What is zoophilia?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 20.11.2021

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

Zoophilia (zooerastia) is paraphilia, defined as a person's craving for animals, or recognition of animals as sexually attractive. The term "zoophilia" was proposed in 1894 by the German psychiatrist Richard Kraft-Ebing in his book "Sexual psychopathies".

It is no secret that in ancient times the attitude towards sexual attraction to animals and obtaining sexual satisfaction in their contacts with them differed significantly from the modern one. Primitive man "did not seem strange that a spirit or an animal can be inflamed with a passion for the human being, as it is with humans, and since he is accustomed to anthropomorphize and even idealize spirits and animals, he is not at all shocked by the possibility of sexual intercourse with these beings, on the contrary, their favor is a special attraction for him and inspires a sense of pride.Not only in folklore, but also in everyday life you hear "reliable" stories about girls who fell in love with this or that animal, I'm on them and suddenly disappearing and then returning mothers of children born of cohabitation with their beloved, "- wrote the largest Russian ethnographer of the late XIX century L. Ya. Sternberg.

Greek mythology gives many examples of sexual relations with animals, not only with the gods who took their appearance (the abduction of Europe, the history of Leda, etc.), but also with genuine fauna (the most famous plot is about the wife of the Cretan King Minos Pasiphae, who fell in love with bull and the Minotaur that gave birth to him, defeated afterwards by Perseus). Mother of Alexander of Macedon assured that her son was born from a divine serpent. One of the best examples of ancient prose - "Apuleius Metamorphosis" - contains the famous description of the sexual act between the "noble and rich matron" and the hero turned into an ass (it is important to note that a woman takes him for a donkey natural).

No less aware of the sexual possibilities of animals were the Chinese. The Chinese scroll of the XIX century, kept in the Hermitage, contains the image of a European woman substituting the genitals for the language of a donkey bent over her. In the XIX century, the watercolor "Remembering the Beloved Donkey" was performed, which is in one of the Moscow private collections. It is interesting to note that the donkey dreams of a male participant in a heterosexual erotic scene.

The ministers of the Baath of Asia Minor - the "initiated" youths (called in kedeschim in Hebrew) not only engaged in prostitution themselves in favor of the temple, but kept special dogs trained for the same purpose. The money earned from the sale of these dogs was called "the pay of a dog". The distribution of bestiality among the ancient Jews can be judged from the fact that it was specifically forbidden by the Mosaic commandments: "You must not lie down with any animal to defile yourself with it, and a woman must not commit adultery with the animal ... Who defiles himself with to animals - death to him! And to the animal also "(Leviticus, 18, 22, 20, 11).

Thus, zoophilia (or zooerastia, bestiality, sodomy, bestialism, bestophilia) is located, as it were, on the poles of sexuality, being an occupation for intellectually limited persons (shepherds, grooms who are under prolonged isolation from the opposite sex) or, conversely, one of the ways of obtaining unusual, exquisite pleasures by people who are fed up with everything else.

Zoophilia of the first type is common in livestock areas, especially where the premarital relations and infidelity of women are severely punished, so that young men can begin to have sex only after marriage. (In some villages there is a tradition of "testing" young men aged 15-16 and training their technique with coitus using an ass.) According to A. Kinsey, 40-50% of young people in rural areas had zoophilic contacts, and in 17% of cases they ended ejaculation and orgasm. As a rule, domestic animals serve as objects of sexual satisfaction: goats, sheep, donkeys, mare, cows, but there are cases of sexual contact with poultry (chickens, geese) and small animals (rabbits, etc.), which is usually accompanied by sadism.

Zoophilia of the second type is described in detail in European literature - from de Sade and works of French romanticism of the first quarter of the XIX century to the sensational best-selling modern porn star Sylvia Bourdon "Love is a holiday". Here's how Bourdon talks about his first experience with Newfoundland: "I was fascinated by an unusual orgasm I had never experienced before, I enjoyed both sexually and intellect, rejoicing at the successfully realized idea, and he, stretching out on me, rumbled, pouring me saliva. Only words were missing. "

Yet, according to statistics, among women, zoophilia is less common and is performed more often as cunnilingus with dogs and cats. The use of animals for self-stimulation is quite understandable, because they live with a man, they often become real friends, so you may have a desire to trust them and bodily. In addition, they will not tell anyone about the sexual fantasies of the owner. However, it should be remembered that their mind is still inferior to the human. In clinical practice, a case is known when an elderly woman, using a cat for self-stimulation, smeared her clitoris with a tincture of valerian. From strong feelings, the hostess "disconnected" for a while, and the animal, too, unable to stop, scratched her genitals.

In addition, making love to animals, you need to take into account the characteristics of their sexual behavior and the structure of the genital organs, which can be very different from human. So, for example, in the penis of the dog there is a cartilage that, when fully filled, becomes transverse to the penis and returns to its original position only after ejaculation. If, however, the diameter of the hole where the penis is inserted is less than this cartilage, removing the excited member can be painful for both the person and the dog.

It is difficult to decide unequivocally the question of the treatment of zoophilia. Classical sexopathology considers it as a transitory, substitutive perversion. On the other hand, a modern view of the problem presupposes the need to treat sexual deviations that represent social danger or are a harassing factor for the carrier itself. Thus, it must be recognized that as long as zoophilia, that is, self-stimulation with the help of animals does not harm them and does not torment the person himself, it remains his personal affair.

Translation Disclaimer: For the convenience of users of the iLive portal this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.