Can Dogs Be Sexually Attracted To Humans? (Explained By Vet Tech)

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We’ve all been there before. You go over to a friend’s house. You love dogs, so naturally, you start to play with your friend’s pup. Eventually, their pup ends up getting excited and they might even mount your leg and start humping you!

Not only is it an awkward situation but you start to wonder if you did something wrong or if their dog is weird. You might even start to wonder;

Can dogs be sexually attracted to humans?

There are a few reasons why sexual attraction doesn’t transfer between dogs and humans. Sexual attraction overall works differently for humans when compared to animals. Reproductive isolation is an evolutionary process that makes it unlikely that a human and a dog would couple. Plus, the genetics just don’t add up. 

In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into both human and dog sexuality. We’ll explain why these two species don’t mesh sexually. We’ll also talk about what else could motivate a dog to hump a person besides sexual attraction.

First, let’s talk about how animals become sexually attracted to other animals.

How Does Sexual Attraction Work In Animals?

In order to get a better grasp on the sexual attraction between dogs and humans, let’s just focus on animals for one second.

Sexual behavior in animals is a fascinating topic. Different species all have different mating rituals and styles. Most animals mate seasonally and don’t necessarily engage in sexual acts for pleasure. Mating displays might have a big part to play in animal attraction.

For example, male birds of paradise will perform complicated dances for females during the mating season. As you can see in the video, they’ll puff up and display their bright blue feathers in hopes of catching the eye of a female.

In a sense, you could say that females become sexually attracted to other male birds because of their complicated courtship behaviors.

In addition to mating rituals, animals are highly motivated by chemicals and hormones to reproduce. Neuropheremones might stimulate and signal some animals to become sexually aroused by others of the same species. These same pheromones might also cause animals to stay with their mates for a time during the breeding season.

Oxytocin is also usually released during mating for animals and can cause an attraction to certain situations or individuals. For example, in chimps, oxytocin is released not only during sex but also during grooming and cuddling.

It’s widely agreed that with the exceptions of primates, humans, dolphins, and pigs, animals mate for reproduction purposes only. That means that their sexual attraction is mostly motivated by biological factors.

How Does Sexual Attraction Work In Humans?

Sexual attraction in humans is a bit more complicated. Hormones, chemicals, and other biological factors still affect human sexuality. But, a ton of other factors also influence how humans choose their mates and what motivates them to engage in intercourse.

Actually, there are so many factors that it would take multiple volumes of books to describe what can be attractive for humans. We’ll talk about a couple of things that affect human sexuality so that it’s clear how human and animal sexuality are very different.

Humans have evolved from animals that reproduce for biological purposes to sentient beings that think and consider all of the decisions they make. So, human sexuality is complicated.  Human sexuality also involves things like culture, politics, appearance, style, and social class.

Style and appearance play a big role in sexual attraction for humans. Even if two people would be a good match biologically, they might not find each other’s appearance attractive.

Different cultures place emphasis on different traits, like skin color or hair length. Politics and social class can also affect the sexual attraction between two people.

It’s could be less likely that people from vastly different backgrounds and situations find themselves attracted to one another. Or, the difference might create even more sexual attraction!

As you can see, sexuality for humans is very emotionally and psychologically charged, as well as physically and biologically motivated.

So, Can Animals Be Sexually Attracted To Humans?

Knowing this, is it even possible for animals to be attracted to humans?

Because animals are motivated by mating rituals, pheromones, and hormones, it would be difficult to say that they can truly be attracted to humans.  However, that doesn’t mean that animals won’t try to mate with humans.

There are countless instances of humans being humped by not only dogs but other animals. While these animals may not be motivated sexually, they’re certainly drawn to something.

Wearing bright colors might attract male birds to come and try to mate with parts of your body. But, for the most part, wild animals see humans as oddities.

Whether they consider us predators or prey, they’re usually not looking at us in an attempt to sexualize us. And if they do end up mounting us, there are other reasons.

Can Dogs Get Turned On By Humans?

Even though we consider them our “fur babies” and parts of our families, dogs are still animals.

As we discussed earlier, animal sexual attraction is motivated by courtship behaviors and by a variety of chemicals and pheromones.  In theory, if a human were to display the courtship rituals of a female dog, a male dog might start to be interested.

However, the interest usually wouldn’t go far unless it was accompanied by some other motivating factor. To arouse a male dog, a female dog will usually put their tail to the side and back up towards the male. When a female does this, she’s usually in heat and her vulva is bright red and swollen.

This makes it pretty hard for a male to ignore. But, it also would make it hard for a human to emulate the same thing. Plus, dogs have great senses of smell and can tell the difference between dog and human hormones.

Reasons Why Dogs Aren’t Aroused By Humans

Now, let’s discuss some of the biological reasons why dogs aren’t sexually attracted to humans, and while you might be thinking, “then why does my dog hump people’s legs,” we’ll answer that question below.

For now, we’ll talk about genetics, sexual attraction, and reproductive isolation.

