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Autism spectrum disorder, bestiality and zoophilia: a systematic PRISMA review

Clare Sarah Allely (School of Health Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester, UK)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Article publication date: 5 February 2020

Issue publication date: 30 April 2020




There remains a lack of knowledge surrounding paraphilic or deviant arousal sexual behaviours in individuals with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Kellaher, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to explore the literature for any empirical study, case study or discussion/review paper surrounding individuals with ASD and zoophilia or bestiality.


A systematic PRISMA review was conducted.


This systematic review highlighted only a small number of papers, which have looked at zoophilia or bestiality in individuals with ASD. Only one article was identified as being relevant in the present review, three further articles included a description of a case involving someone with ASD who engaged in zoophilia or bestiality and another paper, although not the focus of the study, found one person with Asperger’s disorder who had several paraphilias including olfactophilia, podophilia and zoophilia in a sample of 20 institutionalised, male adolescents and young adults with Autistic disorder and borderline/mild mental retardation. All the case studies clearly highlight some of the ASD symptomology that can contribute to engaging in bestiality or zoophilia.

Practical implications

It is important that individuals with ASD have access to appropriate and timely sex education and that parents are supported by healthcare professionals to engage with their children with ASD in such interactions across the autism spectrum irrespective of the parent’s expectations.


To the author’s knowledge, this is the first review of ASD in relation to bestiality and zoophilia.



Conflicts of Interest. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. Funding: This paper was unfunded.


Allely, C.S. (2020), "Autism spectrum disorder, bestiality and zoophilia: a systematic PRISMA review", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 75-91.



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