In its narrowest sense, bestiality involves intercourse, either vaginal or anal, with a nonhuman animal; but bestiality can also include oral-genital contact of any kind between humans and animals, as well as the insertion of digits or objects other than the penis into the vagina, anus, or cloaca. Acts of bestiality highlight interesting aspects of the definition of rape. Is rape something a human does to another human? Or is bestiality a form of rape? It is known that women have been raped by abusers who force sex with animals, or force animals upon women. But is bestiality a form of forced sex itself? Recently this claim has been advanced by animal advocates.
Forms of bestiality include opportunistic or safety-valve sex in which the animal is viewed as an available sex object who provides sexual release in the absence of a human partner; fixated sex involves persons who see animals not as mere stand-ins but as love objects and exclusive sexual “partners”; in domineering sex, batterers, rapists, and pornographers arrange or force sex between a human and an animal in order to exploit or to humiliate the human, most often a woman. Proximity allows for sexual access. This is why cats, dogs, sheep, cows, hens, rabbits, goats, mules, ducks, rabbits, horses, boars, bulls, and fishes are more frequently used, rather than gorillas, chimpanzees, and other animals.
With the growth of the Internet, bestiality has achieved a new visibility and a defense that it is a benign act, but the issue of perspective remains: What does the animal experience? Further, bestiality, like rape, raises questions of consent. In human-animal relationships, the human being has control of many—if not all—of the aspects of an animal’s well being. Relationships of unequal power cannot be consensual. Bestiality is the model case of circumventing consent, on the one hand, while confusing affection for consent, on the other