Zoosadism specifically is one member of the Macdonald triad of precursors to sociopathic behavior.which he defined as a sexual attraction to animal skin or fur.Exclusive desire for animals rather than humans is considered a rare paraphilia, and sufferers often have other paraphilias The first detailed studies of zoophilia date from prior to 1910.
Nancy Friday notes that zoophilia as a fantasy may provide an escape from cultural expectations, restrictions, and judgements in regard to sex.
The derivative noun "zoosexuality" is sometimes used by self-identified zoophiles in both support groups and on internet-based discussion forums to designate sexual orientation manifesting as romantic or emotional involvement with, or sexual attraction to, non-human animals.
Some zoophiles and researchers draw a distinction between zoophilia and bestiality, using the former to describe the desire to form sexual relationships with animals, and the latter to describe the sex acts alone.
"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.