Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Yesterday, an interesting image appeared on my Facebook Newsfeed.

Those who know me, know that I fact-check such things before sharing them. There's a lot of misinformation and plain old bullshit on those Interwebs. So, with a paranoid thought of "If anyone ever sees my search history, they're going to think I'm a total sicko" in the back of my mind, I prayed to the Google Gods for enlightenment.

What I found, worried me. As it happens, the original image seems to be true, in the sense that there aren't specific laws to prohibit it. Although, there have been imaginative uses of other laws to prosecute bestiality cases, such as sodomy laws, animal abuse laws and even a case where someone was charged with sex with a minor. What really concerned me was reading the Wikipedia page and getting the sense that many people actually think it is perfectly normal and that perhaps we are just ignorant.

I was left wondering about those crazy right-wingers who say that legalising gay marriage would lead to people wanting to marry goats. Of course that's stupid. When inter-racial marriage was legalised, it never led to people walking an alpaca down the aisle. Not even the clearly sexier llama got to bleat out "I do". 
When women were given the right to vote, was there a call for Squirrels to be given the vote? Of course not. Despite many of us secretly wishing Foamy was actually Emperor of Earth. 

You cannot deny rights to one set of people, because you're worried that it might lead to an unrelated groups of people demanding rights. You cannot deny consenting, adult human beings from having their relationship with a fellow, consenting, adult human being becoming recognised fairly under the law, based on a fear of paedophiles and zoophiles possibly being next in line. There aren't heroin caf├ęs in Amsterdam, there aren't voting camels in Egypt and there aren't Moose weddings in Canada. 

Having said this, will the paedophiles and zoophiles be the next ones to come forward and declare "pride" for their feelings? Will they try to gain legal recognition or their unorthodox sexual encounters and relationships? Reading the wikipedia article on zoophilia and bestiality laws, I started to wonder. The view points given were suggesting that it was natural and harmless and that we are just ignorant and prejudiced. I'm going to leave paedophilia alone here, because I discussed these subjects and why they are unnatural and wrong, in a previous blog post. Simply enough, children cannot consent and I don't think anyone in their right mind could question that. However, the question of whether animals can consent may be a little blurrier and I felt the need to readdress the issue. 

Certainly, animals can appear to consent and cross-breeding does occur in the wild. I've always thought that inserting one's penis into an animal would constitute rape just as much as much a paedophilia does. That seemed pretty clear to me. An animal does not have the social awareness or cognitive abilities to consent to the act it has not initiated, does it? There are people who disagree with this and state that an animal that has reached sexual maturity can often initiate sex and that some females experience orgasm.

Many animals will do anything for sexual gratification. They hump toys, cushions and legs all of the time. If that animal inserts its penis into a woman's vagina or a man's anus, is there any difference? Or are we just repulsed by something we illogically dislike or just doesn't turn US on? 

Is zoophilia just another sexual orientation? If an animal doesn't put up a fight, does that make it morally acceptable? 

If sex is only ok when it is likely to produce healthy children, are condoms, anal sex, oral sex, birth control tablets, incest, abortions and homosexuality ALL equally immoral? What about people with certain hereditary conditions, elderly couples and people who are infertile? 

If we have no right to impose our will on animals, do we have a right to neuter, spay, put on leads, put in cages, euthanise or even kill and eat them? 

If we go on what occurs in nature, should rape be legal?! (A very clear indicator that what happens in nature is only a PART of what we use to develop our morals. Our brains are built to feel guilt when we harm another [without cause or at least justification], so consent is definitely something necessary to moral sexuality). 

Animals and humans have been hurt (and killed) during interspecies sexual encounters. Is it possible for men to get 'stuck' inside a woman? Should we ban giant dildos and fisting? What about self harm?

If it is just a case of grossing us out, should we be banning people who enjoy pissing on each other? 

Is stroking a dog's ears any different to rubbing its genitals? 

At this point in writing this blog post, I stopped. 
I pasted what I had written onto Facebook and looked for answers. I continued to research on the Internet. I looked at forums, discussion sites, ethical debating sites.
The subject that came up most was the one of consent, but if a horse doesn't consent, it'll kick, bite or scratch, won't it? That's what they do if they are out of season and a member their own species tries to mate with them. 

