chapter  3
20 Pages

Animal sexuality

If people could descend to a bestial level through their appetite for food, they were even more vulnerable through their sexual appetites. Though early Christian thinkers defined appropriate human (Christian) behavior with regard to eating, they were even more interested in defining appropriate human sexual expression.1 They first identified what animal sexuality was, that is, how and why animals copulated and how animals felt when they copulated. After that, they urged humans to have intercourse in ways that differentiated them from animals. In this way, early medieval church thinkers continued to try to preserve the distinct difference between the human and animal worlds. Of course, such an idealized difference was impossible to maintain even in the property relationship or the food relationship. It was even more difficult to define oneself as “not-animal” with regard to sexuality.