Over the weekend, the center-left German newspaper taz published a fascinating interview (g) with Oliver Burdinski and Kurt Gehrl, two zoophiliacs. That is, men who have sex with dogs. Those are their real names. The point of the interview was to protest against a bill pending in the German Parliament which would increase penalties for bestiality. Both men are members of ZETA (g), an organization whose name roughly translates as 'Zoophiles United for Tolerance and Understanding'. The point of the interview was to remove some of the stigma and shame from their passion, and to foster understanding of the sodomite next door, so to speak. As I read the interview, I felt myself actually beginning to sympathize with their cause.
The interviewer, plainly fascinated by the opportunity to ask these men about their sex lives, goes into great detail. One of the men first realized his orientation when he became aroused by an image of a centaur from early Hercules and Xena shows and from old computer games. He then progressed to make-out sessions with dogs, and the rest was history. One of the men is actually a 'bottom' -- he lets male dogs mount him. There's plenty more fascinating detail in the interview, but I will leave it for others to discover. Let's just say that if you want to know about the details of how grown men have sex with dogs, this interview is a great place to start.
Interestingly, both of the men totally reject the thesis, put forward by a German psychologist, that zoophiles are responding to childhood experiences. They say their childhoods were just fine, it's just that as long as they can remember, they have mainly been attracted to animals. This is yet another reminder how many German psychological 'experts' are still wedded to 1960's-era notion that many adult behaviors are related to childhood experiences. I am pretty sure that zoophiles, like most homosexuals, are simply hard-wired genetically and neurologically to their preferences, and would have turned out precisely the same way no matter what sort of childhood they had. In fact, one of the men interviewed for the article says he'd be happy to be a subject of scientific inquiry.
Of course, the interviewer brings out the standard counter-arguments, to which the men have ready responses. Here's my summary:
- It's just perverse. That's what people used to say about homosexuality, consensual BDSM, single parenthood, etc. Passing laws based on generalized distaste or outdated religious notions without any proof of harm is simply legislating morality, which is foolish and unjust.
- You're cruelly exploiting the dogs. The dogs willingly engage in sexual behavior, it's hard to argue that a dog who is mounting a human has been coerced. Forcing dogs to have sex against their will or injuring them is criminal and awful animal abuse, and precisely the sort of behavior that true zoophiles abhor. In any case, the kind of dogs who are of interest to zoophiles weigh at least 70-80 pounds and up, and getting them to do anything they don't want to do is quite a tall order. Dogs like having sex as much as humans do, if not more, and don't care who they have it with.
- Isn't pedophilia next? No -- children are not sexual beings, and introducing them to sex before it's appropriate is criminal and wrong. Dogs, however, are sexual beings, as anyone who has ever owned one knows.
- How do you know they consent? Because they either initiate or tolerate lots of sexual behavior, and often visibly enjoy it. Look at our dogs: they're perfectly happy and healthy (the interviewer confirms that this seems to be so). They're objects of our love, and as such, we take excellent care of them. And how many dogs have ever consented to being spayed or neutered?
- Wouldn't the dog rather have sex with one of its own kind? After thousands of years of domestication, dogs view humans as members of the pack. Their behavior shows they don't make lots of distinctions between humans and other dogs.
I have to say, I think they make a pretty good case. I cringe in horror at the image of their sexual practices, but then again, I cringe in horror at lots of things that I don't think should be against the law, such as Bauernsülze. Why not just leave them alone?