it in this way displays the strength of interpretation and our ability to make of a cultural artifact what we desire. I really like that.

Next week: East 17 make a comeback!

If this post has been too long and rambling for you, don’t worry! My next post is the third and final installment in this mini-dacryphilia series. And it features Brian Harvey.


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