5 Bighorn Sheep
What’s manlier than a bighorn sheep with its giant, murderous horns and no-nonsense attitude? This animal proves that masculinity has nothing to do with sexual preference. Bighorn sheep spend a good portion of the year in same-sex groups, and almost all of the males participate in homosexual behavior. Usually an older male will seduce a younger male, lowering his head and flicking his tongue and growling. But it’s not all about aggression and May-December romances. Sometimes a group of as many as 10 rams will huddle together, snuggling in a love-filled same-sex orgy.
4 Killer Whales
When you think of killer whales, you probably think first of the movie “Free Willy,” but then your brain goes to the image of a big, dangerous animal that could swallow you whole. Killer whales are actually very loving and considerate animals that form male-only groups during the summer and fall. A couple of these males, sometimes more than a couple, will flirt, splash and make physical contact. One male may swim under water and rub another male with his beak, and the whales will swim around in this position, diving into the water while intertwined. They’ll then repeat the act with the positions reversed.
Penguins look comical and kind of goofy, but these little guys are quite progressive in terms of sexuality. Pairs of male penguins will flirt, date, build nests, and when an egg isn’t produced from their pairing, they’ve been known to huddle over a round stone instead. One pair of male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo successfully hatched an egg taken from another nest and raised the chick. The same thing occurred in other zoos with pairs of male King penguins, and penguins usually mate for life, same sex or not.
Bonobos are African apes that are closely related to humans. They’re also among the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom, and their sexual appetite is probably greater than that of most humans. It’s thought that a large percentage of bonobo sex is nonreproductive and that nearly all bonobos are bisexual. They’re lovers, not fighters. They use sex to resolve conflicts and most conflict occurs within the same gender, so same-sex love has to occur to keep things happy and genial. Individual bonobos who are strictly heterosexual are often scorned, and find themselves unable to make friends or breed.
Dolphins are comparable to humans and chimpanzees in their cognitive and social abilities, so it would make sense that they’re also similar in terms of sexuality. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts studied more than 120 bottlenose dolphins and found the males engaged in bisexuality combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality. Apparently the male-to-male relationships are passionate, and the pairs can be loving, but they also work together to reproduce with females when the need arises.
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