A Guide to (ZOCD) Zoophilia OCD: Causes, Treatment & More

You have a preoccupation with animals. In fact, you cannot stop thinking about them, especially your pets. You cannot imagine acting on the urge to sexually interact with them, but the fact that you are even having these intrusive thoughts scares you – really scares you. What is wrong with you? Why are you having these disturbing thoughts?

Are you really that sick as to have sexual thoughts about animals? It is like you are obsessed with animals and the only way to stop these thoughts and urges is to perform certain compulsions (rituals or routines). What do you do to block out the extraneous noise in your mind? You count, organize, check and re-check things, repeat mantras or phrases, clean, avoid places (i.e., like the zoo or pet stores), etc. It feels like an endless battle.

But, does it have to be? No.

If you are continually having upsetting sexual thoughts or any thoughts about animals (i.e., spending long amounts of time with them, obsessing over them, excessively worrying about them, etc.), but have no intention of acting upon these feelings, there is a possibility that you are suffering from zoophilia OCD (ZOCD).

If you would like to learn more about zoophilia OCD (ZOCD), you have come to the right place. This article can help you determine if you are suffering from ZOCD, so you can seek the proper OCD help for it.

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What is Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD)?

Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) is considered a “paraphilia” that usually involves a “sexual fixation” on animals. Although the terms, “zoophilia OCD” and “bestiality” are often used interchangeably, most researchers agree that they are different sides of a coin.

More specifically, “zoophilia OCD or ZOCD, involves a sexual obsession with animals, while bestiality involves acting on the urges to have sex or engage in sexual acts with animals. Most people with ZOCD would never have sex or engage in sexual activities with animals – even if they experience constant thoughts about doing so.

“Zoophilia OCD” is sometimes mistakenly referred to as “sexual activity between a person and an animal,” when the correct term for this type of activity is called “bestiality.” People, who engage in bestiality, tend to be more sexually attracted to animals, than people.

Note: Most studies lump bestiality (having sex with animals) with zoophilia OCD (urges, thoughts, worries, mental images to have sex with animals) – although they are the different behaviors/conditions.

Is Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) a Real Condition?

Yes, zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) is a real condition.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classifies “zoophilia OCD” as an “other specified paraphilic disorder.” However, the DSM-5 also states that ZOCD is only considered a “diagnosable disorder when it is accompanied by distress or interference with normal functioning.” The main component of ZOCD is a persistent worry that you may be attracted to animals.

Is Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) a Sexual Obsession?

Yes, it is considered a “type” of sexual obsession.

If you break down the word, zoophilia, you get = “zoo” + “philia” (paraphilia). Zoo refers to animals, and philia or paraphilia and OCD refer to sexual obsessions and compulsions. Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) is a type of sexual obsession that involves reoccurring and intense sexual thoughts and worries about animals. Zoophilia OCD does not distinguish between the age, gender, or breed of the animal.

How Common is Zoophilia OCD?

OCD occurs in nearly 2% of the general population.

According to the Kinsey reports, approximately 8% of males and 5% of females have had at least one sexual thought involving an animal. And, approximately 45% of rural males and females have had at least one sexual thought about an animal. This percentage is even higher amongst educated people. Keep in mind, however, that these percentages have been disputed by some researchers and experts.

Studies also suggest that people suffering from psychosis have a 55% prevalence rate of sexual thought about animals. According to researchers, approximately 5% of males have sexual thoughts involving animals. Similarly, a 2015 study found that approximately 3% of females and 2% of males have had sexual thoughts involving at least one animal.

What Causes Zoophilia OCD?

The exact cause(s) of OCD or zoophilia OCD vary. However, this form of OCD may stem from childhood sexual exploration, chronic emotional and/or sexual abuse, an unusual or excessive preoccupation or fascination with animals, an intense interest in animal mating habits, a fear of animals, and/or stifled or limited opportunities to express one’s sexual preferences.

Substance abuse and a personal or family history of mental illness can also predispose a person to zoophilia (OCD). However, as prefaced above, the jury is still out on a definitive cause of zoophilia OCD.

Note: Most people with ZOCD do not seek OCD treatment out of feelings of shame and guilt. As a result, this type of OCD often goes under or unreported.

