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beastly affection

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January 1999 Email this to a friend
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Laying with Beasts
By Bill Andriette

Bestiality isn't just for farm boys any more. Thanks to cyberspace, these are heady days to be an animal lover. The anonymity and reach of the Net, even to rural places where barnyard creatures outnumber their owners, is helping forge something that's never before existed: a community of zoophiles.

Bestiality is taboo, but not with a capital T. Its celebration and facilitation over the Internet doesn't provoke FBI raids or outraged TV exposés (though with Clinton plumping to sign a draconian Net censorship bill, that might change). Indeed, bestiality strikes many as a joke. It seemed that way to the computer hacker who, about six years ago, created just for yuks the Internet newsgroup alt.sex.bestiality. For years, the group sat mostly dormant, but then, with the great influx onto the Internet, it's taken off.

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For most of the people interviewed for this article, finding other zoos, as the shorthand goes, has changed their lives. It has given them a new self understanding, connected them with like-minded friends, and led to some hot man-to-animal times. For others, an interest in sex with animals-- which usually takes the form of a specific fascination, say, with dogs or horses-- is something they delicately hint at with new boyfriends and guys they pick up at the bar, guys they may hope to entice into the barnyard.

While totally queer, the world of bestiality is not, to be sure, entirely homosexual. But gay people, having transgressed one threshold of taboo, find it easier to cross another. One denizen of the Internet's bestial neighborhoods estimates that about a third of the zoos there also identify as gay. At Zoocon '94, a gathering of 25 people who first met over the Net, the participants, all but two of them men, ended up in a hotel room for a big snuggle-fest. It was partly homoeroticism, partly the affection of new-found birds of a feather.

And it's a good thing that animal lovers are finding each other, even if it's not each other they're primarily seeking to find. While it's child's play to fondle a cat or masturbate a dog, sex with animals-- amidst hooves, mouthfuls of canines, beastly tonnage, and dicks the size of your arm-- carries dangers and so demands technique.

"Let's talk a bit about the anatomy of a male dog," suggests Anthony, a 25-year-old resident of the Bay Area, settling into one of his favorite subjects. "The way a dog has sex with a bitch is that he mounts her and pumps her a few times. Then there's this swelling at the base of his dick that enlarges, sometimes to the size of a softball. They get locked together, and they're stuck for about half an hour."

Anthony wants very much to play stuck bitch to a big male German shepherd, something he's thought about a lot but hasn't yet experienced. "There have been some people who have been pretty seriously injured having sex with dogs because they get 'tied,' and either they or the dog panics," Anthony continues. "The dog tries to pull out, the person is unprepared, and it tears their asshole."

With good rapport between man and his best friend, and a quiet space where nobody's likely to pop in unexpected, the risks are minimized. "If you're aware of them, it's not a very dangerous situation," Anthony says.

"I never let the knot go in," writes Randy, an Oregon man who is well known in bestiality circles on the Net. "It's too big. If you use your hand as a 'stop' while the dog thrusts and enlarges, the knot won't insert and expands outside."

But ass-fucking with dogs is not for the novice, Randy contends. A doggie boner "can hurt if he suddenly thrusts and you aren't ready, or the angle is wrong."

Even a dog whose dick you keep safely away from your bottom may grow painfully overeager. "I like to jerk them off and try to get them to suck my cock or lick my ass or my balls," reveals Brent, a 51-year-old Washington, DC, man, who started playing with canines by the time he was five. "Some times if you start to seep a little bit, the dog will begin to lick on it real fast. But they're a little dumb, and they can start to chew or bite." Despite some irritation to his foreskin, Brent reports he still has one.

"Male horses, when they start flirting, they bite you," says Shuunka, a 22-year-old Connecticut man, known by this handle on the Net. "I've had many a crescent-shape bruise on my back."

"Stallions play rough when it comes to sex. I mean, it's 22 inches long and two or three inches wide," Shuunka says. "There's not much you can do with it, except maybe lick it, though the ejaculatory volume is really something special."

Other people disagree that there's "not much you can do" with 22 inches of horsemeat. Brent and his lover Vince share the fantasy of getting Vince porked by a stallion, an exercise that requires a well-positioned table and a fistee's yoga-like concentration. "Do not attempt to put his penis into you," warns one on-line guide to safe bestiality, "unless you can already accommodate something the size of a human arm and fist. You risk rupture and peritonitis if he's too big."

One thing you don't have to worry about in sex with animals, except potentially some primates, is HIV. "Sexually transmitted diseases tend to be highly species-specific," says Equinox, the Net handle of a 29-year-old blues musician from the Midwest. "But pull sloppy seconds with a mare and you might be exposing yourself to some risk." Zoos, he suggests, shouldn't share their animal partners with fellow humans, at least not too quickly.

