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AmbivalentEye

Sexual Orientation Vs. Paraphilia

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I've always come here whenever I have a very important philosophical issue of this magnitude, so I'm hoping I could get your rational intellectual input on the current matter.

All of it started on an online forum that my school's literary club put together called the Creative Society. It mostly to post any type of literature and get a detailed critique about it. On the other hand, its become this huge social center with more that a hundred members now, where a bunch of teens (generally) go to express their views on various issues. We have debates and all sorts of arguments on everything that you could possibly imagine.

The latest controversy came up in a member's topic called "What I think", in which he described his perspective on the lifestyle of a new friend he has made that declares himself a "Zoosexual" -a person whose sexual orientation is solely focused on animals. It isn't even ALL animals, but the ones he is attracted to; lions, tigers, wolves, and dogs mostly.

The person that created the topic is defending his friend's position that zoosexuality IS an orientation and should be accepted in society.

Initially, some of the first distinctions we made for the sake of argument were between sexual orientations and paraphilia(fetishes). In which an orientation is biological and a paraphilia is psychological.

Within this context, the leader of the discussion declared himself a pedA-phile (foot-fetishist), and we came to the conclusion that because I am convinced I wasn't BORN gay, I must be a homophile.

It is extremely difficult for me, as a "homophile" to argue this topic because almost all the things I initially wanted to say in opposition of the "zoosexual", is the exact same rationality that conservative society today uses against homosexuals. In the end, I got to the point where I could accept the "friend's" condition as Zoophilia, but NOT an orientation. I am extremely opposed to it and do not believe it should be sanctioned by society.

Ultimately, all those involved in the debate agree that a new ethical code must be created for modern society which could be more aware and understanding of all of these different issues; particularly the growing number of fetishes in the world. Yet, despite all this, we still haven't been able to arrive at any unanimous conclusion on if it is right or wrong.

It is a long thread, so I would be pleased with any commentary or suggestion you could offer:

Creative Society -Fetishes/Orientations

Thank You.

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I would think that Zoophilia indicates a generally unhealthy mind. It's also unbelievably disgusting.

Incidentally, as a side note, when I was in high school, the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) was becoming increasingly vocal (despite the fact that there were only three openly gay people in the school, none of whom were members of the GSA). I put in a request to start the BSA (Bestiality-Straight Alliance) in order to combat "rampant beastiophobia"; my proposal was rejected. (I think I might have stolen this idea from somewhere, but I'm not sure.)

Edited by LaszloWalrus

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I read some of Nijushi's remarks. Just because a man cannot help committing a crime, does not mean he won't be put in prison. If the act of bestiality is somehow infringing on others' rights, then the actor must be detained.

Nijushi talks about cases where animals are raped. But I don't see how the concept "rape" is applicable to an animal. Animals don't have choice, and to rape 'something' is to have sex with 'something' that hasn't consented.

He also claims that certain sexual orientations should be accepted because people cannot help their orientation. Obviously if some people are "irreversibly" attracted to children, we shouldn't allow them to indulge in their sexual fantasies.

Then he sites a study showing that homosexual fruit flies are gay b/c of their genetic makeup--did the researches expect something different, other than genetics? :D

Assuming the essential question is, should bestiality be legal?, I don't see why not. Although I find it particularly disgusting, especially when the human is on the receiving end and the elephant is on the giving, I can't find how that would violate the rights of others.

Happy Hunting :)

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Ultimately, all those involved in the debate agree that a new ethical code must be created for modern society which could be more aware and understanding of all of these different issues; particularly the growing number of fetishes in the world. Yet, despite all this, we still haven't been able to arrive at any unanimous conclusion on if it is right or wrong.

Sex with an animal can only be sex merely for pleasure. If pleasure becomes the basis for morality, i.e. it makes me feel good so it must be right, their new ethical code would have to be based on whim, not reason or rationality.

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Sex with an animal can only be sex merely for pleasure. If pleasure becomes the basis for morality, i.e. it makes me feel good so it must be right, their new ethical code would have to be based on whim, not reason or rationality.

But pleasure, while not the standard of morality, is an issue any standard of morality must address.

For instance, the fact that zoophila is pleasurable to some people doesn't make it right. But neither does the fact that it only results in pleasure make it wrong. Being rational doesn't mean you can't engage in activities whose only result is physical pleasure.

