Horseplay: An introduction to equinophilia
In previous blogs I have examined many different types of zoophilia. Today’s blog takes a more in-depth look at equinophilia (i.e., a sexual paraphilia where individuals are sexually attracted to horses and/or have sex with horses and is also known by the alternative – and somewhat confusing – name of hippophilia). This has nothing to do with ‘pony-play’ (which I examined in a previous blog) as this is a form of ritualized bondage that involves a person dressed as a “pony” and a rider where sex may take place between the two of them. Some have argued that ‘pony-play’ is a more sexualized form of the Furry Fandom but neither of these is a form of equinophilia.
In an essay that I wrote on Adam Ant’s songs about sexual paraphilias for Headpress: The Journal of Sex, Death and Religion, I mentioned that one of his songs Why Do Girls Love Horses? was about women who get sexually aroused from riding horses (i.e., they experience clitoral stimulation while riding on horses to the point where some women will have an orgasm). Whether this is equinophilia or a sub-type of it is highly debatable. However, there is certainly empirical evidence that both men and women have engaged in sexual relationships with horses. Before I get to the empirical research, I did come across a small article on equinophilia at the Kinky Questions website that claimed:
“There are women who enjoy being penetrated by a horse due to his large penis. It has not only a great staying power; but also a large volume of semen what makes it attractive to a person for various sexual games. As all other sexual acts with animals it is prohibited an illegal in most countries. In Washington [US] the law was put in place only after the death of a man who had anal sex with a stallion (2005). (The horse was penetrating man’s anus; not the other way around!). The man ended up with a perforated colon and he died in the emergency room. It is easy to understand he didn’t want to go to the hospital despite internal injuries. The incident was also videotaped. In 2006 an Australian woman (aged 35) was charged with having sex with a horse near Sydney”.
As I have noted in a few of my previous articles on zoophilia, most of the recent studies of zoophilia since 2000 have typically collected their data online from non-clinical samples. This has included studies by Dr Andrea Beetz (on 32 zoophiles), Dr Colin Williams and Dr Martin Weinberg (on 114 zoophiles), and Dr Hani Miletski (on 93 zoophiles). For instance, Hani Miletski used the internet to find zoophiles, and recruited them via advertisements in a zoophile magazine (i.e., Wild Animal Review). These studies all reported that both male and female self-identified zoophiles were attracted to animals out of either a desire for affection, a sexual attraction toward, and/or a love for animals including horses.
Miletski’s study comprised 82 male and 11 female zoophiles. Most of the sample preferred sex with dogs (87% males; 100% females) and/or horses (81% males; 73% females). A total of 91% engaged in sex with animals because they were sexually attracted to it. Only 12% said it was because no human partners were available, and only 7% said it was because they were too shy to have sex with humans Andrea Beetz’ study comprised 32 male zoophiles. Like Miletski’s study, sex had occurred mainly with dogs (78%) or horses (53%). Many of the zoophiles said they had a very close emotional attachment to their animals and reported that they love their animal partner as others love their human partner. In all three studies, the most commonly preferred animals were either dogs or horses. However, it must be noted that these three studies, while extensive compared to the case reports published since Alfred Kinsey’s pioneering studies, collected data from non-clinical samples. Therefore, and unlike case study reports, the participants did not appear to be suffering any significant clinical significant distress or impairment as a consequence of their love for animals (mostly dogs and/or horses).
In one of the many essays on the pro-zoophilia website Vivid Random Existence (VRE), the anonymous author (himself a self-admitted zoophile) penned an article on equinophilia. The following verbatim text is reported to give you an idea of the position that most zoophiles would probably take. The author wrote:
“If you are sexually attracted to horses, there is nothing wrong with you. There are hundreds of thousands of people just like you who are sexually attracted to horses. In fact, for many of them, just the sight of a horse’s rear end get them sexually aroused. Unfortunately, most of these people are hiding in the zoosexual closet because they are afraid of being persecuted by delusional/irrational laws, and they are afraid of being socially rejected…Equine zoosexuality is one of the more tangible forms of zoosexuality. On the zoosexual orientation wheel, there are various types of attractions (such as to dolphins) that and intangible. But because horses and ponies are so common, it is not difficult to live an equine zoosexual lifestyle. All it takes is a rural environment (i.e. a house in the countryside), a place to keep livestock, a horse or pony, and secure area (i.e. a place where nobody will be able to spy on you and tip off people in the area about your supposedly “immoral” activities). As I have discussed in previous posts, having sex with an animal is not immoral, it is not abusive, and it is not sick. After all, humans ARE animals. If an animal is too small, then it is abusive – but because horses and ponies are so large, having sex with them is almost always non-abusive”.