But other infectious dangers loom for bestialists. As fond as they are of sniffing them, dogs don't regard their anuses as otherwise erogenous, and don't like getting fucked there. If an angry dog isn't enough dissuasion, the chance of picking up hookworms should convince.

Other bugs that can pass from beast to human via sex included brucellosis (from dogs and cattle) and quartan fever (from sheep). While it may not be widespread enough to pose a big problem, bestiality could serve a conduit for other viruses, bacteria, and parasites to travel into people, and perhaps mutate to make themselves more at home there. Over the long-haul and the large-scale, unprotected, penetrative, inter-species sex-- like the gay bathhouses of the 70s and diets of raw meat-- is probably not a great epidemiological idea.

But what's a little foolhardiness when it comes to affairs of the heart?

"When I look at a horse, I don't see a dumb animal. I don't see just an animal. I see a living thing that has a personality, likes and dislikes, that has an ability to communicate which goes beyond words," Equinox tells The Guide. "Their company is one of the most important things in my life."

"Obviously, I don't have long, philosophical discussions with my horse, but that doesn't mean I don't have closeness," Equinox says. "They can understand nonverbal cues like tone of voice to a very high degree. If one of my mares moves out and I want to get her back to the barn, I just say 'Come with me, honey.' I don't have to put a halter on her."

Zoophiles often say that affairs between humans and animals conjure the same emotions, among the former anyway, as do relationships among people-- a claim many pet owners would find hard to deny.

"It's the same things I've felt toward human lovers," Equinox continues, "but horses don't play head games, they're not manipulative. They're very direct in their feelings. They're not going to create a domestic disturbance. I receive affection from them, and in return I give them affection and food." For him, the care and attention he gives his horses is the token of his devotion. "In ten years, I've only had two emergency vet calls. I've never had a case of colic with my horses, though I've had some thrush in the hoof."

But love risks loss. "What really cuts me to the heart is that I know I am going to outlive my lovers, several times over," writes Nevyn in Zoömorph, a zoo zine that Anthony edited (which has now stopped publishing). After a debilitating illness of several months, a dog with whom Nevyn was involved had to be put to sleep. Nevyn says he went for counseling afterward because he couldn't deal with his grief. "A dog has a life span of nine to 11 years, perhaps a little longer depending on the breed. So I know that I'm going to watch my lovers die several times over. That is something most 'straight' people will never have to contend with."

For Shuunka, feeling and receiving animal affection started when he was a small boy, growing up on his family's Connecticut farm. "There were no children in the neighborhood, just my brother and I," he recalls, "so I would often go off by myself and sort of hang out with the goats. But my most fond activity was to go next door and see the neighbor's German shepherd."

The dog lived up to the good reputation of her breed. "Queenie used to dig holes, and she and I would lay in them together," Shuunka continues. "She sort of adopted me as her puppy, and would do dog-grooming things on the back of my neck. I would come home all muddy and grimy and disgusting, but my parents thought it was cute. We were very much bonded."

Queenie's owner moved away, and the dog eventually died from cancer when Shuunka was 11. "I had sort of lost interest in her because she was gone from my life for so long," he says. "It's only this year that I've begun to mourn her loss. She was very important to me in my childhood. It was never sexual between us-- just a very strong bond."

While zoophiles are defined by desire and affection for animals, it's usually a particular species or two that really warms their cockles.

"I've had some experience around mares, but I don't have a very good rapport with horses in general," relates Anthony, whose eroticism centers on dogs and men, distinct categories. "I find it difficult to communicate with horses, to identify with them. Those experience have not really been very satisfactory."

"One of the reasons that most zoophiles go with dogs is that they are so easily available," Shuunka says. "People who grow up around horses tend to be horse zoophiles."

For Shuunka, sex play with dogs began by pulling back the sheath of their penises. "When I started out, it was a kind of curiosity, just exploring what parts dogs had. It was also a part of me exploring my gay side," he adds, "because I was a lot more interested in male animals than female."

It was only after hearing about bestiality on a TV talk show when he was 14 that Shuunka thought to translate his erotic fascination into actual intercourse.

"The first animal I truly had sex with was my sister's dog," he remembers, "Her name was Bear, and she was a cross between a Doberman pinscher and a chow, looking a little like a black Labrador, but with a broader chest and a sweet disposition. She came into heat and I thought, 'Well, there's my chance.' I did it, and it was just really wonderful. Orgasm from masturbation is one thing, but orgasm from intercourse is so completely different."

