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ETHICS & REALITY in Practice: Real People Talking Honestly Message Board › Sex With Consenting Adult ANIMALS...Dogs

Sex With Consenting Adult ANIMALS...Dogs

Richard M.
Group Organizer
Portland, OR
Post #: 49
There was some discussion on Sunday to the effect that a person could not morally have sex with an animal because an animal cannot consent.

Let me share some information about this subject from my personal experience.

For seventeen years I had a chihuahua who loved to have sex (?) with my foot. It was not my idea, it was entirely her's. She would jump on my foot, move around vigorously, collapse in a gasping heap and then smoke a cigarette. Ok, the cigarette part isn't true, but the rest is.

I got nothing out of the act myself, I found it kind of disgusting. But she (the chihuahua named Betty) seemed to love it. I had her from her age of six weeks until her death as a very old dog. We were very close, but on my part, not from the foot thing. That was entirely her idea.

Therefore, she was a adult dog and was clearly consenting.

I'm just delivering the facts.

Richard M.
Group Organizer
Portland, OR
Post #: 50
Sex With Animals...HORSES

Having delivered that bit of information about consenting adult dogs, let's reconsider the man in Enumclaw, Washington who was killed while having sex with a horse.

Much disgust was expressed about the affair (no pun intended) and it was considered immoral because the horse (being only a horse) could not consent.

But, do we have such high moral standards about the other things we do to horses?

We train horses to carry us, pull our wagons, race around tracks for our amusement and finally we kill them and turn them into glue. They don't have the capacity to "consent" to those acts, yet we assume that are just fine.

Only when talking about matters sexual do we get so morally huffy.

What does this tell us about ourselves?

We take it for granted that its perfectly moral to do anything with any animal that benefits us...


Do you really think the horse would rather be killed and turned into glue than to have sex with some guy from West Virginia?

I can't speak for the horse or the guy from West Virginia, but it does seem that our moralizing over the matter is coming more from our emotions than our thinking.

Why is it ok to kill animals but not to have sex with them?

(Just to be clear, I don't do either to animals, either my pets or the wild critters that live on my (?) property.)

I'm just saying, it sounds like St. Augustine (the world's greatest sexaphobe) has gotten between us and our good sense.


A former member
Post #: 197

My lady friend asked me to get her a cough drop because she was a little horse. When I did so she told me that I was a deer.
A former member
Post #: 6
These are interesting points, Richard. Okay, I'm just going to write down a few of my thoughts here, and see where they take me. It seems to me that arguments against human being having sex with animals fall roughly into two main categories. Human beings should not have sex with animals because it is:

A) Harmful to animals

B) Harmful to humans

Harmful to animals

- Sex with animals is wrong because animals can by physically hurt - I think we'd all agree it's wrong to physically hurt an animal, but there are cases, as Richard points out, where animals aren't physically hurt and even enjoy the sexual act. Is it still wrong in that case?

-Sex with animals is wrong because even if an animal isn't physically hurt and receives some pleasure, they have not and cannot consent to sex with a human being. As Richard points out, it's really telling that we don't bring up consent when talking about owning animals or using them for the many other purpose that we do. Most of us (leaving out hardcore animal activists) have no problem, or at least do not focus on the issue of animals being used for all sorts of purpose to which they do not give consent. Because of this I think that the "consent" argument doesn't hold up when it comes up to why we as a society hold it is ethically wrong to have sex with animals.

I think that the reasons why society has an issue with it fall under the category of:

Harmful to humans

-I don't think "physical harm" is really the concern when it comes to why sex with animals is harmful for humans. I think it's helpful to look at the disgust we have when most of us think about sex with animals. What is it that makes us shudder so much and repulses us? Why is sex with animals disgusting?

Well, because it's sex with... animals.

I think we really need to take a look at that sentence. After all, aren't human beings animals? But we're not "mere" animals, right? How many of our moral and ethical arguments through the years have pointed this out, have talked about our "reason," or our "soul" or other characteristics which are supposed to lift us out of the realm of being "animals" or just "merely animals." In truth, most of society acts and feels with the notion that they are a very different and in fact, higher species than those "animals."

Could it be that the whole "it's morally wrong to have sex with animals" is really a way for us to maintain this distinction in our minds? After all, using animals for work, food, materials, and, yes, even loving companionship isn't wrong (in most of our minds).

But if as a society sex with animals was accepted, might some of those distinctions between the human animal and "merely animals" begin to break down? And here's an even bigger question, (thought experiment time), let's say we did have a society that was completely accepting of sex with animals, what if some people actually began to fall in love with the animals they were having sex with the way they had previously only fallen in love with human beings? Of course this sounds crazy to us. But it only sounds crazy because we think of animals as "less than" us.

I think that one possible interesting outcome of a society where sex with animals was accepted would be that even more people in society might come to question their use of animals in other regards--as labor, food, etc. The argument about "consent" would actually come full circle. Could it be that one of the reasons we as a society can't stand to think of sex with animals is not only that it threatens our humanity, but also that it threatens a human culture that has used animals without their consent for most of human history?

