Do other animals experience pleasurable female orgasms?
Asked by Louise Allan via Facebook
Yes, other species experience pleasurable female orgasms, or at least it appears that way. It is hard, after all, to ask the female chimp after her artificial ‘stimulation’ in the lab how it felt. But the signs are all there – the chimps exhibit most of the same indications of orgasm as women do. In 1981, a research paper in the American Journal of Primatology stated that the signs of female orgasm include, “hyperventilation, involuntary muscle tension, arm and leg spasms, [and] grimacing,” among others that were slightly more graphic. Orgasms aren’t limited to just chimps: a 1998 paper published in Animal Behaviour on the orgasm rate of Japanese macaques mentions that, “under specific circumstances, non-human primate females may experience orgasm.” The primates in general, then, appear to be lucky in this regard. However, they quickly add that the occurrences of female orgasms are highly variable. The social situation seems to be an important factor in whether the females orgasm… at least for Japanese macaques.
Bisexual monkeys and odd animal fetishes
The gender of the female’s partner, however, may not be as important. In a 1974 paper entitled (get ready for it), “Male-Female, Female-Female, and Male-Male sexual behavior in the stumptail monkey, with special attention to the female orgasm,” researchers discovered that females could orgasm regardless of their partner’s sex. While it may be more difficult to judge if non-primate species are indeed having orgasms, a 1979 paper in American Anthropologist lists many examples of “non-reproductive sexual behavior” in other animals: dogs that aren’t in heat rubbing themselves on “any suitable object”, a cat with “shoe fetishism,” and dolphins that masturbate. (Researchers have more recently graced us with a video of dolphin spontaneous ejaculation.) Slightly more alarming, one “male dolphin carried a dead female about for five hours, copulating with her several times.” Even “Birds feel the rub” as an article was titled in Nature in 2001. The red-billed buffalo weaver has a “remarkable false phallus,” which is quite unusual for birds as most males don’t have any phallus at all. It seems the penis-like protuberance is meant as a signal of high sperm quality and doesn’t actually enter the female. However, the male rubs it on females and reaches what looks like orgasm: the male bird “shuddered and its eyes glazed over.” So, while it’s still unknown whether orgasm extends to the female red-billed buffalo weaver, it seems that orgasms aren’t just a human trait after all.