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Packed punch: A very brief look at “gastergastrizophilia”

One of the weirdest sounding sexual paraphilias that I have come across is gastergastrizophilia in which individuals allegedly derive sexual pleasure and arousal from bellypunching. I use the word ‘allegedly’ as I have never seen this sexual paraphilia listed in any reputable academic source (and it certainly does not appear in either Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices or Dr. Brenda Love’s Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices). The lengthiest article on that I have come across on gastergastrizophilia is on the Full Wiki website. The article claims that:

“Bellypunchers, as they are known, derive erotic and/or aesthetic pleasure from the sight of and sensation associated with a woman physically struck in the stomach usually with a bare fist. The specifics associated with this paraphilia vary considerably, sometimes with the woman possessing a toned and muscular stomach, other with the woman possessing a soft and even chubby stomach. Often fetishists desire her to receive blows to the lower stomach specifically; other times, to the upper stomach. Often the woman is struck by other women, but many times the fetishists will fantasize about doing the beating themselves. With the rise of the internet, a wide variety of websites and online groups have risen which house related fiction, photos, stories, and videos, the latter either custom-made or copied from a variety of films and videos. The male-to-male variety of the fetish is frequently called gutpunching, or abspunching”

The fact that someone has written about sexual bellypunching in no way proves that the behaviour exists. In a previous blog I examined a hoax paraphilia called emysphilia (sexual arousal from turtles). In researching that blog, I came to the conclusion that the paraphilia simply didn’t exist as there was no evidence of any kind except the originally published article (plus the fact that the author later admitted it was a hoax). Sexual bellypunching as a fetish or paraphilia is something that I do not think can easily be so dismissed. I managed to collect a few first-hand accounts of sexual bellypunching (such as those at the online at the Dark Fetish website). For instance:

  • Extract 1: “[I am a] masochist [and] let people thump me in my belly. Although it hurts (and it hurts like hell sometimes) the pain does give me an erotic buzz. BUT (and this is the other side of the coin) I do get to punch other women and that also gives me a buzz – it turns me on.
  • Extract 2: “There is a difference between a ‘friendly’ (I use the word advisedly) punch up between two women (which might even end in sex) and a really heated contest where there maybe some prize, physical or emotional. Then it’s a pure pain contest… just to see which woman can take the most pain in her guts. In such contests there is a moment when having delivered a punch, I watch my opponent’s face crease in agony, watch her fight the pain, watch her desperately trying to keep her hands from going to her belly… hear her panting for breath as she tries to control the agony in her guts. Oh so delicious…it’s a real turn-on for me. The downside is that I have to take and absorb the punishment too. [However], that turns me on too!!”
  • Extract 3: My ex-boyfriend loved being punched in the belly. We both went to couples therapy and [this is] how the psychologist explained it to me…The physical flow-on effect of bellypunching is peptic reflux, which triggers the brain to release a sudden adrenalin rush to cope with the shock of (temporarily) depriving the brain of oxygen. This adrenalin rush can be experienced as sexual arousal for those with a fetish complex for feeling ‘subverted’ or ‘abused’”

Based on the research I did for this blog, it would appear that there used to be a Wikipedia entry on sexual bellypunching but it was removed back in 2006. Some people claimed that the information provided in the original webpage was unable to be verified, and that it might even have been made up by the person who created the original Wikipedia entry. As one person noted in the Wikipedia discussion, the original author of the bellypunching article had:

“…added a bunch of links, but they consist of Yahoo! groups, personal websites, and a couple [of] porn sites which themselves are non-notable. None of these are reliable sources, none of them help with the fact that this article still violates Wikipedia’s verifiability. Unverifiable content can’t stay on Wikipedia, no matter how much some people might like said content”.

Comments were also made along the lines that Wikipedia does not need to have a separate page for every single obscure fetish. Personally, I don’t see this as an argument for not having a Wikipedia entry. However, the original author of the page countered by saying:

It’s not about liking (or in your case, disliking) [the bellpunching] entry, but about showing diligence in mapping out within Wikipedia all these various concepts that exist in the world. Some concepts are better cited than others, it’s true. However that doesn’t mean that some things, which are perhaps more ephemeral, or which came into their own with the rise of the internet, can’t be listed…I suggest that if one can prove that a lot of people are involved in a concept, and that this concept exists as such, then the concept must surely merit some inclusion, even if that inclusion is limited only to what one can source…I have shown that thousands of people have taken it upon themselves to join public groups around this [bellypunching] fetish; and found any number of websites, most which have been around for years, creating a sort of community…It would be a mistake to make an article called bellypunching videos on the basis of the fact of such videos existing, because that would ignore the evident existence of the concept of the fetish”.

