The FuneralGoer: My mother's lessons on bestiality

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HERSEY Brianna, jeudi 13 septembre 2007, The FuneralGoer: My mother's lessons on bestiality, The Mc Gill Daily, Volume 97, Number 4.

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© David Pullmer / The McGill Daily

The FuneralGoer: My mother's lessons on bestiality

By Brianna Hersey

The Mc Gill Daily, Thursday, September 13th, 2007 | Volume 97, Number 4

Would you fuck a dog? Would you let a dog fuck you? What if you were a lonely shepherd, grazing your livestock on open pasture in the remote highlands; would fucking a sheep be desirable if no human orifice was available?

The imagined life of shepherds was the crux of a recent conversation I had with my mother. In our exchange, she justified bestiality as a natural extension of men’s sexual desires. “A hole’s a hole,” she told me with a giggle. I suppose one might think about holes so indiscriminately if one reduces sex to inserting a cock into an orifice. But my conception of sex is more nuanced, and animals have never crossed my mind.

My initial scorn for my mother’s dismissive rendering of male sexuality may have been dealt too quickly, however. Upon inspection, the world of bestiality is also nuanced. The term bestiality refers explicitly to sexual activity between humans and animals, but zoophilia is the preferred term for those with a sexual or non-sexual attraction to animals.

Zoophilia does not necessarily connote sex with animals. There are those whose chosen life partner is an animal – a horse, a sheep, a dog – and where no sexual contact is involved. In other instances, sexual contact is involved. Those who like to receive or give oral, anal, and vaginal sex from or to animals are said to be of the sexual orientation called “zoosexuality.” It’s quite a happy term. It reminds me of the llamas at the petting zoo outside Toronto.

Videos from bestiality-porn site show human-animal sexual encounters in which the animals do appear happy: humping human holes, panting away. From the videos I watched, there didn’t seem to be any obvious harm done to the animals. In fact, many of the videos showcased dogs spurting semen onto the bums of women as human males looked on.

Ejaculating dogs aside, I find it difficult to believe that an animal can provide consent. But zoosexual-positive web sites list the many ways that animals non-verbally signal that they are ready and waiting for sex. A key argument in favour of zoophilia is that animal abuse is not typical or condoned within the zoophile community. Since humans perform surgery, castration, or euthanasia on animals without their consent – not to mention killing them and eating their flesh – is a horse’s consent really necessary to jerk him off?

Famed animal liberation philosopher Peter Singer writes about cross-species sexual activity in his 2001 article, “Heavy Petting.” He argues that humans are very similar to other mammals; we copulate just as they do. Singer writes, “The taboo on sex with animals may have originated as part of a broader rejection of non-reproductive sex.” Hmm. Are zoosexuals just queers in disguise? Many web sites suggest that zoosexuals are akin to queers because both sexual orientations have been marginalized from the mainstream. They speak of having to “come out” of the zoosexual closet. “Knock, knock!” “Who’s there?” “It’s me, Mom. I like touching goats”.

It is easy to make light of an adult getting off with a pet, but the shame associated with such behaviour has serious consequences for people who feel their primary bond is with animals. So where do we draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with animals? Should such a line be drawn at all? If the animal seems happy and the adult is consenting, I suppose there is no real harm. And if we disregard the possibility of a meaningful cross-species connection, we would alienate animal lovers the world over.

In the end, I have to retreat from my original disdain of my mother’s bestial shepherds. Judging zoophiles gives them license to judge me. And who wants stones thrown when your house is made of queer-tempered glass? I am not entirely cool with boys and horses, girls and dogs, but in an open and diverse society, it doesn’t matter if my comfort is partial. It doesn’t matter if I am comfortable at all, so long as the animal and human are both happy and getting off.

If you feel your primary bond is with humans, you can email Brianna at [email protected]