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Zoophilia

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Updated March 12, 2010

Definition:

Zoophilia refers to a human's experience of having loving or erotic/sexual feelings for certain non-human animals. Zoophilia isn't listed as a paraphilia (the technical term for perversion) in the DSM, and there isn't one universally agreed upon definition for zoophilia. This is in part due to the fact that research into zoophilia is still scarce, although thanks in part to the Internet, researchers have better access to people who identify as zoophiles, and as such have begun to try and define the experience more carefully.

One thing that most people agree on is that zoophilia should be distinguished from bestiality. Bestiality refers to a human having sexual activity with a non-human animal. The human may or may not have an emotional or erotic attraction to the animal, and they may or may not think about sex with animals at other times. So zoophilia is a preference, whereas bestiality is a practice. Some people who are zoophiles practice bestiality, but not all. And some people who have engaged in bestiality may be zoophiles, but again, not always.

Sources:

Miletski, H. Understanding Bestiality & Zoophilia Bethesda: East-West Publishing, 2002.

Also Known As: bestiality
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