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Zoophilia is a paraphilia defined as sexual attraction by a human to non-human animals. Human/animal sexual interaction is referred to as zoosexuality, or simply animal sex; the term bestiality is also used, especially in legal and negative contexts. The quite ambiguous term sodomy has also sometimes been used for bestiality. In pornography, zoosexuality is occasionally referred to as "farmsex".

Pan copulating with a goat; marble sculpture from the ancient city of Herculaneum.

Zoophilia is often considered to be unnatural, and zoosexuality has been condemned as animal abuse; however, some advocates such as Peter Singer argue that this is not inherently the case. Bestiality is illegal in many jurisdictions, while others generally outlaw the mistreatment of animals without specifically mentioning zoosexuality. Just over half of U.S. states explicitly outlaw bestiality (sometimes under the name sodomy). In Germany, sex with animals is not specifically outlawed.

The extent to which zoosexuality occurs is controversial. Zoophilia advocates claim that the human/animal relationship goes far beyond sexuality, and that they are capable of forming a loving relationship with an animal that can frequently last several years and that they do not consider functionally different from any other love/sex relationship.

Bestiality in pornography

Pornography involving zoosexuality is widely illegal, even in most countries where the act itself is not explicitly outlawed. In the United States, this pornography is automatically considered obscene and therefore may not be sold, mailed or imported (production and mere possession appear to be legal however). Similar restrictions obtain in Germany.

Materials featuring animal sex are widely available on the internet however, mainly because their production and sale is legal in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark.

Bestiality in mythology

Bestiality has been a frequent subject in art, literature, and fantasy. In Greek mythology, Zeus appeared to Leda in the form of a swan (resulting in the birth of Helen and Polydeuces), and the Minotaur was the offspring of Queen Pasiphae and a white bull. The God Pan has also been frequently associated with animal sex.

Erotic furry fantasy art and stories have been accused of promoting zoophilia, but defenders point out that the characters are predominantly humanoid fantasy creatures who are thinking, reasoning beings as capable of giving consent as any human. Furry characters have been compared to other non-human characters who are subjects of love/sexuality fantasies, such as the Vulcans and Klingons in Star Trek.

Also see

  • Midas Dekkers: Dearest Pet: On Bestiality, ISBN 1859843107
  • Mark Matthews: The Horseman: Obsessions of a Zoophile, ISBN 0-87975-902-X
  • Andrea Beetz: Love, Violence, and Sexuality in Relationships between Humans and Animals, ISBN 3832200207
  • Hani Miletski: Understanding Bestiality and Zoophillia, available at Hani Miletskis Homepage (http://www.drmiletski.com/bestiality)

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