Jesse Bering's latest Scientific American column asks, "Is it really possible for an otherwise normal, healthy person to develop a genuine sexual preference for a nonhuman species?" And if so, should their love be legal?
We haven't always seen eye-to-eye with Bering in the past, but today he delivers a pretty interesting analysis of zoophilia — the term bestiality aficionados prefer. Though sex with animals is often considered "something teenaged boys try for a lark and see how far it goes" (as a psychiatric nurse who treats sex offenders put it), Bering writes, "for some people, having sex with their animal 'lovers' may amount to more than just substituting human sex with the next best thing. Rather, for them, sex with nonhuman animals is the best thing." Nor do all zoophiles fit the stereotype of the "woman-deprived, down-on-the-farm, and poorly educated male" — some are learned, city-raised, even married. Bering quotes from a case study of a "forty-seven-year-old, high-functioning (he earned his M.D. at age twenty-eight) and seemingly well-adjusted male" who also happened to love horses: