Orgasms in the animal kingdom

“Hit like rabbits.” This saying is not accidental. Rabbits have a lot of sex. And they are not alone in the animal kingdom. Cats, mice, dolphins, bonobos – they all love to breed. But why is this? Do you also have an orgasm?

In fact, it is unclear whether all animals can have an orgasm during intercourse. However, for some, there is evidence that they experience a similar climax. This is the case for most species of mammals. For other classes, such as birds, fish, and reptiles, there is little research on this topic.

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The exception is the buffalo weaver (Bubalornis niger), native to East Africa. Researchers at the University of Sheffield found that males of this species of bird have a penis that is used only for sexual stimulation and not for the release of semen. With buffalo weavers, orgasm is expressed by trembling and glassy eyes.

Dolphins also have sex for pleasure. © Ecohotel / CC-by-sa 3.0

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There is more knowledge about different mammals. This also isn’t always just about reproduction. Just like humans, dolphins have sex for pleasure. Researchers have repeatedly observed how dolphins rub each other’s clitoris with their nose, tail fins, pectoral fins, or piercings. These sexual interactions are not only found between heterosexual couples, but increasingly among same-sex dolphins.

This behavior is most likely caused by the large clitoris of the female dolphin. This is located in the front of the vagina, which helps with stimulation. The clitoris of the female dolphin also contains a lot of sensitive and erotic tissue, the corpus cavernosum contains many nerve endings. This makes the clitoris of a dolphin very similar to the human clitoris.

Social behavior in bonobos is reinforced by sex. © Rob Bixby / CC-by-sa 2.0

sex for social life

Bonobos also have non-reproductive sex. Instead, these great apes promote social interaction and resolve conflicts through sexual contact. This is especially true of same-sex sex between female bonobos. In general, chimpanzee species have more homosexual relations than heterosexual genital sex.

Researchers at the University of Leipzig found that female bonobos had higher levels of urinary oxytocin after having sex with another female than after having sex with a male. Among other things, this could be a physiological basis for the fact that female bonobos also show a higher motivation to cooperate. This, in turn, has the advantage that they often achieve a higher rank in their society.

induced ovulation

In some mammals, including rabbits and cats, orgasm is not only important for the social aspect, but is also necessary for reproduction so that both sexes reach their climax. This is indicated by the ovulation cycle. In human women, ovulation usually triggers approximately every four weeks, regardless of the frequency of intercourse. However, this is not the case with all mammals: in some mammals, ovulation does not occur until they reach orgasm.

Mihaela Pavlichv of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Gunter Wagner of Yale University examined this relationship between orgasm and ovulation in rabbits. To do this, they administered fluoxetine to rabbits for two weeks. It is an antidepressant that inhibits the ability to reach orgasm in humans.

In rabbits, both sexes must have an orgasm in order to reproduce. © Oxford Scientific / Getty Images

It turned out that after female rabbits treated in this way were grouped with buck, the number of ovulation after mating decreased by 30 percent. In order to exclude that the agent had a direct effect on ovulation in rabbits, the females were also injected with the sex hormone human chorionic gonadotropin. This triggered ovulation despite fluoxetine, while orgasm was suppressed by antidepressants.

From this it can be concluded that ovulation in rabbits occurs only by orgasm. The egg cell is stimulated by hormones that are stimulated during orgasm to free itself from the ovaries – and fertilization can now take place.

The clitoris is also the crucial stimulus to orgasm in female rabbits. Since they are located inside the vagina in rabbits, they are stimulated directly by penetration. However, it remains unclear whether rodents perceive orgasm in a similar way to humans. However, there are some very similar orgasmic symptoms in rabbits and humans, such as warmth, increased lubrication, and involuntary muscle contractions in the vagina.

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