Q: Bernd Brandes was recorded on video in 2001 eating his own penis. Brandes isn’t an auto-fellator, like others who’ve written in, but a man who wanted to be eaten by a cannibal. He found one on the Internet, and allowed this man to cut off his penis and fry it in a pan. Brandes’ penis was overcooked and rather tough, it turns out, but the man who fried Brandes’ penis, Armin Meiwes, killed Brandes anyway and ate other parts of him. Meiwes told a German court that eating Brandes was like taking communion.
Is Meiwes (who had the presence of mind to videotape himself asking Brandes if he wanted to be killed and eaten before killing and eating him) guilty of murdering his alleged victim — or is he guilty of a lesser crime? And why did the Washington Post not include the bit about the penis in a recent story about the trial? Why has media coverage about this been so light in this country and so intense elsewhere? —Something’s Eating Me
A: First, the penis-frying, video-making, and Internet-sex-partner-butchering went down in Germany, and both the man whose penis got fried and the man who fried it were Germans. While Americans made a feeble effort to appear to take an interest in the rest of the world after September 11, things have pretty much returned to normal around here. (Brandes’ murder took place in March 2001, but it wasn’t discovered until December 2002.) If it didn’t happen to Ben and J.Lo or Michael and that kid with cancer, then it might as well not have happened at all.
Second, the American media is busy covering two homegrown sex scandals — the aforementioned Michael Jackson scandal and the big Abercrombie & Fitch porn mag-as-clothing-catalog controversy. (Let’s pause here and mourn the passing of A&F Quarterly, that company’s crass, manipulative, transparent, and wildly successful effort to sell T-shirts and boxer shorts by draping them on or near impossibly good-looking young men and women posed in tableaux that suggested group sex, homosexual acts, sexual assault, female-on-male rape or all of the above. Bowing to pressure from killjoys, A&F recently announced that it was discontinuing the catalog.)
But the British press has never been able to resist a good gay sex-cannibal story. (The Times of London had a field day when Prince Charles ate his valet.) Here are other details the American press isn’t reporting: According to the BBC, Meiwes had fantasized since age 8 about killing and eating someone. According to the Mirror, Meiwes turned down two men who volunteered to be his victims before he killed and ate Brandes. Meiwes rejected one man for being too fat, revealing himself to be a sizeist gay sex-cannibal. The other reject “wanted me to burn his balls with a flamethrower and hammer his body down with nails and pins while he was whipped to death,” Meiwes said. “I found that a bit weird.” (You know you’re a freak when you’re a bit too weird for a gay sex cannibal.) But the Guardian has the most disturbing details of all: After cutting off and eating Brandes’ penis, Mr. Meiwes sat down and … Jesus, it’s difficult even to type this … “read a Star Trek novel.” Eesh.
Anyway, is Meiwes guilty of murder? At the risk of pissing off the cannibal community — and yes, Virginia, there is a “cannibal community” (a handful of “cannibal supporters” have been attending Meiwes’ trial, lending him their “moral” support) — I take a hard-line position on cannibalism. Gosh darn it, I just think it’s wrong. Meiwes may have had his victim’s consent — Brandes’ consumption was not only videotaped but also devoutly wished for — but there are times when the very act of giving your consent proves you’re not competent to give your consent. A perfectly healthy person who consents to his own sexualized murder, for instance, and eats his own tough, overcooked penis before being killed, is in need of mental help, not meat tenderizer. His consent is meaningless, and obtaining it does not exonerate the man who murdered him.
But guess what? Despite the fact that he videotaped his crime — the tape is two hours long, will likely be released to the public during the ongoing trial, and includes video of Meiwes butchering Brandes “in a ‘slaughtering room’ he had built [in his mansion] containing meat hooks, a cage, and a butcher’s table” — Meiwes may not go to prison. Cannibalism is not a crime under German law, and since Brandes volunteered — and since Meiwes can prove it — under German law this may not be murder. Just dinner.
Q: If the curvature of Puzzled About Down Under’s boyfriend’s dick is painful, he should see a urologist. A dick that’s pointing down — like Gonzo’s nose — sounds very much like Peyronie’s disease, a urological condition. Sometimes, the curvature is so severe that it makes intercourse painfully impossible. There are well-accepted surgical procedures to straighten out one’s member. As a urological surgeon, I’ve seen many people who went far too long without treatment because they’re ill-informed or embarrassed. —Dick Doc
A: I stand corrected, DD, though PADU didn’t say anything about her boyfriend — or herself — experiencing any discomfort. Still, if PADU’s boyfriend wants to get himself straightened out, he should contact a urologist. But she might not want him to after reading this next letter.
Q: In your reply to Puzzled About Down Under about her boyfriend’s Gonzo dick, you forgot an advantage that I’m sure she’ll appreciate. I’ve got a Gonzo dick, and my last girlfriend loved it when I took her from behind. The downward curve allowed me to effortlessly stimulate her G spot in any back-door position. I am sure if PADU got on all fours and arched her back, she would be screaming for more Muppet love in no time. —Boner Eschews Northern Trajectory
A: Thanks for sharing, BENT. And we’ll wrap up this week’s column with another helpful hint from a reader.
Q: A suggestion to the girl who has been having painful anal sex with her boyfriend: I’m a woman who loves anal sex, but the only way it can happen without hurting is if I’ve had an orgasm first. Once I come, I’m all relaxed down there, and I’m still horny, if not more horny, than I was before. My ass isn’t all tensed up, his penis slides in with relative ease, and everybody’s happy. It is still important to start off slowly and carefully, but it’s a great method to make it feel great instead of painful. —Orgasms Make It Better
A: Thanks for sharing, OMIB.Contact Dan Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org