Zoophilia

Zoophilia refers to sexual arousal or a person to animals. The word zoophilia is derived from Greek words zoion, which means animal and philia that means love. The latter term is used nowadays to refer to an abnormal arousal to a certain thing. Hence, zoophilia refers to an abnormal sexual attraction of humans to animals.

Even though being involved in sexual intercourse with animals is not illegal in some countries, in most countries including in most states in the US, bestiality is outlawed as covered by animal abuse laws.

Bestiality, Zoophilia, and Zoosexuality

There are three terms that are usually connected with the topic - bestiality, zoophilia and zoosexuality. These terms are often used interchangeably. People who perform sexual acts with animals are called zoophiles or zoosexuals or even just zoos.

Zoophilia was coined by Krafft Ebing who described the practice in his book Psychopathia Sexualis, which was published in 1886. Ebing described zoophilia as unusual sexual attraction to animal fur or skin. In modern use, zoophilia refers the sexual activity of humans to animals including the desire to the mere arousal of a human in images, thoughts and suggestive descriptions of non-human animals. Even though zooerasty was also used in the 17th century to describe the sexual attraction to animals, its use gradually faded and zoophilia became more popular.

Strictly speaking, bestiality is the term used in legal cases. Experts draw a line of distinction between bestiality and zoophilia using the later to denote the arousal to have sex with animals while the former particularly describe the sexual acts. In some states in the US, bestiality is considered felony, misdemeanor, a combination of these charges or completely outlawed.

Meanwhile, the term zoosexual was coined in 2002 by Hani Miletski to propose as a value-neutral term. Zoosexual is synonymous with zoophile and the act is referred as zoosexual act.

Professor Stephanie LaFarge of New Jersey Medical School proposed that using different terms could distinguish two groups of zoosexuals. Bestialists can be used to refer to people who abuse or rape animals while zoophiles can be used to refer to people who forge a strong emotional and sexual attachment to non-human animals.

Moreover, a research study conducted by Martin Weinberg and Colin J. Williams evaluated self-defined zoophiles in the World Wide Web and published their report about these people being aware of the term “zoophile” as someone who is very concern with the welfare, consent and pleasure of animals and different from bestialists who are only after their sexual stimulation.

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