How is Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) Diagnosed?

Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) is usually diagnosed using the following methods, tools, and/or techniques:

  • Psychological evaluation and/or psychiatric assessment
  • The onset of signs and symptoms
  • The effects of zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) on your life, health, and well-being
  • DSM-5 criteria for ZOCD or OCD
  • Personal history of ZOCD, OCD, and/or another mental health condition
  • Hypnotherapy and hypnosis
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Previous treatments (success and failures)

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Facts About Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD)

  • Most people, who suffer from ZOCD, have at one point in their lives, had a long-term romantic relationship with a flesh-and-blood person, while also having sexual thoughts, urges, and/or worries with animals. Dogs and/or horses are usually the target of intrusive, sexual thoughts.
  • Most people, who suffer from ZOCD, genuinely care for the animals and worry about their safety.
  • The consensus is that zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) involves unwelcomed and involuntary sexual thoughts, worries, fears, and urges about animals.
  • Most of the general population is grossly misinformed about zoophilia OCD- i.e., origin, causes, signs and symptoms, stereotypes, description, and implications.

What is Bestiality?

Researchers tend to differentiate between “zoophilia” and “bestiality” by describing “zoophilia OCD (ZOCD)” as a preoccupation with, fixation on, or an obsession with animals. This form of OCD usually has a sexual component, although it is not always the case. Most times ZOCD involves intrusive thoughts or worries centered on doing things with animals – i.e., having sex with them, patting them, cuddling with them, and/or harming or killing them.

Bestiality tends to refer to the actual act of having sex with animals. So, in essence, “bestialists” are people, who rape or abuse animals, while people with “zoophilia OCD,” are fixated on or worried about being attracted to or doing something sexual with animals.

According to studies, the term, “zoophilia OCD (ZOCD)” may also involve excessive worry or concern about an animal’s health and well-being, which is the opposite of bestiality, which tends to be more self-centered (i.e., the person’s own happiness and/or sexual gratification). Although, some critics believe that ZOCD and bestiality are one-in-the-same, with “bestialists” using the term, “zoophilia OCD (ZOCD)” to mask a sexual attraction to animals.

Is Watching Bestiality Porn a Form of ZOCD?

Yes, it can be…

It is important to reiterate that bestiality involves having a physical connection with an animal, while those suffering from ZOCD, know that they would never want a intimate connection with an animal, but are plagued with worries that they might. In some cases of Zoophilia OCD, watching beastiality porn is used as a compulsion, to check if the sufferer is attracted to the idea of engaging in sexual activity with animals..

Conversely, people with true bestiality are more interested in the physical aspect of having sex with animals. These individuals find it exciting, sexually arousing, and sexually satisfying to perform intimate acts (i.e., sex or sexual activities) with non-human beings.

Note: Some studies suggest that one-on-one sexual interactions with animals are not required to engage in bestiality. In fact, some researchers believe that watching bestiality porn – with or without masturbation can trigger or worsen zoophilia OCD (ZOCD). In some cases, all that is needed to spark ZOCD is an awareness of an animal – i.e., animal art on the wall, the sound of a dog barking, porn that features animals, a pet, a dog bed or bowl, a horse stable, dog toys, animal equipment, etc.

Even watching Scooby Doo (Scooby Doo), Odie (Garfield), Blue (Blue’s Clues), Snoopy (Peanuts), and/or Clifford (The Big Red Dog) can activate the intrusive thoughts, urges, mental images, negative emotions, impulses, etc., causing you to believe that you must do something (ritual or routine) to reduce or eliminate your stress and angst (i.e., avoiding animals, rehoming your pets, rarely leaving the house for fear of being sexually aroused by the sight of them).

What Is It Like to Live with Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD)?

Truth be told it can be quite frightening to live with zoophilia OCD (ZOCD), primarily because the sexual thoughts, urges, feelings, mental images, etc., are unwanted and uncontrollable. In other words, no matter what a zoophile does to try to stop them, they return in an OCD cyclic form.

Similar to general OCD, ZOCD involves non-stop obsessions (sexual thoughts, urges, images, worries, doubts, and/or uncertainty involving animals) and compulsions (avoidance and/or reassurance from others). ZOCD can cause a host of problems in your life, such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, mood swings, emotional withdrawal from loved ones and friends, anger and aggression, social isolation, self-blame, suicidal ideation, headaches, etc.

