Kink of the Week: Dacryphilia

Lips that taste of tears, they say, are the best for kissing.
– Dorothy Parker

Also known as dacrylagnia, dacryphilia is a form of paraphilia (sexual arousal from something outside of the normative) in which one is aroused by tears, or sobbing.  BDSM Dictionary

While reading more about dacryphilia for this posting, I noticed that number of sources linked dacryphilia not only to tears, but the display of strong emotion.  Some sites went so far as to link it to pleasure received from the release that accompanies crying  – like an emotional catharsis.  Once again, we see another fine line in the kinkoverse.  Sexual arousal can follow intense experiences; anger, aggression, crying; but is it the tears themselves causing arousal, or simply the surge of emotion, or sense of passion too few feel in their daily lives?

Like rough body play,  play that contains crying can be hard for people to watch.  So often tears are associate with negative things, it can be heartbreaking to sit back and observe someone we perceive to be in emotional distress; particularly if they are someone we care for.  It’s times like this I wish I could get inside the head of someone with a dac fetish, I’m willing to wager there is an internal struggle between being the protector, and the bully.  After all, some of the rawest, and most honest emotions come from dark places; intense pain, or psychological play (like degradation or humiliation – and not in that fun Who’s a dirty whore? way).  For many criers the tears simply will not come until a line has been crossed (as it was put in the FetLife Dacryphilia group “willing participants rarely cry”.  But there is a difference between shoving someone over the line then pulling them back, and kicking them over that line, then metaphorically kick them when they’re already down.

I wonder how easily can the top tell the difference between crying from a good place vs a  bad place, and at the time, do they even care? Do they feel guilt or shame for their arousal at the distress of another?  Is this a type of play that requires after care for the top?  What if it’s in a non-sexualized context?

Yes, there are lots of questions.

From the giving side of the power exchange, the appeal is easily understandable.  Emotional control, especially in public, is something people fight so hard to  maintain.  To be pushed to a place where we can let that particular control go is seductive.  I often wonder when I hear people say they want to be broken if they really mean they want a space safe enough to have an emotional breakdown in.

If you’re looking to learn more about dacryphilia, you’re going to have your work cut out for you.  Psychology sites have a lot to say about the emotional aspect of tears, but little about dac.  SSBB will bring up lots of result for tears, but it’s mostly scene reports, or posts asking for someone who will make them cry.  I’d recommend joining the Fetlife Dacryphilia Group, or striking up a conversation with that top you’ve seen grinning ear to ear as their bottom bawls before them.

19 thoughts on “Kink of the Week: Dacryphilia

  1. Alecto McAllistor says:

    I believe I have dacryphilia, not quite sure, but I can answer some questions, in my perspective.
    Though I’m not into the bdsm scene, I do get almost instant arousal from the /sound/ of sobbing. It’s usually on the phone and not in person or caused by myself. (As in, I don’t hurt my partner to get that response, it just occurs on its own.)
    The struggle, personally, is between wanting to be the protector or comforter and the arousal, which does lead to guilt.
    I don’t really have more to say, but this is the most I’ve found on the web ^^

  2. kinkopedia says:

    Hey Alecto

    I’m glad you wandered through. For what it’s worth, there’s a lot of people who struggle with the same thing. If you’re interested in connecting with any of them I’d really recommending checking out some of the groups on FetLife – there’s a lot of people with similar interest.

  3. Nick says:

    Hi Kinkopedia,

    I definitely have dacryphilia. I get extremely turned on physically and emotionally by crying women. But its not because I’m sadistic, its because I’m gentle and caring. 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. I also love that moment when a woman laughs after she’s been crying and she really feels better. When I was 15 I had my first experience with a girl I was good friends with. She was crying and I was hugging her and comforting her. And she just grabbed me and started kissing me..

    As for reasons why, I had a bad childhood and I got picked on a lot as a kid. So when I got older I stood up to bullies and was protective of people I cared about.

    It’s kind of the opposite motivation as what you discussed in your post. The dacs you mentioned seem to enjoy visual proof that they are hurting someone.

    Hope that gives you some useful info.

  4. Matt says:

    I am a dacryphiliac as well however, perhaps I can provide more insight on the seemingly ‘traditional’ dac who does derive his/her enjoyment from the physical representation of an emotional display within a more sadistic context.

    As kinko touched on in the original text, for someone with the intent to control, crying is a very immediate way to know that you have altered one’s emotions to a specific state. When one sees or hears these tears/sobbing that they are personally responsible for, the acknowledgement that you’ve controlled and intentionally shifted their emotional state is instant. This creates a method of instant gratification for one’s need to control that any Dom or borderline sadist will at the very least get a small thrill out of.

