Dolphin flirt
Image: Loren Sztajer/Flickr/CC BY-ND

Malcolm Brenner’s book “Wet Goddess” has become an unexpected hit with a five-star rating on The book, a work of fiction, details the affair between a young man and an adult female dolphin named Ruby. But Brenner claims the story is based on a real nine-month sexual affair he had with a dolphin named Dolly in 1970.

A dolphin named Dolly

Malcolm Brenner, 60, says he had an affair with a dolphin named Dolly in 1970 when he was a sophomore at Sarasota’s New College of Florida. He was hired by a children’s book writer to take some photographs at the Floridaland amusement park in Nokomis, Fla. He was given free reign of the park for the assignment.

Brenner details relationship

Brenner says that Dolly initiated the romance.

“She became more and more aggressive,” Brenner said. “She would thrust herself against me. … I found that extraordinarily erotic. It’s like being with a tiger or a bear. This is an animal that could kill you in two seconds if it wanted to.”

Soon the affair blossomed into love. “After we made love, the dolphin put her snout on my shoulder, embraced me with her flippers and we stared into each others’ eyes for about a minute.”

But all good things must come to an end. After nine months of seeing each other on the sly, the amusement park was sold to become a tract of housing. Brenner’s lover was shipped away to a park in Gulfport, Miss., and Brenner moved on to graduate school in Washington state.

The ending

Brenner says he had every intention of going to visit his old lover when he got a chance, but fate intervened. Dolly passed away nine months after she and Brenner were separated.

“As self-aware mammals, dolphins are capable of making profound emotional attachments to other dolphins and, apparently, to selected humans as well,” Brenner said to the Huffington Post. “A dolphin can die of loneliness, of a broken heart, of separation anxiety.”

Critics respond

Experts are criticizing Brenner for his glorification of inter-species romance.

“Glorifying human sexual interactions with other species is inappropriate for the health and well being of any animal,” said Dr. Denise Herzing of the Wild Dolphin Project. “It puts the dolphin’s own health and social behavioral settings at risk.”

Brenner, however, defends his affair and his message.

“Some people find it hard to imagine that I wasn’t abusing the animal,” Brenner said. “They didn’t see me interacting with the dolphin. They weren’t there. These creatures basically have free will … What is repulsive about a relationship where both partners feel and express love for each other? This was not some dog trying to hump my leg, okay. This was a 400-lb. wild-born female dolphin. She was an awesome creature.”

A self-publishing success

Brenner started writing “Wet Goddess” in 1974 but shelved the project. He took it up again in 1994, when he had some emotional distance and was more experienced as a writer. He finished the book in 2000 and tried unsuccessfully to find a publisher for 10 years. Finally, heĀ  self-published the book last year. Since then, it has become a best-seller on Amazon, prompting interviews and media attention.


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Interview with Malcolm Brenner

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