Zoophilia, also referred to as “Bestiality” is something that animal lovers such as me did or may face accusation of at some point (or at various points) in our life. Growing up it was common for me to hear or read the words, “You love animals? I bet you have sex with them!” followed by impish smiles from my peers or giggles that sent tingles down my unnerved spine. It was hurtful to say the least, and at the time I would defend myself, but deep down I wondered: “Do I want to have sex with animals?” It was an interesting topic to differentiate between: animal love and animal lust, especially in the throes of accusations that I was, indeed a zoophile. Toss in the fact that I was a skeptical, meandering teenager still learning where my balance point was and you had yourself a confused, ashamed blonde girl who just happened to love giving her horses and dogs kisses and hugs. I remember diving into the topic as much as I was comfortable with at the age of 15, where I read stories about actual, practiced bestiality and thankfully I came to the conclusion rather quickly that I was definitely not attracted to nonhuman animals sexually. If anything I came to understand that it was a psychological issue that I certainly did not harbor, nor did I know another person with this disability. Whew, dodged that metaphorical bullet.
Later in my teenage years, after I graduated from highschool, I would soon find myself revisiting this somewhat complicated situation by enrolling in “Large Animal Massage School”. Saying the name “Large Animal Massage” within itself was enough to incite curiosity in anyone I spoke to about it. The people well aware of massage and the benefits of massage were certainly supportive, but for the people that struggled with the concept that massage goes far beyond its shady, backroom past as a accompaniment to prostitution were doubly as skeptical when I said the word “animals” in the same sentence as “massage”. A little critical thought on my behalf went a long way, and I soon came to understand that beyond the trademark smirks or skepticism I would get came a vast misunderstanding about animals, massage and sexuality.
I decided to revisit this topic because I feel that there are others that may, or have definitely been (whether jokingly or not) accused of being a zoophile. So let’s set the story straight by delving into some current issues that would explain what Zoophilia or Bestiality actually is.
To start things off, Wikipedia explains Zoohilia as “a paraphilia involving cross-species sexual activity between human and non-human animals or a fixation on such practice. The term zoophilia derives from the combination of two nouns in Greek: ζῷον (zṓion, meaning “animal”) and φιλία (philia, meaning “(fraternal) love”). As a suffix, -philia indicates an abnormal liking for or tendency towards a given thing. Thus, the term denotes an abnormal human sexual attraction to animals.
Although sex with animals is not outlawed in some countries, in most countries, bestiality is illegal under animal abuse laws or laws dealing with crimes against nature.”
So if bestiality is illegal in some parts of the world, what do the laws look like currently and how are they reinforced? According to Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) there are “thirty six states and three US territories which expressively criminalize the sexual assault of an animal”. They go on to explain that, “Those states without such statutes are left to consider charges via their anti-cruelty laws, laws which, due to both the nature of the criminal conduct itself and the often lengthy lapses between the assaults and any investigation or examination of the animals, are often ill-fitting for successful prosecutions. Additionally, mental health evaluations are not usually mandated by law for animal abuse cases – they are most often ordered only at the discretion of the presiding judge.”
As I dove deeper into the depths of Bestiality I quickly found that it is considered a mental and sexual disorder. In his book “Bestiality and Zoophila” Anthony L. Podberscek states, “Animal abuse has been recognized as one of the early warning signs of a psychological dysfunction, in particular conduct disorder in childhood and adolescence. Conduct disorder is characterized by a “repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate or societal norms or rules are violated. This includes aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness and theft and serious violation or rules” He later explains that is these behaviors persist into adulthood it can be referred to as psychopathy or sociopathic behavior. He is careful to explain that, “Animal abuse can occur in very different forms, ranging from active maltreatment, which includes bestiality, to passive neglect or commercial exploitation… In general animal abuse can be defined as ‘socially unacceptable behavior that intentionally causes an animal pain or distress and may result in an animals death’”.
There are countless articles that talk about the relationship between Animal Abuse (bestiality) and Domestic Violence. The Humane Society of the United States claims, “A number of studies have drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against people. A 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department “revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward human victims.” Of those arrested for animal crimes, 65% had been arrested for battery against another person.
Of 36 convicted multiple murderers questioned in one study, 46% admitted committing acts of animal torture as adolescents. And of seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty.”
So this brings me to my conclusion: that no one would joke about bestiality if they truly knew that they were literally calling someone both an Animal Abuser and a Psychopath. And if anyone sincerely thinks someone is interested in bestiality then they may want to consider this person worthy of their concern, not their judgement.