Given that we are most familiar with human orgasms, scientists have unsurprisingly looked for behavioral and physical correlates of what we sometimes experience – shuddering, muscular rigidity, a cessation of movement, vocalization, changes of facial expression, ejaculation.
None of these are guaranteed, and consequently we should not expect them necessarily to be associated with sex in other species.
There’s an idea circulating that humans are the only animal to experience sexual pleasure; that we approach sex in a way that is distinct from others.
As with many questions about sex, this exposes some interesting facts about the way we discuss the subject.
Sex may bond animals together or may cement a dominance hierarchy in the case of bonobos, for example, one of humans’ closest relatives.
These functions may be extremely important, especially for social animals, and would likely only be feasible if sex were in itself a source of pleasure.
On one level, the question of whether humans and nonhumans experience sex in the same way is fairly simply dismissed: how would we know?
We cannot know how a nonhuman experiences anything – they can’t be asked.
” is, at time of writing, about as unanswerable as they get.
Having said that, we can make educated guesses about whether sex is pleasurable for other species.
There’s no reason why an animal should seek sex unless they enjoy it.