-- "My friend was very lucky, he had a psychiatrist tell the judge there's nothing wrong with it [having sex with animals] ... he only got off with probation, but he got hours of community time, he lost his federal job, his horse and his career was destroyed."
-- "I ... had therapy when I was 14. I initially got caught when I was 14. I went through the court system as a juvenile and was put on probation ... I ran away from home after getting caught having sex with a couple different German Shepherds. And the therapist ... was absolutely non-judgmental ... we worked on the issues of why ... it was a very positive experience. And then I had another experience, when I was about 20, with another therapist who had a completely different paradigm in mind ... it was an addiction paradigm ... and I had a really hard time trying to apply that to myself ... he thought I should categorize myself in this. I could understand the dynamics of, you're into zoophilia, it's pretty easy to feel isolated, and perhaps you can use the sex as a way of medicating yourself, but I just couldn't. There was no reason. I had a dog, I already had a very intense emotional bond, and he was like, 'You've got to get rid of your dog.' And I was like, 'No way. I'm not getting rid of my dog.'"
-- "I did therapy when I was early teens ... I had started talking about suicide one morning and it helped out ... there was about 20 years or so where basically I dealt with the guilt feelings I was having by suppressing most of my emotions and finding people [on the Internet] to talk to was what allowed me to open up the guilt, to feel safe to deal emotionally with [my zoophilia]"
I asked: "What was your psychiatrist's reaction?"
-- "I never told him. I didn't feel safe to tell him. [We talked about] a lot of other things but I didn't feel safe to tell him [about my zoophilia]."
-- (The woman participant said): "I told my shrink just a couple of weeks ago actually and in the context of talking about my [human] partner ... at the end of [the conversation], I had to say, 'Wait a minute. I just told you that I have sex with animals, and you just ... it just kind of rolled right along.' And she said, 'Is this a problem for you?' And I said, 'No.' And she said, 'How long have you been coming here?' And I said, 'Way too long (laughter).' And she said, 'I know you well enough to know that if this was a problem for you, you would have brought it up long ago ...' And that's the last I've ever heard of it ..."
-- "I was talking with one [therapist] ... and the first thing he wanted to do was lock me up for about a week for observation ... I know of at least three people... who have been locked up, treated to electroshock therapy, drug therapy, and all that, just because they admitted that yes, they were a zoo ..."
-- "The one time I saw a therapist about it ... his whole reaction was, 'You should be locked up and will stay that way.' I got up off the couch after that statement, walked out, and ... personally I would not be tremendously unhappy to see that he had lost his license ..."
I asked if they thought zoophilia and/or bestiality were perversions.
-- "Do I think it's a perversion, or right or wrong, or anything like that? I don't think that it's wrong, but what's more, it really doesn't matter. I've come to the conclusion that it's okay to have certain desires, but what is important is how you handle them ..."
-- "So perhaps the question might be rephrased in terms of not perversion per se, but ... does it produce worries, doubts, or guilt within you?"
-- "Is it morally wrong? If it were morally wrong, we wouldn't be here."
-- "If you're comfortable with your sexuality and it's not damaging to your partner, and society, then there really shouldn't be anything wrong with it. I hope that's how modern-day psychologists see it, is that you're not hurting your partner. If you're a bestialist, that's debatable, but if you're a zoo, you're not going to hurt your partner and it's not going to hurt society if they don't get out their camcorders and look through the window and get offended by it."
-- "In my case, my folks had a book, a textbook on human sexuality, in a bookcase when I was growing up. And since the day I found that book and read about zoophilia, I wasn't doing anything at that time, but I said, 'Whoa, okay.' And I like Greek myths, I thought they were pretty cool, and I knew what my inclination was at that point and I'd never really had any problem with it."
-- "I've come to the conclusion with my own self that I'm capable of responding to many different stimuli in an erotic manner and that to apply this sort of morality, some sort of construct of our society to that, these natural feelings that I have, I just can't do that anymore."
