Road kill for hot lady drivers

In 1960, the American Journal of Psychiatry reported on “an unusual perversion”, in a case of a man with “the desire to be injured by an automobile operated by a woman.”

The patient, a man in his late twenties, reported a periodic desire to be injured by a woman operating an automobile. This wish, present since adolescence, he had by dint of great ingenuity and effort, gratified hundreds of times without serious injury or detection. Satisfaction could be obtained by inhaling exhaust fumes, having a limb run over on a yielding surface to avoid appreciable damage or by being pressed against a wall by the vehicle.

Gratification was enhanced if the woman were attractive by conventional standards. Injuries inflicted by men operating automobiles or other types of injury inflicted by women had no meaning. He experienced pleasure from the experience, thus establishing the symptom as a perversion rather than a compulsion.

Although psychiatry no longer uses the word perversion (problematic sexual compulsions are now called ‘paraphilias‘) the introduction to the case study says, in a rather understated way, that “some perversions, while representing formidable psychopathology, are also tributes to the complexity of the human mind.”

The article additionally notes that the patient “was ashamed of his symptom but somewhat proud of its unusual nature.”

Link to PubMed entry for case study.

10 thoughts on “Road kill for hot lady drivers”

  1. Cronenberg’s film was based on J.G. Ballard’s infamous novel. As a medical doctor, Ballard might have been aware of this article, in fact.

    1. Ballard studied medicine before diverting into writing, but was never a doctor. No doubt his studies informed his writing and I am sure he kept abreast of medical and mental abnormalities.

  2. “The patient ‘was ashamed of his symptom but somewhat proud of its unusual nature” – the author has said something deep here. Sounds like a definition of the blend of neuroticism and narcissism known as ‘the inner life’.

  3. It’s amazing how JG Ballard will be forever linked to car crash sex, but this cat is not ballardian… in Crash sexual excitement is linked to technology, not to the sex or appearance of the driver.

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