The sexual behavior of animals has been of interest to biologists for centuries. Whether animals enjoy sex or not has been a question that has perplexed scientists for the longest time. With many studies about animal sexual behavior, we can now say that there are many animals (or at least the 13 we’ve included in our article) that engage in sexual activities for pleasure. To learn about a few of them, keep on reading…
Formerly thought to be an extant species of the chimpanzee, we now know bonobos as a distinct type of ape and possibly our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom.
Bonobos are known for their complex societal structures, their ability to comfort each other, and, perhaps most notably, the matrilinear structure of their societies where the females are mostly dominant instead of the males of the species.
They are also known for their elaborate displays of affection, with sex being a social activity that they enjoy the most. With promiscuity being the norm, sex is seen as a glue that holds their communities together. More than any other animal, Bonobos are known for their affinity for having sex for pleasure.
It’s no secret that chimpanzees are smarter than most animals in the animal kingdom, but very few people know just how smart they actually are.
According to Jane Goodall, a primate researcher who has extensively studied chimpanzees, chimps are capable of communicating in more complex ways than we would have previously assumed. They have complex social structures and rituals, and even use tools.
In some experiments where chimps were taught to use money, scientists soon saw the rise of prostitution as a profession, making it extremely likely that chimpanzees enjoy sex.
It is difficult to determine whether animals experience pleasure in the same way that humans do, as we cannot directly ask them about their subjective experiences. However, research suggests that goats do engage in sexual behavior for reasons beyond mere reproduction, which could indicate that they experience some form of pleasure or enjoyment.
In the case of goats, male goats will often exhibit courtship behaviors such as nuzzling, head-butting, and vocalizations when interacting with female goats. They may also engage in prolonged mounting behavior even after ejaculation has occurred. All of these behaviors would suggest that the role of sex goes beyond mere reproduction for them.
4. Spotted Hyena
Spotted Hyenas are very social creatures and have been known to exhibit sexual behavior beyond mere reproduction. In Spotted Hyena societies, females are usually dominant instead of males. They also engage in sex as a means of bonding as well as establishing dominance.
Male spotted hyenas will often engage in sexual behavior with other male members of the group as well, which is thought to help reduce tension within a group and facilitate bonding.
Sheep are extremely social creatures that love bonding with others regardless of species. They’ve been known to be playful, which would suggest that their brains are complex enough to comprehend play, pleasure, and boredom.
Both male and female sheep have been known to show sexual behavior. Male sheep will often exhibit courtship behavior such as approaching and following the female, vocalizing and rubbing against them. Female sheep may also exhibit signs of interest, such as standing still or moving toward the male. During sexual activity, male sheep may engage in prolonged mounting behavior even after ejaculation has occurred, which could be an indication that they find the experience pleasurable.
Dolphins are arguably the most intelligent creatures in the world after humans, with many believing that they might have even surpassed humans had they developed opposable thumbs. Even without such appendages, dolphins can use tools and have been known to exhibit recreational behavior.
In a case study done on dolphins in captivity, it was observed that dolphins exhibit a range of sexual behaviors, often forming long-term intimate partnerships with dolphins of the same sex. Although this study was criticized for not being reflective of dolphins in the wild, more recent studies suggest similar behavior in the wild as well.
Male cheetahs will typically approach females in heat and engage in courtship behaviors such as nuzzling, head-butting, and vocalizations. Once mating occurs, male cheetahs may stay with the female for a period of time, often grooming her and engaging in other affectionate behaviors.
While it is difficult to know for certain whether cheetahs experience pleasure during sexual activity, it is clear that sexual behavior serves a variety of purposes. Beyond just reproduction, cheetahs engage in sexual activity for social bonding and establishing dominance.
Lions are known for the patriarchal structure of their pride, wherein a pride of lions will often have one male that breeds with a number of females who are usually (but not always) related. Contrary to popular belief, lions only actively hunt for a few hours every day. The rest of the day, they spend in recreational activities, one of which happens to be sex.
Lions will spend a lot of time each day having sex, and will often start having sex as soon as a female has stopped weaning their cubs. It’s not always the male that seeks out sex either, with females being just as eager as the males.
9. Short-Nosed Fruit Bats
Bats are all highly intelligent creatures, and all of them exhibit a number of behaviors that suggest they are capable of higher thinking. Almost all species of bats are highly social and have a lot of different behaviors that help them bond with others.
In a recent study done on short-nosed fruit bats, it was discovered that oral stimulation was often used by female fruit bats to get the males to start copulating with them. This would suggest that bats have a concept of sex that goes beyond reproduction.
Macaques are a species of medium-sized primates that are found throughout Asia, north Africa, and Gibraltar. They are known for their intelligence and the resemblance that their societies have with human societies.
Little did scientists know that the resemblance goes way deeper than just their social orders. It has been discovered that the way macaques have sex is also very reminiscent of the way humans do it, with macaques experiencing heart palpitations and vaginal spasms. Moreover, females are known to turn around and grab the males during mating, making it even more likely that there is some pleasure involved on their part.
11. Sea Otter
Sea Otters are highly social amphibious mammals that inhabit most of the world’s freshwater streams. We’ve known about their intelligence for a while, with the use of tools being observed for a long time.
Male sea otters have been observed to practice very aggressive sexual behavior towards females. They will often grab onto the female, bite and cut her only letting go when they’re done. They’ve also been known to copulate with juvenile Seals, sometimes resulting in their death – and they often don’t stop even after their death.
Giraffes are also highly intelligent and very social creatures. They live in groups, often grooming, looking after, and protecting each other from predators. This sort of social cohesion is very rare in nature and would suggest that they are likely very intelligent creatures.
While mating, giraffes will often exhibit affectionate behavior toward their mates by nuzzling them, caressing them, and rubbing their necks together. This would suggest that the purpose of sex goes beyond reproduction for them as well.
13. Brown Bear
Although Brown Bears are often pictured as lonesome forest dwellers who’d rather die (or kill) than interact with anyone, their bond with their kin is also very well-documented. It is why the phrase “mama bear” is used for protective parents.
Their sexual appetite is also unmatched, apparently. A study conducted on Brown Bears in Croatia concluded that Brown Bears love oral sex! A couple of Brown Bears were kept under observation for 116 hours and were found to have engaged in oral sex more than twenty-eight times in that period.