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Is pleasurable sex an evolved trait?

  1. Oct 3, 2007 #1
    The only two animals that have sex for pleasure, also have something else in common... self-awareness. These, of course, are dolphins and humans. Has reason caused these creatures to question whether to have sex or not? We know the most basic instincts are survival and replication, so maybe through evolution the ones that didn't enjoy sex died off and the ones that did lived on.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2007 #2
    I think you're mixing several concepts here.

    When it is said that humans have sex for pleasure, what you're basically implying is that they can cheat sex. That is, they can take pleasure that is engineered to favor reproductive activity without there being any.

    All organisms that reproduce sexually and are to be successful as a species, require an impulse for sexual activity. It is not hard to see that if a gene that made sex more "pleasurable" developed and it meant that organism would have more offspring, its carrier would tend to outnumber those organisms where that gene did not exist. Of course, if it became too pleasurable and there was no limit to it, the organism may forget to feed itself and die, so some sort of genetic counterweight probably developed along with it.

    The use of the concept of pleasure is, of course, open to debate. It may not exist in all animals in the same sense that it does for humans, but some form of positive feedback (a chemical high perhaps) for sexual activity must exist.
  4. Oct 12, 2007 #3
    I'm not sure where you are getting your ideas, but they don't appear accurate. Every mammal has self and social awareness and has sex just because it feels good and they have the drive. I've owned a lot of animals, including mice and rats, and they do not have sex to reproduce, they do it because they enjoy it. It's true that animals that do not have a sex-drive have a less chance on passing on their genetics, but self awareness, dolphins, and humans are not related to that aspect of natural selection anymore than any other organism.
  5. Oct 12, 2007 #4


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    If you've ever owned a male dog, and watched them get an erection when somebody scratched the back of their neck (usually accompanied with the mandatory faux-scratching leg movements), you have to know that sexual behavior and responses in animals is as least as complex as in people. Pleasurable behaviors result in positive reinforcement.
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