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The terms are often used interchangeably, but some researchers make a distinction between the attraction (zoophilia) and the act (bestiality).

Three key terms commonly used in regards to the subject — zoophilia, bestiality, and zoosexuality — are often used somewhat interchangeably.

Similar findings are also reported by Kinsey (cited by Masters), and others earlier in history.

Peer reviewed research into zoophilia in its own right started around 1960."Bestiosexuality" was discussed briefly by Allen (1979), but never became widely established.Ernest Bornemann (1990, cited by Rosenbauer, 1997) coined the separate term zoosadism for those who derive pleasure – sexual or otherwise – from inflicting pain on animals.However, a number of the most oft-quoted studies, such as Miletski, were not published in peer-reviewed journals.There have been several significant modern books, from Masters (1962) to Beetz (2002); "The phenomenon of sexual contact with animals is starting to lose its taboo: it is appearing more often in scholarly publications, and the public are being confronted with it, too.[...] Sexual contact with animals – in the form of bestiality or zoophilia – needs to be discussed more openly and investigated in more detail by scholars working in disciplines such as animal ethics, animal behavior, anthrozoology, psychology, mental health, sociology, and the law." More recently, research has engaged three further directions – the speculation that at least some animals seem to enjoy a zoophilic relationship assuming sadism is not present, and can form an affectionate bond.

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