Zoophilia (zoh-oh-FILL-ee-uh), sometimes called bestiality, involves sexual contact between humans and animals (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). You may wonder why we classify this as a coer­cive paraphilia, because such behavior does not involve coercing other people into acts that they would normally avoid. In many instances of zoophilia, it is reasonable to presume that the animals involved are also unwilling participants, and the acts performed are often both coercive and invasive. Consequently, assigning this paraphilia to the coercive category seems appropriate.

In Kinsey’s sample populations, 8% of the males and almost 4% of the females reported having had sexual experiences with animals at some point in their lives. The frequency of such behavior among males was highest for those raised on farms (17% of these men reported expe­riencing orgasm as a result of animal contact). The animals most fre­quently involved in sex with humans are sheep, goats, donkeys, large fowl (ducks and geese), dogs, and cats. Males are most likely to have contact with farm animals and to engage in penile-vaginal intercourse or to have their genitals orally stimulated by the animals (Hunt, 1974;

Atypical Sexual Behavior

Kinsey et al., 1948; Miletski, 2002). Women are more likely to have contact with house­hold pets, involving an animal in licking their genitals or masturbating a male dog. Less commonly, some women have trained a dog to mount them and engage in coitus (Gen – del & Bonner, 1988; Kinsey et al., 1953).

Sexual contact with animals is commonly only a transitory experience of young people to whom a human sexual partner is inaccessible or forbidden (Money, 1981). Most adolescent males and females who experiment with zoophilia make a transition to adult sexual relations with human partners. True, or nontransitory, zoophilia exists only when sexual contact with animals is preferred, regardless of what other forms of sexual expression are available. Such behavior, which is rare, may be expressed only by people with deep-rooted psychological problems or distorted images of the other sex. For example, a man who has a pathological hatred of women may be attempting to express his contempt for them by choosing animals in preference to women as sexual partners. However, some men who engage in zoophilia do not appear to fit this profile. An anonymous Internet questionnaire study of 114 self-defined "zoophile" men found that while the majority of respondents indicated preferring animal sex to human sex, a desire for affection and pleasurable sex, and not hatred of women, were presented as the major reasons for sexual interest in animals (Williams & Weinberg, 2003).