Zoophilia in the Furry Community

One in six furries self-identify as zoophiles. The real number is probably higher.

This piece of information comes courtesy of Klisoura’s survey and I don’t think it would surprise many furs. A quick mental poll of the furries I know — the ones that I’m close enough to have an insight into their sexual preferences — suggest that it’s about right.

Like many things in the furry world, exactly what comprises a zoophile is a little blurry. It’s arguable that furry porn, as appreciated by a large majority of the readers of this blog, might be considered zoophilic. Taking the non-furry world as our reference point, furry erotica is certainly a half-step in the zoophilic direction.

In the psychology world, there is a growing consensus that zoophilia is a legitimate sexual orientation. Research taking place this century is roughly equivalent to the human sexuality research famously performed by Kinsey in the middle of the twentieth century.

A sexual orientation is usually judged to be valid based on three criteria:

  1. Affectional orientation (who we emotionally bond with)
  2. Sexual fantasy orientation (who we fantasize about)
  3. Erotic orientation (who we prefer to have sex with)

Using these three criteria, it’s easy to qualify homosexuality as a legitimate orientation. (You would struggle to make an argument for plushophilia.) There is growing scientific evidence that zoophilia qualifies on all three counts.

There has been very little research into zoophilia. Up until very recently, scientific research focussed exclusively on mentally disadvantaged or low-IQ subjects. However research in the past few years has started to focus on so-called ‘high functioning subjects’, which is a slightly weaselly euphemism for ‘normal people’.

Jesse Bering, a research psychologist and regular contributor to Scientific American, is probably the world’s leading mainstream voice on zoophilia. Bering has explored the topic on several occasions in his Scientific American column and elsewhere. Among his data and discussion is the rather startling statistic that around 1% of people probably qualify as zoophiles.

1% is a lot. Consider that around 5% of people are homosexual.

Bering, however, is a pragmatic scientist. He will argue that the facts support zoophilia being a legitimate sexual orientation, and that there are a lot of zoophiles out there. (And many more amongst us furries.) But Bering doesn’t touch the other side of the argument: the moral argument. And it’s a big one.

Is it okay to be a practising zoophile?

Peter Singer, the ethicist I mentioned in my article on vegetarianism a couple of weeks ago, bases many of his arguments on the simple premise that humans are animals and therefore not a special case. This is not to say that the life of a human being should be considered as valuable as, say, an ant: quite the opposite. Singer argues that the suffering of a human being should be given equal consideration as the suffering of any other species. So a species with little capacity for suffering, like an ant, gets proportionally little consideration.

Singer, in his tragically-titled 2001 article Heavy Petting, makes the point that interspecies attraction is completely natural. He mentions a few obvious examples including incidents of zoophilia in humans, but also sexual attraction towards humans by other species. He discusses a typical amorous housepet and also a case of a male orang-utan making overt sexual advances towards a female human.

The best documented case of a non-human anthropophilia is Lucy the chimpanzee. Lucy was observed to have no sexual attraction towards members of her own species, but would masturbate to pictures of naked (human) men displayed in Playgirl.

Dan Savage, the sex columnist and ethicist, responded to a zoophile correspondent in 2008 (link). The question posed was a simple one, and one probably on the mind of many zoophiles: I’m emotionally, mentally and sexually attracted to dogs. I’m not attracted to humans. What do I do?

Savage acknowledged the difficulty of the situation. Importantly, this included the tacit concession that his correspondent was a zoophile by orientation, and not by choice. The zoophile would not be ‘cured’ by therapy (no more than a homosexual might be) and the zoophile would be well served to learn to accept, rather than fight, his orientation.

Savage suggested that his correspondent find a canine partner and keep his personal life to himself. This qualified endorsement was made on the condition that the zoophile keep himself safe (from prosecution or persecution) and his dog unharmed (from the sexual acts committed in the relationship).

This is the crux of the issue, I think: harm.

Both Singer and Savage make the obvious comparison between eating animals and having sexual contact with animals. They both conclude that bestiality is less harmful than eating meat.

I’ve touched on this topic before in other forums and I know it’s a controversial statement. It’s not easy to conclude that a societal norm like meat eating could possibly be worse than bestiality, a taboo sex act widely reviled for its perceived cruelty. However, if you can put aside those preconceptions, it’s easy to see that the harm caused by a practising zoophile pales against that caused by someone eating (say) one factory-farmed chicken a week.

Even if you are vegan, I don’t think you can hold a strong aversion to bestiality on ethical grounds. The harm caused by the myriad of meat-eaters is overwhelming compared to the relatively few practising zoophiles. This comparison holds even if you assume that the zoophile is harming the animal in question.

This is not to say that zoophiles don’t have a responsibility towards the welfare of animals: of course they do. Most zoophiles are attracted to horses or dogs. The duty of care of a zoophile is exactly the same as that of an owner of one of these domestic creatures. From a harm point of view, the sexual component is not relevant.

The large majority of zoophiles will be ethical and responsible carers. Because of the emotional connection — something required for the zoophilia sexual orientation to apply — it’s likely that zoophiles make excellent pet owners. There will always be a selfish, sex-driven cruel minority, however it’s unfair to tar all zoophiles with that brush.

This allows me to wheel out one of my favourite phrases: the most visible members of a minority are rarely its best ambassadors. To put it another way: the majority of zoophiles are not doing harm and they are largely invisible. Recall that upwards of 1 in 6 furries are zoos.

Through most of last century, and still today in many parts of the world, homosexuality was considered to be abhorrent. This belief, of course, didn’t prevent or reduce the number of homosexuals: it simply made for a lot of unhappy people. Freud believed that elevated suicide rates of young homosexuals was evidence that homosexuality is a mental illness. Fortunately this belief no longer prevails and homosexuality is accepted as a legitimate sexual orientation.

Zoophiles are in a similar bind in today’s society. Tolerance and acceptance amongst the furry group, where zoos are so numerous, will do a lot of good.

Many furries argue that the community is too tolerant. This is a point of view with some merit; self-policing helps reinforce positive behaviour. However I think the sentiment is often misguided — it’s important to differentiate between what is innate, and what is a choice.

I’m not arguing for unconditional tolerance.

Instead, I’m arguing that zoophiles should be accepted for who they are. They should not be castigated or shunned for something that’s innate. Zoophilia is a sexual orientation. We should encourage discussion about how one might become a happy, ethical zoophile.

About JM

JM is a horse-of-all-trades who was introduced to furry in his native Australia by the excellent group known collectively as the Perthfurs. JM now helps run [adjective][species] from London, where he is most commonly spotted holding a pint and talking nonsense.

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52 thoughts on “Zoophilia in the Furry Community

  1. While I don’t disagree with most of the ethical arguments here, I am this time very dubious of the statistics. Didn’t Kinsey find that a primarily homosexual orientation was reported by more like 10% of the population, not just 5%? I believe his figures on zoophilia, at least insofar as he touched upon it, were much higher as well, and particularly so among populations where access to other species was more common (as in rural environments.)

    However, as I’ve mentioned before, I question the validity of statistics derived from the various furry surveys that have been made. This is for the same reason that I question statistics derived from surveys of gay and lesbian populations that were taken primarily in gay night clubs. The sample is not adequate, and is biased to a narrow subset of the overall population. Therefore it is representative only of that subset.

