“Why are you attracted to animals?”
I get that question a lot from people. Sometimes it’s because they want to learn more about zoosexuality. More often, it’s more of a condemnation. What they’re really saying is, “Why would you be attracted to animals”. Regardless of the intention behind it, I generally try to respond to the questions that I get. For this one in particular, my answer is always something along the lines of
“It’s just always been that way for me.”
“It’s just who I am, I don’t know why.”
Recently, someone followed up with:
“But why are you like that? Were you traumatized, dropped a lot as a kid? Did you grow up on a farm with no friends?”
Obviously, there’s some negative connotations there, but the question did get me thinking. Why am I a zoo? Why do I feel the way that I do?
Common sense would dictate that there’s some validity to the idea that growing up around animals would mean that you have a stronger connection to them. And from there, I can see how the leap would go from just a connection to a sexual attraction. Especially if you’re introduced to sex through the lens of animals around you expressing their sexuality, If you’re a child who sees horse penis every day, maybe you’re just more interested in it. If you live on a breeding farm, maybe you end up wanting to be more personally involved in the process. I think there’s a chance that that could be a way someone comes into their zoosexuality. Or at the very least, it could be a way that someone could discover an interest. Except there’s a problem. I wasn’t raised around animals. I discovered my attraction to animals pretty young, but I definitely didn’t grow up around them. I grew up in the suburbs, far removed from more than a childhood friend’s pet. By the time my family did get a dog, I was old enough to start understanding my sexuality already. I was already attracted. So, while that might be the pathway for some people, it wasn’t for me. Taking out the most generous of the possible suggestions from the person who asked me, it was time to look at their other options.
How about the theory of childhood abuse or trauma? Technically there are some arguments for it. There’s a significant crossover between the zoo community and the furry community, and the furry community is popular enough that there’s actually been some research done on this exact thing. A few years ago a study was done by the organization FurScience that ended up showing there was a disproportionate rate of bullying against furries compared to the average. To quote them,
“Even after statistically controlling for the fact that furries are more likely to be non-heterosexual or transgender, both of which, themselves, are associated with a history of bullying, furries still experienced significantly more bullying than the average person, whether measured as being physically beaten up or as teasing or ostracism”
-Furscience 10.3 “On Bullying”
Perhaps due to the significant overlap between zoosexuality and furries there’s some amount of statistical comparison that we can make there? Well, maybe, but it’s really hard to say. There could be a higher level of childhood trauma in the zoo community, but I haven’t seen it personally, and the studies looking into it definitely haven’t been done. And there’s a big difference between being a furry and being a zoo. Furry is a massive community of people that all have a few things in common. I know people that make being a furry their whole lives, and others who don’t even have a fursona and do it for the parties. The zoo community on the other hand is based around a sexuality. With furries, your desire for participation is the only barrier to entry. That could mean that people that have been alienated when young are just more likely to be looking for a group to join that supports them. It’s unlikely you’d see the same thing with someone that isn’t zoo attracted trying to join zoo spaces. And, bringing it back on topic, I didn’t have those issues with my family or with early friends. My home life was relatively normal. I wasn’t beat, and I’ve got a generally healthy family relationship to this day. In fact, not to brag but I was even pretty popular in school. And to their point about whether I was dropped on my head, as far as I can tell the answer to that question is no. And even if I was, statistically that just doesn’t work out when you look at all the people that have been dropped versus all the zoos. While there are some examples of head injuries leading to a change in sexuality, the numbers just don’t work out on that being the only reason that zoos exist. So that theory was another miss.
With all of the theories posed by the questioner answered, I decided to do some of my own reflection. Perhaps it was the content that I grew up on as a kid? The shows and games that I liked? Thinking back, I was really into Animorphs, a popular book series about a group of kids with the power to transform into animals. I also liked media with anthropomorphic characters like Ratchet and Clank, or Sly Cooper. A lot of the content I consumed featured animals in some way. Is it possible that I had a fascination with animal and animal based characters to the point of fetishizing it in early development, which then led to an uncommon sexuality? Well, maybe. But, I think that everyone in their history can look back to a piece of media with animals or anthropomorphic characters that they liked. I don’t think that everyone that played Banjo Kazooie actually became a zoo, or even a furry. And I also liked a lot of things that weren’t animal focused. I loved Goosebumps. I loved The Hunger Games, and Deltora. I loved Steven King. Probably a little bit too much for my age, but I can promise you there’s no furries in his catalogue. While there are animals in all of those franchises, animals are usually seen in most media, especially when it’s aimed at kids. So it seems as though the media that I consumed was pretty normal, and probably doesn’t play any real part in why I developed the way that I did.
As a final attempt, I decided to look at some related neuroscience. Maybe if there was some specific reason that people were gay, that same logic could be applied to why I’m zoo attracted. There was a study published in 2019 by the University of Queensland, reported about in Scientific American about exactly this question. And the answer was.. That they don’t know. They used genetic data from four hundred and seventy seven thousand people, paired with the self reported rates of homosexual encounters and identity, and found that there was no statistically significant link between genetics and the likelihood of homosexuality. Zeke Stokes, a representative of GLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), spoke about the findings of this study, saying:
“(This new research) provides even more evidence that being gay or lesbian is a natural part of human life, a conclusion that has been drawn by researchers and scientists time and again. The identities of LGBTQ people are not up for debate. This new research also reconfirms the long established understanding that there is no conclusive degree to which nature or nurture influence how a gay or lesbian person behaves.”
Now, whether or not zoosexuality belongs grouped with the other letters is a highly contentious point, but I think regardless of your stance there’s clearly a link you can draw between homosexuality and zoosexuality. If there’s no specific link between brain biology and being gay, it’s really unlikely that there’s a part of your brain that just made you zoo. But, Zeke brought up a really important point. Maybe looking for an answer to why I’m zoosexual was the wrong way to do things from the start. Maybe I was right in the beginning. Maybe it is just who I am.
And so at this point I’m right back where I started. But I think that that’s okay. My take away from all of this is that I am who I am. Zoosexuality isn’t the result of any kind of trauma, nor is it from a childhood surrounded by animals. You don’t choose the zoo life, the zoo life chooses you. I’m zoosexual for the same reason that I’m someone who chose to spend a couple hours doing research to try and answer the question of someone who clearly isn’t actually looking for an answer. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks that I’m a zoo because of some other reason. It’s all just a part of being me. And it’s a part of me that I’m happy to have. If you’re a zoo and you’re reading this, I hope that you’re happy about it too.
And the next time someone in my DM’s asks me why I’m attracted to animals, I’ll tell them.
“It’s just who I am.”
Article written by Tarro (July 2022)
Find them here at https://twitter.com/hereforthezoo!