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Thursday, September 20, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Doggy Style

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back October 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan

Originally published November 6, 2008:


I'm a 32-year-old female engaged to a 34-year-old man. Some months ago, when we were both drunk, he "got up the nerve" to show me some bestiality porn and tell me how much the thought of me with a dog turns him on. He was absolutely terrified that I would leave him over this but said he couldn't hide it anymore. I was pretty inebriated at the time, and I didn't say much. We continued to watch dog-on-girl porn, which I can't say turned me off, but mainly because it turned him on so much.

Since then, he has brought up this subject when he's inebriated. I've told him that as long as this remains a fantasy, I won't make an issue of it. I also told him that when I am sober it makes me fairly uncomfortable and that it exploits the animal involved. He argued what I'm sure a lot of people into bestiality believe: It isn't cruelty or abuse if it's a male dog doing what comes instinctively to that dog. He also told me that he once had a girlfriend who allowed a dog into their sex life, him as a voyeur, her as a participant in full-on sex with the animal. At that point I changed the subject and we had good old vanilla sex with no more talk of dogs, but he was really turned on. I love this man a lot and in every other way our lives are wonderful. We have also both cut back on drinking in the past month—this is a commitment we have made to each other.

The questions I have are these: Is just the fact that he is/we are watching this kind of porn animal abuse? Can this really remain just a fantasy for him, or will he seek this out again, especially since he has had it before? Bestiality is one of the fetishes you disapprove of, Dan, but I have no one else to ask about this.

-Dog Day Shafternoon

Yes, DDS, I disapprove of bestiality—because, well, ick. And that, as anonymous dog-fuckers have pointed out to me repeatedly over the years, is the same logic homophobes use to justify their bigotry. But when I go on the record about bestiality—and I'm always con—I go out of my way to throw the animal lovers a bone: If I were a sheep, I'd certainly rather be screwed than stewed.

But still. Ick.

Seeing as I'm biased against bestiality—particularly dog-fuckery, as I don't understand how people even keep dogs as pets—I'm going to recuse myself for a few paragraphs.

"In most cases, the animal is willing and able," says Martin Weinberg, a professor in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University who has studied zoophilia. "It is difficult and dangerous to try and force an animal to do something it doesn't want to do," adds Weinberg. "However, bestiality is against the law in many states, even though I do not see it as abuse unless the animal is physically forced."

And then Dr. Weinberg makes an important point, one that your fiancÉ needs to take to heart, one that you might wanna have tattooed backward on his forehead the next time he blacks out: "But if the girlfriend isn't interested in watching it (or in actually participating in the act), the man should be informed that trying to force her into doing so is (to me) partner abuse." (Emphasis added.)

Catch that? While your boyfriend's interests may not qualify as animal abuse—and many would debate that point—hounding you about it endlessly does qualify as girlfriend/fiancÉe/wife abuse.

"The man this woman is talking about, as far as we know, has never had sex with animals," says Dr. Hani Miletski, author of Understanding Bestiality & Zoophilia. "He just likes to watch, which is very common. There are numerous sites online that feature bestiality, and many curious people visit them often. For some, it's just curiosity."

And for some, it's so much more.

Will your boyfriend, in Dr. Miletski's opinion, be able to let this fantasy remain a fantasy? Or will he seek it out again?

"It's always difficult to predict what the future will bring," says Dr. Miletski, "but my guess is that he will always use the idea of bestiality as a part, probably a major part, of his sexual fantasy. He will probably try to get his current girlfriend to act it out... but if she doesn't feel comfortable with that, she should continue to do and say what she has already done and said."

I know what I would do and say: If my partner could only get it up while images of dogs fucking my ass danced in his head, that would be a deal breaker. But you're more compassionate or tolerant or indulgent than I am, DDS, and you sound inclined to stay with this guy. And when drunk, DDS, you sound like you might be tempted to give your fiancÉ what he wants. ("I can't say [it] turned me off, but mainly because it turned him on so much," "when I am sober it makes me fairly uncomfortable.") So here's how things are gonna play out if you stay with this dude: He's going to bring this up again and again, and his commitment to cutting back on booze will be undermined—perhaps fatally—by what booze allows him to do, i.e., lower his inhibitions enough to go there, and by what booze allows you to do, i.e., contemplate fucking dogs with some level of comfort.

I'm not saying you shouldn't stay. But you gotta know what you're signing up for: At the very least, you will be indulging him in dog-on-girl—or dog-in-girl or dog-in-you—dirty talk on a regular basis. And he will live in hope that, if you talk about this long enough, if he gets drunk and begs you often enough and can manage to get you drunk enough, you will, one day, go there.

Don't say you weren't warned.

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