    I have practiced dacryphilia in my intimate life within my long-term relationship and can personally attest that I receive the same (or at least similar) pleasure/enjoyment from drawing tears through physical pain as from drawing tears with emotional degradation. My girlfriend is attune to this and participates rather willingly. The difference with this practice, as said before, is that it’s one of the few methods of instant gratification that one can have within a sexually controlled environment. I have experimented with other forms of sexually controlling and otherwise “BDSM” behaviors (such as tying her up, urine play, D/s play, etc) and found that 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.

    In attempt to put that last concept a bit more simply, I’ll use a rough example of an inner monologue myself or another sadist might have running through their head in two different situations (one typical BDSM act, and one dacryphilic act). One way to think of it is “Okay, I tied her up, I can do what I want to her… but she’s staring up at me with a neutral expression. What is she ‘thinking’? Am I actually controlling her emotions or am I merely physically overpowering her?”
    Indeed with this example there is a level of uncertainty upon the initial act of tying someone up.

    Obviously now to throw the converse comparison against that, one can see the appeal of actually evoking tears instead… “I’ve degraded her, I’ve pinched and spanked her. She’s crying now. I can see her tears, I know she is both physically and emotionally vulnerable to me as she looks up at me through her watery eyes, awaiting my next actions submissively. There is no doubt in my mind that I have caused this within her”.

    I hope the contrast of those two examples may potentially make it a bit more plain to see why a dacryphilic route could be found pretty desirable to a Dom/sadist. Above all, I recognize that the previously written material is my personal feelings/experiences with dacryphilia, and does not necessarily generalize to everyone. That being said, my aim here was to provide insight to the mind of a dacryphiliac who does cause the tears himself, in hopes that anyone attempting to gain a psychological understanding or research perspective on this practice may have a decent foundation to start on.

    I’m a psychology student myself and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we all have our own kinks and fetishes at some level. So I have no qualms with sharing mine. Feel free to post feedback/questions.

    On an entirely separate note, I wanted to take a second to talk about the post above me:

    I would respectfully argue that someone like Nick (posted above) doesn’t actually have dacryphilia, as he doesn’t get pleasure/enjoyment from the tears itself, but rather the inevitable opportunity to provide the comfort thereafter. Through a series of repetitions with this behavior, he’s likely come to associate a good feeling with someone crying merely because he now knows he has the opportunity to enact upon his real pleasure, comforting them. For further evidence, I’d like to point out that he himself doesn’t make the woman cry because he isn’t sadistic. Not to say that I don’t believe non-causal participants can be dacryphiliacs, it’s just that given the information read in Nick’s post as opposed to my personal knowledge of dacryphilia, it would seem Nick doesn’t directly fall under the criteria. This is likely a good thing, and probably healthier for him as well that he finds his pleasure from comforting others instead of the crying itself.

    Thanks for reading,

    1. Sweet girl says:

      Thank you for your very thought out comment Matt -I found it very insightful (and I’m showing this to my Master for sure), I do have one question though (especially since you are a psych student): what do you think this desire stems from? (OK kinda an impossible question I realize that!) Hmm maybe better put; what is it about it that makes you tick, and why?

      PS. Agree with you fully about Nick, was the first thing that came to my mind as well when reading.

  5. beelzibubbles says:

    I’ve always felt sort of aroused by some highly emotional scenes in films, most often it turns out that the actor went to a pretty dark place to find and express the required emotion. Generic crying scenes (more often female) elicit no response save for irritation. So it has to be a real outpouring of strong emotion for me to respond.
    In real life it’s a little more complicated; if it’s a family member, I feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed but if it’s a friend/partner I may react intensely. Though it feels similar to an adrenaline rush I often also feel the need to protect and provide comfort, I could never bear to be the cause of their grief.
    I also love it when people get the giggles, it’s almost like I feel what they’re feeling through them in a way I find difficult to articulate.

  6. Elle says:

    Hmm, it was never sexual for me (but I hadn’t hit puberty, so), but when I was younger I used to make people cry and then apologize over and over, so that they would come to me for comfort. Now that I’m not a child, I know this isn’t really a nice or socially acceptable thing to do, so I haven’t since then. I don’t know if it would be sexually pleasurable to me now, but I’m sure it would still be emotionally satisfying. I remember I used to feel guilty about having made them cry in the first place, but at the same time happy that I had the power to influence them that way, and then to give them back their happiness as well. It was really gratifying; I did it a LOT.
    I know that now, though, I do really love seeing people being very vulnerable, and that includes crying, as well as being sick or hurt, or somehow really opening themselves to another person in a way that makes it easy for them to become hurt/sick/upset. That is kind of in a sexual way. I want to be there to comfort them, but… I also enjoy seeing them suffer, because I think it’s kind of beautiful? I mean, I know I’m sort of sadistic. I don’t know if it’s dacryphilia?

