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And now for something completely different... - Grin with cat attached
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And now for something completely different... Nov. 15th, 2002 08:46 am
Is inter-species sex between two similar intelligent races bestiality?
If not, how different (in any way) do the species have to be before it is?

(I strongly suggest you not speculate on why I'm asking this. Mainly 'cos I don't know either).

From: meirion
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 12:52 am (Link)
i wouldn't have *thought* so, otherwise all the science fiction plots involving sex between humans and aliens would be, too. as to how different (in intelligence, i presume ?) i would have thought there could be a greater difference when the initiation was on the part of the less intelligent than when it was on the part of the more intelligent. if that makes sense at all.

-m-
From: wechsler
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 12:56 am (Link)
Different in intelligence, or body form... think I'll update the post there. But you're thinking along similar lines to me I think ;)
From: zotz
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 01:20 am (Link)
i wouldn't have *thought* so, otherwise all the science fiction plots involving sex between humans and aliens would be, too.

What makes you assume they're not? Goddamn perversion, all of it.

Not that I would advocate reading Larry Niven as a general rule, but the whole rishathra thing is an interesting concept. Not bestiality, according to him, as lomg as it's with another hominid.
From: booklectic
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 12:58 am (Link)
I assume that bestiality involves one of the participants being a beast - i.e. not capable of self-awareness, free will etc. So I would say that sex between two intelligent beings of whatever species is not bestiality.

Of course, there are those who argue that dolphins, for example, are self-aware enough to have sex with, but that way madness lies. (Actually, this way: http://www.dolphinsex.org.)
From: please_sir
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 01:52 am (Link)
You think that most animals aren't capable of free will? I strongly disagree. They may have completely different priorities, some even have an inability to plan very far ahead, but that doesn't mean that they don't have free will. The exception, possibly, are swarming animals, mostly insects, who seem to behave like part of a whole rather than a completely seperate entity.

The thing people often say is "oh, animals act on instinct" What, and we don't? Gimme a break. We have a lot of our basic, instinctive needs sorted out so we can fulfil them easily (food, shelter, etc) so we have a lot of time to do what we like really. Same with a domestic animal- they'll spend their time playing, sitting around.. they'll seek out company when they want it (when they are in a position to) and be alone when they don't. They dont just stay still waiting for the next scenario where their instinct will kick in.

As for not being aware enough to have sex with- they have sex with each other don't they? They are not innocents that need to be protected. To me, the measure of wether beastiality is acceptable is: is the animal capable of showing unhappiness with the situation or not? I'd say most mammals that are anywhere near the size you could have sex with are. If they aren't showing that they mind, I dont see the harm in it.

sex with animals

From: booklectic
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 03:01 am (Link)
Some of us once had a huge and fascinating debate on this subject, on a now defunct message board. Do you mind if I flag up this thread on my journal in memory of it?

I don't really have any firm views on the subject of animals and free will, I just don't know enough about it.

Re: sex with animals

From: wechsler
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 03:06 am (Link)
Dunno whether you're asking please_sir or me, but I'm happy; it's a public post.

Re: sex with animals

From: dennyd
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 04:40 am (Link)

Re: sex with animals

From: please_sir
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 08:40 am (Link)
Sure.
From: lovingboth
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 04:22 am (Link)
It's a question of informed consent for me. And there are very few animals I think could even approach that.

The example someone gave when this came up was of a cat that, as a reflex action, would go all limp and uncomplaining if picked up in the right way. You could probably fuck it in that state, and it wouldn't actively resist, but it's not exactly consent, is it?

Mind you, I'm the one who once didn't stop a dog that started licking my penis because it was a dog. I stopped it because it was crap at oral sex...

Consent

From: dennyd
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 04:44 am (Link)
People tend to argue in these threads that by not savaging you, an animal is giving consent... but that's implicit consent, and in my mind that's not good enough.

I personally require unambiguous explicit consent before I fuck anyone, so it's fairly easy to extend that to 'anything'. Consent requires communication, in my mind...

Re: Consent

From: zotz
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 06:15 am (Link)
I don't see what the consent issue has to do with this. The question isn't "Is it wrong" or "Is bestiality necessarily wrong", but "Is this bestiality?"

If the species issue isn't relevant then there's no separate concept of bestiality, only potentially nonconsensual sex.

Re: Consent

From: booklectic
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 06:20 am (Link)
I think I accidentally hijacked the thread to talk about the ethics of bestiality... sorry.

Re: Consent

From: zotz
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 06:30 am (Link)
I've no problem with that - it's even relevant. It just looked like the two issues were getting confused slightly.

Re: Consent

From: please_sir
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 10:22 am (Link)
I think thats actually quite unusual. Most people have, at times, had sex with other people without a "will you have sex with me?" "yes" conversation. Often things just develop, and it seems obvious that if either party didn't want to go any further, all they'd have to say is "I dont want to do this." I think its only when you start getting into consentual use of force or restraint that such things need to be discussed beforehand.

I've never felt the need for explicit consent in regard to vanilla sex. I have had situations where sex has been agreed on before it happens, but I wouldn't say its necessary. I guess it does happen that people get the wrong idea and start to touch someone in a way the other person doesn't like, but it seems to me that the amount of touching that can actually heppen before the other person says "no" is so minimal as to be insignificant. If someone touched me in a way I didn't want, it would only be a problem for me if they did it _knowing_ the I didn't want it, or fail to stop immediately when I told them.