    Unless you are defining “zoophile” as anyone who has had fantasies or looked at suggestive artwork (with consequent arousal) then I think your estimate of the number of zoophiles in the furry population (or the population in general) is likely to be too high. It’s sort of like trying to guess the number of gay men in the general population by surveying those you find in a gay club: your results are skewed wildly.

    1. Defining the scope of what counts for zoophilia is not a simple issue, although I cannot imagine that anywhere close to 14% of the people in the furry fandom have actually engaged in zoophilia. I do not specifically ask people to distinguish between merely being attracted to the practise of zoophilia and actually engaging in it, because my survey is chiefly focused on self-reporting. A figure of 13%, as I have said before, is not surprising, since somewhere between 5% and 15% is wiling to cop to, if nothing else, animal-oriented fantasy. To the extent that 13% is higher than the 10%–15% reported in Alvarez and Freihar’s commonly cited study, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that there are “many more” furry zoophiles — certainly not by more than an order of magnitude.

      That having been said, I’m loathe to try to try to explain away the numbers, even if they’re more or less ordinary. In the past some people have taken the above argument as a bit of a handwave to suggest that zoophilia is not a problem in furry. This, I would suggest, is “not even wrong” — as it presumes that it is a problem. Of course, taking the opposite point of view exposes one to a certain degree of ridicule, and JM’s position is I think an honorable one for being willing to bear this. I would almost bet that he will be castigated, anon, for it; it’s a sore, contentious spot for many people.

      Personally, regardless of my own feelings on zoophilia, I think JM’s is the most responsible course to take. Any given individual’s aversion to a sexual predilection does not inherently lessen its import, nor its validity, which is something we ought to have learned by now. I think many people find this uncomfortable, suggesting as it does the absence of a “bright line” between the acceptable and the contemptible. Having seen what contempt can — and has — done, I’m willing to err on the other side.

      1. Thanks for the statistical backup, as ever.

        I’m happy to say that there are no signs of castigation, although I suppose it’s inevitable that I’ve alienated one or two people.

        Hopefully not, though. I hope that anyone reading the post would be interested in the argument and respect my opinion, even though they might strongly disagree with it. I, and I’m sure you, have seen many online fights over this topic but I’m reasonably confident it’s not going to happen here. I think the relatively highbrow tone of [a][s] – plus the length of our posts, which allows a fully-form argument to be expressed – should mostly lead to people responding in a thoughtful fashion.

        The most negative reaction I’ve had to date is our own Makyo, in his comment below. And you’d hardly call that negative; he’s just eloquently expressed a different opinion.

        Thanks for the kind words as well. I think this is an interesting topic and, live just about everything that appears in these virtual pages, worth talking about.

    2. Interestingly, the 1:10 ratio of gay to straight is being increasingly reassessed as well. In this society we’re typically raised thinking that straight is the norm, and thus we tend to default to it unless something intense – inwardly or outwardly – makes us reconsider. In ancient Greece it was considered beneath men to have sex with women other than for procreation, and thus gay was considered the norm. The result was that the population typically defaulted to gay-ness, with straight-ness being considered the aberration. The Kinsey statistics were essentially reversed under those conditions.

      This is all under our current labels, mind you. The Greeks didn’t have much of a concept of “gay” or “straight”, more a matter of who you actually ended up having sex with. Given the predominant disposition towards societally-imposed default behaviors, perhaps their labeling system makes a bit more sense.

      In the context of zoophilia, perhaps the same applies. Gender or species lines may be less relevant than many of us actually think; consciousness is consciousness, and if you bond with someone their gender or species may eventually become inconsequential as the relationship grows into other territories. Orientation-wise, what had seemed unthinkable and reprehensible to us at one point can eventually become something with which we self-identify, publicly or privately, at another. Making it easier for people with repressed sexual orientations of any stripe to live somewhat more openly with it – within the bounds of reason and dignity of course – seems like a healthy thing to do societally.

      Provided we don’t make it easy for society to “hack” a Zoo Rights movement the way they’ve subverted Gay Rights with the Gay Pride movement. Gay Rights worked for decades to make “gay” an accepted household word, worked for tolerance and mainstream acceptance, and tried to get the mainstream to comprehend that being gay and cross-dressing were two distinctly different things. Gay Pride appears to one-eighty those efforts, which if left unchecked would bring it right back into the closet. Seemingly, whenever a movement for tolerance and acceptance gains enough social notoriety it gets subverted like this, and it would be a shame for that to happen to the zoophiles as it’s been happening with the gay community.

      Maybe – and perhaps counterintuitively – what these tolerance- and freedom-loving movements need right now is a return to an emphasis on basic moral premises. Tact, decorum, treating oneself and the mainstream with dignity, and a reassertion of the principle that if it’s not causing harm or being deliberately offensive, it ought to be tolerated. On that basis, most zoophiles I’m aware of knowing have a much better moral right-of-way than people in the mainstream. And maybe a reassessment of things on that basis is something from which a lot of people, gay, straight, zoophile and mainstream, could learn and benefit.

      Be well,

      – Satori

      1. Hi Satori, thanks for the comment.

        I think we’re talking about two slightly different things. Kinsey, like your review of the uber-gay Greeks, are both talking about sex. I’m using the three-point definition of sexual orientation which I outlined in my post. By my reasoning, you can have had homosexual sex and still be heterosexual; you can have had no sex at all and still be homosexual. The emotional component is critical to sexual orientation: it’s safe to say that the Greeks were about as heterosexual as we are in society today, from an orientation point of view. As an aside, many Chinese societies have also traditionally considered homosexual experiences to be a normal part of being a young man.

        Your point about an active, militant “Zoo Rights” movement is well taken. Your comparison with some members of today’s gay right movement invokes my new favourite phrase – the most visible members of a minority are rarely its best ambassadors. It’s difficult to argue that there is much positive to be taken from spectacles equating homosexuality with hysteria, hypersexuality and various inane cultural fixations.

        But having said that, it has taken extreme action to move the gay rights movement forward. You would hardly call the Stonewall riots or early gay mardi gras to be the height of reasonable engagement with the culture of the day. But this exposure led to far greater improvement than the sober analysis of Kinsey.

        The same goes for black rights in the US. Malcolm X in particular forced people to consider their own racism because they couldn’t ignore his brand of violent protest. Even Dr King was considered an extremist in his day.

        So perhaps there is some value for a Zoo Pride movement. I’d suggest that it’d be a massive folly in the non-furry world, but it might gain traction inside furry. In a community where Bad Dragon is doing a roaring trade in zoomorphic dildos, it shouldn’t be too tough to get attention. Furries would be forced to confront the issue: there would be a lot of hate and drama, but maybe the zoos would gain some acceptance.

    3. The 10% figure does come from Kinsey. It was instrumental in the genesis of the early gay rights movement – it was widely quoted in the aftermath of Stonewall for example. Subsequent studies have shown that it’s a bit too high, although of course this depends on how you define a “homosexual”. But 5% is about right in the western world.

      The same goes for zoophilia. The 1% I’ve quoted is based on the best evidence available at the moment, which is not comprehensive.

