Are there sexual practices which automatically imply mental illness? (Possible TMI)

I’m a small-l libertarian–not a member of the party, but a definite believer in the philosophy that the government should only have the authority to prohibit actions that cause identifiable harm to another person–and by “person” I mean “human being.” Consequently I think that the debate over whether homosexuality is inborn or learned is irrelevant, as the state has no right to tell people whom to sleep with; likewise I’d decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults. For the most part I believe that it’s not for me to gainsay another person’s sexual choices.

That said, I was more than a little shocked and disturbed when I ran into a real-life example of bestiality. I’ll spoiler this for the squeamish:

Ten years or so ago, I used to write erotic stories and post them to Usenet. During this time I started corresponding with a few other posters, some of whom I eventually exchanged phone numbers; a few I even met in person and maintained a friendship with even after I stopped writing such tales.

One of my pen-pals was a woman I’ll call Kath. As I had a job then that required a bit of travel, we met two or three times over the years, and probably spoke on the phone four or five times a year–calling to give one another birthday wishes, compliments on promotions, and so forth. We probably exchanged emails at least once a week.

While Kath liked spanking stories as a reader, as a writer she preferred tales featuring exhibitionism and zoophilia. She was a skillful writer,and several times during our correspondence I opined that it was a pity that her work was unpublishable in print; such works of fantasy were interesting, though unbelievable. She replied that her stories were not fantasy. I responded politely, but remembering the rule that, online, all women are slender and blonde and all men are muscular and big-dicked, I let the subject drop while remaining dubious.

Some years after we first became acquainted, Kath wrote me a note saying that she was moving to the same city I live in; her company had transferred her. She invited me out to coffee. Eager to meet her, I agreed. Sitting outside at Starbucks we exchanged our latest tales. She was as intelligent, witty, and attractive in person as she’d always been on the phone and in email; she more than held her own in conversation with me, and as always I had the impression that she was one of the smartest people I’d ever met, and certainly a gifted prose stylist. I repeated my regrets that her fantasies could never be published in the US. Her response was a bit miffed; as she didn’t care for my implication that zoophilia only exists in fantasy, taking it as an accusation of dishonesty on her point. Kath pointed out that there are endless web sites where one can see such things; conceding her point, I replied that I’d always assumed that the women one sees in such sites are drug addicts compelled by need for a fix, or captives performing under threat of force.

Her expression was somewhere between a smile and a frown. “Come see my house tomorrow,” she said. I agreed.

So the next day went to visit. I won’t give details – because it’s not necessary to the story I’m telling, and because I don’t want to-- but Kath introduced me to her dog, a male Weimaraner. After cautioning me not to interfere in any way, she proceeded to vaginally and orally copulate with the dog in front of me. She was clearly turned on by the opportunity to do so in front of someone as well as by the act itself. The dog was also obviously enthusiastic and happy with the arrangement.

I, on the other hand, was more than a little shocked. Here was a bright, intelligent woman who was, in her own words, married to her dog. In every other way she seemed sane and normal–but she was a dog-fucker. She gave no evidence of drug use or other such dependency; in fact she scolded me for having a scotch at lunch.

I’ve never been able to decide what I think of Kath.

All of which brings me back to my question. Are any sexual practices ipso facto evidence of mental illness, whether or not they harm another person? (I’ll gladly concede that any child molester) is sick. I can’t help but think that bestiality is one that has to fall into that category, but I wonder whether it’s my own prejudices and phobias causing me to make that judgment.

What do you think, Dopers?

Dude…thats wierd. I have never seen a dog and thought “Man I’d like to fuck that.” Kath needs help.

Short of causing harm or duress, I’m inclined to think not. And I’m also enclined to think that zoophilia is not inherently coerced: as you say, the dog seemed happy to get his rocks off. Obviously, sex with a duck can kill it, and so would be cruel in my book, and probably indicate at least that the person was a jerk, if not mentally ill.

“Mental illness” being a specific term, we need to look at the diagnostic criteria to determine if someone has it. According to the DSM-IV, the person must be bothered by their paraphilia, want to stop it and be unable to, or the paraphilia must impair the person’s life in some way for a diagnosis of mental illness to be made.

You can screw dogs and eat shit all day long, but if you’re happy with yourself, keep a job and pay your rent, you’re not mentally ill.

Scary, isn’t it?

Huh, so dog fuckers are people. Who’d a thunk. I they’d at least have purple penis-like appendages protruding from their foreheads. By the way, why are you posting in Comic Sans?

Maybe I should have put this in Great Debates, so I could ask for a cite or an argument.

Ah, I will anyway.

What evidence have we that Kath needs help? She has no substance abuse problems, no problem paying her bills, she doesn’t scare the horses; the only person (that I know of) that she allowed to witness her, ahem, amusement knew what he was walking into and consented. So why do we assume she’s not well? (And what is “well,” anyway?)

Oh yeah, I guess that sounded kind of rude. I’m just surprised that you’re surprised. “OTHERWISE NORMAL PEOPLE ATTRACTED TO WEIRD SHIT” is one of those “Pope shits in woods, news at 11” kind of stories. I define mental illness as anything requiring treatment, which conveniently avoid having to say whether she needs treatment. It’s a hard line to draw. As long as her dog is happy, I say we save the question for a more enlightened age.

I haven’t ever thought that either, but so what? Since when is my own personal disinterest or distaste a sufficient argument that someone “needs help”?

Good Lord! How bizarre! A comic sans serif font! (((Shudder)))

Are there fonts which automatically imply mental illness?

I think that just about sums it up. It doesn’t sound like she’s hurting or forcing the dog to do anything. The dog seems okay with the arrangement. I think it’s odd that she brought someone so judgemental of her kinks over to SEE her do it, but maybe you didn’t come off as judgemental when you were there.

I don’t think she’s crazy, I think she’s worked out a way to have someone around who will lick on command and never hog the remote. smirk

No, the rest of my life implies mental illness. Now, if you will excuse me, I shall resume fucking this duck.

You’re right. Being able to stop a duck-fucking mid-fuck implies a super-human level of control that simply isn’t normal.

Now that’s one fuck that I’ll definitely duck.

I hope I didn’t come off as judgmental while I was there; I certainly didn’t mean to. Moreover, I have enough kinks of my own that discomfit me, and are likely to discomfit others if I told them about them, that I’m hesitant to tell anyone not to do anything unless it is harming another person. What I really mean is that I’d always assumed that no one would behave that way who was not coerced (by force, privation, or addiction) unless they were mentally ill, and seeing Kath enthusiastic performance makes me wonder if I’m missing something.


Anyway…I don’t suppose you joined the party?

Aren’t you glad I’m not Hal Briston? :wink:

Did I not mention the dog phobia?

I don’t usually play detective, but the story sounds fishy. You had already met her 2-3 times during your travels. And then you were “eager to meet her” when she moved to your city, when you found her “intelligent, witty and attractive”. She wasn’t that way the first 2-3 times that you met her?

I can’t help wondering how many dates begin with “Let’s have coffee” and end with “Watch me fuck my dog!” Can’t be many.

As a bit of a weird porn enthusiast, I can tell you that alot of those girls do kind of look like they might be strung out, but the same could be said for bondage and s&m porn too. The only difference is that it’s just not as taboo anymore for an otherwise normal person to tell you they dig being tied up and ball-gagged.

I’m not drugged out or particularly mentally disturbed, but I’d say I’m into a few things that I certainly wouldn’t want to be photographed taking part in.

I don’t think the girls in porn are necessarily representative of women in general. Shocking, I know. :slight_smile: