First up, I cannot believe the numbers! This is awe-inspiring. I read the abstract three times in order to convince myself that I was not seeing things. More than the results of the study itself what intrigues me no ends is how the researchers got the participants to open up about screwing with Billy. Billy as in Billy, The Goat. Not as in Billy Ray Cyrus, the father of Miley Cyrus… but then, on second thoughts. Oh. But I digress.
So, back to the awesome study. It was basically a case control study, here is a summary of it for the textually challenged (like me):
Now, much to the credit of the researchers, they had taken a long and hard look at the manner in which the subjects had indulged in their fetish. Here are some of the aspects that they uncovered:
Now, a few of the points that strike me while reading the abstract:
- About 1 in 3 men admitted to having sex with an animal overall, and in my view that is quite a high percentage. The study was done in 16 Oncology clinics in Brazil and despite the main matter at hand, also raises the question how they got the people to open up. Bestiality is usually explicitly or implicitly an illegal act and admitting to it comes with its own package of social and cultural connotations. So, despite the interesting results, the why and the wherefores of the high rate of SWA is a striking matter.
- The main paper is not available on the site right now, in fact, the site has been unreachable for the past couple of hours, and I am wondering if the publication of this study broke the site with traffic! So, I cannot look at the data in more details than this. I was especially interested in looking at the demography of the participants and note of there was any rural-urban divide in the rates of SWA. Logically speaking, there should be, as should be a socioeconomic gulf in the rates as well.
- Some pathophysiological considerations for the slightly increased risk of penile cancers in people who have sex with animals might include:
- Microtrauma to the penile tissue during sex with animals.
- The microtrauma might be further exacerbated by the fact that there would be extensive difference in the texture of the tissues of animal mucosa with respect to the human one.
- The difference in the chemical nature and pH of the secretions of the animal mucosa might also be a contributory factor.
- Since animals are not known to practice safe sex while having sex with other non-human animals, it is likely that they harbor potentially oncogenic infectious agents, which, probably in an HPV-like manner contribute to the increased risk of penile cancer in the fetishists.
There are several other factors, like the socioeconomic bearing, unprotected sex with (human) prostitutes and group sex that might add to the burden caused by the issue of having sex with animals. However, even in multivariate analyses, the results have come out to show that sex with animals still has a significant contributory factor in causing an increased rate of penile cancer in men.
Although I would like to believe that sexual contact with animals were stopped once they started having sex with human beings, the numbers tell a different tale. And to be honest, the study size overall is pretty small. A study run for a longer time, over more centers and more rigorously controlled might provide better data. I find the 35% rate of sex with animals overall to be unbelievably high!
Anyways, the study seems methodologically valid and statistically rigorous. The research question is stupendously mind blowing. The multi-centeredness probably gives a good geographic spread to control for any local causes. And of course, the pathophysiology behind the study results, the core science, seems sound on principle.
So I guess it is time to stop having sex with animals now that the association with such a dangerous disease has been proved beyond a shade of doubt?
Zequi SD, Guimarães GC, da Fonseca FP, Ferreira U, de Matheus WE, Reis LO, Aita GA, Glina S, Fanni VS, Perez MD, Guidoni LR, Ortiz V, Nogueira L, de Almeida Rocha LC, Cuck G, da Costa WH, Moniz RR, Dantas Jr JH, Soares FA, & Lopes A (2011). Sex with Animals (SWA): Behavioral Characteristics and Possible Association with Penile Cancer. A Multicenter Study. The journal of sexual medicine PMID: 22023719