Margaret Howe Lovatt was a young research assistant when a scientist asked if she would isolate herself and live with a dolphin to see if the creatures could learn to speak in the human language. Sure, that's pretty odd, but it actually gets stranger. The experiment allegedly led to a dolphin developing romantic feelings for Lovatt. Eventually, sexual encounters between the woman and the dolphin took place. While the pair never had actual intercourse, the controversy surrounding the experiment gave rise to uncomfortable questions. Can humans and dolphins have sex? Why was Lovatt giving a dolphin a handjob?
Dolphins are sexually frisky creatures in almost any setting. They've been known to be sexually aggressive, to the point where dolphins can sexually assault people and are more promiscuous than many other wild creatures. Still, dolphins having sex with humans is virtually unheard of, especially in a scientific setting. This scandalous experiment is one filled with drugs, misplaced romantic feelings, sexual deviance, and tragedy. Be warned: there are sexual interspecies topics below. Read at your own caution.
Peter Started To Show Sexual Urges
While Peter was a good learner and responded well to Lovatt, he was a maturing dolphin who was beginning to have rather uncomfortable needs. He began to exhibit courtship behavior towards Lovatt, including gently biting her on her legs, caressing her, and even rubbing himself on her ankles or feet.
This, of course, was a major inconvenience during training sessions, and Peter would become distracted as he became more worked up. In order to help relieve some of the tension, Peter would briefly be moved back to the tank with the other two females, where one assumes he could flirt and ease his urges in peace. But this constant moving was time-consuming. Lovatt knew that some other solution would have to be found.
Margaret Eventually Chose To Relieve The Dolphin's Sexual Urges Herself
For many, this was where the experiment really started to go off the deep end. Lovatt decided that, in order to keep her dolphin student focused, it would be beneficial for her to relieve his sexual urges. After all, he was showing a great deal of affection and sexual interest in her, and she was his main source of interaction. She began to pleasure him manually, in order to alleviate his sexual tension, and the lessons continued as usual.
Although Lovatt claims that there were no sexual feelings on her part when relieving Peter, she does speak of the experience being "sensuous":
It wasn’t sexual on my part. Sensuous perhaps. It seemed to me that it made the bond closer. Not because of the sexual activity, but because of the lack of having to keep breaking. And that’s really all it was. I was there to get to know Peter. That was part of Peter.
This Isn't The First Time Dolphins And Humans Have Had Sexual Interactions
Malcolm Brenner wrote a book called Wet Goddess about a sexual affair he had with a female dolphin named Dolly. He was working with her at an amusement park in Florida when he claims she began to show sexual urges towards him. He describes how he and Dolly waited until the park was closed before "getting it on."
It's true that dolphins have often demonstrated aggressive sexual behavior towards each other. There are numerous reports of wild dolphins sexually assaulting (or at least annoying) swimmers. However, Lovatt may have been the first to ever experience sexual dolphin interactions in a scientific setting.
'Hustler' Published An Article On Their 'Relationship,' Exposing The Sexual Nature Of The Experiment To The World
The sexual aspect of the scientific experiment could have easily been overlooked if a certain magazine hadn't gotten word of what was going on. In the late 1970s, Hustler found out about a young research assistant who was supposedly having sexual interactions with a male dolphin. Right away, they wrote up an article on the pair, talking about how the two of them would have sex and how lewd and scandalous the whole thing was. There was even a racy drawing.
Lovatt had not even heard of Hustler at the time the article was published. But when it came to her attention, she was terribly embarrassed. She tried to buy up all the copies, but it was too late - word was out. The magazine and other sources claimed that the experiment was laughable, but Lovatt disagreed:
It's a bit uncomfortable. The worst experiment in the world, I've read somewhere, was me and Peter. That's fine, I don't mind. But that was not the point of it, nor the result of it. So I just ignore it.