Page Card

Non-reproductive sexual behavior in animals

Belongs to subject Psychology of sex and sexual behavior

Non-reproductive sexual behavior consists of sexual activities animals participate in that do not lead to the reproduction of the species. Although procreation continues to be the primary explanation for sexual behavior in animals, recent observations on animal behavior have given alternative reasons for the engagement in sexual activities by animals. Animals have been observed to engage in sex for social interaction, demonstration of dominance, aggression relief, exchange for significant materials, and sexual stimulation. Observed non-procreative sexual activities include non-copulatory mounting (without penetration, or by the female), oral sex, genital stimulation, anal stimulation, interspecies mating, and acts of affection. There have also been observations of animals engaging in homosexual behaviors, as well as sex with dead animals and sex involving juveniles.

Lions live in a social group known as a pride that consists of 2–18 females and 1–7 males. The males enter the pride from other prides. Male lions create coalitions and search for prides to take over. Female bonobos have been observed to engage in sexual activities to create bonds with dominant bonobos. All members of the group are potential sex partners, males participate in sexual activity with other males, as do females with other females. These bonds made between females are for protection against male bonobos. If a male bonobo attempts to harass a female bonobo, the other females will help the female defend herself because of the strong bonds they have with each other.

Several species in the animal kingdom turn to sexual activity as a way to solve a disagreement. Bonobos are one species notoriously known for using sexual behavior to relieve their aggression with each other. Sexual interaction has also been witnessed in female bonobos to avoid aggression. When hungry, the female bonobo will approach a male bonobo and engage in sexual activity to avoid aggression. After their quick sexual activity, the female will take a portion of the male’s food. The male will not demonstrate any form of aggression towards the female.

In a case study, female Japanese macaques were studied to find evidence of possible female copulatory orgasms. Similar to humans, non-human animals also have a sensory system. Engagements of sexual activities during non-breeding seasons have been observed in the animal kingdom. Male lions engage in mounting with other male lions, especially when in search for another pride. Non-penetrative genital stimulation is very common throughout the animal kingdom. Different forms of self and partner genital stimulation have been observed in the animal kingdom. Oral sex has been observed throughout the animal kingdom, from dolphins to primates. Animals perform oral sex by licking, sucking or nuzzling the genitals of their partner. Masturbation is widespread throughout mammals for both males and females. Anal penetration with the penis (both in heterosexual and male homosexual dyads) has been observed among some primate species. It appears that many animals, both male and female, masturbate, both when partners are available and otherwise. For example, it has been observed in cats, dogs, male deer, rhinoceroses, boars, and male monkeys. This organ is present in the females of all mammalian species and several other animal groups.

Animals of several species are documented as engaging in both autofellatio and oral sex. Apart from sexual activity, it can refer to homosexual pair-bonding, homosexual parenting and homosexual acts of affection. Approximately eight percent of male rams exhibit sexual preferences that is, even when given a choice for male partners (male-oriented rams) in contrast to most rams, which prefer female partners (female-oriented rams). Male-male copulation has been observed in captive penguins and homosexual behaviour has been observed among bats, in particular, the fruit bat.

As partners, both animals will engage in sexual activities with each other. Genital-genital rubbing, or GG rubbing, among non-human animals is sexual activity in which one animal rubs his or her genitals against the genitals of another animal. Some animals opportunistically mate with individuals of another species. Nevertheless, animals in the wild have been observed to attempt sexual activity with other species. Alfred Kinsey cites reports of sexual activity involving a female eland with an ostrich, a male dog with a chicken, a male monkey with a snake, and a female chimpanzee with a cat. Male sea otters have been observed forcibly copulating with seals, and male seals have been observed forcibly copulating with penguins. Inter-species sexual behavior has also been observed in sea lions. Male grasshoppers of the species Tetrix ceperoi often mount other species of either sex and even flies, but are normally repelled by the larger females. Male stoats (Mustela erminea) will sometimes mate with infant females of their species. Juvenile male chimpanzees have been recorded mounting and copulating with immature chimps. Infants in bonobo societies are often involved in sexual behaviour. Immature male bonobos have been recorded initiating genital play with both adolescent and mature female bonobos. Copulation-like contact between immature bonobo males and mature female bonobos increases with age and continues until the male bonobo has reached juvenile age. Necrophilia describes when an animal engages in a sexual act with a dead animal. Homosexual necrophilia has been reported between two male mallard ducks.

Summary of this Wikipedia page.