She was the one that got away.
Malcolm Brenner, 60, wrote "Wet Goddess," a new book about a man's nine-month sexual relationship with a dolphin -- an affair that bears "a striking degree of resemblance" to his own interspecies romance.
The author claims he started his relationship with a dolphin named Dolly back in 1970, when he was in his early 20s. Brenner was a sophomore at New College of Florida in Sarasota. A writer hired Brenner to take photographs for a children's book about the dolphin show at an amusement park in nearby Nokomis. He was given free access to the park and introduced to the staff.
If Brenner is to be believed, the dolphin courted him.
Initially, "she became more and more aggressive," said Brenner, who lives in Punta Gorda, Fla. "She would thrust herself against me."
But over time, Dolly became more gentle, he claimed.
"I found that extraordinarily erotic," Brenner said. "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."
After about nine months, the Floridaland amusement park was sold to become housing.
His college sweetheart was shipped off to an oceanarium in Gulfport, Miss., while he said he enrolled in Evergreen State College in Washington.
The Huffington Post has been unable to verify his account of the affair with Floridaland officials; the park closed in 1971. However, historical photos and archival brochures indicate there was a "Porpoise Pool" attraction at Floridaland.
"I had every intention of going to visit the dolphin when I got back to the South, but it didn't work out that way," Brenner said. "I learned the hard way that dolphins are chattel, and much more emotionally vulnerable than I had ever imagined."
Brenner said Dolly died about nine months after the last time he saw her.
"I had a vivid dream at the time about dolphins dying in a dark environment which proved to be remarkably similar to the oceanarium where she actually died," Brenner said.
But Dr. Denise Herzing of the Wild Dolphin Project, which researches communication between dolphins and humans, said a book aggrandizing a human-dolphin sexual relationship could send a dangerous message.
"Glorifying human sexual interactions with other species is inappropriate for the health and well being of any animal," Herzing told HuffPost. "It puts the dolphin's own health and social behavioral settings at risk."
But Brenner insists his relationship did not harm the dolphin.
"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."
Brenner points out that some researchers have argued dolphins should be considered "non-human persons," because of their intelligence.
"What is repulsive about a relationship where both partners feel and express love for each other?" Brenner asked. "I know what I'm talking about here because 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."
"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."
"As self-aware mammals, dolphins are capable of making profound emotional attachments to other dolphins and, apparently, to selected humans as well," Brenner said. "A dolphin can die of loneliness, of a broken heart, of separation anxiety."
As evidence of his claims, Brenner points to the story of former trainer turned animal rights activist Richard O'Barry, who said he watched a dolphin living in captivity commit suicide in his arms.
He's not married, but Brenner said he has two ex-wives who knew about his fling with Dolly.
"Neither one objected," Brenner said.
His daughter from his first marriage even designed the book cover.
Brenner, who is now a freelance writer and photographer, started writing "Wet Goddess" in 1973 at the suggestion of Dr. John C. Lilly. Excerpts were published in the 1974 anthology "Mind In The Waters" and Penthouse, according to Brenner.
"I was still too emotionally raw from the experience and my writing skills were inadequate to the task," Brenner said.
He took it up again in 1994, finished the novel in 2000 and spent the next 10 years trying to get it published. Brenner said he shopped it around, but after "mainstream" publishers rejected "Wet Goddess," he decided to self-publish the book last year.
So far he has sold about 230 paperback copies and 20 e-books. Vendors sell it for $16.95 on Amazon.
"I wrote this book for dolphins because we are mistreating these animals by keeping them in captivity," Brenner said. "We should be attempting to communicate with them and treating them with more respect and dignity."
Brenner said he might consider another relationship with a dolphin in the future.
"Under the right circumstances I would if I had the energy for it," Brenner said. "I'm 40 years older now."
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