I have to admit that having done my own search on the internet, I can certainly vouch for the fact that there are hundreds of sexual bellypunching videos available online (e.g., websites such as Belly Punching Fetish, Heroine Movies, and Teen Bellypunch – please be warned that these are sexually explicit sites), and there are online discussion groups that discuss bellypunching as a sexual preference and/or sexual fetish. Personally, I think there’s enough to suggest that the activity exists and that there is no reason why a separate Wikipedia page should not exist. The fact that sexual bellypunching videos are for sale online suggests there is a market for it. I also came across some Japanese anime that featured sexual bellypunching (along with anecdotal evidence that bellypunching is part of Japanese sexual culture). However, I am the first to admit that such videos might appeal to sadists and masochists who are simply sexually turned on by the giving or receiving of pain (rather than being sexually aroused by bellypunching per se. The author of the original Wikipedia entry on sexual bellypunching then goes on to say:

“If [someone] starts a blog on any obscure fetish, it can’t be included [on Wikipedia]; but if 30 or 40 different organizations and people start websites, both personal websites and business websites, combined with free public groups that require membership (membership to which groups as I’ve stated reaches the thousands) I suggest that a certain minimum has been reached to make it a bona fide concept that some people hold…If you really believe that only things that show up in journals are worthy of existence in Wikipedia, I think Wikipedia will be much the poorer for it. It seems unreasonable to ignore the existence of something that is obvious and evident, from the links I’ve found (which were incidentally only a small percentage)”.

My guess is that the original article on sexual bellypunching was removed because the evidence base did not fulfil Wikipedia’s minimum evidence threshold. As the Wikipedia page on verifiability points out:

“Posts to bulletin boards, Usenet, and wikis, or messages left on blogs, should not be used as primary or secondary sources. This is in part because we have no way of knowing who has written or posted them, and in part because there is no editorial oversight or third-party fact-checking…The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth”.

Another contributor to the debate on whether sexual bellypunching should have its own Wikipedia entry shares my own view on this topic and stated:

Our inability to find gastergastrizophilia on the net neither proves nor disproves anything – detailed texts on sexual paraphilia aren’t left around laying open on the net, and a mild amount of Googling for ‘erotic punching’, ‘belly punishment’ or ‘rough body play”’… will show that the practice is neither ‘unlikely’ nor even uncommon. Some of it is obviously sex play with a consenting partner; some is not so consensual, and there is a shaded continuum…Even in this supposedly liberated age, nobody has any real numbers, in part because the participants themselves don’t know where the line actually divides consent and abuse. I think it’s an important topic, and a research failure isn’t a good reason to have no article in this instance”

The one thing that is made up is the name given to describe the love of sexual bellypunching (‘gastergastrizophilia’). The author if the original Wikipedia article (who goes by the pseudonym ‘Brokerthebank’) wrote that:

“I made up the word gastergastrizophilia, since I’ve studied classical languages a lot (in this case Greek) and it seemed like the appropriate move to put this article in the list of sexual paraphilias on such a page. Maybe I should have not done that; in any case bellypunching still is a known term”.

However, as regular readers of my blog will know, I too have coined the names of at least three sexual paraphilias (porciniphilia – sexual arousal from pigs, epiplophilia, sexual arousal from furniture, and glossophilia – sexual arousal from tongues) so I can’t really complain if someone also created the name of a sexual paraphilia based on their own anecdotal observations.

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.

The Full Wiki (2013). Bellypunching. Located at: http://www.thefullwiki.org/Bellypunching

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Animal passions: Why would anyone want to have sex with an animal?

Note: A shortened version of this article was first published in The Independent.

Last month, Denmark passed a law making bestiality a criminal offence from July 1st in a move to tackle animal-sex tourism. Bestiality (also known as zoophilia) is typically defined as relating to recurrent intense sexual fantasies, urges, and sexual activities with non-human animals. At present, there are still a number of countries where zoophilia is legal including Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Finland, Hungary, and Romania. In the US there is no federal law against zoophilia although most states class it as a felony and/or misdemeanour although in some states it is technically legal (for example, Texas, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Wyoming, West Virginia, and New Mexico).