  7. Kendra says:

    After reading through everything, and being a Woman new to this aspect of the lifestyle, I’m of course curious and intrigued. I also would like to think Kinko for bringing up this topic. It is both insightful and thought provoking.

    Matt, thank you as well for your input. Your experience is enlightening, perhaps a bit disturbing, but enjoyable to read and I’m glad I stumbled upon it.

    I am curious to hear, from Matt, or any Dom/me or submissive on thoughts and feelings and experiences from the submissive’s perspective. The Dominant gets this instant, tactile gratification from seeing that he or she has controlled the submissive’s emotions and altered that submissive’s emotional state. But, so far I’ve not seen any input from the submissive’s perspective.

    I encourage such insight. How does Dacryphilia feel from the one doing the crying? What goes through that one’s mind when the tears come? Is that submissive fulfilled, knowing that his or her tears and emotional distress are bringing the Dominant pleasure? What is going through the mind and heart of the one doing the weeping, I am curious to understand.

    1. Heather says:

      Hi Kendra, glad you found/liked this too!

      I wouldn’t say I have a Dac fetish, that is to say it doesn’t turn me on to cry, and in the moment I’m not crying because of my partner finds it attractive; I’m crying because that is what needs to (or is going to) come out.

      I’m an emotional person though; I have big feelings, and in the moment I’m down with expressing them – it was never a struggle.

      My struggle came *after* our sessions were over. My first urge after play used to be to run to the bathroom and fix myself up – wash the mascara streaks from my cheeks, redo my hair. I was desperate to regain some of the control I’d lost while playing and having that emotional outpouring…. gah! In the moment it felt cleansing, but afterwards I’d struggle with feelings of embarrassment, loss of control, shame…. hard emotions to fit through.

      One partner, however, made a rule that I wasn’t allowed to clean my face up after play – not until we’d parted ways. As long as I was still with them, they wanted to see what they had done. They said it was like art they wanted to admire, and spoke of how seeing it evoked the memory of our play and feelings of power.

      During that relationship I got more comfortable with not rushing to clean myself up and regain control after a scene. First because it wasn’t an option, and second because when I was with my partner, I wasn’t in control – they were, so I had a layer of protection over my vulnerability.

      That’s what was going on with me during those times. I’ll put out a call and see if I can’t get a few more answers for you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’d just like to add from my point of view. I know I’m a bit late to the party but here I go. As a dac I am aroused by the sight of a person crying, I find it extremely aesthetic. How eyes get lighter when they water up with tears, the quivering lip maybe some blotches, they all look really good to me. Not only does the sight excite me, but the overwhelming urge to just kiss them all over in order to comfort them but also release arousal, well it just gets me even more fired up. I also kind of enjoy the notion of a man breaking the “rules” of masculinity and being comfortable enough to cry in front of me. That’s just me though.

    1. Heather says:

      Are you able to expand upon what you mean by the bottom line?

      Also re: source – do you mean about the definition of dacryphilia? Well the link appears to be dead now, but I am highly confident that is indeed the meaning of the word. Compare the definitions with various ones that come up in a google search and you’ll see they are they same. I don’t mean for that to sound all ‘appeal to popularity’ but consensus around language really is what makes meaning.

    1. Heather says:

      That’s really interesting. What would you say the non-sadomasochistic types of dacryphilia are? I always thought them to be rather related to kink, if not specifically sadism and masochism due to them being Philias.

      1. TorNorth says:

        In the forum that I linked to, the majority’s interest seems to be “comfort”, where they desire to comfort a crying person. This is more prevalent among the female forum members. The next largest interest in watching or interacting with the running tears of a crying person, which is more prevalent among the male members. Though both sexes can have other interests. Other interests include watching someone crying with tissues/handkerchiefs and watching a crying person’s throat quiver and pulsate. My own interest is also rare, I like watching women crying with their bottom lip curled/bulged out – only one other member shares this interest with me.

  9. Ishmael Abraham says:

    I am an orthodox and orthoprax Muslim electrical engineer from Pakistan and I am a student of sacred texts of Tafsir, Hadith, Ahlulbayt and Tabligh(reaching out to humanity with divine message of pan-racial unity through faith in One God and to recognize each other). The Dororthy Parker quote made me curious about her transcendental beliefs and I discovered that I have genetic affinity with her Jewish roots. I wanted ideas about fun in my future marriage, so I talked to fans of A Funny Kind of Love which discussed Dacryphilia. I learnt a new word and I coined one of my own that I am pedodacryphobic which means I feel unusually painful when I hear a baby crying 🙂 The feelings of Nick about wanting to comfort a crying woman alleviated my spiritual uneasiness with the concept, because urbandictionary records an entry of arousal at wife’s parents’ funeral by watching her cry.

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