Dolphins have sex for fun: Females have functional clitorises that provide pleasure when stimulated, study reveals
- Female bottlenose dolphins have a clitoris-like structure at the opening of the vagina that experts say provides pleasure to the animal when stimulated
- Researchers looked at nearly a dozen dolphins and found the structure is similar to a human’s clitoris
- The dolphin’s clitoris was found to include sensory nerves and erectile bodies
Female dolphins have a functional clitoris that is similar to that of a human, a new study finds.
A team of scientists led by Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts found bottlenose dolphins have a clitoris-like structure in the vaginal entrance that includes sensory nerves and erectile bodies.
For the study, researchers carried out detailed analysis on the clitorises of 11 females that had died naturally and found strong evidence to support the organ’s functionality.
This work revealed many similarities between the dolphin’s structure and a female human’s clitoris, specifically the erectile tissue looks like that of a human, which means it likely plays a role in providing pleasure.
Within the dolphin’s tissue are space for blood to rush, allowing the area to inflate and the clitoris-like structure to become hard.
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Dolphins, also like humans, have sex not just for reproducing but also for bonding and pleasure
Pictured is the clitoris of a bottlenose dolphin. UC is the urethral canal, CB is the clitoris body CH is the location of the clitoris hood
Dolphins, also like humans, have sex not just for reproducing but also for bonding and pleasure.
‘Every time we dissected a vagina, we would see this very large clitoris, and we were curious whether anyone had examined it in detail to see if it worked like a human clitoris,’ Lead author and animal genital expert Patricia Brennan of Mount Holyoke College said in a statement.
‘We knew that dolphins have sex not just to reproduce, but also to solidify social bonds, so it seemed likely that the clitoris could be functional.’
The first feature noticed by researchers was the presence of erectile tissue structures, with many blood vessels. Adult dolphins have this s-shape in their clitoris body that is probably straightened when it becomes hard
The first feature was the presence of erectile tissue structures, with many blood vessels.
‘What that means is these are tissues that actually engorge with blood, very much like a penis, and the human clitoris,’ said Brennan.
Brennan also said they found two different types of erectile tissue, the same as in humans.
Researchers also found very large nerve bundles under the skin that is three times thinner than in the adjacent regions. This means this area is more sensitive
Female dolphins have a functional clitoris that is similar to that of a human, a new study finds
One is called the spongy tissue and the other is the corpora cavernosa.
‘What is interesting is that when we looked at [dolphin] adults and compared them with the juveniles and calves, the adults have this s-shape in their clitoris body that is probably straightened when it becomes hard,’ Brennan said in an interview.
Because this is not present in juveniles and calves, she believes ‘this has some kind of reproduction function.’
Brennan and her team also found very large nerve bundles under the skin that is three times thinner than in the adjacent regions.
This means this area is more sensitive.
The final discovery was the genital corpuscles, which are sensory structures found in the human clitoris and penis
The final discovery was the genital corpuscles, which are sensory structures found in the human clitoris and penis.
‘Those [the genital corpuscles] are there specifically for pleasure,’ said Brennan.
‘This is all pretty good evidence that dolphins are experiencing pleasure through clitoris simulation.’
The researchers note that there’s been little study of the clitoris and female sexual pleasure in nature. In fact, even the human clitoris was not fully described until the 1990s.
‘This neglect in the study of female sexuality has left us with an incomplete picture of the true nature of sexual behaviors,’ Brennan said.
‘Studying and understanding sexual behaviors in nature is a fundamental part of understanding the animal experience and may even have important medical applications in the future.’
Bottlenose dolphins have also been found to get sexually aggressive with humans.
Just last year, UK officials warned swimmers to watch out for a dolphins named Nick that was acting sexual towards people.
And in 2020, footage surfaced of a women who was unexpectedly humped by a dolphin.
Travel agent Pripri Rose, 36, from Miami, Florida, was enjoying a holiday in Varadero, Cuba, when she decided to visit the local aquarium alongside mum Magda, 60.
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