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It isn't even ALL animals, but the ones he is attracted to; lions, tigers, wolves, and dogs mostly.

Am I the only one thinking that if this person acts on these urges that perhaps it may have a very unhealthy outcome...well, maybe not so much with a domestic dog, but a lion a tiger, a bear (oh my!) a wolf probably isn't going to be a very willing participant.

It sounds extremely hedonistic to me, and rather gross. Homosexuality is one thing, you are talking about people, who are far superior to animals. Animals don't have volition, and they may not have rights like humans, but still, to even have the desire to have sex with an animal is just bizare. To act on it, even worse.

But sex outside a species, that is kind of bizarre.

If sex is suppose to be something mutually shared between two beings based on value, how can that be something that is done with animals morally?

I think even comparing beastiality to homosexuality is sick. The two are not the same...I am not gay, but as a human I find it really disturbing that anyone would compare the two. Sure, sure....I know fundies do it all the time...but still.

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But pleasure, while not the standard of morality, is an issue any standard of morality must address.

For instance, the fact that zoophila is pleasurable to some people doesn't make it right. But neither does the fact that it only results in pleasure make it wrong. Being rational doesn't mean you can't engage in activities whose only result is physical pleasure.

Let me clarify more then. If pleasure is the basis for morality, what is right and what is wrong changes from person to person based on what gives them pleasure. How can you come up with a concrete code of morality based on whim? You could never call anyone immoral, they could simply say they enjoyed it. You can try to go into why hedonistic acts done solely for physical pleasure are immoral according to Objectivist standards, but that won't fly much in a mixed group. I think he'd do better to propose that morality based on pleasure will be foolish since anyone can basically do anything they want.

Actually, I just finished reading the thread, and his argument is based on an assumption that sexual attraction only with animals is a genetic trait. I can find no sort of scientific proof to uphold that argument to it so the debate is kind of pointless.

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Let me clarify more then. If pleasure is the basis for morality, what is right and what is wrong changes from person to person based on what gives them pleasure. How can you come up with a concrete code of morality based on whim? You could never call anyone immoral, they could simply say they enjoyed it.

As I said, pleasure alone cannot be the basis for a system of morality. But in any event, morality isn't concrete. Personal preferences, whims, and desires play a part in it. A system of morality or ethics gives people general guidelines for how to make choices in their life. It can't say in advance which actions are going to be good or bad. Systems of morality which give such universal commandments are seen as foolish by rational people anyway.

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If sex is suppose to be something mutually shared between two beings based on value, how can that be something that is done with animals morally?

Exactly.

I can not fathom the psychology of a man who would sexualy desire an animal.

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As I said, pleasure alone cannot be the basis for a system of morality. But in any event, morality isn't concrete. Personal preferences, whims, and desires play a part in it. A system of morality or ethics gives people general guidelines for how to make choices in their life. It can't say in advance which actions are going to be good or bad. Systems of morality which give such universal commandments are seen as foolish by rational people anyway.

What sort of rational value can one obtain by having sex with an animal, apple pie, vaccum cleaner, or whatever else someone can think up? You get physical pleasure, that's it, how can you assign morality to a physical act? You can only judge a physical act by the reasoning a person goes through to decide to commit the act, not because they gained pleasure from it. If they desired to do it, there is a reason they desired to do it. If the reason is immoral the act is immoral and what determines the reason's morality is very concrete.

What one's personal preferences, desires or whims are has no bearing on whether an act is moral or not, only if that one's actions are in one's rational self-interest which may easily go against those preferences, desires and whims. Normally one's desires are in accordance to what is morally right, and only by leading a moral life can one obtain real pleasure. Morality is never a consequence of pleasure, pleasure is a consequence of morality.

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Sex with an animal can only be sex merely for pleasure. If pleasure becomes the basis for morality, i.e. it makes me feel good so it must be right, their new ethical code would have to be based on whim, not reason or rationality.

