Many of us are animal lovers and that is a good thing. Animals need our love and our attention and they do so much for us. We have animals as pets because they are just so cute and cuddly. We have animals that bring warmth and companionship to our lives and we have animals that work for us. Many lonely people depend on animals for companionship. Some of these people have little or no human contact. Other people rely on animals because of their work in the police force, or in various areas such as pet therapy. We all know the benefits a Seeing Eye dog or a dog for the hearing impaired bring to the people that they serve.
There is another area of animal love that is less talked about and that is zoophilia (Zoo meaning animal and philia meaning love). The area of bestiality would fall under this rubric. Bestiality is the practice of humans having sex with animals. A person who loves animals in this way is called a zoophile.
Zoophilia is not illegal in some countries; however, it is not widely accepted either. The act of having sex with animals is largely considered animal abuse and also a crime against nature.
Earliest research on bestiality
Zoophilia was first introduced into the field of human sexuality research in 1886. In his publication Psychopathia Sexualis, Austro-German sexologist and psychiatrist, Richard Von Kraft-Ebing decribed the attraction to animal skin and fur as zoophilia erotica.
In 1962 , Masters coined the term zoosadism to refer to humans who enjoy being cruel to animals. The extreme forms of zoosadism include necrozoophilia which includes the killing of animals in the process of sexual acts such as having sexual penetration with hens which will kill them. There is also strangling the animal at the point of orgasm, sexual mutilation, and sexual assault.
It must be noted that the desire to hurt the animal, zoosadism is still not the same as zoophilia which is the love for the animal.
Today researchers such as Dr. Stephanie LaFarge, director Director of Counseling at the ASPCA and assistant professor of psychiatry at the New Jersey Medical School make a distinction between zoophilia and bestiality. Zoophilia would simply be the desire to have sex with animals whereas bestiality would be the actual carrying out of the act. However, these terms are still interchangeable, and they also include a third term called paraphilia which refers to the preference of having sex with animals over sex with human partners.
Statistics on zoophilia
More recently in the 1980â€™s, new terms such as zoosexual or zoosexuality are now being used. Since the 1990â€™s zoophilia has been considered an alternative sexual orientation, (cited by Miletski, 1999).
The statistics very among time and populations studied. Kinsey reported roughly 8 percent of men and 4 percent of women were zoophiles in the 1960â€™s. By the 1970â€™s the farming community had diminished in size and reports of zoophiles and bestiality went down to about 4 percent in males and 1 percent in females. Miletski does not see the reduction due to interest but just due to opportunity.
However, there is still opportunity for domestic animals so to me this theory falls a little short.
Nancy Friday, who wrote My Secret Garden, a book chronicaling the sexual fantacies of 190 women included 23 fantacies about sexual activity with animals. Albeit, it is to be noted that a sexual fantasy is not acted upon and thus is not bestiality but remains zoophilia. Friday concluded that sexual fantacies involving animals are an escape from societyâ€™s rules, regulations and imposed values.
One study conducted among psychiatrict patients found that 55 percent of men and a 45 percent of females reported bestiality or sexual fantasies (roughly 30 percent) as compared to the control group (non psychiatrict patients including staff).
In 1980, Crepault and Couture found that 5 percent of the men they surveyed reported having fantacies of sexual activity with animals while have heterosexual intercourse. In 1982, another study showed that 5 percent of 186 university students surveyed had had some kind of sexual activity with an animal.
Masters found in 1962 that brothel acts often depicted women engaged in sexual activities with animals which aroused the male clientele and paved the way for the males to engage in bestiality.
There have been several studies indicating that women who watched the copulation of certain apes (bonobos) had stronger vaginal responses than when they watched non sexual films.
Massen (1994) stipulated that individuals who are sexually excited watching animals copulation show tendencies of latent zoophilia.
Zoosexuality and the law
Zoosexuality is illegal in the Netherlands, Canada and most of the United States. It is illegal in most of Australia but not illegal in New Zealand. In the UK only acts of penetration are illegal. Germay, Beligium and Russia permit certain sexual acts with animals but prohibit the distribution of animal pornography.