-- "When I was growing up as a teenager, I was lucky enough: my parents had a copy of Kinsey's report in the house and I looked through it and found references to bestiality and I thought, 'Okay, I'm not alone.' And that was a great help towards dealing with the feelings I was having. I'd often sat down and analyzed -- is what I'm doing wrong? You know, if you follow the biblical interpretation in Leviticus, any person who lays with an animal shall be stoned and the animal put to death as well, which I thought was grossly unfair to the animal."
-- "From my standpoint, I don't see how anything I do with an animal that causes the animal enjoyment or pleasure could be construed as wrong. And I see lots of people who think nothing of eating an egg from a chicken that's been confined to a one-foot cage with four other chickens its whole life, and that's not cruelty to animals, but when I insert my genitalia into the animal's genitalia, or vice versa, or however you want to look at it, then that suddenly is an evil thing. And I don't understand ... it's okay to kill animals, cause them pain, do whatever you want to so you get the desired result from them, whether it's pulling a cart, or providing you with food, but it's not okay to have mutually pleasurable sexual relations."
I asked if they would want to change and not be zoophiles.
-- "I don't know what it is not to be a zoophile, so I really couldn't say yes or no."
-- "Yeah, if I could have from the start not been one, I think I would have rather not been one. But would I choose to change from a zoo into a non-zoo? No."
-- "Yes, actually I would. This is probably going to come as a shock. I would because facing what I am and dealing with it and learning to live with it, and I've been in [the] position, I have also sat there and worried if it wouldn't be better just to end it. It's caused me no end of pain ... I would do it, change it because, to be honest ... I've been dealing with my zoophilia ... since I was about 14. I didn't have a word for it until I was 25. I know something was different. But this has caused me more pain in my life and I've never been able to come to grips with it. And I'm still, to this day, fighting it and suffering a lot of pain for it ..."
-- "If I had been given the opportunity I, in fact I lost two opportunities when I was about 24, due to my own inexperience with a woman ... we were at a party and she asked me, 'Am I your girlfriend?' And being the dumb, inexperienced fool that I was, I was honest and said, 'I don't own anybody. That's your decision if you want to be with me.' Six months later she wound up marrying the man that she was talking about, that wanted to know this. It was really her asking if I wanted a permanent relationship, but I didn't know it until years later ... so I would have changed for them [the two women/opportunities], but now, and considering where it's led me, I won't, you know, don't look back. I've been comfortable with it."
-- "For me, I wouldn't have changed. I'm 23 and I would have never changed ... I'm really at a crossroads in my life ... because I have a female friend who would marry me in a second, but, you know, for all the difficulty that it causes, I wouldn't trade my relationship [with animals] for anything, because it's that rich, and it's, it makes me feel that complete to have it."
-- "The bonds we have with animals are really unique ... it's not the same as you could get from a person. I'm married, and I would never change that ... but, as it is, being a zoo is really important to me, that the feelings that I get when I'm around horses are incredible, and I'm addicted to them. There's no way that I'm going to lose that. If I had to stop having sex with the animals forever, I could deal with that. If I had to live the rest of my life never knowing the feeling of a horse's hide under my hands, or the smell of its breath in my nostrils, or the look of my face reflected in its eyes, I would rather die."
-- "It's possible we can change. But I'll always have dogs in my life. Many times I've asked myself the question, 'Would I do anything differently?' And I look and I say, 'You know, if I had to have these impulses, then maybe I wouldn't have experienced confusion and the amount of loneliness I did ... self hatred for a while. But also I look at how I am now and the journey may have been rough, but I personally like who I am now ..."
-- "In my own case ... I've gone out with and been involved with a number of very great women, and I've yet to find anyone who showed any indication of tolerance for bestiality, and I'm not going to stay involved with somebody who's not going to be accepting ..."
-- "How do you bring it to your date? You know, honey, by the way, you kept asking why I was out at the barn late all the time ..."
-- "I've told my last two boyfriends that they cannot be everything. That my interests are too great. They don't have hooves, a mane, tail, they can't have paws ..."
-- "One thing is, I believe, common to all zoos is that they won't even consider a long-term relationship with a human being unless that human being is fully prepared to accept the zoophilia."
-- "That's not true for me. I don't buy that."
-- "It is for me. The people here know that there are people who can't accept them ... I married my wife because I thought it was the best acceptable thing."
