People have said that animals only have sex for reproduction. That may be the case. But what about homosexual animals (or animals that engage in homosexual activity)? What can we say in those cases?
It seems that we can only say one of two things.
- These animals are confused and they don’t know what’s going on. They’re not normal.
- Perhaps there’s more to animal sexuality than we realize. With this, maybe animals don’t have sex purely for reproductive purposes.
Think about this. We are considered to be the most intelligent beings on Earth. Things like worms, bacteria aren’t intelligent because they can’t reason. However, it’s not purely black and white. Dogs are much more intelligent than bacteria and worms, but not quite as intelligent as humans. Pigs are considered intelligent creatures. Chickens would certainly be considered more intelligent than worms, but not quite as intelligent as pigs or dogs. In other words, there are different shades of intelligence that we could put on a scale. Humans would be at the top of the scale, and plants or perhaps even rocks would be at the bottom. All other living creatures would be somewhere in between.
The same thing could be said about Ugly and Beauty. There is a definite scale and there are some things that aren’t totally ugly nor beautiful, but somewhere in the middle.
What if the same thing could be said about sexuality? With humans, our sexuality isn’t just for biological purposes, but we have sub-categories that has its own niches for all sorts of groups and sub-groups. There are myriads of sexual cultures: S&M, homosexuality, orgies, even sex toys has it’s own niche within human sexuality. It’s all part of this culture. I don’t think we can assume that non-human animals don’t have a sexual culture. Now, it may not be as fully enriched as ours, but it isn’t a pure deadless culture either. Bacteria don’t have a sexual culture, but other species like dolphins, pigs, prairie dogs, peacocks, monkeys have a range of activities. But we say they only have sex for reproduction. I think this is a false dichotomy.
Based on the alternatives above, number one seems to be false. Out of all the animals in history, it seems unlikely that billions or even trillions of animals were simply “confused.” I think number two seems to be the best option. They have their own sexual culture and it isn’t purely for reproductive purposes. Of course, it isn’t fully advanced or detailed as ours, but just like the scales of intelligence and the Ugly/Beauty have gray areas, I think sexuality can have gray areas too.
Who knows? Perhaps some species have their own niche where humans aren’t even aware of, just like we have our own niches that animals could never comprehend.
Thus, I think it would be to biologists’ and zoologists’ benefit if we give up the idea that the only purpose of sexuality is for reproductive purposes, for all species.