Over the last few years I have written articles on the psychology of many different types of zoophilia including those who have engaged in sexual activities with dogs (cynophilia), cats (aelurophilia), horses (equinophilia), pigs (porcinophilia), birds (ornithophilia), dolphins (delphinophilia), lizards (herpetophilia), worms (vermiphilia), and insects (formicophilia). Dr. Alfred Kinsey shocked the US back in the 1950s when his infamous ‘Kinsey Reports’ claimed that 8% of males and 4% females had at least one sexual experience with an animal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a much higher prevalence for zoophilic acts among people that who worked on farms (for instance, 17% males had experienced an orgasmic episode involving animals). According to Kinsey, the most frequent sexual acts that humans engaged in with animals comprised calves, sheep, donkeys, large fowl (ducks, geese), dogs and cats.

In the 1970s, world renowned sexologist Professor John Money claimed that zoophilic behaviours were usually transitory occurring when there is no other sexual outlet available. However, research carried out in the 2000s shows this not be the case. Up until the advent of the internet, almost every scientific or clinical study reported on zoophilia were case reports of individuals that has sought treatment for their unusual sexual preference. However, the internet brought many like-minded people together and there are dozens of websites where zoophiles chat to each other online and share their videos including the Beast Forum, the largest online zoophile community in the world with tens of thousands of members.

Almost all of the recently published studies have collected their data online from non-clinical samples. All of these studies report that the overwhelming majority of self-identified male and female zoophiles do not have sex with animals because there is no other sexual outlet but do so because it is their sexual preference. The most common reasons for engaging in zoophilic relationships were attraction to animals out of either a desire for affection, and a sexual attraction toward and/or a love for animals.

For instance, a study by Dr. Hani Miletski surveyed 93 zoophiles (82 males and 11 females). Only 12% of her sample said they engaged in sex with animals because there were no human partners available, and only 7% said it was because they were too shy to have sex with humans. For the females, the main reasons for having sex with animals was because they were sexually attracted to the animal (100%), had love and affection for the animal (67%) and/or because they said the animal wanted sex with them (67%). Most of Miletski’s sample preferred sex with dogs (87% males; 100% females) and/or horses (81% males; 73% females). Only 8% of males wanted to stop having sex with animals and none of the females. Unlike case study reports of zoophilia published prior to 2000, the studies published over the last 15 years using non-clinical samples report the vast majority of zoophiles do not appear to be suffering any significant clinical significant distress or impairment as a consequence of their behaviour.

In 2011, Dr Anil Aggrawal published a comprehensive typology of zoophilia in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. Dr. Aggrawal’s claimed there were ten different types of zoophile based on both the scientific and clinical literature, as well as some theoretical speculation. For instance:

  • Humananimal role-players – those who never have sex with animals but become sexually aroused through wanting to have sex with humans who pretend to be animals.
  • Romantic zoophiles – those who keeps animals as pets as a way to get psychosexually stimulated without actually having any kind of sexual contact with them.
  • Zoophilic fantasizers – those who fantasize about having sexual intercourse with animals but never actually do.
  • Tactile zoophiles – those who get sexual excitement from touching, stroking or fondling animals or their genitals but do not actually have sexual intercourse with animals.
  • Fetishistic zoophiles – those who keep various animal parts (especially fur) that are used as erotic stimuli as a crucial part of their sexual activity (typically masturbation). (See my previous blog on the use of an animal part as a masturbatory aid)
  • Sadistic bestials – those who derive sexual arousal from the torturing of animals (known as zoosadismhttps://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/stuff-love-a-beginners-guide-to-plushophilia/) but does not involve sexual intercourse with the animal.
  • Opportunistic zoosexuals – those who have normal sexual encounters but would have sexual intercourse with animals if the opportunity arose.
  • Regular zoosexuals – those who prefer sex with animals than sex with humans (but are capable of having sex with both). Such zoophiles will engage in a wide range of sexual activities with animals and love animals on an emotional level.
  • Homicidal bestials – those who need to kill animals in order to have sex with them. Although capable of having sex with living animals, there is an insatiable desire to have sex with dead animals.
  • Exclusive zoosexuals – those who only have sex with animals to the exclusion of human sexual partners.

Personally, I don’t view human-animal role players as zoophiles as this would include those in the Furry Fandom (individuals that dress up and interact socially as animals). There is no official definition of what a ‘furry’ actually is although most furries would agree that they share an interest in fictional anthromorphic animal characters that have human characteristics and personalities and/or mythological or imaginary creatures that possess human and/or superhuman capabilities. The furry fandom has also developed its own vocabulary including words such as ‘fursona’ (furry persona), ‘plushie’ (person who has sex with cuddly toys), and ‘yiff’ (furry pornography). A study by David J. Rust of 360 members of the furry community suggested less than 1% were plushophiles and that 2% were zoophiles.