      Same again for Klisoura’s survey – we don’t have a way to sample a statistically significant random group of furries (we don’t even have a way of defining what a ‘furry’ is, although [a][s] will keep trying). But it’s the best data we have. Your suggestion that zoos are over-represented (due to selection bias) is just as valid and reasonable as my suggestion that zoos are under-represented (because there are plenty of self-loathing zoos-in-denial out there). Either way, the one-in-six number looks “about right”.

  2. Perhaps I have an unfair advantage, having had the chance to read and think on this article for a few days ahead of everyone else. I find it hard to argue with the concept of tolerance, given how that’s such a large portion of the fandom, and I’ve written about that several times myself. However, there are a few more issues to be addressed than have been already, I think.

    I am glad that you address the concept of harm in zoophilic interactions, as it certainly needs to be raised. However, I feel that the concept of consent does need to be addressed as well. This is the argument for statutory rape laws when it comes to age differences in dating. I still remember my state’s laws from when I attended a local support group run by the city: If you are fourteen or older having sex with someone seven years or older than you; fifteen through seventeen having sex with someone ten years or older than you; or under eighteen and having sex with someone in a position of power, that’s considered statutory rape. The reasoning is that it is difficult for someone in such a position to give consent for the act without being influenced or intimidated.

    The topic of consent becomes even hairier (har har) with zoophilia: when your partner is unable to respond with anything but physical reactions, and reactions that don’t necessarily have human analogs at that, assuring consent becomes much more difficult. Even further, when your partner is from a species with social, psychological, and physiological constructs that differ from humanity (mating for dominance, mating primarily for reproduction, herd/pride/pack behavior, and so on), and is STILL unable to communicate in the same way, I find it difficult to believe that one could understand perfectly what sort of thoughts you’re engendering in your non-human partner, positive or negative. I suppose I personally can’t fully accept a sexual relationship without full consent.

    Along with that, though, is the difference between accepting and maintaining a loving relationship between two beings (whether they’re of the same species or not) and a paraphilia. You listed three classifications of orientation at the beginning of your article, but I don’t feel that the rest of your article adequately separated those, to be honest. I have formed an emotional bond with my own dog (though I wouldn’t call it romantic), and I’ve looked at and enjoyed erotica that involved less-anthropomorphic creatures (oh, the lengths I’ll go to not say “ferals”…), but I wouldn’t call myself a zoophile.

    I know it’s a bit of a stretch to make this comparison, but I find it worth mentioning that most who identify with paraphilic infantilism (the AB/DL community) are not pedophiles, and most are aggressively opposed to the idea. Similarly, I think this is the case with furries and zoophiles: in both cases, we have a community that identifies with someone, yet is opposed to individuals who take part in the act implied. While I agree that we should be accepting of as many people as possible, I can’t, in good conscience, agree that we should accept non-consensual and potentially harmful relationships.

    (Edited for some confusing grammar, sorry about that!)

    1. That’s a very interesting reaction and I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I respond in a slightly sideways fashion. Here’s my problem – I agree with just about everything you’ve written and yet I’m coming to a very different conclusion.

      I agree with what I think is your major premise – that any sort of sexual contact without consent should be presumed harmful. (The best case scenario is that it doesn’t appear to be harmful.) However your likening bestiality to statutory rape is a bit extreme.

      It’s extreme because people have different standards for humans and non-human animals. If bestiality is rape, then meat eating is slavery, torture and murder. If you make one assertion, the second logically follows.

      To put it another way, here are your two options:
      1. Sexual contact with an animal is tantamount to rape. Eating animals is tantamount to slavery, torture and murder. By inspection, eating animals is a far greater evil.
      2. Eating meat is normal because everyone does it, even though it harms the animals in question (at least sometimes). Sexual contact harms animals too (at least sometimes) but the harm is much less severe and much less common.

      The comparison between eating animals, and having sex with them, is not a natural one but it’s all-important. Discussion about eating meat sets the reference point for the (difficult, taboo) discussion about zoophilia. So I don’t think you can be concerned for the harm done by people having sex with animals without being much, much more concerned for the harm done by people who eat them.

      1. We have each caught each other in a series of logical fallacies, here. This is a sign of a complex and emotional issue being discussed and I don’t think it’s a poor reflection on either of us. However, I do think it’s important to take a step back and examine both of our arguments.

        In both our cases, we have utilized straw man arguments (“consent is impossible in zoophilia, as it is in statutory rape” where I misrepresent your argument in terms of sex only and “zoophilia can harm the animals, but so can eating meat” where I feel my argument is misrepresented as being solely about harm) and irrelevant conclusions (appeal to authority in my case, argumentum ad misericordiam in yours). Additionally, in my argument, I utilized a fallacy of accident (“sex without consent is rape, you can’t get full consent from an animal, therefore sex with an animal is rape”) and in your argument included a loaded statement (being concerned about animal welfare in the case of zoophilia does not preclude me from being concerned about animal welfare in the case of eating meat).

        Now, let me explain before I get accused of diversion. The reason that I think it is important for us to take a step back and examine our arguments is that, in both cases, we do not take into account that each of us thinks this topic is important for reasons that extend beyond this article. I, for instance, watched my dad push a dog who had chewed up a newspaper down a flight of stairs in his anger a day after it had happened. My concern for animals is based on (countless) concrete events in my past, as well as the things that I have learned about the way animals work from others’ research. Likely, all my dog knew was that the big man was angry and then it was hurt. There was a very good chance that my dog did not make the connection to the newspaper, but rather learned to be wary of the big man with unpredictable attitudes.

        I reference this not as a way to imply that zoophilia is somehow as harmful as pushing a dog down a flight of stairs, but as a way to explain a part of the reason the way I feel I as I do on this subject. THIS is why I don’t think it reflects poorly on us to utilize the rhetorical techniques that we did. Each of us holds our opinions for a reason and is willing to provide the best argument they can construct to explain their position as best they can. That we can argue the same thing and come to different conclusions is evidence of the fact that each of us has come to the table already holding a position, and we’re unlikely to change each other’s minds, if not about that position, than about the root causes for it.

        I suggest that we agree to disagree on this topic. I feel that we have both made our arguments in a public forum, which is the goal of a site such as this. That has served the purpose to expose two contrasting viewpoints on the same issue. Thanks again for the excellent article!

        1. You are, of course, completely correct.

          But I hope we get the chance to take up the conversation again soon. Hopefully in person.

    2. Hi Makyo,

      I hope it’s not rude of me to pick this thread up after you’ve agreed to disagree, but you’ve used an argument I’ve always been curious about… I absolutely understand if you’d rather not continue the debate, though.

      I’m just curious as to the argument that it’s potentially harmful to proceed with anything if you can’t guarantee consent, or guarantee that the consent wasn’t coerced — I agree with the sentiment whole-heartedly, but by such strict reasoning, how is it any less non-consensual to initiate a game of fetch? Our entire relationship with animals is based on the implicit consent in a wagging tail and a lack of cringing – what is it about the presence of sexual organs that changes the nature of that assumption?

      (For the record, this problem is one that leaves me uncertain how I feel about the concept of pet ownership in general — if a relationship of enforced but loving captivity existed among humans, it would probably be called stockholm syndrome — but if people are willing to assume that a pet’s apparent contentment with the life a human has structured for it constitutes moral justification for the ownership to continue even without verbal consent, I genuinely don’t understand why seemingly-welcomed sexual contact seems to be distinct from all the other things we train our pets to share with us rather than their own kind.)

