Gay dolphins and camp orcas, homosexuality in marine mammals is a fact!
Updated: Jun 15
Is homosexuality innate or acquired? A very controversial question. Bruce Bagemihl advanced that if same sex sexual behaviour could be found in other animals, this would prove it was ’natural’ and not due the influence of society or upbringing. He then spent 9 years studying the natural kingdom looking for same sex sexual behaviour and was surprised to find it in a great many animals.
Marine mammals in particular seem to enjoy partaking in homosexual frolics. Here is a quick overview of the ‘queer’ shenanigans of some our favourite marine animals.
Bottle nose dolphins support gay marriage!
The lives of bottlenose dolphins are characterised by extensive bisexuality combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality. They often form lifelong bonds with a same sex partner with whom they have an exclusive relationship, that they protect from predators, watch over when the other is resting and help when they are healing from wounds or illness. There is a lot of sexual activity though it may decline as the dolphins get older. Younger dolphins will live in all male groups in which same sex sexual activity is common, it is often from this group that the lifelong partner is found.
Orca homosexual season
In a certain season, killer whales leave their matrilineal group to join a boys only group where homosexual frolicking is the norm. The orcas have developed a very elegant form of sexual play that involves jumps, splashing and nuzzling/rubbing each other’s genital area with the mouth/beak whilst diving. Orcas like to display their erect penises during these sessions, showing off their bright pink yad long appendages. Sessions last from a few minutes to a few hours. All the interactions are reciprocal and seemingly all male orcas partake. Some seem to have favourite males with which they interact during this season every year whilst others interact with a wide variety of other males.
Grey whale all boy (or all girl) orgies
Orgy season for grey whales is in the summering season and northward migration. Same sex whale get into groups, sometimes as big as 4 or 5 individuals and enjoy a bit of hanky panky. Games usually involve jumping, splashing and penis rubbing. The whales like to roll around each other and then rub their bellies, most often one or more of the whales has an arching erect penis (light pink and 6 feet long in this case). Some female gay sexual activities have also been observed but with much less information recorded (as usual).
The harbour seals’ camp courtship dance
Harbour seals have been observed to have same sex sexual games usually displayed by pair rolling whereby the two males roll around each other mounting and embracing each other whilst twisting and writhing in the water and maintaining full body contact. One or both of the males usually has an erection (nothing to write home about here), the game of courtship usually ends with each male taking turns mounting the other.
West Indian manatee same sex cavorting antiques
These manatees engage in a lot of same sexual games and what’s interesting is that the heterosexual and homosexual interactions are very different. For one the homosexual ones last 4 to 8 times longer (sorry ladies), putting them at a record 2 minutes! The positions in same sex cavorting (as these sexual games are referred to) vary from mouth to penis, flipper to penis, embracing, head to tail and side embrace, whereas a typical heterosexual interaction would involve the male swimming under the female on his back and mating with her upside down.
So it seems that marine mammals have fantastic homosexual sex without any taboos, us humans might want to take a leaf out of their book! But then again they sound like they need a little work on their heterosexual interactions (manatees need to up their game !). I guess you can't have it all. Or can you?