Many zoophiles believe that in years to come, their sexual preference will be seen as no different to being gay or straight. This is not a view I adhere to especially because animals cannot give consent (although many zoophiles claim the animals they have sexual relationships with do give ‘consent’). The one thing we do know is that the internet has revolutionised the way we carry out our research and get access to ‘hard to reach’ groups. Thanks to online research, zoophilia is just one of many sexually atypical behaviours that we now know more about both behaviourally and psychologically.

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

Further reading

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

Beetz, Andrea (2002). Love, Violence, and Sexuality in Relationships between Humans and Animals. Germany: Shaker Verlag.

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.

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.

Williams, C. J., & Weinberg, M. S. (2003). Zoophilia in men: A study of sexual interest in animals. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 523–535.

Pig in a poke: A brief look at porcinophilia

In my previous blogs I have examined various human-animal sexual relationships including zoophiles that have sexual relationships with horses, lizards, dolphins, birds and insects. Today’s blog examines something I am calling ‘porcinophilia’ (i.e., a sexual paraphilia where humans are sexually attracted to and aroused by pigs). Although there are a number of scientific papers that have made reference to humans having sexual relationships with pigs (both sows and boars), the behaviour has (surprisingly) never been given a name.

I don’t know about you, but before I researched the material for this blog, my only “evidence” that humans would want to have sex with a pig was an infamous scene in the 1972 film Deliverance starring Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, and Ned Beatty. In the film, the scene concerns Ned Beatty’s character (Bobby Trippe) being violently and anally raped by a two shotgun-wielding hillbillies and Bobby being forced to “squeal like a pig” as it was happening. However, this is nothing compared to the Belgian film Vase de Noces.

Vase de Noces is arguably one of the most disturbing and controversial movies ever made (known as Wedding Trough in the UK and often referred to as The Pig F**king Movie), and concerns the sexual relationship between a man and his pig. A number of film censors (including those in Australia) have labeled the film as an obscenity because of its animal killings (some real, some simulated) and depictions of coprophagia and urophilia (i.e., the eating of faeces and drinking of urine which I examined in previous blogs). The film revolves around an autistic man who becomes fixated on a female pig and ends up having a sexual relationship with it, and is psychologically devastated when the pig dies.

In my search for literature relating to porcinophilia, I came across a book chapter entitled ‘The Sex Lit You Probably Haven’t Read: Obscure and Expunged Material Dealing With Everyone’s Favorite Activity’ by Russ Kick. He made reference to the ‘feminist classic’ Our Bodies, Ourselves and described by Kick as “perhaps the most important women’s health book ever published”, and is currently in its eighth edition. Kick managed to track down some of the deleted fantasies from the original 1973 edition that presented sexual fantasies in the women’s own words. One of the extracts, mentioned sexual activity with pigs although in the context of being lower down the bestial hierarchy. The deleted quote read: “I fantasize about making love with horses, because they are very sensuous animals, more so than cows or pigs. They are also very male animals – horse society is very chauvinist”. 

A paper written by Margret Grebowicz concerning online bestiality pornography entitled “When Species Me(a)t” in a 2010 edition of the online journal Humanalia (the journal of human/animal interface studies). Grebowicz made a passing reference to bestiality involving pigs in a section on ‘animal rape’ based on what she had found on the internet. More specifically she claimed:

“Numerous sites advertise photo galleries accompanied by narratives of dogs ‘raping’ innocent girls or other ‘first timers’. In all of the sites classified as ‘animal rape’, the animal, usually a dog, is present as the perpetrator, not the victim, of a rape. This rape narrative sometimes depends on claims about the animal’s intelligence, as in http://www.zooshock.com, which shows photos of a woman having intercourse with a pig. The accompanying narrative states that she was raped by the pig in a shed, a claim which is then supported by the following sentence, which explains that pigs are among the most intelligent animals on the planet, comparable to dogs. The trajectory from intelligence to sexuality is clear: the more intelligent the animal, the more credible the narrative in which the animal is a sexual agent”.

