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Welcome to So That’s A Thing, the Sex Doc column’s monthly infotainment article about unusual alternative sexualities and fetishes. This week’s column is about people with a very high appetite, but not for regular old sex.

Rarely do I get questions about fantasies that have no actual grounding in reality. Most of the time, people write in asking about impossible (or at least inadvisable) sexual scenarios to satisfy their fetishy itch. Vorarephelia, or just VOR to it’s connoisseurs, is a fetish wherein one person (or creature or being) consumes another person whole.

Isn’t that just sexual cannibalism, you ask? (No, you’re really saying, “I don’t want to read this but I can’t turn away.” I know that.) Yes and no, but not really. Followers of the vorarephilia fetish — vore, for short — are not into the consumption of a “butchered” part the way cannibalization fetishists do as a means of sexual objectification and power over their victims. That is, however, often a subset of a murder fantasy. For the vast majority of vorarephilia lovers, the act is almost always a consensual one, at least in “soft core” vore.

Yes, that’s also a part of it, because of course it is. Vore is mostly divided between vore lovers who want a consensual act of swallowing, most of the time not resulting in the death of the food. They’re looking for the sensation of carrying an entire, intact, living person in their stomachs, but not like a pregnancy thing. It’s exactly like it sounds: swallowing someone whole and just letting them, well, hang out in there.

Some psychologists point to the consumption of another person as being the ultimate show of power over another person. For thousands of years, cannibalism has been used in war as a gesture to either humiliate your enemies or gain their powers and strength. Even in the last 30 or so years, cannibalism in Liberia has been confirmed as late as the 80s by Doctors Without Borders workers. But this kind of cannibalism is, for one, real, and two, is born usually out of necessity for food than for sexual gratification.

That’s why vorarephilia is fascinating. The vore folks like their food whole and often consenting, by and large, with the payoff being the simple “pleasure” of having a whole person stuffed inside you. Think more like the way a snake devours a warthog and goes trampsing through the tall grass with a pig-size hump in his gullet.

That’s another interesting side of vore that I’ve discovered. They claim an appearance of vore dates all the way back to Cronus eating his sons whole (thus enabling Zeus to free them years later), and Jonah being swallowed by the whale. Vore, according to vore-lovers, is as old as the concept of keeping records on paper.

While it would be easy to dismiss vore as just another weird psycho-sexual power thing, some forum writers conjectured that it’s a way for a male to fantasize about being pregnant without having to be penetrated as part of the fantasy. It’s also easier to understand when you see some of vore’s “lighter” kind of fan art, in which both the consumed and the consumer, in cutaway view, appear to be pretty cool with the situation.

And while you may not be into this, the communities that I skipped my smooth stone of inquiry over seemed to be teaming with the willing. And I have to say, I salute those who get off on, essentially, the ultimate food baby.

So that’s a thing.

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