Dolphin jumping out of water

The dolphin story

This story has different wordings and usually sounds smth like these:

– Only humans and dolphins have sex for pleasure, not for reproduction.
Humans and dolphins are the only species that have recreational sex. All other animals do sex for reproduction only.

It comes from accident acquaintances, from neighbours, from scientists. I have no idea where it originates from, but it’s a funny one!

Only humans and dolphins

The first and most thrilling question I have – what on earth could it be based on!? I am trying hard to remember at least a single argument for this theory, at least a single scientific paper. Looks like a typical hoax story. Did they base it on… the amount of noise or moaning during the process? “If he eats my soup and doesn’t slurp – it’s not tasty”. Sounds reasonable…

Anyway, are the arguments even possible? To start with, what’s pleasure? Nice feeling? Okay, but then:

1. What’s “nice feeling”? I request the biological definition. “It’s obvious” – science doesn’t work like that.
2. If there’s anything obvious, then it’s this: no human could possibly know, if animals feel pleasure from sex or not.

Unless, of course, someone has invented a shamanic method to shift their mind into a dog’s body, and then went to screw some canine cutie, see how it works And even then – it proves nothing. Someone felt something in the dog’s body. What if I felt that taste of tea becomes better if you look at pink wall while drinking? Is it only in humans?

No definition, no access to animal’s mind. Dead end.

Q: I heard that dolphins can “pull out” and participate in rapes. Which means that dolphins do sex for pleasure.
If you can achieve pleasure only when you pull out, I suggest consulting a sexologist. And if only when you rape, then – a psychologist and a policeman (not necessarily in that order).

A hint: normally, guys pull out to prevent pregnancy. Aren’t they?

The rest – for reproduction

Truth is, human is the only animal to do sex for reproduction. An average lizard or a beetle most likely has no idea that sex leads to children. Babies is just a consequence to them. To assume that they do sex for reproduction is weird at least. To assume that a spider would risk his life to court a female, so that they could have babies that he won’t even see a single time in his life – now that’s even hilarious. A human, on the other hand, could come to their partner and say “Let’s make a baby”. Even while not in sex mood. There are no confirmed cases of anything else to do so. Everyone other than people (unless proven otherwise) does sex for one and only one purpose – to satisfy their sexual instinct/reproductive instinct/getting sexual pleasure. Whatever – it’s the same thing!

spiderofin2 - ENG

Q: But it’s just instinct in animals.
“Instinct” is a funny word that people shove anywhere, where they do not understand how animal behaviour works. Without context, without explanation – “just instinct, isn’t it clear?”. Perhaps Neptune orbits the Sun because it’s an instinct as well?

I personally have met the word “instinct” in two meanings. First: instinct is a type of behavioural act, which is action done to satisfy some need. Reflex – a simple act in response to a stimulus, instinct – a complex, multi-step act. E.g., feeding in a cow. Pick up some grass, chew it, swallow, belch, chew again, swallow. Most importantly, it’s definition says nothing of animals’ felling about it – it’s just an act. Certainly, cow’s feeding is an instinct. Does she like it or not – it’s out of the scope of the term. Telling that “A cow gets no pleasure from feeding cause it’s just an instinct” is as logical as saying “Peter didn’t like my chicken soup, because a bear is a mammal”.

Second meaning: instinct is an innate inclination of an organism to certain behavioural acts. Like hunger – a behavioural driver. Actually, all of them are innate – both in animals and people*. Hence all people and all animals act based on instincts. Instinct of safety, of feeding, of comfort – all behaviour is based on them. Instinct of reproduction, aka “a want for sex”, is another innate inclination. People don’t do sex, because someone brainwashes them at some age, or because “a neighbour says it’s good idea”. The desire is innate and switches on at certain age by itself. From that perspective – yes, copulation is just an instinct. Both in people and horses. But again, it does not contradict pleasure. If you happen to have it otherwise, consult a sexologist.
*I can feel how you want to argue this. Be my guests – post comments 🙂

Do us all a favour, guys: do not use the “i…” word at all, ever. Unless you understand it’s meaning…

Q: Sex to animals is just an automatic need. It’s same as food to people.
Let me tell ya a secret: people get pleasure from eating. Hell a lot of pleasure! Perhaps you never were hungry?

P.S. Not only from eating, by the way.


Q: Animals cannot feel pleasure, their brain is underdevelopped.
What does brain have to do with it? For starters, human’s brain is generally not better that others’. Olfactory region, for example, is almost useless. Only certain functions are better in our brain*: cognition (i.e., ability to analyze and execute logical operations), memory. Homo sapiens. A sentient being.

Now a question: what does sentience have to do with feelings or pleasure? Perhaps, there are people who extract square roots during sex. And when miscalculate, instantly become dry/soft☻

Sentience has nothing to do with pleasure. Cause it’s just a feeling, perception. A special case of touch, and there are no cubic equations. Also, need for sentience implies that babies can feel no pleasure. Not a fair statement.
*Better doesn’t mean “supersmart vs superstupid.” There are animals that are very smart as well.

Q: What direct evidence is there that animals like sex?
For starters, at least all placental mammals have the same reproductive organs, the same muscles and tissues participating in reproductive processes (arousal, orgasm etc), the same nerves going to the same places. The same tactile sensors in their skin etc.

Actually, there is no need for evidence. There is no evidence against, so induction works. Okay, animals are different from each other to certain extent, but when it comes to basic needs: the need for food, need for reproduction etc – they are all the same. The instinct of reproduction is the most primitive property of life, no dolphins invented it. And dolphins have nothing in their reproductive system that could make them stand out from other mammals.

A delicacy for thought: Let’s assume animals have no pleasure, only “that your instinct”. What we get then? Billions of present animal species, hundreds of billions more extinct. All successfully breeding for billions of years driven by “that your instinct”. Then in a single species out of nowhere the evolution has produced… pleasure from sex? For what purpose?

P.S., what are proofs that humans have pleasure from sex? “Humans have pleasure because humans say that they have pleasure” – sorry, I am not convinced. My neighbour says he has no pleasure. So, who’s right?

The only explanation: sexual desire followed by pleasure is the universal stimulus to make animals forget about their Ego and invest into future generations. Call it pleasure, instinct of sex, instinct of reproduction – whatever. The idea is the same.

Happy sex with pleasure to you!


Further reads

Next article: Why Not Every Day?
List of all articles about reproductive biology


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