Exactly! I said that:

Because humans were created with a fully cognitive faculty, to act solely on a basis of instinct or desire is depravity. A rational choice must be made personally as to whether the act falls within the boundaries of one's own morals, ethics, and ideals in life. A rational being acts to procure rational results: virtues that he/she can claim with pride to symbolize the achievements of his/her life. What kind of virtue is ever attained in indulging in sexual encounters with animals? By taking part in an act with a creature of lesser standard than yourself degrades who you are. Ayn Rand always said that the people a rational person has sex with are always reflections of that person's own principles and character. I function this way.
It sounds extremely hedonistic to me, and rather gross. Homosexuality is one thing, you are talking about people, who are far superior to animals. Animals don't have volition, and they may not have rights like humans, but still, to even have the desire to have sex with an animal is just bizare.

If sex is suppose to be something mutually shared between two beings based on value, how can that be something that is done with animals morally?

I think even comparing beastiality to homosexuality is sick. The two are not the same...I am not gay, but as a human I find it really disturbing that anyone would compare the two. Sure, sure....I know fundies do it all the time...but still.

See, the good thing about this argument is that we try everything we can to not be closed-minded or prejudiced without really understanding the situation. The matter isn't whether it is gross, bizarre, or sick. That always depends on each individual's perception and their upringing. The point is that there are people out there that live under all these conditions and this DISCUSSION is really just to find some sort of way to cope with that knowledge in everyday life. How should those people be seen? Treated? Helped? But most importantly, Why?

Let me clarify more then. If pleasure is the basis for morality, what is right and what is wrong changes from person to person based on what gives them pleasure. How can you come up with a concrete code of morality based on whim? You could never call anyone immoral, they could simply say they enjoyed it. You can try to go into why hedonistic acts done solely for physical pleasure are immoral according to Objectivist standards, but that won't fly much in a mixed group. I think he'd do better to propose that morality based on pleasure will be foolish since anyone can basically do anything they want.

I agree. Thank you for making it so concrete.

What sort of rational value can one obtain by having sex with an animal, apple pie, vaccum cleaner, or whatever else someone can think up? You get physical pleasure, that's it, how can you assign morality to a physical act? You can only judge a physical act by the reasoning a person goes through to decide to commit the act, not because they gained pleasure from it. If they desired to do it, there is a reason they desired to do it. If the reason is immoral the act is immoral and what determines the reason's morality is very concrete.

What one's personal preferences, desires or whims are has no bearing on whether an act is moral or not, only if that one's actions are in one's rational self-interest which may easily go against those preferences, desires and whims. Normally one's desires are in accordance to what is morally right, and only by leading a moral life can one obtain real pleasure. Morality is never a consequence of pleasure, pleasure is a consequence of morality.

Thank you very much for your input as well. I really appreciate it.

Alright, lets make another distinction here:

Ethics: A standard of right and wrong.

Morality: An ethical code applied in personal life. This applies personal ideals, beliefs, principles, and biases.

I do not believe that moral systems should be modified, because they were created rationally by the people that proccured them (not always with the best available or reliable information).

What has to be modified is the ethical code. We have to establish which things are right, and which things are wrong, then let individuals decide for themselves how they wish to structure their morality from thereon.

If a person starts out their life being told that homosexuality is wrong and that they will burn in hell forever if they consider it, that doesn't leave much room open for interpretation.

Thus, my conclusion is that zoosexuality is ethically wrong, but zoophilia is logically acceptable. (It makes sense; maybe not to everyone, but fatishes never make sense to everyone.)

That's what I ultimately arrived at.

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QUOTE

Alright, lets make another distinction here:

Ethics: A standard of right and wrong.

Morality: An ethical code applied in personal life. This applies personal ideals, beliefs, principles, and biases.

I do not believe that moral systems should be modified, because they were created rationally by the people that proccured them (not always with the best available or reliable information).

What has to be modified is the ethical code. We have to establish which things are right, and which things are wrong, then let individuals decide for themselves how they wish to structure their morality from thereon.

If a person starts out their life being told that homosexuality is wrong and that they will burn in hell forever if they consider it, that doesn't leave much room open for interpretation.

Thus, my conclusion is that zoosexuality is ethically wrong, but zoophilia is logically acceptable. (It makes sense; maybe not to everyone, but fatishes never make sense to everyone.)

That's what I ultimately arrived at.

