Research has shown that there may be some relationship between bestiality in childhood and adolescence and interpersonal violence (Hensley, Tallichet, & Singer, 2006) and there seems to be a higher rate of bestiality in mental patients when compared to the normal population (Alvarez & Freinhar, 1991). Haverlock Ellis, writing in 1906, elucidated three pre-conditions for bestiality: 1. Seeing animal procreation as similar in mechanism to human procreation; 2. living closely with animals; 3. Belief that sex with animals would confer power or cure venereal disease.
Even in modern times some White Supremacists believe that Jews and other non-white people are descended from Eve’s congress with the snake in the garden of Eden. In the middle ages women in parts of Europe thought to be witches were charged with having sex with the devil in animal form (usually a goat or ram). Psychologists usually see bestiality as a paraphilia, or in common parlance, a fetish. Paraphilias can be learned, usually through seeing someone else perform the behavor, or by associating some aspect of an animal (like the fuzziness of its fur) with pleasure at a young age. People who have trouble establishing and maintaining human relationships may be more likely to engage in bestiality and other paraphilias.
Here are some examples of people who enage in bestiality:
At least some of these examples support the psychological view of bestiality. Beirne (2000) asserts that bestiality is a form of sexual assault which should be seen similarly to child sexual abuse. In his view animals are not able to consent to sex and are harmed by sexual activity with humans. Nevertheless, bestiality is not yet illegal throughout the United States. And judging by the number of websites devoted to bestiality there must be a sizable number of people interested in watching human-animal sexual interaction.
Beirne, P. (2000). Rethinking bestiality: Towards a concept of interspecies sexual assault. In Podberscek, AL. (Ed.); Paul, ES. (Ed.); & Serpell, JA. (Ed.). Companion animals and us: Exploring the relationships between people and pets., 313-331. New York, NY, US: Cambridge University Press.
Ellis, H. (1906). Animals as Sources of Erotic Symbolism. Erotic symbolism, the mechanism of detumescence, the psychic state in pregnancy., Studies in the psychology of sex, 71-88. London: F.A. Davis Co.
Alvarez, WA, & Freinha,r JP. (1991). A prevalence study of bestiality (zoophilia) in psychiatric in-patients, medical in-patients, and psychiatric staff. International Journal of Psychosomatics. 38(1-4):45-7.
Hensley, C., Tallichet, SE., & Singer, SD. (2006). Exploring the Possible Link Between Childhood and Adolescent Bestiality and Interpersonal Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(7), 910-923.