Reason 1: For Dogs, Attraction Works Differently

We already touched on this topic above, but the sexual attraction for dogs just doesn’t work in the same way as it does for people.

Actually, dog attraction isn’t that complicated.  It’s not dictated by species or appearance. Species as different as Chihuahuas and Great Danes might even attempt to breed. That’s why there are so many individuals of mixed breeds. Dogs also don’t take any social or emotional cues into sexual attraction.

For dogs, attraction usually revolves around estrus and heat. Estrus can occur as early as 6 months of age for female dogs. At the beginning of estrus, the female dog experiences a rush of estrogen and enters a stage of readiness for mating.

Usually, during this time the vulva will swell and blood will seep from the dog’s vagina. After a few days, the female dog will allow the male dog to mount her and have sex. Usually, a female dog is receptive and fertile about twice a year.

Adult male dogs are always ready to mate but their attraction heightens when a female is in estrus. These cues from the female attract the male and eventually, they’ll mate.

It’s truly not possible for a human to give off all of the same cues that a dog would in order to attract a male dog.

Reason 2: The Genetics Don’t Line Up

Genetics plays a big part in sexual attraction and mating. Some species can cross-breed and produce infertile individuals. These animals are called genetic hybrids and occur rarely in nature.

Probably the most popular of these genetic hybrids might be the liger. A liger is a combination of a tiger and a lion. These two species are related genetically, closely enough that they’ll not only be sexually attracted to one another but will also breed and produce sterile offspring.

So, why does this matter?

Humans and dogs are so different genetically that no chance of mating or offspring occurs. It would be unnatural for a dog to be attracted to a human because biologically, there’s no point.

Genetics might not directly affect sexual attraction, but they play a big role in reproduction, and dogs only mate for reproduction purposes, not for pleasure.

Reason 3: Reproductive Isolation Creates A Divide

Reproductive isolation is an evolutionary term that describes how and why two species might not be sexually attracted to or compatible with one another.  Because of reproductive isolation, two species that look the same won’t pursue things with each other.

So, what causes reproductive isolation?

Sometimes physical barriers can cause species to become reproductively isolated from each other. A river or island might keep species from interacting. Other times, differences in mating behaviors and rituals might create a divide. Animals might see others as weird or strange for their courtship practices.

Lastly, reproductive isolation can cause differences in pelvic bone structure and size that makes it impossible for certain species to mate.

Humans and dogs are certainly isolated reproductively from one another.  They not only have very different mating behaviors but also have completely different sizes and shapes of sexual organs. Dogs won’t usually be sexually attracted to something that they’re isolated reproductively from.

Reasons Why Dogs Might Hump Humans

Wow, we’ve covered a lot about dog and human sexuality! But even so, it doesn’t explain why dogs hump people and even objects. So, how can we explain that?

Well, dogs might hump inappropriate things for a variety of reasons including skin issues, overstimulation, frustration, or domination.

Let’s talk about these reasons now so you can figure out why a dog is humping the next time you see it happen.

Reason 1: They’re Overstimulated

Overstimulation is a seriously underrated issue for many dogs.

Overstimulation happens when there is too much for a dog to process. That might mean too much noise, too many dogs or people, or just too many novel things in their environment. Overstimulation often leads to hyper-arousal which can translate to aggression, fear, or sexual behaviors.

Overstimulation happens in all different situations.  For example, many dogs can become overstimulated in a shelter situation. The number of dogs in a small vicinity can cause them to act out in ways they normally wouldn’t.

Overstimulation can also happen in a familiar environment during play or when new people or dogs come over.

If your dog humps or mounts people or dogs when they come over, they might just be having a hard time processing everything and might turn to this basic sexual behavior.

In reality, it’s better than aggression, but it’s still not great and is definitely something that can be fixed.

Reason 2: They’re Trying To Dominate The Situation

Another reason a dog might mount another person or dog is to show dominance.

Dogs assert their dominance in interesting ways.  Some people think that dogs assert dominance by sitting on you or by putting their paws on you.  That’s not really true.  A show of dominance usually involves bared teeth, growling, an aggressive stance, and sometimes humping.

Male dogs and female dogs might aggressively hump to show that they’re the leader of the pack.  Usually, aggressive humping occurs when the submissive person or animal is already down on the floor.  The dog trying to be dominant would then mount the lower being and hump them.

It’s not a pretty sight or thought and if your dog tries to assert dominance this way, it’s something that needs to be taken seriously as it can escalate easily to more aggressive behavior.

Reason 3: They’re Sexually Frustrated

Sexual frustration can be a real issue for intact male and female dogs. If your dog is not neutered or spayed, expect to see a lot more influence from their hormones.

Male dogs that aren’t neutered have higher levels of testosterone.  In some ways, testosterone is a good thing, it helps to build strong bones and muscles.  On the other hand, it can lead to unwanted behaviors like aggression and humping.

