Raythe says …
There are books, though few as they are banned from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the like that deal with actual bestiality (having sex with animals that are not shifters) and there also are many fans of anthro, too. I’m not as familiar with either so I’m going to focus on what I know, which are shifters. Please feel free to write about your own understanding/experience/fantasies about these in the comments.
It’s His Animal Nature that Makes Me Wild – Or the Fantasy of Dominance and Submission, Animal Sex and Forever Love
Books with shifters and the word alpha in the title are hugely popular now. Werewolves, weretigers, werebears, were-anything is topping the charts in both heterosexual and m/m categories.
What’s the allure?
In my opinion, one large part of the allure is screaming from the word “alpha” The idea of a strong, dominant, hyper-masculine, and very wild lover who is very in touch with his base or animal nature has been around since the beginnings of romance tales told around the fire.
But what does the shifter element add or eliminate?
One, for a lot of people being “submissive” is thought of as being weak, but submitting in the culture of the shifters of one male being dominant is not weak, it’s normal and right. Often the submissive must be “tamed” and “made to obey”, which makes the eventual giving in completely stripped of even the possibility of weakness. In male/female relationships it actually can reach back to more traditional gender roles with the man is categorically in charge, which is often not the case in modern relationships (nor is it necessarily wanted in real life relationships).
Two, the shifter elements adds wild, no-holds barred animal sex. With a shifter that’s guaranteed. While there can be flowery courtship, there’s also the fact that an animal has needs that must be met right now. It leads us to feel that we can give into our deepest fantasies to let go of all inhibitions without any guilt or shame about what we want to happen to us.
Three, this is the extended trope of “wolves mate for life”. Most of us have had our share of relationships that were supposed to last forever, but didn’t last longer than for now. Human infidelity is well known. It’s actually harder to believe a partner will be with you forever than that they will leave you. But often in a shifter story, mates are forever. Once mated, a shifter is forever yours and you are theirs. You don’t have to worry about tomorrow bringing broken promises, because it’s part of a shifter’s nature to remain forever faithful and adoring.
So those are my thoughts, what are yours? All through this series, the commenters have added much more than the posts so please tell us your thoughts!