I am not sure there is any empirical evidence that there are “hundreds of thousands” of equinophiles out there although I admit that there are most likely thousands worldwide assuming that the studies of people like Beetz and Miletski (and even Kinsey) are the ‘tip of the iceberg’. (If not we are more likely talking in the hundreds rather than the thousands). I also take issue with the ‘abuse and size’ argument. Just because an animal may not be physically harmed, does not mean it hasn’t been abused. For me, the issue is one of consent, and animals simply can’t give consent for sexual behaviour even if they are engaged in the sexual act. The author of the VRE essay then goes on to say:
“There are many options in terms of equine zoosexuality. A human male can penetrate a horse or pony of either gender (either vaginally or anally). A human male can also be anally penetrated by a male horse, but this act is dangerous and has at least once resulted in the death of the person…A human female can be vaginally or anally penetrated by a male horse, but again this a risky act. Human males and females can also engage in oral sex with a horse, either by stimulating the horse’s penis or by allowing to horse to stimulate the genitals of the human”
The equinophilia essay then does what I do in my own blogs when there is a lack of empirical data (i.e., flesh out the article with self-confessed online accounts). The VRE essay includes three very long extracts of equinophiles’ experiences with horses (if you want to read them – and it will take a while – you can click on the link here). The essay then uses the quotes as ‘evidence’ that the horses are enjoying the sexual experience. The author states (and I’ve kept in the author’s own emboldened emphases:
“Although opponents of bestiality often claim that animals don’t enjoy having sex with humans, the [long quote cited in the essay] show that this is not case, and that most animals do enjoy having sexual encounters with humans. Some animals (such as dolphins) are even fully sexually attracted to humans. There are obviously exceptions (i.e. when the animal is forced to have sex in a cruel manner), but that type of situation is rare because most zoosexuals are not cruel to animals, and most zoosexuals have a genuine compassion for animals. Remember, most heterosexual people wouldn’t rape someone; there are bad people in every group, but most are good. Also, the quote above shows that it is unfair to label bestiality as ‘rape’ because in many cases (probably most cases) the animal consents to (or rejects) sex in a non-verbal way”…Whenever anybody claims that having sex with a horse is automatically abuse, it makes me angry because that is not true. As already mentioned, horses enjoy sexual activity with humans, and the only reason it is prohibited is because of delusional unfair laws and irrational social taboos. Otherwise, people would be having sex with horses all the time, because there are a lot of people out there who get aroused by horses and find them incredibly sexy (and there are a lot of horses that find people incredibly sexy)…The [quotes from eqinophiles] prove several things; it proves zoophiles do not just have sex with animals for their own enjoyment – they do it for the enjoyment of themselves and their non-human lover. Secondly, it supports the idea that most zoophiles are not abusive towards their animals. Thirdly, it proves (once again) that non-human animals can consent to sex in their own way. All those bigots out there who condemn bestiality/zoosexuality fail to realize that in most cases (such as the one above), sexual relationships between humans and non-human animals are mutually satisfying – in other words, both enjoy the sex, one is not taking advantage of the other, no injury is occurring, and the animal (in this case a horse) clearly wants to engage in sex with the human”.
Although this final extract might appear very long, it is actually a relatively short snippet from the full essay and it uses many of the discourse techniques that I outlined in a previous blog on how the zoophilic community justify their behaviour. These justification techniques were outlined in an excellent 2011 paper in the journal Deviant Behavior by Dr. R.J. Maretea. He claimed that his data (collected from an online zoophilic forum) suggest that zoophiles routinely justify their actions through four particular types of argument: (i) denial of injury, (ii) justification by comparison, (iii) claims of benefit, and (iv) condemning of condemners. He also asserts that zoophiles produce what is termed “neutralizing accounts”. More specifically, these three types were categorized as (i) appeals to enlightenment, (ii) claims of cultural diffusion, and (iii) neutralization by comparison. Interestingly, nearly all of these techniques are used in the extract I included in this blog.
Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK
Beetz, Andrea (2002). Love, Violence, and Sexuality in Relationships between Humans and Animals. Germany: Shaker Verlag.
Griffiths, M.D. (1998). Cak-watch (continued): A return to Animal Farm. Headpress: The Journal of Sex, Death and Religion, 17, 65-66.
Griffiths, M.D (1999). Adam Ant: sex and perversion for teenyboppers. Headpress: The Journal of Sex, Death and Religion, 19, 116-119.
Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., Martin, C.E., Gebhard, P.H. (1953). Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company.
Kinky Questions (2012), Equinophilia. Located at: http://www.kinky-sex-questions.com/equinophilia.html
Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., Martin, C.E., (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company.
R.J. Maratea (2011). Screwing the pooch: Legitimizing accounts in a zoophilia on-line community. Deviant Behavior, 32, 918-943.
Miletski, H. (2000). Bestiality and zoophilia: An exploratory study. Scandinavian Journal of Sexology, 3, 149–150.
Miletski, H. (2001). Zoophilia – implications for therapy. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 26, 85–89.
Miletski, H. (2002). Understanding bestiality and zoophilia. Germantown, MD: Ima Tek Inc.
Vivid Random Existence (2011). Equinsexuality (or equinophilia): The sexual attraction to horses. July 26. Located at: (http://vividrandomexistence.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/equinosexuality-or-equinophilia-the-sexual-attraction-to-horses/
Williams, C. J., & Weinberg, M. S. (2003). Zoophilia in men: A study of sexual interest in animals. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 523–535.
Posted on April 2, 2013, in Case Studies, Paraphilia, Psychological disorders, Psychology, Sex, Sex addiction and tagged Adam Ant, Equinophilia, Hippophilia, Ponyplay, Zoophilia. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.