Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Warning! Mature Subject Matter! (Or as mature as it gets around here.)

I would like it known at the outset of this post that I have not been browsing the Internet looking for information on bestiality. No, seriously I have not. Not even on behalf of a "friend". It just seems that the issue is landing on my screen without my consent so I thought I would address it.

(Ok, that was absolutely
not how I had intended that last sentence to sound.)

Some time ago I noticed a brief article called
The secret is out (scroll down the page) in New Scientist about bestiality. It was kind of unnerving knowing that it is far more common than most people think but hey, there are far more troubling things in the world which occur far more often.

Then, not long after that, I was Googling away on combinations of words like "civilization", "future" , "technology", "science", "religion", "trends", "swordfish" etc., when I came upon a somewhat interestingly titled article on the changing nature of civilization. Strangely enough it was a pop-up window (even though Firefox is quite good at preventing them) but I read it anyway. It was nothing I could not have come up with myself really but it was short enough to hold part of my attention until I had scrolled down to the bottom where the author of the site's gag was manifest. There at the bottom were placed 5 or 6 pictures of some attractive young woman (late 20s or so) getting some action from what I think was a black Labrador. (Doggie style of course, what do you expect? And no, I did not bookmark the site so if that is what floats your boat you will need to find it yourself.) While intellectually I was offended I actually found myself laughing my ass off for four reasons:

1) The woman bore a passing resemblance to someone I once knew.

2) They were some of the few pornographic pictures (as distinct from videos) I have seen where the female star actually looked like she was glad to be there; having fun and not just trying to just look polite while waiting for a bus. Most porno smiles I have seen make the actresses look like store manikins which have been left too close to the furnace. The irony that it requires a male of a different species to elicit such a response is something you just have to laugh about to stay sane.

3) The dog had an expression which seemed to say "Hey you Internet twerps! Even I can get more tale than you."

4) I knew that somewhere out there was some kid who combined a mediocre and plagiarized essay with some bestiality shots, then probably got his little friends to Google bomb the site so that they could chuckle incessantly about how shocked everyone will be when they get to the end of the article. Ah, to be young again and find delight in the asinine.

And now another article about the subject. Apparently the state of Washington is awash with animal lovers of entirely the wrong kind as far as the state's Republican senator Pam Roach is concerned. One guy even died at the... um, hands of a horse (gender and sexual position not specified).

He was in flagrante delicto with a horse, leading to injuries so grievous that the man succumbed.
...leaving one hell of an interesting obituary no doubt.

Bestiality is not some new fangled Internet thing. Just as all cultures have some taboos about incest (though they vary greatly in the details) many cultures address the issue of critter dating. Humans do not make up rules against things that never happen. An example I noticed some time back is from the sayings of
Ayatollah Khomeini where he spells out under what conditions bestiality is permissible. They seem strangely permissive given the Iranian government's phobia of female skin and plain old heterosexuality not to mention homosexuality.

A man can have sex with animals such as sheep, cows, camels and so on.
However he should kill the animal after he has his orgasm. He should not
sell the meat to the people in his own village, however selling the meat to
the next door village should be fine.

From Khomeini's book, "Tahrirolvasyleh", fourth volume, Darol Elm, Gom,
Iran, 1990

"If one commits the act of sodomy with a cow, a ewe, or a camel, their urine and their excrement become impure, and even their milk may no longer be consumed. The animal must then be killed and as quickly as possible and burned."
The little green book, Sayings of Ayatollah Khomeini, Political, Phylosophica, Social and Religious with a special introduction by Clive Irving, ISBN number 0-553-14032-9, page 47
Never buy meat from out-of-towners!

Many people would say: "Look! Children can not legally consent to sex so neither can animals. Even if, say, a dog is taking advantage of an opportunity presented to him it is bad mojo and should be outlawed. No sexual contact between humans and animals (period!)." So here is the problem with that (colon!):

Many people belong to kennel clubs and horse racing clubs (even some Republicans). Even where natural insemination is used, you need to know whether the male you are lining up is fertile before the female is in estrus which requires a sample (ahem) and since males who have been celibate for some time show misleading cytological signs of infertility (malformed sperm that have passed their "best before" date) you need to "get the goods" at least a couple of times over the course of a few days.

Also cytology courses use a variety of cell samples in university lab work. I myself have examined dog spermatozoa in a lab course which were obtained by one of the local vets. They don't have some magic teleporter either, she used old fashioned wrist work.

So you need to craft your bestiality laws in a more nuanced manner to avoid impacting the medical or veterinarian fields but since bestiality seems to be such a common activity among humans (relatively speaking - nothing like that ever happened in my family) there will no doubt be those who say:

"If human/animal sexual contact is not harmful to the animals in a professional context like dog breeding, how can the state be certain that it is harmful for my dog to mount me if he so chooses? - AH... I mean my hypothetical friend!" (And if some candle light and Berry White music influences his decision is that a crime?)

At this point the fundamentalists would chime in and say that they told us so. Without the cold hard certainty of God's unalterable word there can be no morality. Logic just does not cut it they will exclaim (you know they will!). To respond, I would ask if they ever wear clothing that is made of two different materials (which is forbidden) or if any of them have the stones to kill someone in their town for being an adulterer or if they have ever stoned one of their kids to death for disobedience.

Just because reasoning is not easy does not mean it is impossible. Maybe we as a society should enforce applicable animal cruelty laws and use old fashioned ridicule, social ostracize and voluntary psychotherapy where cruelty laws do not apply until we decide whether this is really a problem that can and should have laws crafted to deal with.

Then again, maybe certain forms of bestiality are not immoral and I am just an old fashioned fuddy duddy. Call me kooky but I can't help thinking that there are enough lonely people out there without them having to compete with four legged free-loaders.


At Wed. Aug. 10, 03:22:00 a.m. 2005, Anonymous Eric said...

Ummmmm, this gives a whole new meaning to the 5 Year Plan and the goats!

On a more serious note, I was listening to the radio this morning and caught the bit about the Washington story you mention. The guy died of a perforated bowel. Yes, he did. Think about that for a minute.

At Wed. Aug. 10, 01:26:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

Strangely, I think I would have seen that coming. (Again I think that sentence was not constructed properly.)

A person needs to know their limitations.

At Thu. Aug. 11, 12:34:00 a.m. 2005, Anonymous Eric said...

Actually, if you were in that position I don't think you would have seen it coming ............

But maybe, just maybe, you would have realized that you can't put size 5 shoes on size 10 feet, so to speak.

At Fri. Aug. 12, 12:43:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

I guess they need to expand that colloquialism about not having eyes bigger than your stomach.

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