Re:

From: please_sir
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 08:38 am (Link)
I dont know what cats you've been hanging out with, but mine would claw your eyes out if you picked it up. I dread to think what would happen to anyone who tried to molest it. An animal cant give informed consent about anything, in the way you mean it, but we still interact with them. And if you hurt them, or make them uncomfortable, you get to know about it. Unless of course the animal has learned to submit to abuse because protesting doesn't do any good.

There are undoubtedly docile animals that will let you do pretty much anything to them (same as with people!) Some of them are just naturally easy-going, and some of them are that way because they've been "tamed" in ways that are, in my eyes, wrong. Like the way most horses are broken, for example. But under those circumstances, I cant see that using the animal for sex is any worse than using it to ride around on, or whatever. Its only humans, as far as I can tell, that put such emphasis on sex and would feel that sexual use was worse somehow from general use.

From: feanelwa
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 09:53 am (Link)
There's one kind of cat (i seem to remember it having been called a "ragdoll cat") that does go completely limp when you pick it up, like a rag doll, hence the name. One of mine is some fraction ragdoll genetically, and he just sits there and drools until you put him down. It's a bred-in trait, came about in the early 20th century apparently.

Re:

From: please_sir
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 10:10 am (Link)
Yeah, I've heard of that. Seems highly messed-up to me, selectively breeding animals to be defenceless. I'd put such animals in the same category as "broken" horses- animals that have been messed with by humans until they aren't capable of looking out for their own interests. I'd personally be unwilling to make use of such an animal in any way.

Its just a matter of common sense really- take the time to get to know the animal and its background. Then you'll almost certainly know if ey have any issues that would mean you need to be particularly careful if you want to avoid doing anything thats not consentual. Not too different from humans, really.

Somewhat on a tangent to the original question but...

From: nisaba
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 04:40 pm (Link)
Ragdoll cats weren't deliberately bred that way. Granted they are now (as with any breed of any domestic cat), but the exact origins are very hazy. There's no reason not to assume it's just a strengthening of what was already a natural trait in those cats.

And they certainly are capable of looking after their own interests. A ragdoll who's been badly socialised won't just let you pick it up. Socialisation is the key, not breeding.

Re: Somewhat on a tangent to the original question but...

From: please_sir
Date: November 16th, 2002 - 12:40 am (Link)
I see a big difference between a natural tendancy and the extremes that are achieved through selective breeding (like you say, with any suposedly desirable trait in any animal)

I'm glad to hear that a ragdoll cat could still defend emself if ey really wanted to, though.
From: dennyd
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 05:00 am (Link)
You intrigued me into looking up the definition of 'beast', as I was hoping it would mention the ability to communicate and tie in with my other post. It didn't, of course, but this amused me:

beast   noun   (Etymology: Middle English beste, from Old French, from Latin bestia)
...
3 : something formidably difficult to control or deal with

That covers most of the women I've slept with  *grin*

(http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=beast)
From: please_sir
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 01:36 am (Link)
It depends if you're talking about species that actually exist on our planet or if its theoretical. The closest similar, intelligent type of animal we have at tghe moment would be some type of ape, and yeah, I'd say thats beastiality. If it was some sort of human-like alien, then probably not.

Good question.

From: adjectivemarcus
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 05:07 am (Link)
Um, I seem to recall reading that the (bad) people of the past described mixed-race sex in those terms. *shudder* It depends on what you define as 'beasts' - their definition was starkly different from on you or I would use, I hope.

I would say that the 'similar intelligent' clause is the key. How different? Not being 'similar intelligent'. I don't think it would have anything to do with physical form - if an alien was non-humanoid, amorphous but had an intelligence similar enough to ours to allow us to share concepts such as 'informed consent' then I wouldn't consider it bestiality, just xenomorphic sex.

To clarify...

From: wechsler
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 06:30 am (Link)
that's intelligent races that are similar to each other, not (neccessarily) races that have a similar level of intelligence. Which would be 'similarly intelligent', unless my grammar's really taken a hike today.

Re: To clarify...

From: valkyriekaren
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 06:45 am (Link)
if you're talking alien species, there's no reason why they'd even be capable of having sex, regardless of consent issues (see that episode of Babylon 5 with Ivanova having to 'seal the deal' with an alien ambassador).

Re: To clarify...

From: wechsler
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 07:06 am (Link)
That's never stopped a writer yet, but I'll admit the "assumptions of universal compatability" tend to amuse me.

Re: To clarify...

From: zotz
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 09:03 am (Link)
TV SF usually has very humanoid aliens both for budgetary reasons and to make them more obviously relatable-to. A more plausible case would be Kirk trying to get it on with the Horta.
From: blackfyr
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 11:17 am (Link)
The best way of phrasing it that I've heard of is that it's not bestiality if your partner understand that you're using language when you're thanking it for a wonderful time.
From: surje
Date: November 16th, 2002 - 12:03 am (Link)
I would say it depends whether it's technically possible to generate offspring. The only grey area I can think of is the thing that's like a cross between a horse and a mule, (is that a donkey?) or is it the other way round. Anyway, so maybe the definition should be that it's possible to generate non-degenerate offspring that are also capable of generating non-degenerate offspring.

Then I suppose you get the scenario: what happens if 8 aliens of different species crash land on a planet together. Will incest cause higher mutation rates than non-incest? I guess in that situation, the only way to find out is to try (and to keep track of who is the parent of who).