Unneutered males are a breed of their own and might even have trouble coexisting with other unneutered males in the same household.  Sexual frustration for an intact male can cause them to hump not only you but even inanimate objects like beds or pillows.

Intact female dogs can also become sexually excited burning estrus.  These hormones can cause female dogs to hump things.  So, it’s not unheard of for your female dog to hump you, your arm, or other objects.

Although these feelings of sexual frustration or excitement might cause your dog to hump you, it still doesn’t mean that they’re sexually attracted to you.  They’re really just looking for an outlet.

Reason 4: They’re Itchy

Another thing that could cause your dog to repeatedly hump you or someone else itchy skin.

Skin diseases and allergies often go undiagnosed in dogs. They can range in severity but can end up causing neurological side effects after a while.  Imagine if you felt lightly itchy all over your skin and it was never treated.  You might start to go a little crazy.

One thing that itchy dogs might do is aggressively hump things. Usually, the behavior starts out as an inch-worm motion.  Then, your dog might become excited from the movement and actually start humping. It’s a bit impulsive and it can be difficult to get them to stop.

Does this mean they’re attracted to you or a pillow?  No!

If you think your dog has itchy skin or allergies it’s always a good idea to take them to the veterinarian. A vet can help you diagnose and treat the issue.  This will make your dog more comfortable every day and may also reduce any humping.

Is It Sexual When Dogs Sniff Your Pants Or Underwear?

Are there other situations when you question your dog’s sexual urges? Maybe they like to sniff crotches? That can leave you feeling embarrassed and even a little violated!

Luckily, this crotch-sniffing behavior doesn’t have anything to do with sex. Dog noses are super sensitive and it’s natural for them to want to sniff around.

When dogs see other dogs, they often sniff each other butts. Some dogs want to do the same thing to their human owners or friends. Dogs might even sniff you more when you’re on your period because things just smell different!

If your dog sticks their nose in your private parts, it’s not a sexual act.  They’re just trying to gather more information about you and their environment.  This is pretty annoying but is also a totally natural behavior.

Is It Natural For Your Dog To Hump You?

So, is it natural for your dog to hump you?

To an extent, it might be natural to see your dog mount and hump people and objects, or just you. Some of the urges that cause this behavior are natural and induced by hormones. In other instances, humping is not natural and is caused by overstimulation or excitement.

Whether it’s natural or not, you probably don’t want your dog humping you.  Even though there’s nothing sexual going on, it’s still uncomfortable and weird.  Let’s talk about some techniques that you can use to get your dog to stop humping.

How Do You Get Your Dog To Stop Humping You or Other People?

There are some easy techniques you can try to get your dog to stop humping people.

The first thing you’ll want to try when your dog mounts you is to either turn around or sit down. Get into a position that makes it more difficult for them to mount you. You can even try pushing them off, although that might heighten their motivation.

If that doesn’t do it for your dog, you can try putting them in a time-out to calm down. Use a quiet room or a crate to let them chill out. When they come back out, they shouldn’t go straight back to humping.

If none of these techniques work, you may want to invest in some training classes. Redirection can be a powerful training tool in these situations but it can be difficult to use correctly.

How Do You Stop Your Dog From Sniffing People’s Private Parts?

Aside from the obvious answer of pushing your dog’s nose away, you can use training to keep your dog from sniffing crotches.

Target training is one of the most basic techniques you can teach a dog. Basically, you make either your hand or an item a target. When your dog touches their nose to that target, you reward them with a treat!

Eventually, you should be able to lead your dog all around the house with the target, and maybe even call them back at the beach!

If you have a target trained, you can redirect your dog from someone’s private area to their target and reward them for listening. At this point, we know that dogs aren’t sexually attracted to humans, but your guests still might find it strange to have your dog all up in their business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve talked all about dogs and their sexual behaviors, we can answer a few frequently asked questions.

Do Male Dogs Get Attracted To Female Humans?

Due to many factors, male dogs aren’t attracted to female humans or any gender for that matter. Male dogs are attracted to other dogs of their own species, during estrus or times of sexual excitement.

Although a male dog can’t be sexually attracted to you, they still might try to hump you. The motivation for this humping behavior has nothing to do with them finding you attractive.

Do Dogs Get Turned On By Other Dogs?

Dogs can definitely be “turned on” or sexually aroused by other dogs.  That’s how reproduction works!

Dogs can be turned on by hormones and pheromones. They can also be turned on by mating behaviors and play. If you have an intact female dog and an intact male dog together, expect to see some action!

Final Thoughts

Dogs are definitely capable of sexual attraction. However, they’re not going to be sexually attracted to a person. People are reproductively isolated from dogs and are too different genetically. People don’t have the same hormones and pheromones that dogs do and don’t usually display the same mating behaviors.

Despite the lack of sexual attraction, your dog might still hump you or others. Try to figure out what motivated your dog to hump you and then you can start to take control of the situation. Hopefully, you’ll have a dog that doesn’t hump your friends in no time!

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