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To avoid confusion about the meaning of zoophilia — which may refer to the affinity/attraction, paraphilia, or sexual activity — this article uses zoophilia for the former, and zoosexual activity for the sexual act.
The two terms are independent: not all sexual acts with animals are performed by zoophiles; and not all zoophiles are sexually interested in animals.
Latent zoophile tendencies may be common; the frequency of interest and sexual excitement in watching animals mate is cited as an indicator by Massen (1994) and commented on by Masters (1962).
Zoosexual acts are illegal in many jurisdictions, while others generally outlaw the mistreatment of animals without specifically mentioning sexuality.
Whilst some laws are very specific, others employ vague terms such as "sodomy" or "bestiality" which lack legal precision and leave it unclear which exact acts are covered.
Other factors affecting the operation of law include enforced assumptions as to abuse, creative use of alternative laws, and the impact of uncodified cultural norms, prohibitions, and social taboos.
Zoorasty is the technical term for sexual intercours with animals.
Instead most research into zoophilia has focused on its characteristics, rather than quantifying it.In pornography, human–animal sex is occasionally described as farmsex, dogsex, or animal sex; these terms are often used regardless of the context or species involved.Bestiality signifies a sexual act between humans and animals.Because it is unresolved under the law whether sexual relations with an animal are inherently "abusive" or "mistreatment", this leaves the status of zoosexual activity unclear in some jurisdictions.Laws on zoosexuality in modern times are often triggered by specific incidents or by peer pressure.