      1. No worries! I had halted the current thread due more to the direction in which the argument was headed – it’s the type of topic that I suppose belongs more between friends in a calm scenario, rather than in the comments thread of an article on the Internet. It’s been quite a while, so I apologize if I’m a little rusty on thinking about this, and I hope you’ll forgive me if I either sound a little confused, or need to agree to disagree on the same grounds as before :o)

        I understand your concerns about the overarching idea of pet ownership and it’s come up several times before with me. I will note, however, that it came up mostly during the period in my adolescence when I was preparing for college, when I was focused rather intently on the whole idea of getting out from under (what I felt was) the watchful gaze of my parents. I think that, having lived on my own for about nine years now and interacted within the various social structures in western society, I have come to a slightly different attitude towards it.

        I do agree that there are apparent elements of Stockholm Syndrome involved with pet ownership. Animals are not senseless automata that move through life according solely to the rules that govern their internal interactions. They are, rather, beings with needs and wants, as well as with things to offer. Our dog Zephyr, like most life here on Earth, needs food, water, and air. Judging by his actions, I can infer that he also wants something of companionship, whether by the way he interacts with us, or the way he interacts with other animals.

        However, in addition to being a living thing, he’s also a domesticated animal. He doesn’t know what to do about coyotes or geese, can’t deal with snakes, and seems to treat the field mice in the open space behind our house as little self-propelled toys, meant for stomping on. His needs, then, also include a social structure, however similar or different from ours, into which he can fit. A hierarchy wherein, at the very least, his needs are met by those who are able to defend, feed, protect, etc. While I’m sure, given some catastrophe, he might be able to join up with a roving pack of wild dogs on the streets to get by, I don’t think that he would be very good at joining back up with his wilder relatives.

        Pet ownership is not simply “having a companion”, then, but a way for both the animal and the human to have their needs met given the social nature of the relationship. I speak of ideal pet ownership, of course, but similar ownership structures can be picked apart from other relationships such as working animals, where in the animal has their needs met in the form of food, water, health care, and so on, and the human has their needs met by work accomplished.

        The problem that I have in specific with much of zoophilia – I won’t say all – is that it places the animal in a social situation that has to do with the human’s needs and wants at a level in which the animal is unlikely to be able to totally understand. You are right to bring up something such as fetch in order to counter this, but perhaps a better argument would be a tug-of-war game, which I played with my dog when he was growing up, because that inverts the above scenario. To a human zoophile, getting into a sexual situation with an animal satisfies a deep need that carries both the desire of fulfillment of orientation, but also carries the stigma attached to it by the rest of human society. Similarly, entering into a game of tug-of-war with a dog likely means a whole lot more to the dog than it does the human. Things such as fetch, walks, and other trained aspects I believe fulfill the slightly more complicated need of interaction and engagement in a way that is hopefully still within the realm of understanding for both involved: they involve elements of hierarchy and place (He Who Hold the Leash, He Who Throws The Stick), without drifting beyond that into the realms of social dominance gestures (such as we can understand them) that pepper games such as tug-of-war or chase.

        Should we enter into relationships with pets that go beyond the social structures into which we seem to fit at least comfortably, if not well? I don’t think so. I think that even if it doesn’t place either party in physical harm, it engenders a social imbalance between the two that, more than being potentially misunderstood by both parties, is totally unpredictable. The child playing tug-of-war gets bit when they misunderstand the point of the “game” and are unable to predict the meaning of the social dominance underneath the surface; or perhaps the animal is harmed by entering into an activity with a human that they thought they understood and it turns out to be something totally different.

        Should we own pets? That one I’m not so sure about. My mom volunteers regularly at the local humane society and regularly talks to me about the reason why it exists and functions in the way it does. Over the course of time, we have accomplished the feat of domestication through breeding and training, and we have come up with dogs, just to name one example. Dogs are animals that, while still animals and still much more complicated than I think most people give them credit, have come to fit into the social structure of humanity. It doesn’t always work out, of course, and there are some people, even some of my neighbors, that I really don’t think should own dogs, but the dogs remain, even so. I don’t see being a good pet owner as being a type of slave owner that keeps an animal in a perpetual state of Stockholm Syndrome, I see it as being willing to take on the responsibility for the modifications we’ve made to the world around us, in some small way, by having and loving my dog, doing my best to meet his needs and understand him to the best extent possible, given the species gap.

        I really worry, writing that, however. I do think that I am doing my best, that I’m providing for Zephyr’s needs, while having my own needs of companionship met. However, I worry specifically that this does little to prove my point, and that I sound like some sort of social darwinist, righteous slave owner, or benevolent dictator. That’s likely on the the type of thing that can be judge by better minds, but I sure hope I’m doing well.

        Cheers,

        ~M

        1. Some good food for thought on both points! I hadn’t considered domestication as something that, for better or worse, has produced breeds of dogs who are pretty clearly better off under the care of humans…. The morality of *that* kind of action (if it hadn’t seemingly happened on its own in pre-history) is something that I guess could only be left to philosophers, but the course of action given that it’s already the case is pretty clear. Still, that doesn’t account for all pet ownership — something non-domesticated, long-lived, and highly intelligent like a parrot is both the kind of creature I’d most love to have in my life, and the kind I feel the most uncomfortable about “owning”… Anyway, I guess this whole subject’s a diversion from the thread, but an interesting one, so thank you for your thoughts :)

          But back on the subject of zoophilia, would I be right in summarizing your point as being that many animals wouldn’t see sexual contact as something (potentially) purely recreational in the same way that humans do? That’s actually a really good point, and in hindsight I’m embarrassed that I didn’t think to address it… Now I’m curious whether there’s been any reliable research into whether that’s something that a dog can easily be taught to dissociate from matters of pack dominance (while still enjoying), but… this doesn’t seem like the kind of question that many people would be willing to put their name on extensive, impartial research into at this moment in history… but, at the very least, I’ll absolutely concede that it isn’t something to be undertaken as lightly as I was originally thinking.

          But, in a broader sense, there are a number of documented species who seem pretty clearly to practice sex for recreation, i.e. dolphins…. would those be the “but not all”, I guess?

        2. What you brought up about the whole “Stockholm” situation regarding pets, is something I’ve never given thought to.

          But now that I think about it, it is rather true. Pets, are beholden to us for food and general care. I think that’s partly why many cats are seen as ‘snobby’ because they have more of a tendency to be independently minded than dogs.

  3. Was there any reason you used self identified zoophiles along with the 3 criteria used to classify sexuality? I felt the difference between practicing and non-practicing or fantasy zoo’s was blurred. Specficially, self identified zoophiles included with the zoophile survey may have only fullfilled 2 out of the 3 criteria.

    I apologize in advance if I missed information about how the survey stats were calculated.

    For the record I am totally neutral on zoophile tolerance.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi MP, that’s an excellent question. I used the self-identified zoophiles statistic purely to demonstrate that there are a lot of zoos amongst us furries. It doesn’t have any connection to the three criteria – which are those used in psychology world. You’re correct to point out that some of the self-identified zoos will not meet the psychological definition.

