For as long as man has domesticated animals, he’s also been having sex with them. In fact, in Ancient Rome bestiality was so openly practiced it was actually considered quite normal. Today, bestiality is no less popular, but those who enjoy sexual relations with animals are forced to conduct their activities discretely. Recently, one self-professed zoophile shared his story in an exclusive interview with New York Magazine and gave all a glimpse into this taboo world.

Most in the zoophilia community, or "zoos" as they refer to themselves, form long-term, loving, and monogamous relationships with their animal partners. One such animal lover explained that like other sexual preferences, his desire for animals began in childhood.

"I started to notice horses in 'that' way when I was about 11 or 12. Everybody else was stealing their dads’ Playboy magazines, but I had a book called The Big Book of the Horse," the man who choose to remain anonymous explained to NY Mag. His love for horses soon escalated, and at 22 he finally fulfilled his fantasy and lost his virginity to a horse.

"Losing your virginity is important to becoming a 'real' zoophile because you’re joining a very select group of people, and if you haven’t actually 'done it,' people wonder if that’s your real sexuality," he said.

The zooophile has been married to a human woman for 19 years, and they are in an open, polygamous relationship. He has sexual relations with his mare partner about once a week. Although the 42-year-old has penetrated his equine partners before, he admits, for him, this isn’t the norm.

"I mostly have oral sex with mares. And, as I discovered, mares taste very, very nice, like mown grass or fresh hay, and they really enjoy oral stimulation."

The relationship is explained as being not only sexual but also very loving. The man emphasizes that he never uses any form of restraint.

"So, she she chooses to come with me, and I leave her food and she puts her head on my chest and we snuggle, and I whisper sweet nothings in her ear and rub her cheeks — what she likes," he said.

In a 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the American Male, the authors found that around half of all "farm-bred males" claimed to have had sexual contact with various other species, Scientific American reported. Although, in the vast majority of these cases the males used the animals as "substitutes for heterosexual relations with human females," researchers have observed that some people actually prefer the company of animals to humans. Whether or not this choice is a type of minority sexual identity is still debatable.

Hani Miletski, a sexologist, interviewed 93 self-identified zoophiles (82 men and 11 women) for her book, Understanding Bestiality and Zoophilia, and contradicted the old DSM-4 edition, which classified zoophilia as a psychological disorder; Miletski argued it was a sexual identity. (Even the most recent DSM-5 classifies it as sexual paraphilia.) The old DSM-4 said it was considered a psychological disorder only if an individual’s sexual attraction to nonhumans caused the person distress. However, Miletski found that most of those she interviewed were quite well-adjusted to their lifestyle and had no reason to stop having sex with their animal partners.

Regardless of whether or not you believe that zoophilia is a sexual orientation or an act of depravity, according to The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the sexual assault of an animal is directly prohibited in 36 U.S. states, as well as most of Europe. For states that have not directly prohibited the sexual assault of an animal, there is usually some reference to beastiality included in other sexual laws. Unfortunately, as reported by The Independent, this crackdown on illegal bestiality has led to an increase in underground animal sex tourism. Still, the zoophile expressed his desire for public acceptance of his sexual preference.

"Sex with animals is just so poorly studied. The popular image of that person on the farm who goes and abuses animals because there’s no other outlet, that’s not the case. That’s just not always what happens."

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