A medical doctor with expertise in sexual & reproductive health speaks on the health implications of bestiality (sexual relations between a human being and a lower animal ).
Over the weekend, stories of the new and trending business of ladies having sex with dogs made the rounds on social media.
When a viral Tik-Tok video of a light-skinned lady presumed to be having sex with a dog hit the internet over the weekend, Nigerians strongly condemned the act.
PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the video reportedly shot in Nigeria.
But, the Nigeria Police on Saturday declared the lady in the viral video wanted and said bestiality videos online wouldn't be tolerated.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, vowed that the police would apprehend the lady in the viral video.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES a medical doctor with expertise in sexual & reproductive health, Damian Avar, speaks on the medical and health implications of beastility (sexual relations between a human being and a lower animal).
PT: There have been reports of young Nigerian ladies engaging in sexual intercourse with animals for some financial remunerations. What are the implications of humans having sex with animals?
Dr Avar: With bestiality, which is having sexual intercourse with a non-human animal, in this case, dogs, it is also essential to note that some people have sex with goats, tortoises, and the like.
There are some infections we call zoonosis infections. A zoonosis infection is an infection that springs from animal to man. In this case, zoonosis infections, like rabies, Kurthia Gibsonii, and brucellosis are examples of infections that can be transmitted from an animal. For whatever reason, the animal is sexually having contact with a human.
PT: How dangerous are these zoonotic infections?
Dr Avar: The problem with zoonotic infections is that sometimes when these infections get into a human, it begins to evolve, and it becomes a problem.
If the infection evolves in an animal, it might not escalate. However, when humans get infected, it becomes a severe problem.
Over the years, we have seen instances where we dealt with human health pandemics that had to do directly or indirectly with zoonotic infection.
The challenge here is that there could be a potential raid of zoonosis infection or related matters that may cause a global health problem. But, if the practice of bestiality persists, especially in the highly congested Lagos State, we could expect another health pandemic from this part of the world.
PT: Is zoonosis only sexually transmitted?
Dr Avar: It is possible that some zoonosis is not sexually transmitted diseases from animal to man, for example, brucellosis. Brucellosis is an infection that bacteria can cause. People can get the disease when they come in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria.
Also, some tumours and cancers can arise from certain bestiality, for example, penile cancer.
PT: Sleeping with an animal attracts 14 years imprisonment in Nigeria. Medically, is bestiality a legal practice?
Dr Avar: In Nigeria today, bestiality is an illegal practice. It amounts to a 14-years jail statement if convicted.
Therefore medically speaking or going by the position of the law, bestiality is not supposed to happen at all, regardless of the financial returns. People practising it are inexcusable.
If you get a zoonotic infection that causes a global pandemic, it would also affect people's daily activities, just as we had recently. Therefore, no matter how much a person is offered, bestiality is a crime and, as such, be treated as one.
PT: What about those who naturally feel sexually attracted to animals?
Dr Avar: There is a distinction between bestiality and zoophilia. Zoophilia is the condition of having an emotional and sexual attraction of a human being to animals. It could be a dog, a goat or even a snake. That's zoophilia. But, when a person has a sexual, emotional and romantic attraction or preference for a particular animal, it could be described as Ophidiophilia, and it is not just limited to sexual interests. There is also paraphilia.
Ophidiophobia is a subcategory of zoophilia, the sexual attraction to animals in general.
People with Ophidiophilia are known as Ophidiophiles. Ophidiophilies don't always appear as sexual attraction, and some people are attracted to snakes on a platonic (non-sexual) level.
PT: Is it possible for a person to be a zoophile and not be involved in bestiality?
Dr Avar: Yes, we can see a zoophile still not engaged in bestiality. It happens when a person has an emotional attachment to an animal but does not engage in sexual activity with that animal.
Although those practising bestialities are doing it because of the financial reward, they cannot be called zoophiles.
It is essential to distinguish between bestiality and zoophilia, but also, you can't have an emotional and sexual attachment to animals and not engage in bestiality. Therefore as a zoophile, you are automatically going against the law.
However, zoophile is considered a disorder and a sexual deviant.
PT: Have there been pandemic outbreaks due to bestiality?
Dr Avar: There are several cases where bestiality has resulted in outbreaks. Recently, we heard that the issue of COVID-19. It may have been a result of zoonotic infection. As I said, the zoonotic infection does not mean primarily through sexual intercourse. It could be that you got in contact with such an animal and got infected with the disease.
The first history of AIDS is believed to be a zoonotic infection. It's possible the first person that got the disease must have picked it up from an animal.
In other cases, some people do not have a sexual relationship with an animal, but they are just exposed to the animal.
Zoonotic infections are natural, and it has been happening since time immemorial. Still, you can't pinpoint if an outbreak resulted from any sexual intercourse between one man and an animal.
PT: Is there a cure for zoonotic infections?
Dr Avar: Zoonotic infections have some medical treatments, but they must be detected and treated on time.
PT: How can zoophiles stop the act?
Dr Avar: A zoophile is a sexual deviant, and a person in such a condition must seek medical help.