Into bondage? It could be because of your cat, study finds

You could develop a "higher attraction to bondage and violence"

Rachel Hosie
Wednesday 30 November 2016 15:04
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You may have thought that the worst a pet cat can do is leave you scratched and covered in fur, but according to new research, your cat could be having a much more serious effect on you without you realising.

Owning a cat could be having an impact on your sexual behavioural patterns, and specifically, could make you more likely to be aroused by sadomachism, a new study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology revealed.

The reason is that a common brain parasite from cats, Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis, is linked to sexual arousal by fear, violence and danger in humans.

Around a third of the world’s population are infected with the parasite, and transmission from pet cats (through their faeces) is one of the most common causes.

The study of 36,564 people in Slovakia and the Czech Republic - both those infected with Toxoplasma and parasite-free - found that “infected subjects are more often aroused by their own fear, danger, and sexual submission.”

What’s more, the researchers discovered that people with Toxoplasma have a “higher attraction to bondage, violence and, in men, to masochism and raping.”

The parasite succeeds in using the fact that sex-related stimuli and fear-related stimuli affect very similar circuits in the brain. “Even without Toxoplasma, there will be some relationship between fear and sex,” lead author Jaroslav Flegr explained.

Although toxoplasmosis is so common, it’s rarely reported as there are no real symptoms - around 350 cases are reported in England and Wales annually, but the NHS believes the actual number of infections could be as high as 350,000.

Toxoplasmosis can be diagnosed by undertaking a blood test.

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