      I’ll add that you don’t need to have had sexual contact with any human or non-human to have your sexuality classified by those criteria. Most heterosexuals, for example, might easily be classified as such before their first sexual experience.

  4. I realize it’s been a while since anyone said anything on this thread, but I would just like to make a couple of notes about some of the information in the article for future readers, having noticed them myself and also having noticed several other people ignore completely:

    1) There is a difference between a zoophile and a *practicing* zoophile, much like the difference between the urge to get out of your car, reach into someone else car, and turn down their music (which many have probably been tempted to do more than once) and actually taking the last step of physically doing so.

    2) Any statistic which a person feels, rightly or not, will cause them embarrassment or persecution by others is going to be low, simply because many of those who are in all honesty part of that category won’t want that perceived flack from others. Rape victims often don’t report the incident when it happens, and when the truth comes out the most common responses why they didn’t report it right away are “I thought it was my fault,” “I must have been asking for it somehow,” or “I was scared people would think less of me.”

    3) When trying to describe sexual orientation, all but the most indifferent about the topic will be embarrassed no matter how you approach it, save for with their closest friends, which is why you get a lot of gays “coming out of the closet.” They weren’t suddenly gay, they simply decided to quit hiding it. Same with any other orientation, zoo or otherwise. The massively prudish society (about sex) that has surfaced over the last couple of centuries has made it virtually impossible for the bulk of society to be frank about their orientation. So, again, the relevant numbers from surveys and studies are going to be lower than the actual numbers.

    1. Hi Zarius , thanks for the belated comment. For the record (and for future readers): I completely agree with everything you’ve said.

  5. I really agree with this. Being attracted to equines and feel myself to be spiritually connected to them I find that peoples “Intollerance” Towards zoophiles is frightening. Ive heard of stories where people have not only been arested and thrown in jail for more than 7 years but fined so heavily they are unable to pay for their homes. Their lives ruined by the people who are judgemental and hatefull towards those who just want to live their lives and have a companion thats not human. I personally am revolted at this biggotry and hatred towards zoophiles. I also am revolted at the thought of having a human companion and mate. Humans are not pleasant to look at, especially in the nude. Being an art student ive seen many nudes. I feel that equines or horses are the most beautiful and lovely creatures ive ever layed hands and eyes on. So strong, majestic, loving and caring. I know horses better than I know people. I just wish the world wasnt so judgmental so that maybe one day I can live my life and not be alone forever. Being alone is a horrible feeling. And being a lone is what the rest of society has forced on me as well as many of us who have a spiritual and emotional attraction towards our fellow animal kind who just happen to have 4 legs rather than 2.

    1. I have to admit, I was a little wary of this comment when I saw the link with the title “Ants in your pants? A beginner’s guide to formicophilia”. Some things are, perhaps, a little too much. Additionally, the first of the links describes things in a way that I would consider indelicate. However, proper academic writing (which I believe is the author’s goal) does not strive for delicacy. Finally, I feel as though the comment is not intended as a response to JM’s article, but as a sort of advertisement to gain non-academic readership. When the post was first created, I had comment moderation turned on, as I had no experience with Akismet, the spam filtering plugin, and lots of experience with spam comments. It worked so well that I later turned it off, but this comment was still marked for moderation. I was torn, whether or not I should approve it.

      There is, however, much to be gained from these writings. I did not understand, at first, why Dr. Grffiths (whom I will address in the third person; I’m not sure if he will be getting notification of replies – I apologize if you do, sir!), a professor of gambling studies, would be writing about Zoophila (and furries as well), until I saw the snippet on the side of the page mentioning “addictive, obsessional, compulsive and/or extreme behaviours”. The labels compulsive and extreme, in particular, caught my eye, as there is much to be gained from understanding sexuality, paraphilias, and even emotional connection in general as compulsive and, at times, extreme behaviors, or exhibiting the same.

      First of all, academic, or academic style writings with a citation of sources are always helpful to have around. Even if the articles are not published in an academic journal, it is good to have at least the sources cited available in order to have a list of resources available later. Dr. Griffiths does an excellent job, as any professor ought, of hunting down, researching, and citing sources. While I can’t speak for JM, that’s certainly not something that I can manage, working as much as I do. I think that the articles linked above provide not only a good set of initial, accessible resources, but also point the way toward research conducted on the subject that we, as writers and readers here on [a][s], would not necessarily have the time or means to access normally.

      Secondly, much of the purpose of this blog is to investigate the workings of different aspects of the furry subculture from the inside out, and it’s definitely nice to see views from the outside in. I certainly enjoyed reading Dr. Gerbasi’s work on the subject, and it’s good to see some other views out there that aren’t necessarily sensationalized, whether or not they are accurate. In particular, in the article titled “Animal charm? A new classification of zoophiles”, there is mention of the fact that some furries might be considered Class I zoosexuals – that is, human-animal role players. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s certainly interesting to think about the contrast between the ways in which we view ourselves from within the fandom to some of the ways in which we might be viewed from outside.

      When I, say, undergo a panic attack, I find that everything from within the panic attack takes on special meaning, that I act a certain way, that I think certain things, in some cases feeling as though I can’t help but think or do those things, and in other cases doing so subconsciously, so that it feels like it’s natural. On discussing this with someone else, I may gain insight into those things and understand that I was working that way due to my position inside the anxiety. Similarly, a zoophile, or in a broader sense, a member of the furry subculture, will view things from their perspective, rather than from the outside where things might look totally different: strange, paraphilic, even psychopathological. It’s reading writings from the outside such as Dr. Griffiths’ and Dr. Gerbasi’s that help us to gain insight into what we are doing, why we might be doing it, how it affects the way we interact with the world around us.

      So I’ve approved this comment (we have never censored or edited any legitimate comment, save for spam), even after the brief pause some of the articles gave and the way in which the comment was posted caused me to nearly dismiss it as spam. I hope that me replying to this comment with my justification for doing so is not out of place, but I feel the need to explain some of my own thoughts on the topics presented in Dr. Griffiths’ links. They are interesting reads to be sure, and the thought of furry being associated with “addictive, obsessional, compulsive and/or extreme behaviours” is quite the idea.

  6. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I came across the original article on another webpage and not this one but have now bookmarked this page. My blogs (on the whole) try to cite the scientific basis for the topics that I write about. While the titles to my blogs tend to be based on puns and/or try to be jokey in style, the content (I hope) is serious. Personally, I don’t see anything I have written as ‘indelicate’ (although as a psychologist I realise that readers have every right to perceive them that way). I know that my articles are read by the zoophile and furry community as those articles get the most hits by quite a long margin.

    As you have gathered, although I am a Professor Gambling Studies, I have also published widely on various addictive and obsessive behaviours. I also teach paraphilias at my university which is why I am so interested in this area. I write my blogs as much for my students as anyone else and all I can ever hope is that they are read (whether others agree or disagree). I too never censor comments and welcome others to comment on my blogs to put their views forward.

    Best wishes.

    Dr Mark Griffiths

  7. Always interesting to read these sorts of things from time to time.

    Before I started being more open with myself, I thought I was really alone in being a zoophile. Only recently have I found that the number in my own community alone is surprisingly high; people don’t tend to mention it casually, but I’ve noticed an urge to have someone to talk to about it in everyone who identifies as a zoophile. It can be a little lonely.

