Fifty Shades of Animal Sex and the Evolution of Sadomasochism

As researcher, I study the psychology of human-animal interactions, but at Western Carolina University, I am known as “the guy who teaches the sex class.” When the book Fifty Shades of Grey took over the best seller list, I started getting lots of questions from my students about sadomasochism, and bondage and domination. I am not an expert on the topic, but several the students were. They organized an in-class panel to explain the psychology of BDSM to me and the rest of class. Their discussion of the joys of mixing pain and pleasure did not make me want to order a set of fur-lined handcuffs or a vegan-friendly whip from Amazon. It did, however, get me thinking about the similarities and differences between human and animal sexuality, and specifically, are non-human animals interested in experiencing recreational pain?

Kinky Animal Sex

My course includes a lecture on the evolution of sex. The take-home messages is that there is hardly anything that is completely “unnatural” in the animal kingdom. Homosexuality, for example, has been documented in over 400 species. Among my favorite examples of kinky animal sex are cunnilingus in fruit bats, masturbation in horses, trans-sexuality in fish, and necrophilia —> Read More Here


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