Crazy Monkey Sex–Literally

by Intern Kelsie

Reason 9,356 why I can’t get enough of the animal kingdom: bonobos. These endangered apes are close relatives of the chimpanzee and can only be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They also get their freak on for as many reasons as we humans do.

Social ascension in the bonobos universe is kind of like the standard human coming-of-age tale: the young female bonobo leaves the family she was born into, picks a new group to take up with (helloooo freshman year friends) and immediately begins her quest for acceptance and companionship. Rather than resting on her laurels, our fearless female bonobo is really willing to work it to climb the social ladder: she’ll sexytimes anyone who can help her on her way to the top.

Intriguingly, the most desired sexual partner of a female bonobo looking to advance is her new group’s alpha female–yep, that’s right: alpha female. Who runs the world? Girls. 

(also fun: saying les-bonobos)

If she can’t bed the alpha female right away, she’ll settle for other members of the group. Researchers at the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary in the Congo observed that female bonobos will call out during sex, not because they’re riding a toe-curling wave of pleasure, but because they want other apes to notice. The researchers observed that length of contact and position did not affect how the apes called out. What really turns these primates on is an audience. “If they were invited to have sex with a female of high rank, that’s the scenario in which they could call out,” Zanna Clay, a researcher at Emory University said to LiveScience. “They were advertising that they had been picked, and they wanted to show that off.”

They’re not just gettin’ down to advance their social standing, though. Sex can have a wide range of purposes for a bonobo: it reduces stress, helps patch things over after a conflict, is a way of showing affection, and is just plain fun.

Do it like they do on the Discovery Channel indeed.

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Image source: National Geographic


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