-- "I can remember when I was 14 years old and I'm having these desires to be with the goats and the dogs and the horses ... and at the same time thinking, 'How am I ever going to hide from my wife that I'm out, you know, having sex with the horses?'"
-- "I was at my grandparents' house and they're like, 'When are you gonna bring your girlfriend over?' so I said, 'I'll bring my dog next time (laughter).' And then next time I brought my dog, and they're like, 'You actually brought your dog.' And I'm like, 'Well, he keeps me warm at night ... (laughter) and if he starts snoring, I put him in his house outside.' That killed the conversation for pretty much the whole day (laughter)."
-- "My wife said she hoped I got doggie AIDS and died (laughter) ... what she specifically told me was I was not to bring any of my weird Internet friends home, because they will get AIDS on her furniture (laughter)."
-- "There's only one thing about zoophilia that I'd like to change and that's the fact that I can outlive everybody who I fall in love with. I'm on my fifth regular canine lover because the previous ones, by one means or another, have passed on. And that's one of the hardest things about being a zoo. It's the only thing I don't like."
-- "When I was with my first love (a dog) ... I was to the point that I really couldn't concentrate on my schoolwork at college, or even, I was at the National Guard, you know, just eight hours, lonely, having anxiety attacks to be back with her. And that kind of gives you an idea of what I went through when I lost her ... I was depressed for two, three years, so deeply that I just, I couldn't even concentrate. I stopped reading because I couldn't even stay focused on more than a paragraph. I failed the first school that I went to in the Army and ended up in training with drill sergeants for eight months ... I spent my entire income just to be able to barely afford a house to live in, to support that lifestyle ... my entire adult life I spent pursuing to be able to live that lifestyle ... I just couldn't be without a dog."
-- "I have known what I was when I was about 11 years old. My first love was on my paper route. She was an older female German Shepherd ... but I never had a chance to touch her because I was so horrified of getting caught. But when she finally died of cancer, I actually was like crying for a week because of that ... and when I was 18, I had my first love. My parents let me buy a dog, and it was the happiest year of my life. And really ... problems about, they gave her away and (crying) ... you don't want me to get into my story ... (still crying and a few of the guys sitting next to him started hugging him). I went into a pure depression because of that and almost committed suicide ..."
-- "The problem with losing all the lovers all the time is that every time it takes a little piece of you, and you lose a little bit of confidence in yourself that you'll ever be able to fall in love again ... and the thing is, I realize that after losing [my horse] and after losing all the other horses and after losing the dog, after losing all of them, I was still able to feel the connection, to feel the bond that you feel love for another animal."
I asked "Why do you have sexual relations with animals?"
-- "It's different for every person ... for me, it becomes the why not question. Because I know what it's like to wake up and be licked by a raspy tongue in the morning after having wonderful love with my dog the previous evening. And to deny myself that and to deny my lover the pleasure that I know I can give him ... why? What good reason is there not to experience some of the highest highs and to share those with somebody who you know loves you and who can express that love to you so well ... there have been a couple people who I have fallen in love with, who haven't, have said that they loved me but did not return that. I've never fallen in love with an animal that never returned that love. That doesn't mean that I hold that against people. Some people just aren't perfect. That's fine. They're not the right person for me."
-- "Dogs seem to be very compatible with people. Look at all the interactions we have with dogs. We groom them, we hug them and kiss them like we do with people we care about. Often, we're actually more tactile with our dogs than we are with people. We feel protective of them and very often dogs feel protective of us ... it's very fun to play [with] dogs. You understand them. So, if we're interacting on all these different social levels and it's a question of the dog being a social unit, they why is it, you know, sex is of course the next step ... so you can have even more interaction ... and you don't always know if it's love or not. Love is a human concept. You can equate an animal actions into what love is for us, but then humans can't even agree on what love is ..."
-- "I think the 'why' question's pretty easy. It's because we like it and it feels good. Another question is 'how?' or, 'How did you get this way?' I'm guessing that 99 percent of the people here grew up as labeled 'odd' by everyone around them ... quite a few people grew up being, you know, not very popular ..."
