Sex, with a purpose other than reproduction, appears in animal species other than humans. Will our pets be among them?
What exactly is masturbation?
The action of masturbating consists of rubbing the genitals either with the hands, with an object or with another individual.
What is the purpose of masturbation
The ultimate goals of masturbation can be diverse. From satisfying a sexual desire to reducing stress, for example.
5 benefits of masturbation
- It provides safe sex , since it does not carry the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
- It produces pleasure by stimulating organs and structures with a multitude of sensory receptors connected to our brain. Masturbation causes the release of pleasure chemicals, such as dopamine, serotonin or endorphins.
- Releases stress and generates well-being: With masturbation, toxins are eliminated and the muscles relax, producing a release of accumulated tension.
- Generates social cohesion: When masturbation is not done alone, a series of pheromones and hormones are released that are responsible for bonding the participants emotionally. This is why having sex with someone predisposes you to fall in love with this person, even if you want to avoid it.
- Improves health: Aerobic exercise and the substances that we secrete during masturbation improve, for example, cardiovascular health.
4 wild animals that masturbate a lot
- The bonobos : They are the closest primates phylogenetically with human beings and have a similarity with us of 98% in their DNA. Masturbation in bonobos has been described as an act of social cohesion for the group and a conflict resolution tool.
- Elephants : Unlike bonobos and also humans, elephants don’t have hands. But they have a trunk! And who doesn’t know how much a good trunk helps in sex?
This is how elephants stimulate the genital organs of their conspecifics, preparing them for successful and productive intercourse. All for the survival of the species.
- Dolphins : They rub their ventral parts in search of pleasure with other individuals, but also with objects. They use smooth rocks or dead fish to masturbate. They can even use the bubbles produced by a powerful nasal jet previously generated by another dolphin. If you are thinking about your cousin’s Jacuzzi, you know what it is…
- The squirrels : In 2010 a study published in the journal PloS ONE showed how male squirrels masturbate to improve the quality of their sperm and avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
7 causes of masturbation in dogs
- Routine semen extraction: Masturbation or gentle stimulation of males with the hands is a common practice in veterinary extraction processes. Either by evaluating the health of the animal through its semen, or by performing an artificial insemination process on a female.
- Genital cleaning: It is very common for males, especially non-neutered ones, to lick their penis in their hygiene routines. If they don’t, the semen around the scrotum could become infected. In addition to being a great substrate for flies to lay their eggs that produce a disease known as myiasis, when the larvae hatch and feed on the animal’s flesh.
- Pain or infection: There are health reasons, such as urine infections or prostate conditions, for which a dog may compulsively rub his genitals with an object.
- Stereotypies: These are repetitive and non-adaptive compulsive behaviors that occur with the sole purpose of relieving the animal of stress. Among them is the fact of licking a paw, chasing the tail, but also compulsively mounting an object or licking without rest.
- Anxiety: A dog that has an anxiety problem may tend to mount objects compulsively. This anxiety can even have an origin in the frustration of sexual behavior, being exposed to the smell of females in the neighborhood and not being able, however, to cover them.
- Play: Mounting and genital rubbing behaviors are common in confident dogs. Also in young and adolescent dogs that are discovering their limits and practicing their riding skills.
- Intense emotion: Very frequently, dogs channel an intense emotion in front of another individual, context or situation through the behavior of mounting. It helps them to release the stress that this emotion produces at that moment. This emotion does not necessarily have to be negative. The feeling of overflowing joy that they feel when a person they appreciate arrives can lead to mounting behavior.
After all this we have read, do you think masturbation is bad for your dog?
It is not. But it can be the output of a health problem or masked stress. Therefore, if your dog does it, observe the context and think about what the reasons may be.
Bagemihl, B. 1999. Biological exuberance: animal homosexuality and natural diversity. St. Martin’s Press.
Waterman, J. M. 2010. The adaptive function of masturbation in a promiscuous African ground squirrel. PLoS One, 5(9), e13060.