Do any other animals have sex for pleasure? © Getty Images

Do any other animals have sex for pleasure?

Asked by: Bill Strudwick, via email

The primary function of sex is to reproduce, so it would make sense that nature would incentivise animals to mate by rewarding them with a pleasurable experience. We don’t know how many animals experience sexual pleasure, but we have evidence for it in a number of species.

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Bonobos and other primates will have sex while pregnant or lactating – seemingly just for the joy of it – while short-nosed fruit bats engage in oral sex to prolong their bouts of intercourse (there might be evolutionary reasons for this, but it could also be for fun).

Meanwhile, the clitorises of female dolphins possess nerve bundles, erectile tissue and blood vessels, which could enable them to climax, and female Japanese macaques have been observed orgasming – despite there being no direct reproductive benefit of this.

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