Shuunka recalls he felt guilty afterwards, but adolescent hormones prevailed. Boy and Bear kept at it while the dog remained in heat. And when she came out, Bear was still receptive to getting fucked about half the time. "I began to fall more and more in love with her," he tells The Guide. "I can remember thinking, 'How am I ever going to hide from my wife the fact that I like to have sex with men and dogs?' That's how programmed I was for a heterosexual life." But within a few years, Shuunka began hanging out on the Internet and finding other animals lovers, including his first boyfriend, a fellow zoo.

"I've been into male dogs since I was nine," writes Randy, who is a friend of Shuunka's on the Net. "It started out with my sister's German shepherd. Every summer when I visited my sister, I had lots of fun with her dog, and a Siberian husky belonging to a neighbor, and later a golden retriever belonging to another neighbor, and a German shepherd belonging to a boyfriend," he goes on. "From there, I guess, I was hooked."

Though Randy figured he was the only one to have these desires, he pursued dog love with gusto. "I picked up strays for hot sex whenever I had the opportunity," he relates. "Mainly I masturbated them. But around the age of 16, I picked up a stray in an abandoned building where I lived In New York City. He started humping and tried mounting me, so I blew him and he pounded the heck out of my face while doing it. It was great!"

ONCE YOU BECOME INVOLVED erotically and emotionally with animals, you have to deal with the fact that you live in a society that regards them rather differently than you do. A society that, for example, eats them."There are many arguments for and against being vegetarian," says Shuunka, who is. "But the one argument unique to zoophilia is that you could be eating someone's lover." This wasn't a concern when his erotic experiences had been only with dogs and horses, which rarely turn up on American menus. But once Shuunka got onto the zoo circuit, he encountered people with bovine affections. "When I started meeting people who had sex with cows," he says, "I began realizing that when I'm eating a hamburger, I could be eating a cow that someone very much loved."

Not all zoophiles, of course, stick to rice and beans. "I'm not a vegetarian," Anthony asserts. "Killing animals in a humane fashion and using them for food without wasting them reflects how the natural world works. I don't see that as a moral dilemma."

But if it's all right to kill and eat animals, shouldn't it be all right to force them to have sex? No, argues Anthony. Anything that causes unnecessary pain or suffering to animals is wrong. A particular evil, he says, are the factory farms that keep calves and chickens cooped in tiny cages and force fed. Forcing sex on animals, he suggests, to the extent that it happens, pales by comparison.

But how can animals, who are mute if not always quiet, consent to sex in the first place? Isn't sex with animals equivalent to raping them?

"If an animal consents to sex," Anthony weighs in, "he runs up to you, knocks you down, and fucks you. If an animal does not consent to sex, it will kick you or bite you or run away. I see absolutely no ambiguity there. I think consent with animals is a much less hazy a notion than it is with humans."

Even though it may look that way, animals don't force sex on each other, Anthony goes on; it takes two to tango. "What looks quite often to be rape to our eyes is probably not to the animal's eyes," he argues. "Sex between cats, for example, looks to us to be extremely violent. But in fact it's a fairy ordered, ritual thing. If the female is not receptive, sex won't happen."

AS GAY PEOPLE well know, sex is about more than reproduction. It's about who we bond with, and who fascinates us enough for us want to go the distance together, since all creatures, two legged or more, sometimes get a little ornery. Sex is also about who we imagine ourselves being, such that connection with a certain "other" is erotically and emotionally charged. You aren't what you sleep with, but you are marked by it, nonetheless.

So what does it mean to want to lie with beasts?

"You never forget that you're dealing with a member of a different species when you're having a sexual encounter with an animal," Anthony says. "For myself, it is to a degree becoming that species. It's a way of being with animals in a way that is difficult to attain otherwise. It's sort of like a vacation into another way of being."

"My own vision of inter-species sexuality is about contacting the animal spirit within ourselves," continues Anthony, who started his zine Zoömorph to explore these ideas. "The word 'zoömorph' means 'becoming an animal,' and that literally is what the magazine is about. It contains aspects of bestiality, animal role play, mythology. To me all of those things are part of a continuum. In my own world, those are just different aspects of the same thing. I wanted to get away from bestiality as a sexual act that is separate from all of the other things that we do in our lives." With relations between humans and the earth's other creatures growing ever more strained, can zoophiles' erotic allegiances help point a way toward reconciliation? **

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the March, 1996 issue of The Guide. Interested in flnding out more? Check out the Usenet newsgroup alt.sex.bestiality.

Author Profile:  Bill Andriette
Bill Andriette is features editor of The Guide
Email: theguide@guidemag.com

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