With increasing awareness among humans regarding different sexualities, to wonder if dogs too can have different sexual tendencies is only natural. Many dog parents, at one point or another, must have encountered a situation where they would have found their pets humping on other dogs of the same gender.
There are several instances when we find our beloved pets do strange things and cannot fathom why they behave in that manner. For example, some dog owners may witness their dogs indulge in sexual advances from another of the same gender yet ignore it. Others, however, may take it forward, and their curiosity could drive them to find answers to questions like – can dogs be gay?
Let us explore this question today and try to find out what the research points out regarding the sexuality of dogs.
Can Animals Be Gay?
First, we should consider that being gay and displaying homosexual traits are different concepts altogether. In the context of animals, it has been repeatedly noticed that many species exhibit homosexual behavior, but that surely doesn’t imply that they are gay.
In humans, homosexuality is often characterized by the romantic and sexual attraction between two or more two individuals, in addition to sexual behavior associated with homosexuality. But in the case of animals, especially dogs, although sexual behavior towards the same gender has been observed, we are yet to understand the depth and emotions behind it.
Homosexuality in Animals
Scientists have long held the firm opinion that gay conduct can also occur in animals. Despite being a taboo, and remaining a hushed-up topic for quite some time now, substantial evidence exists proving that animals do show homosexual traits.
For instance, in 1999, in scholastic work titled Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, B.Bagemihl argued that there are more than 300 species of animals, especially vertebrates, who do engage in homosexual behavior.
A varied chronological study on this subject reveals that in some animals, only the males or the females, while in others, both males and females show homosexual traits. In this context, a famed evolutionary biologist and ecologist, Joan Roughgarden, has stated that a greater contextual variation can be noticed among animals.
Engaging in further investigation, Elizabeth Adkins-Regan concluded that monogamous animals are far more likely to have more constraints regarding their sexual preference.
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Why Do Dogs Show Homosexual Traits?
To answer this question, let’s look back at Adkins-Regan’s research. First, she stated that certain external physiological procedures might affect sexual behavior among animals. For instance, she argued that hormonal treatment, spaying, and early neutering could alter the sexual preference among animals like pigs, rats, hamsters, and probably dogs. So, tampering with the hormones of these animals can affect their sexual behavior.
If My Dog is Humping Other Dogs, What Does It Mean?
With the increasing and ever-evolving definitions of sex and sexualities, human beings have come a long way in freeing themselves from rigid and traditional social and gender notions. However liberating this achievement may feel, there tend to be numerous other questions that keep mankind confused over such subjects.
The boundaries are blurring, and so are the definitions of human relationships. But, for now, let us focus on animals and dogs in particular. Humping may appear to be an act of sexuality on the surface, but there could be many reasons why your dog is potentially humping other dogs or even other non-living things. Some of these reasons are as follows:
1. Affectionate Gesture
Unlike humans, dogs do not understand the concepts of “good touch” and “bad touch.” If they feel affectionate towards another animal, their instinctive reaction is to express it somehow. The playful mounting on other animals comes as if naturally to them when their excitement is at its peak. But that does not make them gay!
2. Non-Neutered Reaction
Humping as an act often denotes dominance over both animate and inanimate objects. It has been repeatedly noticed that adult male dogs who have not been neutered are more likely to show this behavioral pattern. However, please remember that neutering is not always the best solution for adult dogs; even after neutering, they can continue humping. Hence, it is recommended to contact your vet and get your male dogs neutered at a young age.
3. Dominant Behavior
Humping or mounting is a common characteristic associated with dogs. Interestingly, even female dogs show this trait. While humping can be a playful activity for your dog, it often denotes dominance, often over other dogs. Therefore, humping as an act is more recurrent among older dogs and cannot go on to suggest they are inherently gay!
4. Untrained and Unsocial Life
It is well-known now that humping can signify a reaction to stimuli. Quite often, when dogs are not trained from an early age or are not taken to dog parks regularly, they grow up alone and fail to socialize.
Therefore, irrespective of the breed, it is recommended that your dog be trained early. It can help them socialize with other dogs or humans and minimize their reactions to unknown stimuli.
All these reasons are based on research and people’s everyday experience with dogs. It can be easily concluded that the concept of homosexuality is non-existent due to their lack of understanding of sexual orientation.
So, the next time you sit down to overthink or over-analyze this situation, remember that it doesn’t matter to your dog who they hump as long as these voiceless creatures get to show affection to others; be it with the same sex dogs or not. One cannot claim a dog to be gay even if they like to indulge with same-sex dogs as they are not confining or subscribing to the notion of gay!
As it is, due to technological advancements, it is quite convenient for vets to collect male dogs’ sperms and inseminate females manually. Thereby ascribing to the notion of heterosexuality for procreation.
Sexuality in animals is an instinctive behavior. One cannot call dogs engaging in same-sex pursuits and cannot be considered gay! Animals do not necessarily have sexual orientations or preferences as we’d like to believe. When humans indulge in sexuality, many other factors are at work for a long time and too consistently.
However, that is not quite the case with animals and dogs, per se. For them, it is mostly about satisfying their sexual needs regardless of understanding the other dog’s gender. In their case, it is mostly their hormones that define their sexual encounters rather than social tags, as in humans.