"It's wrong but acceptable." That sounds like a contradiction. Not to be closeminded here...because I really am not trying to give you a hard time, but why should it be logically acceptable if it is ethically wrong?Zoosexuality seems a little clearer cut about going against nature than homosexuality ever would. I am not sure the comparison is adequate. Homosexuality doesn't have to be hendonistic (and neither does hetrosexuality) but certainly beastiality is always on the part of a human. I am speaking under an Objectivist viewpoint here, not libertarian, or free thought or leftist.

It's good people that have those issues have a place to discuss it. Hopefully those that have these fetishes will get some help. Because it just ain't healthy.

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Thus, my conclusion is that zoosexuality is ethically wrong, but zoophilia is logically acceptable. (It makes sense; maybe not to everyone, but fatishes never make sense to everyone.)

There is no such thing as zoosexuality, so how can it be ethically wrong. Even *if* somehow they determined zoophilia to be a genetic diposition, we as humans are volitional, not deterministic. Genetics does not determine our ethics.

Zoophilia is a matter for psychology to figure out, not philosophy. I don't find bestiality to be any better or any worse than using a dildo or blow up doll or any other form of masturbation. Nor do I think it should be illegal, but that does not make it moral nor socially acceptable. Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should.

My problem with the person in question in the thread is not his zoophilia, it's the fact that it is the ONLY way he can get gratification, not from sex with another person. In that context and with the ideaology of sex in Objectivism, I'd say he's completely immoral at this stage of the game and he needs some serious help.

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"It's wrong but acceptable." That sounds like a contradiction.

"Acceptable" is completely the wrong word, I agree, but as I stated in parentheses, it just makes sense. What makes sense? Well, not zoosexuality of course, because its already been made clear that there isn't any current genetic proof of such a condition or "inclination" in people. Yet as a paraphilia (fetish), if there is such a thing out there as people being aroused by popping balloons, lack of oxygen, and candle-wax burns, why shouldn't there be someone who is aroused by particular animals. The fact that it makes sense that these exceptions should exist in the world doesn't make it right, but at least this way the act can categorized as something less ignorant than just "Sin".

I don't find bestiality to be any better or any worse than using a dildo or blow up doll or any other form of masturbation. Nor do I think it should be illegal, but that does not make it moral nor socially acceptable. Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should.

That's what I meant! To not be entirely closed-minded, I can at least think about what the act really means or entails, and then just accept that it is another strange fetish out there in the world that people have to deal with in their personal lives.

Hopefully those that have these fetishes will get some help. Because it just ain't healthy.

I hope you're not making the generalization that all fetishes are wrong, or some kind of psychological anomaly people should get treatment for, because really, the more we've been discussing this whole topic at the chat room in the site, the more we are starting to notice that everyone, or at least everyone who joined the discussion or that I have spoken to it about via telephone, has admitted to some sort of fetish of their own. There's nothing wrong with a fetish itself, only what that fetish entails and how you carry it out. Why should a person ever be chastized for masturbating, or for enjoying "rougher" sex (sado-masochism), or having a very particular affection to feet, or happening to really enjoy being tickled during copulation.

I don't see how any of these examples could be "unhealthy", thus I find no reason to reject their uses or people's personal decision to indulge in them.

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I don't see how any of these examples could be "unhealthy", thus I find no reason to reject their uses or people's personal decision to indulge in them.

I should have clarified what I meant by "unhealthy": having sex with a lion, a tiger a wolf, can have ill health effects. Even a dog. I wouldn't think it would be in a person's self interest physically (being mauled by an animal, scratched, bitten...or catching an interesting illness that isn't normally transmitted sexually from an animal to a person.) So that is why I said I hope they can get help because I think it is unhealthy. But if they do chose to go ahead and actually practice their "fetish" they may have to deal with some nasty consequences.

So okay I think it is sick, and I do think it is immoral, actually, but I wouldn't bother to go so far as to make it illegal either as Lathar pointed out. Unless of course they are violating others property rights to fulfill their wierdo needs.

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That guy in question that started this whole thing is in serious need of some help. His fetish is beyond being healthy, it's much more of an obsession now.

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Zoosexuality or Beastality should not be compared to Homosexuality.

Two people are sharing a "relationship" toghther. Whether it's a one-night-stand or long-term.