    I always try to separate furry and zoophilia. They’re very distinct in my mind, and even though I belong to both groups, I feel I have different reasons for each. Perhaps on some level I don’t really want the stigma of one attached to the other, but I think there’s a difference.

    When I hear people talk about how the furry community is “too tolerant,” I have to chuckle a bit. Within our own community, we have taboos, and furries in general tend to make a point to be heavily offended by something, whether it’s zoophiles or cubs or coprophilia. Perhaps as a whole, we have a lot going on, but I’m pretty sure there’s some loud checks and balances going on, whether they’re needed or not.

    I like the way you approached this; I feel like it’s written to open up a dialog instead of a flame war. That’s appreciated.

    Furthermore, I fucking love the name of your blog :D

    1. Hi Clunk, thanks for taking the time to comment. This post is a few months old now but it is very definitely still ‘live’ – it’s one of a handful of articles here on [a][s] that continually draws readers. (Future readers should feel free to comment away as well.)

      I should also add that [a][s] isn’t mine – it was founded by Makyo and Klisoura. I’m just a contributor.

      The intent of the article is exactly as you say – to try to create a dialogue around a difficult and emotive topic. The quality of conversation about zoophilia elsewhere in the community doesn’t seem to progress much beyond arguments between people with extreme views. The reason I take the time to write for [a][s] is because it provides a platform where a longer, more thoughtful conversation is required.

      One final comment: I’m not a zoophile. I deliberately stayed agnostic in the article because I didn’t want to be seen to be either condescending or self-serving. I mention this because I want to let you know that it’s not necessary to be a zoophile to agree with the thrust of my article. I hope that you’re able to find some worthwhile conversation and fellowship amongst your own furry friends.

      1. I wasn’t trying to be specific exactly when I said “yours,” I just meant generally that the site you’re apart of has a pleasing name :P

        I didn’t get the sense that you were, actually. I would venture to say this is a hard topic for an actual zoophile to sit down and write about in a non-biased way.
        And I have found my friends more open to it than I expected. For all my worry about it, I’m lucky enough to have friends that are not only open-minded and supportive, but that care enough about me to know me as a whole person and not just the individual pieces of the complex puzzle I am as a human being. I’m incredibly lucky. I’m lucky enough that I truly believe my family would still love me if they knew. These are things not everyone has, and I’m grateful that I do.

        Finding this article got me to read a couple of others as well, and I was just thinking it’s very interesting how the scientific understanding of sex has evolved. Funnily enough, the idea of “sexual orientation” is really a very new thing. “Homosexuality” is a 19th century concept, and to think the idea didn’t exist before then is kind of mind-boggling, isn’t it? To think that in 200 years, the idea that “zoosexuality” didn’t always exist might be mind-boggling is a funny thought, too.

        Then again, perhaps we’d all be happier if we just agreed that humans are sexual creatures and stopped trying to categorize it all together. In my college studies, I’ve found that putting people on a line between gay and straight is not only severely limiting, but also highly inaccurate. Where does a transgendered man attracted to transgendered women fit, for instance? What about a biological hermaphrodite? Throw in a man who is attracted only to male horses and not humans, and what do you even do with that? Orientation is both a social and scientific construction; the idea is merely a concept and does not exist outside of rhetoric. Would we be better off without it?

        But I digress :3

        1. It’s funny you mention the relatively short history of ideas like homosexuality. I’m not sure if you saw that here on [a][s], but Makyo made mention of this in a post a couple of months ago –http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2012/03/14/doxa/ – interesting stuff.

          I was interested in your points on the limitations of language and I’m sorely tempted to directly respond to your rhetorical questions. Hopefully my article on zoophilia speaks for itself, in that I’m trying to use language to build a more complex and intelligent conversation about the topic.

          Terms like zoophilia (and homosexuality) need to be discussed and fleshed out before we can fully communicate – and understand – the limitations of such terms. To put it another way: these inelegant and reductive categories are required for us to discuss the topic in a sensible fashion. So hopefully zoophilia- as a concept – comes into wider use and loses some of the pejorative connotations in the process.

          1. I had not seen that article :D How funny!

            You might be interested in some of the work of Foucault, a French post-industrial sociologist/philosopher :3 His basic thesis revolves around language as slavery. By creating definitions and using them to label things and people, we exert power over others and control them. By controlling the discourse, one can essentially control the way we view reality. It gets really complicated really quickly, but it’s incredibly interesting.

          2. We’ve gone into more ideas like that before in previous posts here: http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2012/04/11/meaning-within-a-subculture-part-1/

            It’s interesting to see this tied back to zoophilia and homosexuality, though. The ways in which we attempt to tie meaning down with language are myriad, and the effects of doing so even more numerous. That it’s still not even quite clear on what exactly either homosexuality or zoophilia are, even with definitions set down in the DSM, which attempts to provide concrete definitions, just goes to show that such terms may simply remain slippery forever. Each person who identifies as homosexual, each zoophile, will have a separate definition of what their attraction means to them, and how it plays out within their lives.

          3. Looks like the discussion of Doxa in the link you sent is very likely influenced by Foucault’s work :3

  8. Interesting thread here. I did want to make one addition.

    People seem to speak often about “consent,” which has implications about idea origin and perhaps even subtle coercion, but nobody seems to talk about “intent,” which I think a stronger point, besides implying the former.

    Anyone who owns a dog knows that their pet can clearly communicate an intention to go outdoors, or to go for a walk, or to sit on the sofa. This is beyond communicating obvious biological needs like wanting to eat. Many dogs exhibit behaviors resembling human “guilt” if they did something they shouldn’t. People sometimes talk about pets who train their owners, by making a fuss to get attention, or playing games to extort treats.

    You don’t need to train a dog to enjoy walking, the dog simply knows where outdoors is, knows it would like to check things out and get some exercise, and does its best to make it known that he wishes to proceed in that direction. :) Maybe he gets excited when you grab the leash. Maybe he gets the leash for you! Granted words like “want” and “excited” are anthropomorphizing. But really, I don’t know a better way to explain the reaction of a dog jumping and spinning around and yapping when one gets a leash, other than “excitement” and maybe even anticipation, which implies some sense of foresight, and cause and effect.

    I find it truly facepalm-inducing in the face of all this obvious capability for fairly rich communication that humans then rationalize how pets can do this for many things BUT NOT SEX — one of the most basic, instinctive, and nominally pleasurable activities of the mammalian experience. Sure, there needs to be some latitude for the fact that languages, brains, etc, are not the same — but the simple fact is, many domestic animals CLEARLY indicate their intentions to us on a regular basis, including sexual intentions for those we haven’t neutered. Whether just masturbatory or genuinely bond-strengthening, their goal is really not debatable.

    Specifically, I’ve had dogs and horses both come onto me quite strongly, and while I just sort of chuckled and pushed them away, they were actually very persistent and obvious about what they wanted. In the case of the horse, I walked away because she was getting a little rough about wanting to rape me, and once I was gone, she grudgingly made do with the edge of a low hanging tree branch. As pervy as horse-human sex is, I’m sure horse-tree sex must be many times so!

