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?