¡Ask a Mexican: Are Donkey Shows Really a Thing in Mexico?

DEAR MEXICAN: I've heard the Tijuana donkey show featuring a female whore is not real other than the fact they do bring out a donkey and do some simulation for people who are drunk.

Down-Low Loco

DEAR GABACHO: You're right. And after months of research, the Mexican can confirm the full history of donkey shows, the supposed borderlands specialty in which women have sex with donkeys before a live, paying audience. Not only are they not a thing in Tijuana (or Juarez or Acapulco or anywhere in Mexico frequented by tourists), but they're also a wholesale gabacho invention that says more about how America projects its fevered perversions onto Mexicans and Mexico than anything about Mexicans themselves. None of the Tijuana Bibles, the infamous X-rated comics of the Great Depression that showed all sorts of degradations, make any mention of such shows south of the border (the excellent 1997 anthology, Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s, even points out that the foul funnies got their name not because they were made in Mexico, but “as a gleefully sacrilegious pre-NAFTA slur against Mexicans”). The earliest published account I found even mentioning donkey sex shows in Mexico only dates back to 1975, in the book Binding With Briars: Sex and Sin in the Catholic Church. Before that, mentions of “donkey shows” in newspapers, books or magazines were exactly that: donkeys on display at county fairs, nothing else.

But after porn star Linda Lovelace claimed her then-husband was going to force her to get “fucked by a donkey in Juarez, Mexico,” in her 1980 memoir, Ordeal, the act quickly seeped into mainstream American culture. Three years later, the search for a donkey show in Tijuana became a plot point in the Tom Cruise film Losin' It; by the mid-1980s, a pioneering ska band called themselves the Donkey Show—based out of San Diego, no less. Really, the biggest culprit in spreading the donkey show myth is Hollywood—in the past decade alone, there's been mention of the act in at least a dozen high-profile projects, from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Two and a Half Men and more. This proves once again that Hollywood's portrayal of Mexicans and Mexico hasn't changed in a century—but what else do you expect from producers and screenwriters (notwithstanding the awesome writers at the new ABC sitcom Cristela and the upcoming FOX cartoon, Bordertown, for which I'm a consultant) who know Mexicans almost exclusively from previous Hollywood depictions and as their nannies, car washers, gardeners, cooks and the janitors in their offices?

Are there sex shows between humans and animals in Mexico? I'm sure there are, just as there are in the United States—in fact, the earliest account I could find of people paying to see a woman-donkey coupling is in the November 1915 issue of the St. Louis-based medical journal The Urologic and Cutaneous Review, in which a doctor recalled a case in which crowd members at such a spectacle (including “a judge, sons of a social reformer and a secretary of a girl's aid society”) were criminally tried after a woman died during the act. But leave it to gabachos to stereotype such debauchery as being as exclusively Mexican as the Aztec pyramids and a corrupt government. Pinche perverted gabachos . . .

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