Hot dogs: A bizarre case of zoophilic exhibitionism and frotteurism

In previous blogs, I have separately examined zoophilia (sexual arousal from animals), exhibitionism (sexual arousal from exposing one’s genitals to one or more people), and frotteurism (sexual arousal from rubbing one’s genitals against other people). Today’s blog examines the only case ever published in the scientific literature of zoophilic exhibitionism and zoophilic frotteurism.

The case in question dates back to a paper published in 1991 by Dr. Richard McNally and Dr. Brian Lukach in the Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. Their case study involved a white 33-year old “mildly mentally retarded man” (who they called ‘Mr. Z’) who was the only child of separated parents – an alcoholic father and a schizophrenic mother who also suffered from epilepsy (and who died when he was 12 years old). Mr. Z’s preferred sexual behaviour was to expose himself and masturbate in front of large dogs of either sex, and who also liked to rub his penis on large dogs. He had no sexual interest in small dogs or other animals (and would therefore be classed as an exclusive canophile that I  examined in a previous blog on cynophilia). Unlike most exhibitionists, he never exposed his genitals in front of women, and he never had sexual intercourse with the dogs. Mr. Z had engaged in a series of “satisfactory sexual relationships with women” (and also had a three-year marriage but had ended)

Mr. Z also engaged in zoophilic voyeurism (which in Mr. Z’s case involved sexual arousal from watching dogs). Various publications have noted situations where people may have voyeuristic fantasies about sexual contact with animals without actually wanting to have sex with them. Nancy Friday in her book My Secret Garden, included 190 fantasies from different women (of which 23 involved zoophilic activity). Friday argued that zoophilic fantasies had the capacity to provide an escape from cultural expectations, restrictions, and judgments in relation to sex. R.E.L. Masters in his 1962 book Forbidden Sexual behavior and Morality also noted that interest in and sexual excitement at watching animals mate may be an indicator of latent zoophilia.

Mr. Z was first caught at the age of 20 years rubbing his penis on the back fur of a neighbour’s dog. He was consequently hospitalized in a psychiatric institution and while there was taught to masturbate by another male patient. On leaving psychiatric care Mr. Z first began to masturbate in front of dogs (i.e., he exchanged zoophilic frotteurism for zoophilic exhibitionism). His usual pattern of behaviour was to use food to attract stray dogs in his neighbourhood and to take the dog back to his grandmother’s house (if she was not in). if the house was occupied he would simply take the dog to a nearby wooded area and masturbate in front of the dog. Once he had ejaculated, he would get the dog to lick his penis. However, Mr. Z never attempted to have sex with any of the dogs he masturbated in front of. Mr. Z was also of the opinion that the dogs enjoyed him masturbating in front of them, and based his opinion on an incident where a dog had rubbed its penis on his leg after a masturbatory session in front of the dog.

Mr. Z’s paraphilic behaviour dated back to a specific incident in childhood when at the age of just four years old, a male cousin told him that it was “fun” to rub a penis on the fur of a dog’s back. Following an arrest for masturbating in front of neighbour’s dogs, Mr Z was referred for treatment to address his “compulsive sexually deviant behaviour” after a neighbour had discovered him masturbating in front of her dog in her garden. In 1991, McNally and Lukach  treated Mr. Z using masturbatory satiation, covert sensitization, and contingency management procedures (avoiding setting that may provoke the behaviour) over a six-month period. After 15 sessions, Mr. Z’s rated interest in his most exciting zoophilic scenario dropped from 10 to 0, and that his sexual arousal to non-deviant scenes increased from 5 to 10 after 12 sessions. The treatment resulted in a reduction in his sexual arousal to dogs with no more reported incidents of him masturbating in front of dogs (although as far as I can ascertain there was no long-term follow-up).

Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices classified exhibitionists into four different types of exhibitionism:

  • Fantasizing Exhibitionists: This type comprises people that fantasize about exhibiting their genitals to other people but don’t actually do it.
  • Pure Exhibitionists: This type comprises people that expose their genitals to other people from a distance.
  • Exhibitionistic Criminals: This type typically comprises sexual offenders that are primarily exhibitionists, but may engage in other sexual crimes (e.g., paedophilia).
  • Exclusive Exhibitionists: This type typically comprises offenders that cannot form normal romantic and sexual relationships with other people. Here, exhibitionism is the sole outlet for sexual gratification.

Dr. Aggrawal specifically mentions zoophilic exhibitionists as belonging to the group of fantasizing exhibitionists and “may turn to zoophilic exhibitionism to fulfill their fantasies, since it apparently is a safer activity”. In a separate paper (in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine) presenting a new typology of zoophilia, Mr. Z would most likely be classed as a tactile zoophile who gets sexual excitement from touching, stroking or fondling an animal or their genitals but do not actually have sex with the animal. Aggrawal mentioned that that some tactile zoophiles engage in zoophilic frotteurism, and that for sexual pleasure rub their genitals against animals. Here, he seemed to be implicitly making reference to the case study by McNally and Lukach.

The paper by McNally and Lukach concluded that their case study was “especially unusual” for two specific reasons. Firstly, unlike most other zoophiles, “Mr. Z neither fantasized nor engaged direct sexual contact with dogs” but simply exposed himself in front of them. Secondly, his sexual preference was zoophilic exhibitionism over sexual intercourse with women.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Aggrawal, A. (2011). A new classification of zoophilia. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 18, 73-78.

Duffield, G., Hassiotis, A., & Vizard, E. (1998). Zoophilia in young sexual abusers. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 9, 294-304.

Friday, N. (1973). My Secret Garden. New York, NY; Simon & Schuster

Hensley, C., Tallichet, S. E., & Singer, S. D. (2006). Exploring the possible link between childhood and adolescent bestiality and interpersonal violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 910-923.

Masters, R.E.L. (1962). Forbidden Sexual behavior and Morality. New York, NY: Lancer Books.

McNally, R.J. & Lukach, B.M. (1991). Behavioral treatment of zoophilic exhibitionism. Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 22, 281-284.

About drmarkgriffiths

Professor MARK GRIFFITHS, BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGDipHE, FBPsS, FRSA, AcSS. Dr. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Professor of Behavioural Addiction at the Nottingham Trent University, and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He is internationally known for his work into gambling and gaming addictions and has won many awards including the American 1994 John Rosecrance Research Prize for “outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of gambling research”, the 1998 European CELEJ Prize for best paper on gambling, the 2003 Canadian International Excellence Award for “outstanding contributions to the prevention of problem gambling and the practice of responsible gambling” and a North American 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award For Contributions To The Field Of Youth Gambling “in recognition of his dedication, leadership, and pioneering contributions to the field of youth gambling”. His most recent award is the 2013 Lifetime Research Award from the US National Council on Problem Gambling. He has published over 600 research papers, four books, over 130 book chapters, and over 1000 other articles. He has served on numerous national and international committees (e.g. BPS Council, BPS Social Psychology Section, Society for the Study of Gambling, Gamblers Anonymous General Services Board, National Council on Gambling etc.) and is a former National Chair of Gamcare. He also does a lot of freelance journalism and has appeared on over 2000 radio and television programmes since 1988. In 2004 he was awarded the Joseph Lister Prize for Social Sciences by the British Association for the Advancement of Science for being one of the UK’s “outstanding scientific communicators”. His awards also include the 2006 Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology Award by the British Psychological Society and the British Psychological Society Fellowship Award for “exceptional contributions to psychology”.

Posted on January 29, 2014, in Case Studies, Compulsion, Paraphilia, Psychology, Sex, Sex addiction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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