Thus, it is imperative that you seek OCD help for your ZOCD symptoms. Getting the proper treatment for your OCD symptoms is the only way you will ever be free from your animal obsession.

Case Study

Listed below is a real example of what it is like to live with ZOCD:

James

“I recently started having intrusive thoughts about children and I have been trying to get over it. Specifically, I have been trying my best to ignore them and to be a better person. It has helped me feel a little better. When I ignore or distract myself from the upsetting thoughts, I feel less anxious.

But now I have been having other scary thoughts – sexual thoughts involving my dog, Grover. I can help but wonder, “What if I am attracted to my dog?” The thought of being sexually attracted to Grover is terrifying to me. I am scared because that is how my pedophilia OCD thoughts about children began.

This caused me to start thinking about how I always let Grover lick my hand and face. Then, I started to remember the time I was masturbating in bed, while Grover was asleep across from me. I remember thinking at the time, “What if I let Grover lick me while I self-pleasure?” The thought of it grossed me out so I was like no! I could not imagine letting my dog lick me while masturbating.

I would never do that because it is morally wrong. So, I just try to ignore the thoughts and urges and go on with my life. I tried to watch bestiality porn and zoo porn a couple of times to see how it made me feel, but I could not watch them because the images made me feel sick to my stomach.

But at the same time, the images made me feel something in my groin, which only made me feel even worse! And, now I am afraid that I am just overthinking things. Truthfully, though, I do not want to hurt Grover or do anything to sexually him. I could never do that. I am just scared that I am a truly evil and despicable person. Help! I hate my life!”

How is Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) Typically Treated?

Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) pretty much follows conventional OCD treatmentsacceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and exposure-response prevention (ERP) therapy, along with lifestyle changes (i.e., exercise, healthy foods, proper sleep, etc.,), alternative treatments (i.e., natural remedies, herbal supplements, hypnosis, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, yoga, etc.), and self-help tools (i.e., deep breathing exercises and online OCD programs like Impulse Therapy).

Impulse Therapy is especially beneficial if you suffer from ZOCD because it provides you with some much-needed support as you address your “fixation” on animals. It also offers you invaluable expert OCD articles, an “unofficial” OCD assessment, OCD therapies, etc. Online OCD programs can help you determine the root cause of your ZOCD so you can stop it and return to a healthy life that does not involve having sexual thoughts about animals.

Note: Remember, the urges to engage in sexual activities with animals are neither welcomed nor voluntary. In other words, people with ZOCD do not want to have these upsetting thoughts, worries, fears, doubts, mental images, and/or urges about animals.

People with this form of OCD simply cannot control it. And, because these thoughts, urges, and images feel “normal” to them, many do not seek treatment for it. Many do, however, recognize that they have a problem, but choose to accept it as one of their OCD symptoms.

ZOCD typically involves the following OCD assessments and treatments:

  • Labs, psychological or psychiatric assessments, and/or physical evaluations (to rule out other health conditions and ailments)
  • Prescription medications (SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants)
  • OCD therapies (CBT, ACT, and/or ERP therapy)

What Happens If Zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, zoophilia OCD (ZOCD) can complicate your life. More specifically, it can interfere with your ability to develop a romantic relationship with your real-life partner. If all you can do is think or worry about being attracted to, having sex with, or doing something sexual with your pet or a random animal, it is impossible to fully engage with your partner on an intimate level. Your mind is elsewhere. Also, worrying and thinking about animals in unnatural ways can increase your stress, anxiety, depression, and/or OCD symptoms.

ZOCD can also cause you to question who you are as a human being, making you to think that something terrible is wrong with or broken in you. Your fears, urges, thoughts, doubt, worries, shame, and doubt can also cause you to emotionally and physically withdraw from your family, inner friend circle, and society, as a whole. This type of OCD involves stress, which can, in turn, trigger suicidal ideation (suicidal thoughts and attempts).

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Author

DR. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham has a B.A. in English, an M.M.F.T in Marriage and Family Therapy (Psychology), and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She is currently a medical, health & wellness contributor, copywriter, and psychological consultant

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