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.Confusing the matter yet further, writing in 1962, Masters used the term bestialist specifically in his discussion of zoosadism.Stephanie La Farge, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the New Jersey Medical School, and Director of Counseling at the ASPCA, writes that two groups can be distinguished: bestialists, who rape or abuse animals, and zoophiles, who form an emotional and sexual attachment to animals. Williams and Martin Weinberg studied self-defined zoophiles via the internet and reported them as understanding the term zoophilia to involve concern for the animal's welfare, pleasure, and consent, as distinct from the self-labelled zoophiles' concept of "bestialists", whom the zoophiles in their study defined as focused on their own gratification.The nature of animal minds, animal mental processes and structures, and animal self-awareness, perception, emotion in animals, and "map of the world", are studied within animal cognition and also explored within various specialized branches of neuroscience such as neuroethology.
A frequent interest in and sexual excitement at watching animals mate is cited as an indicator of latent zoophilia by Massen (1994).
Similar findings are also reported by Kinsey (cited by Masters), and others earlier in history.
Miletski (1999) notes that information on sex with animals on the internet is often very emphatic as to what the zoophile believes gives pleasure and how to identify what is perceived as consent beforehand.
Williams and Weinberg also quoted a British newspaper saying that zoophilia is a term used by "apologists" for bestiality.
The Kinsey reports rated the percentage of people who had sexual interaction with animals at some point in their lives as 8% for men and 3.6% for women, and claimed it was 40–50% in people living near farms, but some later writers dispute the figures, because the study lacked a random sample in that it included a disproportionate number of prisoners, causing sampling bias.