Fetish of the Week: Dacryphilia

Fetish of the Week: Dacryphilia

By Willow Monroe on February 23, 2012

Dacryphilia:  Also known as dacrylagnia, is a paraphilia in which one is aroused by tears or sobbing. The term covers all forms of pleasure from the tears of others. The arousal is achieved when viewing a person in emotional distress. Dacryphilia is sometimes used to express the pleasure experienced through one's own tears, often as an emotional release.   (Wikipedia, 2012)


The dacryphiliac gets turned on by tears, sobbing, and displays of raw emotion. Like all philias, dacryphilia is more common in men, and is regarded by the medical community as a psychological disorder.

My research indicates there are two different kinds of dacryphiles. The first type is something of a sadist who gets stimulated by the intense display of emotion, particularly tears,  caused by physical or verbal onslaughts. These dudes and dolls often are linked with the BDSM scene, and a dominant may physically torture the submissive to draw tears in a pain scene.  One such dacryphile writes:  

Evoking tears is unequivocally one of the most satisfying to my sadistic tendencies. Other sexually controlling behaviors are often fun, but may lack a real visual representation to validate whether or not I’m truly controlling her emotionally.

The sub in these types of BDSM scenes may or may not be a dacryphile themselves, but they do report being turned on by being “broken down,” and the intensity of emotion that comes with being abused and crying.  

The second kind of dacryphile seems to get aroused not  by being the cause of tears, but simply by their occurrence. They report no interest in seeing their lovers hurt, but rather struggle with conflicting feelings between their sexual arousal and the desire to protect or comfort the crier in question. One such gentleman writes:

“I definitely have dacryphilia. I get extremely turned on physically and emotionally by crying women. When I see a woman crying, I want to hold her and soothe her, make her feel safe and comforted. For that reason I tend to date needy women. I enjoy their vulnerability because of sympathy, not sadism. I also enjoy making them feel better.”

Another dacryphile, this time a woman, puts it this way:

“I’m a dacryphiliac and I would prefer not to be the one making the other person cry. I’m also a woman, not a dominant man, and comforting the crier is a major part of the fetish for me, as it is for many dacryphiliacs I have interacted with online.

Though I can’t claim that tears are my idea of sexy, I can say that some of the hottest sex of my life has gone down during times when emotions were running high. Make-up sex in general comes to mind as an immediate example, or, if you want a specific instance, the raunchy sex I had with my ex-boyfriend after his Mother died. Anger, pain, fear, love, and grief can all be powerful aphrodisiacs that take us out of the realm of the everyday and transport us physically and emotionally to new heights.   

I can’t help but wonder if the fetishization of crying and tears in dacryphiles is in some sense related to cultural mores and societal norms around the public display of emotion.  I mean, how often do we really let ourselves go and experience the full and complete range of our emotions? Truth is, many of us cut ourselves off from really feeling in our lives. And, it’s said that what resists, persists, so perhaps those with dacryphilia have eroticized the taboo of emotional displays that we at times so painstakingly avoid. 

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