Zoophilia: causes, symptoms and treatment

Passion, flame, desire, attraction … these words refer to the experience of sensuality and sexuality.

This experience or its absence is a very important aspect of being human. Even at the academic level, authors like Sigmund Freud have studied the importance of libido as one of the foundational (if most important case) building blocks of the human psyche and behavior. Human sexuality is broad and complex, with great diversity in the type of stimuli that provoke the desire of individuals. We may love one person or another, arouse a desire for certain characteristics that others dislike, or it may even motivate us to try and maintain relationships that are different from the ones we normally use.

Independently, usually the object of desire or the one to which we are attracted is a human being with sufficient physical and mental capacity and maturity to build relationships. However, there are people whose experience of sexuality includes an atypical object of desire, in some cases even illegal and harmful to himself or to others. In this group we can find people who have carnal relationships with living things of other animal species other than humans: people who practice zoophilia.

Recall of concepts: paraphilias

As we have mentioned, sexuality is a complex and varied dimension. But there are people the object of desire is strongly limited to one aspect, Desiring or practicing sexual practices with living beings or inanimate objects that either do not consent or do not have sufficient capacity or maturity to make the decision to consent, or sexual activation depends on the presence of pain or humiliation or another person. These people suffer from the type of disorder known as paraphilias.

This type of disorder occurs continuously over time and causes a high level of discomfort in the person having strong recurring sexual fantasies that include acts or actors that the subject or society rejects. And even in cases of paraphilias in which people do not exhibit discomfort, having a restricted object of desire causes them to see a part of their life limited.

Some of these paraphilias they also involve harm or abuse to other beings, such as with pedophiles or, in this case, zoophiles. That is why, even if they do not cause harm to the person expressing this behavioral behavior, if they are considered paraphilias, problems that should be treated with professional help.

Zoophilia as a paraphilic disorder

One of the most famous paraphilias is zoophilia or bestialism. This disorder of sexual inclination presupposes the existence of a constant sexual attraction over time to other non-human animals. It also calls for bestiality in cases where the subject consumes his fantasies, this disorder has serious effects on people who suffer from it. Specifically, these are often subjects who are ashamed of the acts they commit, causing feelings of anxiety and discomfort (which can lead to recurrence of the act as a way to relieve this anxiety), as well as promote continued deterioration at the social level. and even work.

The level of attraction and being the object of desire can vary widely. There are zoophiles who have an attachment to a particular species and others who are attracted to various species.. It is necessary to consider that certain zoophilic practices are carried out in a substitutive way before the impossibility of reaching the object of true desire, being this one the people. However, the zoophilic subject tends to have a greater preference for non-humans.

In addition to this, keep in mind that zoophilia is a practice punishable by law in several countries (Including ours, Spain), due to the abuse committed with the animal in question. Maintaining sex with animals can also lead to the transmission of serious illnesses, with sexually transmitted infections such as lymphogranuloma venereal and other disorders that can cause major problems in a person’s quality of life. Physical injuries can also be caused during the event both in person and in animals, as well as alterations in post-copulation behavior.

Possible causes of zoophilic behavior

Although its exact prevalence is not known (people with paraphilia usually do not admit it), this disorder classified as unspecified paraphilia is not common in the general population. The mechanism which causes a human being to establish in objects of other species his object of sexual desire is not yet known..

As with other paraphilias, it has been proposed that this may be due to an occasional association between sexual and animal arousal. This association would be the product of chance or the sublimation of affective-sexual needs, and in the face of repeated practice, it could become a trouble and a fixation on the other being, which would end up identifying it as an object of desire.

Zoophilic practices usually occur in remote and hard-to-reach areas, usually in rural areas. In this type of environment, human contact can be very limited, while access to livestock and other animals is relatively easy. This is one of the common characteristics of people with bestiality: loneliness and isolation. Another feature common to these subjects that might help explain the problem is the presence of a low level of social skills, resulting in a high level of frustration and which in some people can lead to the need to spread an unfulfilled desire and mental discomfort.

If to all this is added the emotional union that exists between a domestic or farm animal and their owner or caregiver, the person may feel a special bond that can result in a principle of sexual desire, and even humanize the animal. This theory would be supported in this case. Additionally, many people with this problem report that animals give them a higher level of affection and loyalty than others.

Other than that certain cultures and beliefs may make it easier for you to have this disorderAnd in some mental disorders, such behaviors may appear secondary.

Treatment of zoophilia

The treatment of a paraphilia such as bestiality is complex and subject to debate. Many of these patients consider that with zoophilic practices they do no harm to anyone, equating their situation with that of other historically persecuted groups, alleging a supposed misunderstanding based on prejudice. However, in the event of zoophilia, the animals in question do not have the capacity to give or withhold consent to copulation, with which, in practice, bestiality is a violation of these.

Another reason why treatment is complicated is that most people with bestiality hide this fact, out of shame or fear of social judgment. Simply accepting therapy means recognizing that you have a problem with it.

One of the best ways to deal with this problem would be through psychological treatment. Since people with zoophilia they are generally solitary individuals with little social contactEffective treatment would be based on helping the subject increase their self-esteem and relationship skills with humans, analyzing their fantasies and what elements of these are desirable and induce sexual arousal. From all of this it would be possible to focus and redirect readers to the topic.

It is a complex process but possible thanks to a psychotherapeutic work, take care of the behavioral and cognitive sequences of the individual and work both to enhance normative sexual arousal and to de-eroticize the hitherto object of desire.

Bibliographical references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
  • Belloch, Sandín and Ramos (2008). Manual of psychopathology. McGraw-Hill. Madrid.
  • Cáceres, J. (2001). Paraphilias and rape. Madrid: Editorial Síntesi.

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