The sexual attraction between humans and animals, that involves stimulation from contact, both physically and mentally.
[from the Greek words 'zoon' referring to animals and 'philia' meaning love or friendship of.]
The common term 'bestiality' (misspelled mostly as beastiality) is about the sexual attraction and interaction with animals, which are actually two different things.
Zoophilia refers to the attraction of animals, in a more meaningful manner, not always sexual.
Zoosexual Activity is more about the actual sexual involvement, rather than just the one term for both meanings.
In Most Countries, the action of being sexually involved with an animal is generally considered Illegal, and carries penalties. It is also looked down upon by most societies, though there are proponents of it, that claim that sexual relations with animals, is a natural extension, and acceptable, providing there is no harm done to the animal.
Most disagree in that an animal cannot give knowing consent, and in many cases, they consider such action to be akin to Child Abuse.
'Zoophilia' was first introduced in 1866, by Krafft-Ebing. Current debate rages regarding whether zoosexuality is an aberration or part of one's sexual orientation.
It has also been associated with the common term of 'sodomy' which in essence is about engaging in sex of a non procreative manner. This was generally used to refer to Homosexuality, but did, and does, include the sexual relations between humans and animals.
Various studies indicate that there are significant numbers of people who could be classed as Zoophiles. The numbers range from a few percentage, to upwards of 40 per cent.
In Ancient times, bestiality seems to have existed in most of the cultures. In some it was frowned upon, while others extolled it. Zeus (in Greek Mythology) is believed to have seduced Europa in the form of a bull, while there is the story of the Minotaur, the product of the union between Queen Pasiphae and a white bull.
Other historical references include the popular myth, Beauty and The Beast, Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream, or the classic movie King Kong.
History (Legend): In the Kinsey report, it was stated that those living in rural areas were more likely to have engaged in Zoophilia more often, than those in urban areas, due to the increased presence of both animals and seclusion.
In the connotation of 'bestiality' it is the act of sexual involvement with an animal. What this contains is not clear in most circles, or if certain 'sexual actions' even occur. Kissing, fondling, masturbation, and frottage can be considered 'bestiality' or NOT.
The actual practice, on a sexual term/basis, is where a person engages in sexual acts with an animal.
It is not to be considered a part of Pet Play or Costume Play, as this is where a human assumes an animal's role. Zoophiles are about the actual animal, whether in sexual terms or non sexual.
In sexual terms, this can simply involve a person achieving sexual gratification imaging the feelings of having some form of sexual contact with an animal, but not actually having them.
Generally this is simple masturbation, while imagining, fantasizing, about an animal.
The more aberrant behavior is where there is actual sexual contact between both the human and the animal.
Practice (Associated Acts): There is an actual community of Zoophiles, whose numbers are not known. These are mostly those who cover the less sexual nature of the term, but while most of the older sites, boards, that related to this 'community' are no longer accessible, there are some still available, though mostly run by pornographers.
Kinsey reported that many associate more with animals, due to the perception that the animal is more trusting, more willing to love unconditionally. They also tend to assign qualities to animals, that many associate only with humans.
Noteworthy: Hungary, that has no legal restrictions on bestiality, has a substantial industrial sub culture, devoted to the production of pornographic materials, depicting sexual acts between humans and animals.
Some of the animals have actual 'stardom' in the culture, such as Hector, a Great Dane dog.
The legality of such sites is in question, though currently are considered obscene in the United States, and new laws pending in the United Kingdom would make owning material of such depictions illegal.
There are associated health risks as well, and sex with animals is considered to be a HIGH RISK.
A deep emotional attachment to an animal, and deep feeling for them, can be classed as being a Zoophiles, which in today's common terms would be called simply, an animal lover. It DOES NOT imply any sexual desire on the part of the human, but merely details a large emotional connection for the animal.