By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
It's just before Thanksgiving and instead of roasting turkey with my family I'm in a whitebread suburb of Los Angeles, watching a woman being prepared as the main course of a feast. First, two female chefs strip the woman naked. They pull her arms back tightly and place her face-down on an oversize platter. They spread her legs wide, exposing her bald pussy, and use thick ropes to bind her ankles and wrists together at her thighs. They pour oil and honey over the woman until she glistens. They thrust a corncob into her vagina, shove a red apple into her mouth, and maneuver the platter into a large fake oven. After a while, the chefs remove the roast from the heat and poke a gigantic meat thermometer into her ass. The needle on the dial points to well-done pork. Dinner is served!
Cannibalism has existed around the globe and throughout history, but perhaps only in the 21st century has it become an erotic lifestyle. For tribal peoples, ritual anthropophagy was a way for the living to incorporate the powers of the dead. Christians symbolically consume the flesh and blood of Jesus as a means to experience communion with their God. But in 2001, a German computer programmer named Armin Meiwes killed, butchered, and ate a man he met in an online chat room for cannibal "fetishists." Meiwes's victim gave his videotaped consent to the procedure, even requesting his own penis as a last meal. Since the arrangement was consensual, the German judge sentenced Meiwes to only eight and a half years in prison.
For every Armin Meiwes there are probably thousands of self-described cannibal fetishists who never intend to kill or be killedthey only want to consume erotic stories, photographs, and videos showing humans as meat. Muki's Kitchen (mukiskitchen.com), the commercial porn site where I saw the human suckling pig, claims to sell hundreds of its photo portfolios a month (although thousands of visitors a day download the free previews). Gurgurant, a computer programmer who has been seeking "woman-eaters" like himself since the Internet's beginning, tells me that for every person who actually buys cannibal porn, there are hundreds of others who post on dozens of cannibal chat rooms and message boards. Any estimate of cannibal numbers would have to include "femcans" (men who want to be eaten by women), queers of all colors and tastes, and those who have yet to get online. Judging from my weekend visit, erotic cannibals are ordinary bourgeois kinksters. They might view cannibal porn and have vanilla sex, they might role-play online, or they might even oil up their wives in the privacy of their bedrooms, but they would never consider acting on their fantasies in anything but a safe, sane, and consensual manner.
Since opening in 1999, Muki's Kitchen has produced 62 photo portfolios, all serving up the same goofy plotline: A woman is captured, stripped, trussed, stuffed, and "cooked." Mr. Muki, himself a woman-eater, is the Kitchen's sole photographer, set builder, and webmaster. (Mr. Muki is his professional pseudonym: He leads an unassuming life supported partially by the website and partially by his wife, a corporate executive. Anonymity was a condition to the agreement that allowed this reporter access to a misunderstood scene.) "Every cannibal has a favorite recipe," he says. The most popular is the spit roast, a woman skewered through the vagina and out the moutha visual effect achieved through the use of cardboard tubes painted to resemble metal. There's also the face-down suckling pig, the parturition-style turkey girl, and finally the old cartoon-gag cliché, the jungle cannibal stew pot. These sometimes dorky pictures are actually more about food preparation than cannibalism: There's never any carving or eating.
"The reality of cannibalism would never live up to the fantasy," says Mr. Muki, smoking a postprandial pipe in the small courtyard outside of the studio. He's 45, with a short beard, nerdy glasses, a gray mullet. "If you really were going to eat somebody you'd have to behead them. You'd have to clean them out," he explains. "You'd have to skin them because humans have sweat glandsthey're not like chickens! But sex is all about skin!" He continues, "I think boobies are just great, but there's nothing edible in a boob. It's glands and fat. So that goes! This is getting pretty unattractive." In other words, Mr. Muki likes his meat tasteful. "I want it to be presented beautifully, like a Hollywood picture."
What made the photo shoot I witnessed unusual is that the main course was not simply another porn model from L.A.she is a bona fide "meatgirl," a woman who wants to be eaten. Meghan Vaughan, a 31-year-old artist living in Cincinnati, flew to L.A. to act out her fantasy of being served on a platter. She's among the half-dozen or so women, by Gurgurant's count, who have come out online as meatgirls, and while Mr. Muki claims that as many as 15 percent of his customers are female, Meghan is the only one to pose for the cannibal public. To Muki's male customers she is a dream come true, that exceedingly rare woman who actually gets off on fulfilling the fantasy they've lived with all their lives.