-- "The environment pushes you. The environment that we were raised in pushed us towards animals. It didn't make us zoo, but not having as much interaction with human beings that I did, I was able to look elsewhere for companionship occasionally. Not all the time. I still had human friends, but I was a heck of a lot closer to my dogs than I was to any of the other kids that I hung around with at the time. It may not be the same for everyone, but I'm guessing that a lot of us were just kind of nudged in that general direction, you know, by our environment. It wasn't the whole reason, but it was part of the reason."
-- "On the other side, that's not the only reason. Because I was part of, I competed in a lot of athletic events in school, I was part of a very popular culture within my school. I had sex with young ladies about the same time that I, my earliest sexual experience was also with goats and with women. So I had both opportunities, but I have slowly selected, almost exclusive at this point, I've turned 40, and still single, it's almost exclusively animals at this point ..."
-- "Yeah. See, I was married for five years ... I'm out of that marriage, I'm divorced now, but out of that marriage I did have a child. But although she never did it [sex with animals], my ex, she and I had sex that was different sex than my canine sex. That is real sex, real love."
-- "Because (laughter). I really can't explain why. I was 11 years old when I had my first fantasies, so I don't know why, or where I even got them from, you know ... I don't have a clue ..."
-- "I started having sex with animals when I was 8, and at the time I didn't really have any tolerant sense of right or wrong as to what I was doing. I knew that if I got caught by my mother I'd be in trouble, but I didn't really know why I would be in trouble. I knew that it felt really good and I really liked doing it ..."
-- "I don't know about hereditary, but I feel like I was born this way. I've always been close to nature and animals and everything else like that and I just guess I never felt like it was really wrong. I couldn't see that if I loved an animal this much, why not take it an extra step? I just feel like I was born this way. There wasn't anything that happened in my childhood to turn me off from women or anything like that. I wasn't an anti-social kid. My parents even told me that I was a normal kid (laughter)."
-- "I was always emotionally attached to animals ... but I was also physically attracted to animals on the street, you know. It was just like, I guess heteros see a hot woman and they're like, 'look at that woman.' And I see an attractive animal and I'm like, 'Whoa, that's a really attractive animal.' And it's always been that way and I think it's hereditary ..."
-- "I don't feel like I really had a choice, I guess. That it's just the way I am and there's no way that I could say that I'm not a zoo. It's not like I decided to have sex with animals or I decided to have this attachment or love for animals. It's like, I can't ignore it. It's part of me and I can't, I couldn't possibly have a normal relationship without that ... this is just the way I am and if I'm going to be true to myself, then this is the way I'm going to have to live -- it's not an option ..."
-- "Another aspect perhaps of 'why' is I've always had problems dealing with and interaction with people and it created a lot of tension when I had to do that in school and work and all. And the time I spent with my companions [animals] was relaxing and helped me deal, and unwind, and deal with tension ..."
I asked about the need for intellectual stimulation for those who prefer animals as sex partners.
-- "I have a social group, social peers I hang out with, that satisfy my desire for deep meaningful conversation if I choose to engage in it."
-- "I don't think any of us here are total recluses to the point where we only interact with the animals and don't really have any interest in other humans.
-- "I'm sure there are plenty of people who are married to paraplegics or people with various motor nervous disorders that can't speak, can't talk back to them ... I'm saying that there are people who are married to companions, or have companions that, they are not capable of having high-level, intellectual conversations."
-- "I know humans who you can't have high-level conversations with (laughter)."
-- "And animals can be intellectually as challenging on their own ..."
-- "It's intellectually challenging to take care of a horse, you know, to understand it and understand its needs."
-- "We all have to interact with society and we have our jobs, or school, or your family life ..."
-- "It's a separate thing. You go one place for one thing and you go to the other place for the other thing and it becomes a natural part of your life where you don't even think about it anymore ..."
-- "I think that there's something definitely missing in a zoo relationship ... everything about my dog is, I think is fabulous. But I can't get the kind of, you know, private communication, and the kind of, you know, like spiritual type communication that you can get from another person ... it's a completely different style of, it's completely different. I mean, I can't even describe it. It's like comparing apples to oranges. The two aren't the same ... I think to be, or at least for me, to be complete, I need both of those ..."