    The “better to have sex with them than eat them” argument is a fair point, but always lacked some teeth (pun intended) for me, since if someone really feels sex with an animal is “abuse,” then perhaps it is better to just kill them swiftly! But even beyond that, one doesn’t have to look far for ways we exploit animals for human benefit. This is less true now that we no longer run horses until they collapse, beat dogs for misbehavior, etc., but certainly we expect animals to go to the vet without their consent, expect horses and dogs to run for our amusement, force them to be diddled by uncaring breeders without their consent (because if you DO care for them there’s no consent so it’s abuse!), and so on. I’m not saying we should let a pet run our lives, but let’s not be holier-than-thou about selectively observing or outright ignoring their intentions, either.

    1. Hi Ponies, thanks for taking the time to stop by and make your thoughtful comment. I agree with your point when it comes to double standards regarding sex – it’s not just zoophilia, but the cause of much of the knee-jerk negativity toward homosexuality. I guess there must be some natural aversion towards sex and sexuality, something that leads to people reacting in a negative fashion towards unusual or unfamiliar sexual acts. Presumably there is an evolutionary basis for this.

  9. I just came across this article now after clicking on a tag for “anti-furry” and reading an article you wrote a couple week after that in which you mention this article.

    I have three comments and three questions relating to what you have written.

    Firstly, I think you are right on target with the harm issue. When a friend of mine told me about his zoophilia, my first concern was whether or not the dog was harmed.

    Secondly, it has been suggested that some sexually transmitted infections were the result of disease picked up through bestiality. (As a side-note, it is pretty clear that HIV did NOT enter the human population this way, despite that being a common belief among some people). If this was noted in the past, then it could form part of the basis for the strong aversion to bestiality, in a like way that recognition of genetic abnormalities have been suggested to underlie the general aversion to incest. Of course it is quite likely that it is simply a matter of hatred of those who are different.

    Third comment: I would be interested to have seen more examples of non-human animals attracted to other non-human animals that were different species. I recognize that this does not strictly qualify as bestiality, but the distinction between human and non-human is rather flimsy given that there is much more variation amongst different non-human animals than there is between humans and some non-humans (apes).

    Question one relates to the three criteria used to judge a valid sexual orientation. If an individual only meets criteria 1 & 2 for one group (say male) and only meets criterion 3 for another (say female), how would that be interpreted?

    Question two relates to the term “self-identify” and your usage of it in the first sentence. Perhaps I am confusing “self-identify” with “self-report,” but the first sentence struck me oddly. I could understand the claim that likely more individuals ARE zoophiles than self-identify as such, but your sentence seemed to be saying that likely there are likely more than 1 in 6 who self-identify, this despite the results of an anonymous survey. This strikes me as off or contradictory somehow. Can you clarify what you meant?

    My third question relates to this topic but refers to something you wrote on it in the article on furry evangelicals/furry haters. In an aside in that article you suggest two examples of anti-zoophiles. Each of those examples involves a case of someone who would be a suppressed zoophile? Doesn’t it seem possibly to you that someone can have no zoophilia and still be anti-zoophile? After all, we don’t assume that all people who oppose meat eating are either individuals who secretly wish to eat meat or are ones who had a shameful experience with meat eating.

    1. Hey Keito. This article gets a new comment every now and then, so nice to see that people are finding it. Your timing is rather perfect: I’m returning to this topic from a couple of different angles in coming weeks here on [a][s] to be published on coming Mondays.

      Thanks for the kind words and the thoughtful comments. To add to your final comment, some ethicists mention that sexual interest in a member of a different species does take place in non-human animals. I’ve never found it to be a particularly compelling point: we don’t look for examples of human behaviour in non-humans, so I’m not sure why this (or homosexuality in non-humans) is really relevant. It’s of marginal interest I suppose, but I can’t help but feel that it raises a whole host of other issues. Like, how can our behaviour be proven to be moral/ethical/natural just because it happens among penguins? I think the ethical arguments are compelling without adding a complicating (and slightly confusing) factor.

      Your first comment is a good one. The three criteria is an attempt to consider a taboo sexuality, to provide some simple and rational language around an otherwise difficult topic. It’s one (of several) examples where researchers into zoophilia refer back to research on the great taboo sexuality of the mid-20th century, homosexuality.

      I don’t think those criteria would be applied to your hypothetical person X, because we’re now in the realm of sexual politics, a dangerous dangerous ground if you’re looking for black-or-white discussion. Person X isn’t going to be defined by the three criteria: she’s going to find the best description for her sexuality. She might think of herself as bisexual, or pansexual, or asexual, or something else. In the end, she’s probably going to be labelled according to the sex of the person she ends up with, assuming that happens. From a sociology point of view, we’re in murky waters.

      Question two: my comment refers to people who answered yes to “are you a zoophile”, for which I use the terms self-report and self-identify interchangably. This confusion of language—where I start talking about answers to the furry survey and then use very similar language when talking about people who are zoophiles by the sexual orientation definition—is one of the weaknesses of the article, and it’s something I clarify in next Monday’s article. I hope you don’t mind if I fail to respond in detail here and let my newer article be the answer.

      Question three: no, I don’t mean to suggest the people in my example are zoophiles. The article on the Haters is intended to suggest that the people that have a visceral reaction to something often do so for complex reasons which would elicit sympathy, if only we knew what those reasons were. So someone who rages against zoophilia is probably more likely to be a zoophile than someone who is agnostic to the topic: there are a lot of studies that suggest this sort of behaviour (especially when it comes to sex).

      For example: since about 2000, several American states have enacted anti-bestiality laws. It’s not exactly an obvious legislative priority, but it’s happened largely because of a single zoophile, now identifying as a “reformed” zoo, has single-handedly written enough letters and emails to get attention.

      But just because many zoophiles struggling with their sexuality will become anti-zoos, this doesn’t mean that many anti-zoophiles are closeted zoos. It’s unlikely that the examples I chose have zoophile tendencies. I have no knowledge either way.

      1. Previously I stated ” I would be interested to have seen more examples of non-human animals attracted to other non-human animals that were different species.”

        You replied by noting that you are not interested in how non-human animals behave. Perhaps you lack of interest is why you focus more on psychology, whereas my interest in animals is why I focus zoology (and tend to find humans rather boring).

        My reason for bringing it up though as not simply as a general interest but as a way of getting an indirect measure of whether a non-human animal would be bothered by inter-species sexual relations. If it would, then that rather goes to consent issue, or that you are forcing/manipulating/coercing it to do something for your pleasure that it would not find agreeable. On the other hand if non-human animals engage in interspecies sex of their own volition, then it makes more plausible the idea that the animal might not mind sex with a human.

        1. Hi Keito, thanks again for your interesting comments.

          I am interested, in general, in the behaviour of non-human animals, but I think it’s a non-starter as a valid argument when exploring interspecies sexual relations. I’ll note immediately that Peter Singer uses it in his argument, so you could reasonably suggest that I’m out on a limb with this one.

          My reason is that there are big differences between humans and non-humans. Here, I’m trying to make an ethical argument, and I think that can be undermined if my supporting evidence is based on instinctual behaviour.

          An anecdote: I’m a vegetarian, which is a personal choice. When I mention that I’m vego, it’s common for people to be a bit defensive and respond with a reason why they themselves are not vegetarian. As you might imagine, you hear some bizarre reasoning. A common favourite: “lions eat other animals, so therefore it’s natural”.

