And They Call It Puppy Love

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Sex with critters, aka bestiality or zoophilia, has been in the news recently. After nearly 40 years of clinical work I thought I had heard it all until reading this …”Florida Man Arrested for Having Sex with an Alligator” and this..”Pennsylvania man, 68, arrested after traveling to Arizona to have sex with a horse”.

Writing in the 1940’s, famed sexual researcher Alfred Kinsey estimated that 8% of men and 3.6% of women had engaged in some sort of sexual act with an animal.The most common animals involved are dogs, followed by horses. Other farm animals such as donkeys (Greece), sheep (New Zealand), camels (Kuwait), and even chickens (USA) are also popular choices. Both male and female animals can be involved depending on the preferences of the human regarding penetrating, or being penetrated.

Even religions vary in their tolerance of bestiality though none exactly condone it except for perhaps the peasants of Northern Columbia….

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All branches of Christianity and Judaism, for example, completely forbid sex between humans and animals, which goes some way to explaining why it is so taboo in western nations….Leviticus 20:15-16: ‘If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. ‘If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them”.

Islam, however, has no specific prohibitions against such acts and, in practice, Islamic countries have been lenient in punishing those found to be engaging in them, provided the animal is not harmed. Camels of course are the preferred object of desire. The same goes for Hinduism, a religion that deifies a number of animals. Sex with cows however is not tolerated.

It is difficult to understand the unconscious motivations that underlie the aberrations of zoophilia. We  can start with the biological fact that children are essentially polymorphously perverse. Freud theorized that we are born with unfocused libidinal drives, deriving sexual pleasure from any part of the body. The objects and modes of sexual satisfaction are multifarious, directed at every object that might provide pleasure. Polymorphous perverse sexuality continues from infancy through about age five, progressing through three distinct developmental stages: the oral,anal, and phallic. Only in subsequent developmental stages do children learn to constrain sexual drives to socially accepted norms, culminating in adult behavior focused on the genitals and human object choice.

Of course this presupposes that the child has been socialized and has self-esteem. So in order to creates a deviancy there must be  a conflict between a drive and the internal and external forces that oppose its expression.
In other words one knows it is wrong but the drive is stronger than the controls against its acting out.

This brings me to Chris a boy of 15 I met in a residential treatment facility I worked at in Central Kansas. He was incarcerated for multiple pedophilic acts with children of both sexes between the victim ages of  5 and 10. He would  groom them with gifts or attention and then engage in mutual oral sex. He grew up in an isolated rural farm area in a large family and he was  the victim of physical, verbal  and male (grandfather) sexual abuse at a young age.

The end result was poor socialization, feelings of inadequacy and early sexualization. In brief Chris was polymorphously perverse in his sexuality. Later I learned he enjoyed masturbating with chickens and cats (soft fur and feathers) and in the facility he molested an 11-year-old in the washroom and was caught in the barn engaging in carnal knowledge with an attractive mare. It is unlikely she derived any pleasure from this experience -not exactly the start of a stable relationship.

None of the animals were otherwise abused or mistreated. By the time he was 18 Chris was still with us and under close supervision having improved not at all. He was a guiltless sexual force resistant to any therapeutic attempts to civilize him.

So in the end with his fully informed consent he was chemically “castrated” and libidinally repressed with Depo Provera and high doses of Paxil-the heavy price of partial freedom and careful reentry into society.

After all as per Hippocrates …”Extreme treatments are appropriate for extreme diseases.”

He might have fared a bit better in Iran where ” a man can have sex with animals such as sheep, cows, camels and so on. However he should kill the animal after he has his orgasm. He should not sell the meat to the people in his own village, however selling the meat to the next door village should be fine.”  – Ayatollah Khomeini

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