Part of a series based on Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl. Because Dolphins are found in temperate to tropical coastal waters throughout large parts of the world, they’re already somewhat notorious for sexiness, but no matter how many other human values get projected onto them their bisexuality and homosexuality is still frequently whitewashed. There are four basic social units in Bottlenose society: mothers and calf pairs, adolescent groups (often male only or male dominated), bands of up to a dozen adult females and their young, and adult males in lifelong pair bonds. Yes, male dolphins get sort of gay married. In some communities more than three-quarters of all males are in same-sex partnerships.
Dolphins of the same sex sometimes spend anything from several minutes to many hours rubbing against each other, caressing, stroking, mouthing, chasing, pushing and leaping. This sexual play involves their whole bodies including fins, flukes, snouts, heads and genitals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the males often sport erections during this type of play. Although humans who “play” with Dolphins are often too starry-eyed and idealising to notice it, male Dolphins are quite often engaging with these humans in what is to them sex play. They’re not choosy about species, and they’ll have sex (or try to) with other types of marine mammals.
QED. The gentleman depicted here seems to be enjoying himself, anyway.
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
Homosexuality: Female & Male Behaviours: Courtship, Affectionate, Sexual, Pair-bonding Ranking: Primary Observed: Wild, Captivity
(See It’s Gay Animal Fortnight for an explanation of this box.)