These animals are used like sex robots...The people who have sex with them don't want the baggage that comes with a sexual relationship with a human. Hey, even prostitues have human-rights, but animals don't.

OTOH, Robots are machines...animals are living creatures that feel pain. So it's not cool to inflict pain on an innocent victom, whether it be human or animal.

In nature killing and eating animals is common and normal, but not sexual torture.

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Still, I think it is strange to say that having sex with an animal is wrong while killing the animal is not. When dealing only with humans, for example, murder is generally seen as a worse offense than rape.

This is, of course, even assuming that sex with an animal is non-consentual. Animals certainly have sexual urges and instincts of their own. Thus I think it is far from clear that bestiality is even "rape" in the real sense.

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That would depend how you pervert the meaning of consent, of course. If you say that only verbal/written consent is sufficient and that implicit consent doesn't count then obviously the animal cannot consent to what you are doing.

I think the whole concept of consent is inapplicable here.

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Still, I think it is strange to say that having sex with an animal is wrong while killing the animal is not. When dealing only with humans, for example, murder is generally seen as a worse offense than rape.
This is completely confused. Humans have rights, animals don't. So any comparison involving humans is totally off topic. The concept of "right" and "wrong", when it comes to animals, has absolutely nothing to do with "right for the animal" -- it's all about "right for the person". So when is it right to kill an animal? Well, prior to cooking it for example; or, if it is a pest that needs to be eliminated. Or even comething challenging to kill (such as a polar bear, with you using a knife). Torturing an animal to death isn't ever right (and no hyperbole out of anyone please about it being "torture" to put an animal in a cage). When is it right to have sex with an animal? Never, as far as I can see. Read up on Rand's views of what sex is for man. If a sheep represents your ideal woman, I think you should see a doctor, or a real woman. Bestiality is wrong, and that fact has nothing to do with consent.

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1.)

The concept of "right" and "wrong", when it comes to animals, has absolutely nothing to do with "right for the animal" -- it's all about "right for the person".

2.)

Torturing an animal to death isn't ever right

Given 1.), on what basis do you assert 2.)?

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Given 1.), on what basis do you assert 2.)?
The fact that nothing in doing so advances "morgue avoidance" (with the usual caveat -- if a thug threatens to kill you if you don't torture a kitten, then of course you should skin the cat and live), and causing an animal pain does not contribute to your "flourishing". You do not benefit from torturing an animal to death: however, it is not the function of the government to prevent you from acting badly when you aren't violating anyone's rights.

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This is completely confused. Humans have rights, animals don't. So any comparison involving humans is totally off topic. The concept of "right" and "wrong", when it comes to animals, has absolutely nothing to do with "right for the animal" -- it's all about "right for the person". So when is it right to kill an animal? Well, prior to cooking it for example; or, if it is a pest that needs to be eliminated. Or even comething challenging to kill (such as a polar bear, with you using a knife). Torturing an animal to death isn't ever right (and no hyperbole out of anyone please about it being "torture" to put an animal in a cage). When is it right to have sex with an animal? Never, as far as I can see. Read up on Rand's views of what sex is for man. If a sheep represents your ideal woman, I think you should see a doctor, or a real woman. Bestiality is wrong, and that fact has nothing to do with consent.

If animals indeed have no rights whatsoever, then anything done to them cannot be immoral. Torturing an animal would no more be a violation of rights than torturing a rock.

Perhaps you think that mistreating or having sex with animals causes psychological harm for the human and thus should be avoided. This may or may not be true, I think it is very dependant on the person and the context. So much so, that blanket statements such as "bestiality is wrong" have no foundation in logic or fact.

The fact that you don't think bestiality benefits someone's life doesn't make it immoral. You have to show that in all instances and situations, bestiality is anti-life for the idea of bestiality to be immoral. If you cannot, bestiality is then no different than any other sexual orientation which for some people can be harmful but for others completely harmless.

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If animals indeed have no rights whatsoever, then anything done to them cannot be immoral. Torturing an animal would no more be a violation of rights than torturing a rock.

It is not the act of torture that is immoral, it's the reasoning behind it. Boiling an animal alive because it's the only safe way to cook it is much different than boiling it alive to watch it suffer and die. If torture is simply causing pain to a living thing to get pleasure from observing it, then it's immoral.

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