OK, try again - Grin with cat attached — LiveJournal
Previous Entry Next Entry
OK, try again Nov. 15th, 2002 02:33 pm
Apaprently my (alleged) command of the english language is confusing everyone, but I still want to hear opinions on the question I intended to ask.

So if I may rephrase the question I asked earlier:

If two inteligent beings of similar physical and/or mental form but of different races (alien, magical, whatever) engage in inter-species sex with each other, would this be counted as bestiality (or similar)? Why/why not?

For example, take Farscape. John Crichton and Aeryn Sun evidenlty engage in a little recreational frelling, but, despite appearances, they are not of the same species (or if they are, let's assume they're not). No one seems to have a problem with that. And if Crichton were to indulge in the same with Chiana, that'd probably seem reasonable. So just how different would the two species have to get for this to be considered bestial? Reptilian? Quadrapeds? Star-Trek style cavewomen?

It's fairly obvious we weren't supposed to be getting frubbly at the image of Rygel's escapades, for example.

Or is it relevant if both races are sentient?

This is intended as a thought exercise. Yes, there may be some novel relevance here.

From: djm4
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 07:01 am (Link)
For me, it's got nothing to do with the appearance of the parties involved, but whether or not they all have roughly the same level of sentience [1]. It does depend a little on how one is defining bestiality, though (although this seems in most cases to boil down to whether one defines 'animal' as 'non-human' or 'non-sentient-creature').

[1] Yes, I know I haven't defined sentience. I can't, basically, but I sort of know it when I see it most of the time.

From: adjectivemarcus
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 07:52 am (Link)
I quite agree, and I'd add sentience is what beasts don't have.
From: mrph
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 07:15 am (Link)
Hmm, I'm sure there'd (at least initially) be some religious/cultural opposition on one or both both sides - in an SF context, I could see it being the last hurrah for earth's God Squad. They might someday back down over gay vicars, bdsm and all that, but surely god didn't intend us to shag martians? The, ah, equipment would be more compatible if that were the case...

Bestiality, as I understand it, is a handy label for an activity that takes advantage of poor dumb animals for one's own selfish gratification. Or at least that's one of the main arguments that's used - they can't consent, so it's abuse. If the being involved is sentient and the activity is consensual, the idea might still upset a few people but otherwise it's purely up to the individuals involved, IMHO. It would certainly be hard to come up with a legal/rational argument against it in a society that otherwise leaves sex and drug use to the individual's discretion...

[For another SF show example, Babylon 5's G'kar seemed quite fond of the occasional dalliance with humans...]
From: zotz
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 07:30 am (Link)
Or at least that's one of the main arguments that's used - they can't consent, so it's abuse.

I'm not sure that's really true. In the case where the other partner is actually eager, it would still be counted as bestiality. If it were just a consent issue, then it would be regarded just the same way as (statutory) rape. I don't think it is. The existence of a separate word and crime tends to support this. Indeed, bestiality has been punished very harshly by societies which haven't really had much concept of consent - rape being regarded as more a crime against property.
From: dryad_wombat
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 01:12 pm (Link)
it were just a consent issue, then it would be regarded just the same way as (statutory) rape.

Except that in legal arguments, the whole point of statutory rape (and incidentally of the BDSM-is-illegal arguments) is that "someone younger than 21 or 18 is incapable of thinking, rational consent" - similar to how the various BDSM court cases outright ruled in Britain AND America that by definition anyone who did consent to being beaten was so unhinged that they automatically are revealed to be incapable of giving rational consent at all.

(I thank Pat Califia in particular for unearthing and presenting those rather astonishing legal arguments.)
From: robinbloke
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 07:41 am (Link)
You're applying our simple real world definitions wherein it is (generally, at least by law) accepted that mankind is the only intelligent species on the planet and every other living/crawling/etc thing comes under the classification 'animal'.
Therefore even if someone gets real friendly in ways that are probbably best not discussed here with a chimpanzee (our biologically/DNA-proven closest living relatives of the species tree) it's counted as bestiality, since for our world here and now, everything that isn't a human = a beast = beastilaty. Simple.
In the wierd and wonderful worlds of sci-fi/imagination/etc there isn't this clear cut stance, you get talking dogs, piano playing llamas, cat people and a whole lot more. These would (I'd think) fall into the category of a different race, since our simple world definitions fail here, so if Kirk is getting awful friendly with that furry blue eared fuzzball alien from planet humpalot it's inter-racial/species, not beastiality. At least thats what he should probably claim at his court-martial.
From: zotz
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 09:10 am (Link)
Who were you replying to there?
From: robinbloke
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 05:11 pm (Link)
Erm, possibly myself I think; I got distracted halfway through and sort of rambled of somewhere, um, maybe...
From: ellbie
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 08:11 am (Link)
I think it depends on the two species' view of each other. For example, if both species were sentient, but one considered the other to be inferior and bestial, then that participant would be committing bestiality in his own mind, which is probably where it counts anyway. But if they both consider each other equal, then it would just be sex.

I think it would also depend on whether they could communicate properly or not. We assume that dolphins aren't really sentient because we can't have a chat with them. (This does not, of course, prove that dolphins don't regularly chat with each other. Or that they don't just think we have nothing particularly interesting to say.) This is what makes intimate behaviour with a dolphin bestiality.
From: feanelwa
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 09:38 am (Link)
I agree with her ^ although the "communicating properly" bit places a large part of the 19th century and many mining towns into a whole other category also. :)
From: please_sir
Date: November 15th, 2002 - 01:33 pm (Link)
Yeah, er, what ey said ;)

Bloody good points, right there.

From: surje
Date: November 16th, 2002 - 12:10 am (Link)
oh yeah, i'm sure that disease must come into that somewhere. I guess you could remove that from the equation by enforcing the use of protection somehow (but it would have to be more like latex underpants I would have thought!). You don't want to start catching diseases from animals. Or allowing an evolutionary path for an animal virus to cross over species. Eek.