Sex with animal dating
The hypothesis that all sexually reproducing species experience sexual pleasure is, in itself, quite reasonable – as would be the hypothesis that animals find eating pleasurable. Since the word “pleasure” is quite vague, scientists have tended to focus on orgasms.
As a particularly intense form of sexual pleasure for many people, the logic has been that if non-humans experience orgasm, they are almost certainly experiencing pleasure.
Given that we are most familiar with human orgasms, scientists have unsurprisingly looked for behavioral and physical correlates of what we sometimes experience – shuddering, muscular rigidity, a cessation of movement, vocalization, changes of facial expression, ejaculation.
None of these are guaranteed, and consequently we should not expect them necessarily to be associated with sex in other species.
Focusing sex on genitals and orgasm only makes sense if we assume that the central function of sex is reproduction – exactly the same assumption that seems to lie behind scientific inquiries into sexual pleasure in other species.
Various cultures maintain that sex is not connected to conception, though – most famously the Trobriand Islanders of the South Pacific.
On one level, the question of whether humans and nonhumans experience sex in the same way is fairly simply dismissed: how would we know?
These functions may be extremely important, especially for social animals, and would likely only be feasible if sex were in itself a source of pleasure.The yoking of sex to reproduction to the exclusion of pleasure can be traced to the Victorian era, and is the consequence of all sorts of exciting historico-political processes that would take a whole separate article to explain, but it seeped into all aspects of Western culture, including science.Not to suggest that sex isn’t involved in reproduction.There is also no shortage of examples where non-human sex has nothing to do with reproduction at all.Females of many species mate with males when they are non-fertile (marmosets for example).