Dolphins enjoy clitoral stimulation and frequently engage in same-sex sexual activities, according to a study recently published in Current Biology.
Researchers from Mount Holyoke College conducted the study by examining the genitalia of 11 naturally-deceased dolphins. They discovered erectile tissues below both the clitoral hood and body, along with dense nerve endings, suggesting that female dolphins receive pleasure from clitoral stimulation.
Clitoral stimulation “seems to be important during female-female sexual interactions in common bottlenose dolphins … which rub each other’s clitorises using snouts, flippers, or flukes,” the study reports.
Like humans, dolphins engage in sexual activity throughout the year, and not just during a limited mating season. Researchers state that these relationships help to establish social bonds. Given the pleasure sensation involved in the sex act, the behavior extends to both heterosexual and homosexual activities.
The study into the bottlenose dolphin clitoris “reveals a complex organ with many similarities to the clitoris of other species known to have sexual pleasure, including humans.” It also “suggests that female dolphins likely experience pleasure when the clitoris is stimulated during copulation, homosexual behavior, and masturbation.”
Dolphins frequently engage in sexual activity, which scientists and researchers have known for some time. However, the role female pleasure plays in this activity has been little understood, or studied. The New York Times reports that many scientists studying dolphin anatomy have focused on males of the species; however, with more female researchers now in the field, that is starting to change.
“The only thing that surprises me is how long it has taken us as scientists to look at the basic reproductive anatomy,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ecologist Sarah Mesnick, who was not involved in the study, told the Times.
She added, “It took a team of brilliant women,” in reference to two of the studies’ authors.
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