Thursday, 23 April 2009

From "Biological Exhuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity"

By Bruce Bagemihl.

In both Bottlenose and Spinner Dolphins, animals of the same sex frequently engage in affectionate and sexual activities with each other that have many elements of heterosexual courtship and sexuality. For example, two males or two females often rub their bodies together, mouthing and nuzzling one another, and may caress or stroke each other -- simultaneously or alternately -- with their fins, flukes, snouts (or "beaks"), and heads. Sometimes this is accompanied by playful rolling, chasing, pushing, and leaping. During this activity -- which can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours -- males may display erect penises. More overt homosexual activity takes a variety of forms. One animal might gently stroke or gently probe the other's gential area with the soft tips of its flukes or flippers. Female Spinner Dolphins sometimes even "ride" on each other's doral fin -- one inserts her fin into the other's vulva or genital slit, then the two swim together in this position. Among Bottlenose females, direct stimulation of the clitoris is a prominent feature of homosexual interactions. Two females often take turns rubbing each other's clitoris, using either the snout, flippers, or flukes, or else actively masturbate against their partner's appendages. Females may also clasp one another in a belly-to-belly position (as in heterosexual mating) and thrust against each other.

Homosexual interactions also involve a form of "oral" sex in which one animal rubs and nuzzles the other's genitals with its snout or beak; because both males and females have a genital slit or opening, penetration is also possible in this fashion for both sexes. One animal might insert the tip of its beak into the other's gentials or perhaps just use its lower jaw to penetrate and stimulate his or her partner. Soemtimes this develops into a sexual activity known as BEAK-GENITAL PROPULSION, in which one partner inserts its beak into the other's genitals and gently propels the two of them forward, maintaining penetration while they swim together. The lower animal may also turn on its side or rotate belly up during this activity. Male Dolphins sometimes rub their erect penises on one another's body or genital areas. This may lead to copulation, in which one male swims upside down underneath the other, pressing his genitals against the other and even inserting his penis into the genital slit (or less commonly, anus) of the male above him (the same position is used in heterosexual intercourse). The two partners may switch psotitions, alternating during the same session, or perhaps exchanging "roles" over a longer period. If there is an age difference between male partners, either may penetrate the other, and Bottlenose adolescents have even been observed penetrating much older males. Groups of three or four males may engage in homosexual activity together, or one male may masturbate (by rubbing his penis on rocks or sand) while other males are coupling nearby. Homosexual activity is sometimes accompanied by aggressive behaviours, but these can also occur during heterosexual interactions (males and females have been observed diving forcefully at eat other, for example, and violently ramming their foreheads together as a prelude to mating). In Spinner Dolphins, groups of a dozen or more dolphins of both sexes sometimes gather together in near "orgies" of caressing and sexual behaviour (both same-sex and opposite-sex); these groups are known as WUZZLES [...]

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