Contrary to popular belief, zoophilia does not mean a love of going to the zoo; rather, it refers to a true love of animals. And I mean love as in the passionate kind. Although zoophilia is a rare sexual interest, there is plenty of evidence that it does indeed exist and it has been the subject of significant media attention recently because German lawmakers are currently considering a ban on sex with animals. At this point, I bet you’re asking yourself two things: First, why is Germany just now (in 2012) looking to ban this practice? And second, why is anyone interested in having sex with furry creatures in the first place?
With regard to the German law, zoophilia was actually illegal in that country until 1969. What happened was that the same legal statute that criminalized gay sex also criminalized sex with animals. When that law was struck down as part of the gay rights movement, it swung the barn door wide open at the same time. Since then, numerous media reports have exposed a world of German “animal brothels,” where zoophiles can go to gratify their needs. These brothels are not impacted by Germany's current animal cruelty laws unless the sexual activity is demonstrated to cause significant harm to the animal. As a result, the German government is taking steps to update the law so that it criminalizes any kind of animal sex.
As for the question of why anyone would want to have sex with animals, that’s a harder one to answer. The best I can do is tell you about a recent study of male zoophiles (this practice is almost unheard of in women) in which an online sample of 114 men described the origin of their sexual interests . Perhaps not surprisingly, this is a practice that develops at a relatively young age. Most of the men in this study reported having their first sexual encounter with an animal in their early to middle teenage years. Which animals did they pursue? Mostly dogs (63%) and horses (29%), but there were also reports of cattle, sheep, cats, chickens, and even a dolphin. Most of the men (58%) reported being bisexual and were open to sex with male or female creatures. The men had an average of about 8 different animal partners during their lives, and reported engaging in a wide variety of sex acts, most commonly oral and vaginal sex.
In terms of why these men began and continued their sexual practices with animals, the most commonly reported reasons were a desire for affection and a desire for pleasurable sex, although a few men noted other reasons such as not being popular or attractive, as well as lacking interest in human partners. In their own words, here are just a few of the reported reasons:
“Humans use sex to manipulate and control. Humans have trouble accepting who you are…Animals do not judge you; they just love and enjoy the pleasures of sex without all the politics.” 
“I found horses to be more ‘honest’ about sex than humans. They had no hang-ups about it—just carried on regardless. I found human sex felt ‘dirty’—while equine sex wasn’t.” 
“I find the company of animals more pleasing that that of humans—there’s less stress, fighting…Love with an animal is how love should be—a lot less complicated with no strings attached.” 
As you can see, a lot of these guys seem to think that having a sexual and romantic relationship with an animal is superior to a human relationship on multiple levels. Although this study certainly doesn’t tell us where all cases of zoophilia originate or exactly how common this sexual practice is, it tells us that this is indeed a distinct sexual subculture that extends well beyond the farm.
 Williams, C. J., & Weinberg, M. S. (2003). Zoophilia in men: A study of sexual interest in animals. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 523-535.
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