Another point raised was that some men get sexually excited during a prostate exam and some women even climax whilst breastfeeding, but they're mind is not on sex and they are not seeking sexual gratification. That means it is purely physical. A secondary, usually unwanted experience. A by-product. When an animal "perform oral sex" on a human, it is either bonding or licking something off. It isn't doing it to provide a human with sexual pleasure or get any sexual gratification itself. But what about a female animal who splays and accepts penetration? And what about a male who mounts a human and penetrates them? It seems to me that the argument then comes down to whether an animal is having sex to reproduce and sexual pleasure is secondary and a by-product or whether they have sex for pleasure. 

Female Bonobos are known to stimulate their clitoris by rubbing it against the clitoris of another female. Dogs hump pillows. In fact, it could be fairly said most animals initiate sex for the pleasure they derive. Reproduction is the by-product in this instance. In fact, not only does homosexuality (in fact, not just sex, but long-term, monogamous relationships) exist in nature, but so does necrophilia (thought apparently rare). The ethics involved in THAT are a whole other debate to be looked in to. Although, once more, it's something I am repulsed by. 

One thing I do not think is that it is a sexuality. I do not think people are born that way. Homosexuality has been backed up by years of physical and psychological research and there have been brain differences shown. However, it would seem extremely illogical that a human brain would be developed that only finds horses attractive or that finds humans and dogs attractive. It wouldn't seem to make much sense. Therefore, I think it is a fetish. Something that is a result of psychological development. However, one's favourite colour, liking to be tied up and blindfolded in bed or favourite foods or scents are probably stemmed from psychological development (experiences, influences). So it may be 'treatable' but should it be treated any more than brainwashing someone to prefer the colour red over the colour blue? We've not proven it to be harmful. 

A thought that occurred to me is that homophobia is often the result of suppressed homosexual urges. So could our disgust of bestiality be the result of repressed urges and denial?  I don't think it could be easily measured. When I saw an illustration of a man fucking a goat, on Wikipedia, I definitely felt a twinge from seeing a naked man, but I wouldn't feel the same way seeing 2 goats having sex or from one horse's genitals or even from seeing a woman getting fucked by a donkey. My attraction was to the male human. I am a gay man and I feel no more attraction to a cow's arsehole than I do towards a woman's vagina. So I think that theory would fail. 

Another thing that occurs to me is that we often place importance on consent being fairly obtained. Most of us agree that drug rape is wrong, taking advantage of someone who is far too drunk to know what is going on is wrong, blackmailing someone into sex is wrong and many countries (including here in the UK) place extra legal burdens on people in a position of trust or position of power. For example, a teacher cannot sleep with a student (legally) until they reach 18; not the usual age of 16. I see my pets as my babies, my children, my wards, my responsibility. I care for their needs and they rely on me for survival. Someone having sex with a pet seems like a huge breach of trust to me and I would feel like it was similar to a parent and their adult offspring. Of course incest is a separate and very complicated subject in itself. 
But we're still left with wild animals. I'm not sure I actually find that as disgusting actually. Still very much not for me, but I think much of my disgust stems from a feeling of taking advantage of a domesticated animal. Would a wild animal let you fuck it? I very much doubt so. I suppose it could be likened to "grooming", like a peadophile does to his or her victims. 

Perhaps we should say they can take their chances with wild animals that are big enough to defend themselves from unwanted sexual passes. That would possibly suit everyone concerned.

I can't find any rational basis for being against ALL forms of sexual zoophilia. Although, probably most forms. 
It still makes me uncomfortable. In fact, I am repulsed by it. I won't be flying any banners in support of any aspects of it. It's certainly not for me. However, very surprisingly, this blog post never went the way I thought it would. I'm not entirely sure if some, however few, cases may not be immoral. I don't think my mind has been blown so severely since I finally accepted atheism as truth. It went against everything I wanted to be true and what I had always assumed to be true. This subject has opened my eyes, but - based on my research - I still feel it is rarely moral; if ever. What I never expected was to think that there may perhaps be exceptions to the rule. 

For now, all comments are welcome - so long as they aren't abuse for being open-minded. 

Still, do I think gay marriage will lead to interspecies marriage? Why would it? It's just NOT the same thing at all. Consent is very obviously present and harm has been proven to not result.

Will bestiality ever become socially acceptable and legally recognised? I always assumed not, but now I'm not so sure. It certainly won't be connected to LGBT rights though, as just as many LGBT people are equally disgusted by zoophilia. The LGBT community won't be advocating it any more or any sooner than the heterosexual community. That much, I feel sure of. 

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