Cannibalism is a strange beast. In most cultures eating another person is generally frowned upon. Most media tends to handle the subject one of two ways: either with horror or with dark humor. However there is a third way to use it: as a metaphor for sex.
At first such an idea might seem strange. After all, what do the two concepts have to do with each other? But upon further inspection they do have more in common than one might think. Both hunger and sexual desire are classified as "needs" and going without either for a long period of time can make the need for them feel all the more stronger. On top of that we have phrases like "sexual appetite" that combine hunger and lust into a single concept. People who lust after somebody are said to "hunger" for them. And in the actual act of lovemaking the man typically ends up "inside" the woman, just like he would if she ate him. Indeed, when a woman has a lot of sexual partners she is called a "maneater," implying that she not only sleeps with these men then ditches them, but devours them like hors d'oeuvres.
As a result media sometimes adds sexual undertones/overtones to the concept of eating another person. Often times this manifests as innuendo eating is pretty much a euphemism for sex. It also shows up as a metaphor for sexual power and dominance in characters like the Literal Maneater, who both titillates and devours her victims. A third way this trope can be used is the predator catching her (as it's often a her) prey in a manner that is reminiscent of a seduction.
A form of Does This Remind You of Anything?, Sub-Trope of Interplay of Sex and Violence. Hemo Erotic is the Sister Trope for when drinking blood is sexual. Literal Man Eater, where a Ms. Fanservice devours men, is a subtrope.
- Beastars combines this trope with Carnivore Confusion, blurring the line between the predatory urges carnivores feel toward herbivores and sexuality between the same. The below are just a few examples:
- When Legosi captures Haru outside the theater and clings to her, it would be easy to mistake his predatory musings for sexual excitement.
- It happens again when Juno pins Louis to the ground to make her 'declaration of war.'
- For carnivores, the ability to kill is seen as a sort of rite of passage not unlike losing virginity. Legosi tries to understand Tem's killer's perspective, even noting that he "has something he doesn't", by starting small and eating a larvae raw; and afterwards he shows textbook examples of a freshly unvirgin male (he's in pure bliss following the consumption, his fur grows back, he gets more confident).
- Even strip joints run on this sort of logic. One particular stripper notes that the crowd (which is made of mostly predators) gets more and more frenzied while she (a herbivore) does her thing on stage, and uses that power to her advantage.
- A lamb named Sebun, who ends up as Legosi's neighbor for various reasons, harbors suicidal urges of being devoured by a carnivore. Legosi, who is suffering "Meat Withdrawal" after eating Louis's leg at the latter's inclination to beat Riz, keeps accidentally creating situations that are this trope incarnate, complete with pinning her down and the two having heavy breaths.
- Pina and Melon both see predation as equal to male-on-female interactions, but take opposite stances. Pina understands how it feels to have indescribable lust for the opposite sex, and relates it to Legosi's urges to eat meat when he's alone with an herbivore; conversely, Melon was never able to understand the urge to "eat" rather than the urge to "kill", only awakening to it when he gets to know Haru.
- Played disturbingly literally in Mnemosyne. Angels (i.e. human men infected with time spores) are natural enemies of the immortals (infected women), because in their presence, the latter are so overcome with sexual desire that they willingly give themselves to the angels to devour (which seems to be the angels' sole motivation). There are even hints that the immortals perceive being eaten alive by an angel as intense sexual pleasure.
- Invoked in Claymore near the end, when Man Behind the Man Dae is gutted by Big Bad Priscilla, who then proceeds to eat his intestines. Dae claims that such an act is almost like a sexual intercourse, which causes Priscilla to pause and call him "creepy".
- In Fern Gully The Last Rain Forest, there is an extremely sexual song about how a Goanna wants to eat Zack.
- Jennifer's Body takes this concept and runs with it. Boys who are attracted to Jennifer get eaten by her, and she, a cheerleader is exclusively eating male victims. However her response to the concept of eating girls is "I go both ways."
- Raw, a French-Belgian horror film, features a young vegetarian who also has never had sex. The uncontrollable cannibalistic urges that arise after she is forced to eat meat are portrayed as sexual awakening.
- Trick 'r Treat: Laurie's friends reminisce about what sound like past sexual escapades, while teasing Laurie for being a "virgin'' and wanting her first time to be "special". Turns out they're all werewolves, and this is how they talk about killing and eating men, which Laurie hadn't done yet.
Laurie: I don't know why we drove out here when there are perfectly good guys in the city.
Janet: Fresh meat. [...] Last year we were in Tampa.
Maria: And we went as sexy nurses.
Danielle: No Janet, Tampa was two years ago, I remember because you puked doing a guy in his pickup truck.
Janet: I ate some bad Mexican, and it was a Jeep.
Danielle: Last year was San Diego. We dressed as sailors and ended up with sailors.
Janet: Yeah, and Maria's sailor was a girl.
Maria: So what, she had a nice ass! It all tastes the same to me anyway...
- In American Gods, Bilquis, the Biblical Queen of Sheba, now poses as a prostitute, where she draws power by consuming her customers through her vagina.
- In the Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina story "Lightlily: The Lovers' Tale" the Gotal Feltipern Trevagg keeps trying to woo the female H'nemthe M'iiyoom Onith, blissfully unaware that women in her culture gut their sexual partners with their tongues, which are extremely sharp. In the heat of the moment, Trevagg met a grisly fate. H'nemthe virgins kept on a strict vegetarian diet, presumably so that the first flesh they taste is that of their lovers.
- An episode of Supernatural had two people making out start eating each other because their "hunger" for each other activates the gluttony spell over the neighborhood.
- Motorhead's "In The Year Of The Wolf" connects this trope to reincarnation. Maybe.
It was the wolf in me,
I howled the cold night through,
The year I ran as a wolf,
Tonight the food is you.
- The nightmarish Vocaloid song "Full Course for Candy Addicts" (sung by Miku Hatsune, made by Machigerita-P) has lyrics that are clearly meant to be seen as being about cannibalism, but at the same time have a distinctly sexual undertone to them.
"I completely devourThe sweet chunk in my mouthWith an 'ecstatic expression'"
- Another song with that cannibalism=sex motif is "I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry", which details a young child getting away from their abuser only to come back to "get eaten again".
- Happens in Nurse Love Addiction if you get Itsuki's bad end, due to the character doing this being broken by her lover's death and misinterpreting her last wish.
- In Cultist Simulator, Grail is both the principle of the birth and the feast.
- In Goblins, Lizard Folk have Blue-and-Orange Morality compared to other sentient creatures which results in them viewing eating, mating and violence as different aspects of the same thing. K'seliss displays this point when he fondly tells Gremm an anecdote about showing his fondness for a female by eating all of her fingers, only to be outdone by another male who then ate her entire arm.
- In The Ren & Stimpy Show, during a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, Ren encounters and falls in love with a female bacterium. With their first kiss, she sucks out his skeleton, causing him to collapse into a puddle. He's far from displeased.
- There is a longstanding sexual fetish commonly known as vore, where sexual arousal is derived from depictions of being Swallowed Whole.