But now for something a little bit more academic. Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices reported that the first ever legal reference concerning the punishment for bestiality was in the Hittite compendium of laws. These laws stated that bestial acts carried out by men (but not women) with pigs, sheep, cattle, and/or dogs were punishable with death. He also noted that court records available in Europe and the USA between the fourteenth century and the present day, nearly always show males (as opposed to females) as most likely to be charged with bestial offences, and that the most common animals that humans had engaged in sexual activity were in these court cases were horses, pigs and sheep.

In the scientific literature there are a couple of case studies relating to human-porcine sexual relationships. In 1976, Dr. P. H. Blondel reported in a French medical journal that a 46-year old French farmer had to undergo surgery for peritonitis after anal sex with a boar (i.e., a male pig). Later in 2002, Dr. G.K. Kirov and his colleagues reported in Injury (the International Journal of the Care of the Injured) that a 62-year old Bulgarian farmer was treated for a torn rectum after sex with a male pig. The authors noted that: A transmural tear occurred when pressure exceeded the rectal wall compliance at a fixed point of contact”. The farmer had presented at hospital suffering from abdominal pain. Following medical tests, it was discovered that the cause of the pain was a small (half a centimetre) ragged tear of the rectal wall. Initially, the farmer was understandably reluctant to tell the medical staff how the injury had been obtained, but eventually he revealed that one of his male pigs had anally penetrated him. Science writer Darren Naish (in an article covering this case on his Tetrapod Zoology blog) described the anatomy of a pig’s penis, and from this description it is easy to see how being anally penetrated by a pig would cause a rectal tear:

“The pig penis is somewhat different from the sort of anatomy that we’re more familiar with. For one thing, the organ is twisted, with the right corpus cavernosum more strongly developed than the left. The retractor muscle is also attached asymmetrically…Believe it or don’t, by contracting its retractor muscles, a boar makes its penis move in a semi-rotary fashion, and by causing this movement a mating boar can achieve ejaculation even when not thrusting the pelvis in the normal fashion. A glans is absent, and instead the tip of the organ is twisted with a curved and pointed end”.

I also read in Frances Twinn’s book The Miscellany of Sex that the pig’s corkscrew-shaped penis can provide orgasms that last for 30 minutes. Finally, a 2000 study of 32 male zoophiles by Dr. Andrea Beetz (and also reported in a number of her later publications including the 2002 book Love, Violence, and Sexuality in Relationships between Humans and Animals) reported that 14% of her participants were most attracted to pigs. However, compared to other form of animal sexual attraction, pigs were the least sexually attractive animals when compared to dogs (87%), horses (81%), cows (32%), goats (28%), sheep (27%) and cats (15%).

Both court reports and scientific medical papers prove the existence of humans having sexual relationships with pigs, and Dr. Beetz’ research with self-confessed zoophiles also shows that among the zoophile community, pigs are among a number of household pets and farm animals that humans have had sexual relationships with. We know nothing about the prevalence or etiology of such behaviour, but the incidence is likely to be very low.

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.

Beetz, A.M. (2000, June). Human sexual contact with animals: New insights from current research. Paper presented at the 5th Congress of the European Federation of Sexology, Berlin.

Beetz, Andrea (2002). Love, Violence, and Sexuality in Relationships between Humans and Animals. Germany: Shaker Verlag.

Beetz, A. M. (2004). Bestiality/zoophilia: A scarcely investigated phenomenon between crime, paraphilia, and love. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 4, 1-36.

Bering, J. (2012). Porky pig. Slate, January 6. Located at: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/01/when_bestiality_gets_blamed_on_the_animals.html

Blondel, P. H. 1976. Perforations digestives d’etiologie insolite: deux cas. Nouv Presse Med 5, 915.

Grebowicz, M. (2010). When species Me(a)t: Confronting bestiality pornography. Humanalia, 1(2). Located at: http://www.depauw.edu/humanimalia/issue02/grebowicz.html 

Kick, R. (2005). The sex lit you probably haven’t read: Obscure and expunged material dealing with everyone’s favorite activity. In R. Kick (Ed.), Everything You Know About Sex is Wrong (pp.260-267).  New York: The Disinformation Company.

Kirov, G. K., Losanoff, J. E. & Kjossev, K. T. (2002). Zoophilia: A rare cause of traumatic injury to the rectum. Injury, 33, 367-368.

Naish, D. (2008). Traumatic anal intercourse with a pig. Tetrapod Zoology, February 22. Located at: http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2008/02/22/he-loved-pigs-too-much/

Twinn, F. (2007). The Miscellany of Sex: Tantalizing Travels Through Love, Lust and Libido. London: Arcturus.