Not long ago I came across a "poll" in the suggestion forum of a popular, invitation only, community for characters, stories, and worlds about the banning of NSFW "feral" content. I use the term poll lightly despite the claims of those in support of this on the forum. This "poll" only allowed for voting for the ban not any option to vote against. Those who did voice an opinion against the ban were quickly vilified, comments were made that they should blocked or banned from the forum and the community as a whole. Often times insults like zoophile or that any "feral" NSFW is the same as bestiality. Many in support of the ban see the issue as entirely black or white. If it walks on four legs its an animal and therefore any content that is sexual with said character is bestiality period. In my opinion its not that simple especially when it comes to fiction and fantasy.
Bestiality, as defined by dictionary.com is sexual relations between a person and an animal; sodomy. For the sake of argument lets treat anything with a comparable to human level of intelligence, awareness, and feelings as a person. Fantasy and mythology have many fantastic races including elves, dwarves, hobbits and on the darker side orcs, goblins, ogres, and trolls while not human, they definitely qualify as sapient despite not being human. An animal might be a little more complicated to define, I'll link to dictionary.com's definition but for lets for the moment count it as any creature capable of voluntary motion, eating (acquiring and digesting food), and having a sensory and nervous system letting them respond to stimuli. Lets also exclude anything sapient or anything that qualifies as a person as defined above. There might be some disagreement on the definitions above. Some may disagree on the definition of what a person actually is. Does it include fantasy races and creations of fiction and mythology? If we narrow the definition to only include humans as people as they are currently the only known species that can be defined as sapient by modern science does that make any other species an animals? If not then why? Humans are in essence animals as well with the major difference between the species and other animals is being sapient. If a person is limited to only humans then anything non-human engaged in any activities with something else non-human shouldn't be a problem. Maybe the problem is with our definition of animal? As was mentioned when examining the term person a human can be classified as an animal with the exception of us having excluded sapient beings or that we define as a person or people. Some may argue that an animal is anything that doesn't walk on two legs or walks on four legs. What about birds, monkeys, apes, kangaroos, or frogs? Are fish or snakes animals? How about a centaurs? Are mermaids? Are minotaurs or harpies? What about dragons? My examples again include species popular in fantasy and mythology many of them commonly having an intellect equal to or superior to a human. What about anthropomorphic creatures? mythology includes several gods with heads or body parts more commonly attributed to animals. Fantasy literature as well as television and roleplaying games include bipedal creatures resembling canines, felines, or lizards. These creatures are typically also sapient. Lastly, fantasy as well as mythology has several cases where creatures that resemble modern or extinct earth animals with the exception of being sapient and having a human level, or greater intelligence. Are they animals? Why?
My understanding is that one of the concerns regarding bestiality is that it is harmful to animals and abusive, because animals are unable to give or withhold consent. But IF consent can be given is it really an animal? Does it even matter at that point? Is it any different than a human and elf engaging in intimacy? A dwarf and a gnome? A trill and a klingon (Star Trek).They are simply another species, different but that doesn't make them animals.
An alternate argument that I've heard is that depiction of animal genitalia is just zoophillia. Again, in my opinion its not black or white issue. Some of the best sources for inspiration in fiction is just exploring different parts nature. Another consideration is that for some exploring a species besides human may allow them to better understanding of their own beliefs, spirituality, emotions, values, and mind. While that doesn't necessarily include a sexual aspect it doesn't necessarily mean it should exclude it either. Fiction is an invention. A fabrication. By its very definition it is not real. Some may choose to include aspects in their creations that others find distasteful. That doesn't mean it should be banned or that others will agree with everyone else's opinion. That one topic is banned because someone finds it distasteful or offensive simply leaves the door open to others doing the same for other topics. If something is fictitious and not harming anyone or anything directly it is my opinion that it by itself should NOT necessarily be banned. Violence in video games has be previously been blamed for violence in society. It by itself is not necessarily true. Not everyone who plays a video game wants to run around and shoot people. I personally don't play such games and have no desire to but I don't think they should be banned either. Shows like Dexter where a serial killer vigilante rids Miami of other other murders that have escaped justice depicts gruesomely dark content. It certainly doesn't inspire me to do the same. The individuals that are preforming the illegal activities should be held accountable for their own actions instead of blaming fiction and fantasy. People are responsible for their own actions. If you dislike certain content block it and move along, change the channel. But if you are the one looking for content you disapprove, that hasn't or doesn't harm anyone, just to attack the people who have it YOU are the one that has the problem and perhaps you should examine that before judging others.