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Do dolphins mate with the same gender?

Dolphins are known for their intelligence, playfulness, and social behavior. However, they are also known for their complex sexual behavior. One of the questions that scientists have asked about dolphins’ sexuality is whether they mate with the same gender.

The Science behind Dolphin Sexuality

To understand dolphin sexuality, we need to first understand their anatomy. Dolphins have a penis, called a “dork,” that can be up to 14 inches long and a vaginal opening. They also have an open mating system, which means that females mate with multiple males and males mate with multiple females.

Scientists believe that dolphins use sex as a form of social bonding and communication. Dolphins have been observed engaging in various sexual behaviors, including masturbation, oral sex, and same-sex behavior. Homosexual behavior has been observed in several dolphin species, including bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins.

Homosexual Behavior in Male Dolphins

Homosexual behavior in male dolphins has been extensively studied. One of the most well-known examples of same-sex behavior in dolphins comes from the island of Kauai in Hawaii. In the 1990s, researchers observed a group of male bottlenose dolphins engaging in same-sex behavior, including mounting and genital rubbing.

Another example of same-sex behavior in male dolphins comes from Shark Bay in Western Australia. Male bottlenose dolphins in this population form lifelong alliances with each other, with some pairs engaging in sexual behavior. In some cases, these alliances can last for decades.

Homosexual Behavior in Female Dolphins

While male dolphins have been extensively studied for their same-sex behavior, less is known about female dolphins. However, there have been some observations of female bottlenose dolphins engaging in same-sex behavior, such as mounting and rubbing against each other.

Theories for Same-Sex Behavior in Dolphins

There are several theories for why dolphins engage in same-sex behavior. One theory is that dolphins use sex as a form of social bonding. Male dolphins, for example, may form alliances with each other through sexual behavior. This could help them to defend their territory, compete for mates, or protect their young.

Another theory is that same-sex behavior in dolphins is a form of play. Dolphins are known for their playful behavior, and same-sex behavior could be a form of sexual play that allows them to explore their own bodies and those of their peers.


In conclusion, there is evidence that dolphins engage in same-sex behavior, with male dolphins showing the most extensive examples of same-sex behavior. While the exact reasons for this behavior are not fully understood, it is clear that sex is an important part of dolphin social behavior, and same-sex behavior may serve a variety of functions, from social bonding to sexual play.