Richard M.
Group Organizer
Portland, OR
Post #: 51
Yes, that seems right to me. The mixing of species (humans and dogs, etc.) violates the fundamental dimension of PURITY. Our eternal miscegenation laws that try to keep the races separate testify to the fundamental moral draw of PURITY. Even without the laws, Jewish parents want their kids to marry Jews, Catholics the same, etc.

The fear of Harm is also an eternal and uiversal rationalization for restricting freedom. Somebody always claims that the two gays guys next door are harming themselves, society, marriage, etc. Just how this is done is never, never explained. Really, I thinks its just based on the emotion of disgust.

For me personally, I don't want to have sex with animals or men or children or trees or just about anything. I can't list all the things that don't interest me. Sexual interest is so hardwired and arbitrary and irrational, why are so many people so judgmental?

Just as an example,­ gets my attention.

I DID love my dog Betty, but not because of her affection for my foot. I also deeply respected her as an adult dog person. I still miss her.

You wrote "a society where sex with animals was accepted would be that even more people in society might come to question their use of animals in other regards--as labor, food, etc. " That is an excellent point.

Excellent point. If we begin to see them as creatures worthy of love and respect, then we can't exploit them for profit as easily. The profiteers fain moral outrage to cover the simple fear of loosing money, money, money.

Really good point.

A former member
Post #: 7
"Really, I thinks its just based on the emotion of disgust."

Agreed. But I think it's a learned disgust. I don't think that there's anything that intinsically would make us disgusted at two men having sex (for those who are); we learn that disgust. I'm not so sure about Haidt's reliance on disgust, and I think he's overlooking the fact that we're disgusted because we've been taught that something is wrong.

For instance, our culture as a whole is disgusted at the idea of a 50 year old man marrying a 13 year old girl because we judge it to be ethically wrong. But there's obviously cultures that, for various reasons, did not believe it was wrong, and were not morally disgusted in the way we are by this.

Richard M.
Group Organizer
Portland, OR
Post #: 52
Yes. Disgust is one of the fundamental emotions but what we're disgusted by is very learned.

At least I have learned to NOT BE DISGUSTED by things that used to disgust me. So I guess it works both ways.

While touring the Manhattan Project Museum in New Mexico, I became nauseous with disgust. All those people and all those resources used to incinerate people made me sick. That never would have happened when I was younger.

And HOW we are taught to be disgusted in I think, subliminal. That's how it gets so visceral. It clearly involves a halting of breathing. When people around you, especially your parents, suddenly gasp, stop breathing and physically freeze, the message is powerful. Something terrible is going on.

I have a few stories about some familiar ethnic groups that I can't put on the web, but I've tracked it for years.

The fifty year old man and the 13 year old don't bother me, but it sure does many other people. I saw it among the jurors during a trial I served on recently.

A good question would be to find out what causes disgust in you, and me, etc. and trace it back to an origin.

A former member
Post #: 198

The consent of animals is largely a canard... and not just in the case of canards.

I think its fine to BE disgusted and to make personal choices based on that but its probably irrelevant to ethics and ought to be irrelevant to policy.

One thing that occurs to me as far as apparent potential for harm is disease. I would defer to an actual expert about details but I think there is some evidence to suggest that inter-species coitus has the potential to introduce new communicable infections into either community. Mostly in the form of parasites.

Here are some interesting statistics from the Kinsey report:

After conducting 6000 exhaustive interviews with participants on their sexual histories, Kinsey published his findings in 1953, which included this data on zoophilia:

* Eight percent of men and four percent of women reported having has a sexual experience with animals at some point in their lives
* For women, the animals involved were most commonly dogs and cats, and the sexual activities most often reported were general body contacts with the animals, and cunnilingus performed by animals
* Female intercourse with an animal was rarely reported
* Eight percent of men brought themselves to orgasm with an animal

Richard M.
Group Organizer
Portland, OR
Post #: 53

The consent of animals is largely a canard... and not just in the case of canards.

Well said, it is a canard, nothing anyone every really worries about. I'm amazed that so many people have actually done it, thanks for the information. Back to reality.

Probably the real relevant questions are

is it morally ok to just do the horizontal mambo with someone you just met, just for fun

and if it is

how long or how well does the "just met" mean


how many such people in what space of time.

A former member
Post #: 8
I'd actually like to ask a bit of a different question which goes something like this:

Can any society that so restricts and passes negative judgment on a profoundly creative and healthy force like sexuality be considered a morally just one?

Consider for instance:

The harsh judgments that many societies (including our present-day one in many cases) pass on women whose sexual expression does not adhere to society's requirements. (The terms alone used to punish and repress women's sexuality: whore, slut, etc, etc, etc.)

The fact that we live in a society that still aligns itself with hetronormativity ("heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between a man and a woman." - wikipedia) EVEN though there are plenty of people that fall outside heterosexuality (homosexual, bisexuals) and even though there is research that concludes that many people actually fall on a spectrum between absolutely heterosexual and absolutely homosexual.

Obviously, this is just a couple of examples and there are plenty more when we are talking about the repression and condemnation that our sexual being endures in our culture and many others.

Is this ethical?
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