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Sex with animals: not so strange in rural Brazil

By Sarah Moses Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 19:45
Thirty-five percent of men in rural Brazil have had sex with an animal. Shocked? The topic is so taboo that very little is known about the men who’ve done the deed or the health risks associated with it. 

Until recently, that is. Having sex with an animal increases the risk of penile cancer and is linked to sexually transmitted diseases, a study of rural Brazilian men reported.

Their first sexual act with an animal took place at an average age of 13½, said 171 of the 492 interviewed men from rural Brazilian communities who admitted having done the deed. By an average age of 17, they’d abandoned animals for good – once they discovered sex with women at about age 16, most didn’t turn to the animal kingdom again for their sexual needs.


For 40 percent of the men, weekly sex with their animal(s) of choice was the norm, and the vast majority continued to go back for more for a period of more than one year. Only 14 percent were satisfied with a one-time-only sexual act. For most men, it was a solitary affair – 70 percent relieved themselves in private while the remainder partook in group sex with an animal.

Simple curiosity or a means of sexual relief during adolescence could explain why these men chose to have sex with animals, according to the researchers. Animal sex was more common in the poorer north-eastern regions of the country compared to the urban and developed south, where access to animals just wouldn’t have been as likely.

Beasts of burden

Pigs, dogs and even chickens – not just the most common beasts of burden like horses and donkeys – were used by the men for sex. Researchers hypothesised that the kind of animal men chose was a matter of the species available in a particular region.

Over 60 percent of men had sex with more than one creature and up to a max of seven different animals were used by some. The rest remained faithful to just one animal and whether they did so because of emotional attachment or poverty is a matter of speculation.

Health risks

Thirty percent of men sexually involved with an animal had cancer of the penis. Rare in developed countries, this form of cancer is more common in poorer parts of the world. Three or more years of animal sex upped the risk of getting penile cancer, though the kind of animal and the frequency of the sex didn’t affect the risk.

Secretions from an animal’s genitals could be cancer-causing when the penis comes in contact with them, the researchers say.

Sexually transmitted diseases were another possible risk of having sex with an animal. Because of these major health concerns and the fact that doing it with an animal was surprisingly common among rural Brazilian men, more scientific research on the topic is needed, the study’s authors concluded.


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