Do other an­i­mals ex­pe­ri­ence plea­sur­able fe­male or­gasms?

Asked by Louise Al­lan via Face­book

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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.

An­swered by Au­tumn Sar­tain

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