Article: Sex & Pets (No, Not Bestiality Or Zoophilia)

We all have a happy doggo, or commanding kitty at home, or a similar non-human companion. At least most of us do.

According to recent statistics pet ownership in the US has more than tripled since the 1970s, with a US pet dog population of 69,929,000, cat population of 74,059,000, and fish population of 57,750,000. In the UK there are an estimated 54 million pets as of 2017, and Brazil currently owns the record for pet bird ownership: 191,001,000.

A lot of us adore our animals too. Americans spend $50 million per annum on pets, 27% admit to having professional photoshoots done of them, and 36% of Americans give them presents.

We were doing this in the 1900s, so of course we’re still doing crazy shit now.

To put that in to perspective that Birthday statistic is 2% shy of the women who reported being satisfied with their sex lives in one survey.

Yeah. I know, right?

But, to ease all of your minds, this isn’t a post about loving your pets too  much or loving them in a way that is illegal and morally condemnable. We have Bad Dragon and Exotic Erotics for a reason. Leave animals alone, for tofu’s sake.

No, this post is about when our pets just want to spend so much time in our company that they’re always there, even when you’d rather they not be.

Pet Philosophy Time

In “L’animal que donc je suis” (2006), the philosopher Derrida once told of a moment where he got out of his shower, butt naked and in his later years of life, only to spot something in his periphery vision – a cat.

The cat, as it seemed to Derrida, was looking at him and Derrida, in turn, realized that he felt embarrassment, discomfort, and even a sense of shame that he be accidentally caught naked by this quite literal peeping tomcat.

What has been seen…

For Derrida this brought up deep philosophical questions about the idea of looking at an animal vs. the idea of being looked at by one, what it meant to conceptualize the animal gaze, and how we construct notions of what an animal might think when looking at us but can only ever do so from our own perspective. All deep and thoughtful stuff.

But, for us the thing that matters is this: Sometimes when you’re butt naked, about to get down to some business in your own house, and not expecting to be interrupted noticing that an animal is looking at you (or even just present in the room) can be a big turn-off.

A Dog In The Room?

It’s often referenced in cheesy romcoms or daytime television and most of us usually have at least one friend who know someone who lets their animals stay in the bedroom when having sex (or you’re that person, in which case why?)

The idea of having a pet in the bedroom during sex, or allowing them to sleep on the bed is, for many people, something that puts a dampener on arousal and one’s overall sex life.

Cute when in the front room watching TV, not so much when you’re in the bedroom seeking other forms of entertainment.

Knowing a pet is in the room during sex creates a sense of anxiety – partly at the thought of being watched and partly due to the concern that they might jump in and try to join in on the ‘play time’ (or, worst, attack out of confusion). In some cases animals will even jump up on to the bed during sex, which is going to cause at least a pause in activity.

Perhaps even more arousal-haulting are those moments where a pet doesn’t enter the room until mid-sex and, undetected, jumps on the bed to give you a fright as well as an unwanted guest. No sir, I have a PhD in dogs and even I am not down with moments like that.

A Critter Under The Sheets

For those who sleep with pets in or on the bed, the sexual frustration and emotional discomfort may even be greater.

This is because a partner might want to initiate sexual activity with their loved one but, due to the position of the animal, is either unable to or just doesn’t feel comfortable or ‘right’ doing so.

This isn’t the sexiest set up.

Moments like these can foster long-term relationship issues if not addressed and respectfully conveyed from an early stage.

And I do mean respectfully because, chances are, the person who sleeps with their pet usually does so for a good reason. Emotional trauma, an attachment or comfort tool, or perhaps a cultural norm that they’ve been acclimatized to since childhood could all be reasons why someone sleeps with their animal, and those are not things to be taken lightly, especially if you love that person.

If you word your discussion as ‘Get rid of the pet so I can have sex with you more’ you can bet that things won’t go down as well as if you say ‘I’ve been feeling a bit emotionally and intimately distanced from you when we’re in bed and I think it might be because we have [insert pet/s here] sleep with us. Can we talk about this and see if we can’t figure something out because I really value that part of our relationship?’

But Does The Animal Really Even Care?

Oddly enough, yes, and cats and dogs totally know that you’re fucking, by the way. A pet pig probably would too seeing as they’re smarter than dogs and parrots and other similarly intelligent birds are totally clued in.

For most animals the sex you have isn’t like the sex they have – in that they don’t necessarily thing ‘Yup, the humans are mating again. Don’t know why they brought a chew toy to their mating practices but whatever’. Instead, animals see sex between their people as time, energy and attention spent away from them.

‘How DARE they?’

If animals witness such activity this can actually cause them a fair bit of distress, at least according to some animal behaviourists.

Of course, this depends on the animal. Some won’t care at all, but a lot will totally care that you’ve decided to shun them and that they’re baring witness to you deciding to give your energy to someone else.

It’s this emotional response (especially in dogs) which causes some animals to jump up, make noises, or even attack during sex. It’s basically like if three friends hung out, all of which loved ice cream, and then two out of the three got each other ice cream and then proceeded to eat it in front of the third without explanation or a care in the world about them.

Vegan ice cream, of course, but that’s not the point.

The point is there different friends may react differently but most will feel slighted, confused, and a bit worst off for the experience. Who wants to be actively left out of ice cream time, after all?

So What Do?

The simplest answer to this, at least when it comes to cats, dogs, and similar pets, is to:

A) Not have pets in the bedroom (which may involve some planning and creative feng shei if you’re moving giant cages around).

And

B) Remove mobile/free-roaming pets from the bedroom when having sex and at nighttime.

Granted, a tortoise probably isn’t going to care that you’re getting it on anywhere near as much as a terrier will, but there’s still the emotional factor of your partner/s to consider. I personally have a vivid memory of one experience where I was having sex with my then partner, went to jump on top cowgirl style and, by inadvertently glancing over to my bedside vivarium, noticed one of my stick insects leaning right up against the glass, pawing at it with one of his lil crittery legs. Yeeeah, that kind of killed the mood for me.

So, if you’re a pet owner please do be a considerate one and save both your pet and all involved from the potential awkwardness that can come from animal proximity to sex.

Yes, I know you love Sniffles McChubHog, but she and you will get over being parted for a while, and you’ll all feel better for it come the end of the day.

Shield your critters, lest they have to shield themselves.