Illustration by Cei Willis
It hasn't been long since the Copenhagen Zoo pissed off the entire internet by turning a young, healthy giraffe named Marius into lion food. But last week, they were at it again, killing four lions to make room for a new male lion.
The zoo’s enthusiasm for culling healthy animals underscores Denmark's unique approach to animal rights. For example,a it’s illegal to buy a pit bull in the country but completely legal to have sex with a dog, or any other animal, as long as you aren't torturing it. There have been multiple attempts to criminalize zoophilia, but nothing has been done yet—presumably because none of the major political parties seem to think that having sex with animals is that big of a deal.
A number of animal rights groups don’t share the Danish political class’s breezy apathy and have warned that Denmark is becoming a prime destination for animal sex tourism. The thing is, there’s not a lot of evidence to support the activists’ claims—only some websites set up by various Danes demanding that lawmakers clamp down on zoophiles and "beasts" (as proponents of bestiality are called by people who know about that sort of thing).
To find out more, I logged onto Beast Forum, a popular zoophilia message board and apparently a great place to go if you want to borrow a dog from a stranger for an evening of consensual lovemaking. On the boards I met a 29-year-old I'll call “Michael” and spoke to him about his country’s attitude toward having sex with animals.
A mare in a field. Michael has "caressed" one of these before, but not had sex with one yet. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
VICE: How did you realize that sex with animals turned you on?
Michael: It started when I was 14 or 15 years old. I grew up in the countryside, so I'd often seen animals mating, and that made me curious.
When did you first act on that curiosity?
A couple of years ago. I'd talked about animal sex with a female friend, and she got curious about it. She had her own dog, and one day she let the dog take her. She told me about it the next day, and we went to her place, and I got to watch. Later, I got to try it myself. The dog looked interested in me, so I let it take me.
What is it about animals that turns you on?
It's difficult to explain. They're more honest and, well, more animal-like. If a dog likes you, there's no doubt about it. Contrary to what people think, an animal can easily say no if it doesn't want to have sex with you. I guess some animals are just beautiful and lovely to be with.
Which species turn you on in particular?
Mostly dogs. Horses a bit as well. An, with dogs, specifically collies, labradors, and German shepherds. They're beautiful dogs. Most of my experiences have been with dogs, but I also caressed a mare once.
How often do you have sex with animals?
Probably two or three times a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I own a wonderful big male dog with my wife. But it varies.
Does your wife know that you have sex with the dog?
What does she make of that then?
Well, after she learned more about it, she became interested in it herself.
Does your wife have sex with the dog?
Once in while, yes.
Are there feelings involved, or is it just sex?
Well, within the culture, we differentiate zoos [zoophiles] and beasts. Zoos love their animals—not in the same way I love my wife, but love nonetheless. Beasts force themselves on the animal; they're the ones giving animal sex a bad name. I am a zoo. Probably 95 percent of the people who have sex with animals do it for more than just the sex.
So how exactly do you go about having intercourse with your dog? He's male, right?
He started it himself when he was younger. I was getting a DVD from the machine, and that was all he needed. That's when he took me the first time. He's since learned when it's OK and when it's not, judging by my and my wife's body language. The sex is like this: I'm naked and on all fours. If he wants to go, he'll jump up and take me. If not, he'll go get a toy, I'll put my clothes back on, and we'll go into the garden and play normally with each other.
Is there much danger of contracting STDs when you're regularly having sex with animals?
Yes. That's one of the reasons that I don't lend my dog out to other people. Also, it would feel wrong—he's part of the family. But the sex that my wife and I have with him is unprotected. There's a lot of stuff in condoms that's unhealthy for the dog, so you need to be really careful.
Is it hard to hide your sexual preferences during your daily life?
Not at all. It's easy to hide. If we have guests over who don't know I'm a zoo, all they see is a guy who loves animals. But I'm very open about it. Most of my friends know about it. It's actually pretty common; I bet you know some zoos without realizing it.
Animal-rights groups have been saying that Denmark is becoming a destination for animal sex tourism. Have you seen anything that would support that allegation?
No, far from it. The community does not approve of animal sex tourism. If people come to Denmark with the sole purpose of having sex with animals, they'll be sorely disappointed.
What about animal brothels? There's been plenty of media hype about them in Denmark.
In my 11 years in the animal sex community, I have never seen one—or even heard of one. If one opened, you can bet yourself that most zoos would be against it. Animals need to have the chance to say no to sex. I can't tell you that they don't exist—there are about six million people in this country, so you could probably find someone doing it, but you're going to have to look for a long time.
If animal brothels don't exist, how does one go about finding an animal to have sex with?
Well, I waited for eight years. Maybe you're lucky and find somebody with a dog that wants to have sex with strangers. Otherwise, you can buy your own—though you shouldn't buy a dog just so you can have sex with it. Or you can start with animal dildos. I started with a couple of dog dildos before my first real experience.
The law in Denmark allows animal sex, as long as the animal doesn't suffer from it. What's your view on that?
I think the law is perfect the way it is. If animal sex is made illegal, it's only people like me—who love their dogs—who are going to get punished. People who abuse their animals aren't going to stop. But people like me could have our lives ruined. And if you're doubtful that animals enjoy sex with humans, you haven't seen it in real life. There is no doubt in my mind that my dog looks forward to having sex with me and enjoys it every single time.