          I guess I feel like I’d be heading in that direction if I used non-human behaviour to support my arguments on zoophilia. But there is a whole world of interesting nuance to explore there, not the least of which is what counts as “instinctual behaviour” versus “reasoned behaviour”.

          1. Trying to go through all of [a][s] from start to finish, and this post+discussion is severely interesting. Not even sure if you’re around, since your last post was quite a while ago! In any case, this was an interesting point that was left open.

            I think that Keito was alluding to a common argument made against zoophilia that because nonhumans categorically do not want to have sexual relations with members of other species, a human having sex with a nonhuman is always abuse. I don’t think you were assuming this argument, but hopefully this provides a context for Keito bringing up that point.

            Let’s imagine it’s the case that there are some dogs who initiate sex with cats. The value that such data would have for us is that a dog can be interested in sex with a non-dog in a context where they are not being coerced. It would then not be necessarily true that a dog-human sexual interaction involves coercion strictly because of the species barrier. Again, this evidence would work to counter a very specific argument that I don’t think you were making or trying to counter. I guess Keito thought that you might be trying to construct a counter to the argument that a nonhuman couldn’t possibly want sex with a human because they couldn’t possibly want sex with a member outside their own species.

  10. This is interesting, has a lot of great information.

    Zoosexuality, (Not calling it “Zoophilia”) people should be accepted for who they are.
    However, JM, (And I could be wrong that you said that), it looks like you are suggesting that “Sexual activity” seems to be harmful at all times when there are evidence that it’s not always harmful/abusive. Are you saying that?

    I personality think so much that zoosexuality (Or “zoophilia” as some call it) should be accepted in the world but I personality don’t think we should do that in a “As long if you don’t have sex!” way, since many people need to be more open about the talk about consent on that part. I am against pain of other animals I think but I believe that a consent act does exist like Peter suggested (If I read his page right).

    1. Hi Random, thanks for the kind comment. Your thoughts on language—zoosexual vs zoophile—is interesting stuff, and very much in line with some of the changes that LGBT groups have managed over the years. People have stopped using words with a pejorative implication (like faggot), and it may be that zoophile is becoming a similarly loaded term. I’m not convinced that we’re there (yet), but it’s something worth thinking about.

      I do not think that sexual activity with a non-human animal is always harmful or abusive. It’s a common counter-argument to the ethics of zoophilia, and I don’t think that it stands up to any scrutiny. However I also argue that even if you assume that there is harm involved, then that harm is insignificant compared to the harm involved in the raising of animals for profit, a harm which most people consider to be reasonable.

      By the way, I’ve subsequently written a couple of more recent articles on zoophilia: one looking at its importance within the furry community (http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2013/01/14/why-zoophilia-is-a-furry-issue/) another looking at the state of the research (http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2013/01/28/the-science-of-zoophilia/).

      1. Thanks for the reply, yeah it does look like “Zoophilia” instead of “Zoosexuality” is like using “Faggot” instead of “Homosexuality”, and as I never seen “Homophilia” before.

        And I’m glad you believe it’s not always harmful, it just looked like you accepted as if it was, without telling us that wasn’t exactly the case and made me worried that accepting zoosexual in the world may lead to a lack of possible consent believes and effects, like you could of said something about: “On the non-consent side of sexuality, it’s less harmful than eating them” or something like that. So I got confused, and wanted to asked anyway.
        Glad you made it clear now I think. :) Not sure what you mean by “scrutiny” since I’m a little low educated about that one. Hah

        Anyway yeah I seen those articles, it looks like on the science one, you did make a open talk about consent, which is a good thing.
        Thanks for replying again!

    1. I found this website too somewhere. The guy makes a lot of good points. He had a recent post where states were always making it less legal about sexual contact, and I was kind of shocked.

      To anyone/less reply directly:
      I was trying to check if there was any further fights about legalizing that stuff, and I could barely find any. When I see these very good arguments (especially the ones about “reverse bestiality”), I still see bigotry lacking proof arguments against “consent” a lot outside, and pretty much a lot of them are just mean, and lacking science (“Pervert!” “Gross!” “Rape!”, etc).
      I’m sad where this world is still possibly leading to.. It’s completely discriminatory and I don’t even think I’m a complete zoosexual, I mean I like anthro but closer and maybe exact to feral shapes but only when they talk maybe, which then is different (Anthro vs non-anthro) than non-talking ones? And probably more other different things.

      If I had to join what side to go for in terms of consent: It would be the one attached with evidence and apparently, the bigger side of evidence suggesting consent in terms of “body language” and maybe more.

      If there is any good signs of acceptance, I would love to hear.
      Though, searching on Google isn’t giving me much hope these days. I think I also heard that it used to be more accepted once.

  11. It just seems that when mainstream socitey talks about zoophilles in negative way they tend to only think male raping female dogs and assert that dogs cannot give cosent. However they do not seem to think of female members of zoophilies.
    I assume that negative conception of zoophilies relates to raping which, in stereo type, ties with males.

    Back when homosexuality wasn’t as widely as accepted, people had tedancy to accept lesbians relationship more than gay relationship.
    I wonder if this kind of approach can be encorporated into studying societal view of zoophilies.

    When their main argument of them is lack of consent then can female human give mutual consent to a male dog in their sexual relationship? As well, assuming that opposing side is only thinking of male human to female animal relationship, if human-animal relationship results in harm then can female human to male dog relationship result in harm?

    I certainly expect the same pattern. More people will accept female human-male dog relationship than male human – female dog relationship.

    I think this approach will expose the opposing sides’ falacy and emotional bias.

    I do have more ideas but I woke up from my bed to write this before I forget and I have exam tomorrow, so… I hope to develope this idea with you through more conversation.

    -Walker T

    1. Hi Walker

      I largely agree with everything you say. You’re not the first person to make a direct comparison between the struggle for gay rights and the position that zoophiles find themselves in today. There are a lot of points of comparison, and I agree that it seems to fall back on the male penetrative sex act.

      From a societal point of view, sex – penetrative sex at least – is treated as partly an act of violence rather than an act of love. It’s an idea reflected in a lot of popular media (pornography leaps to mind), and is tied into the misogyny that sees women treated as sex objects, and sees the receptive partner in (male) gay as being somehow demeaned.

      Certainly many knee-jerk reactions to zoophilia – that it’s disgusting, or that zoophiles must be mentally ill – is very similar to opinions towards gay men in the mid-20th century. Whether pointing this out might lead to exposure of fallacies and emotional biases… I’m not so sure. But it’s a very interesting idea.

  12. As a zoophile, it’s comforting to see sympathetic statements like this…but only for a little while. It’s hard to imagine reaching a point where I wouldn’t suspect that I’m letting the reasoning convince me whether or not it’s sound because I want so badly not to have to be worried about that part of myself. The “better safe than sorry” choice, then, has been not to engage with it. I suppose that’s what it used to be like to not be straight, right down to the self-doubt in some cases. Which of course doesn’t in itself imply that zoophilia is as innocuous as I consider being gay to be. After all, one could say the same of any societally unaccepted inclination, whether or not it ought to be accepted.

    I’m very grateful that the furry fandom gives me a place to indulge my interest in it through fantasy, with art and roleplaying (and dildos too, I suppose), rather than locking it away entirely. That, at least, seems safe to me.

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