Science and Social Research / Psychology
Dolphin Pair

Dolphins Do It
 by Earl Koenig

THERE IS GOOD evidence for the view that man/boy love is rooted in our earliest social evolution.  If true, then no amount of suppressive legislation, beefed-up police powers, or psychological conditioning will ever be able to eradicate it without fundamentally altering and impairing something essential and vital in human nature.

Intergenerational homosexuality has been observed repeatedly in one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet.  Dolphins not only engage in homosexuality, but also the cetaceous equivalent of boy-love.  In what has come to be regarded as the "classic observations of dolphins at the Marineland of Florida," marine biologists A.F.  McBride and D.O.  Hebb published their findings in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology.  Their landmark study revealed that sexual play among young male dolphins was so common it seemed to typify a pre-adult stage.  Not as common but nonetheless frequent were sexual encounters between maturing male dolphins and fully adult males.  These liaisons were not matters of dominance and submission.  Indeed, the younger dolphins often sought out the older males.  Force or coercion never appeared in such contacts.

As McBride and Hebb reported, "In the spring of 1940, there were two large males in the tank and two younger males, smaller and subordinate....  The two larger males repeatedly attempted intromission with the younger ones.  In the homosexual activity the active (or `male') male swims upside-down under the passive (or `female') male."

The legendary links between human and dolphin may be closer than we ever suspected, especially if Desmond Morris, the popular science writer, is correct in his belief that both humans and dolphins share the same evolutionary path until some common ancestor decided to make its home in the sea, leaving us behind on the shore (see his The Human Zoo).  In any case, intergenerational same-sex behavior is commonly displayed among a higher species with which people feel emotionally akin (for whatever reasons), adequately demonstrating that such behavior is by no means "unnatural."

If American moralists are scandalized by the dolphin's sex practices, how much more offended might they be by the behavior of their own ancestors, the founders of western civilization, more than 4000 years ago?  In his deeply researched investigation of the Indo-European peoples of the third millennium B.C., Rick Fields recreated their ceremonial life: "Very probably they practiced ritual pederasty, like some of the warriors in New Guinea.  This custom was known among warrior societies in Sparta and Crete, where young boys were 'captured' by older warriors as part of initiation.  It was also found among the Celts and Germans."

While it is generally known to have been accepted among ancient Greeks and Romans, this far older Indo-European behavior demonstrates that boy-love extends back in time thousands of years to the very roots of civilized humankind.  It also contradicts the assertion that homosexuality exists only when a civilization becomes over-crowded and declines, giving rise to "unnatural" social practices, since the Indo-European peoples of that period did not build cities and lived very close to nature in scattered population groups.  History tells us that the culture-bearers who arose from "ritual pederasty" gave us the Greek, Roman, Celtic, and Germanic civilizations, which the haters of boy-love seem to enjoy, nonetheless.

Obviously, man/boy-love has been part of our human heritage from the beginnings of civilization, if not long before, as parallel behavior among our dolphin cousins indicates.  To suddenly condemn such a natural, age-old impulse is to thwart the millennial course of historical development.  Who are the real perverts?

DolphinsThese few facts represent a relative splinter of information from the vast body of evidence supporting the virtue of man/boy-love.  Unfortunately, none of it counts for anything among the moral demagogues and their emotionally manipulated followers, because the mob-mentality, deranged by passionate hatred, is oblivious to reason.  It may nevertheless be salubrious for us to know that "the love ashamed to speak its own name" was regarded with religious reverence from the golden ages of prehistory and is still freely celebrated by our dolphin friends.  In that, perhaps, we may take an extra measure of quiet pride.


Notes:
Devine, Eleanore and Clark, Martha, The Dolphin Smile, 29 Centuries of Dolphin Lore, New York: 1967, Macmillan, page 128.

Fields, Rick, The Code of the Warrior in History, Myth, and Everyday Life, New York: 1991, Harper Perennial, page 63.

From the NAMBLA Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 2.  Pg. 15, Aug. 1995
Copyright © NAMBLA, 2008


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