[url=http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010425/sc/science_monogamy_dc_1.html ]This article[/url] has some new (well, not really, but brought up again) ideas from a few scientists postulating as to why.
I read that article today also, it was very interesting!
My main question with the study was, what about couples who choose not to have sex, for whatever reason? What keeps the male in that relationship monogamous? Is it the idea that they'll one day have sex? Or is it another factor which was not addressed in this particular study?
Still an interesting study, though!
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Dan, I think that the study was addressing the purely instinctive aspects of relationships. In other words, that's how the majority of humans would be (if the study is correct, that is), if they didn't have emotions and reason and any other number of other factors influencing them.
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And it doesn't account for the fact that we women sometimes think with our lower halves too.
I do think it's true that a lot of women do feel the desire to have more sex when fertile (I know it's the case with me), but we also feel the desire to do so at other times in our cycle, including, very often, during menstruation, when we are least likely to fall pregnant (of course you still can fall pregnant then, I'm not saying it's at all impossible ). The article doesn't seem to acknowledge that women can be sexually demanding.
I also think that it very likely has a strong social bias- people in western societies are often brought up to learn the old "men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love" line- and that's what the article seems to be saying. I wonder what someone from a highly polygamous culture would think.
Lin: It's my field, so I have to respond! Dolphins, bonobos, and humans are the only or among the only animals known to have sex often for non-reproductive (i.e., social/pleasure) reasons.
Dolphins and bonobos use sex extensively for social bonding. Bottlenose dolphins spend approximately 30% of their time engaging in sexual behavior, which is male-male, male-female, and I believe sometimes female-female. Juveniles, as young as a few days old, are known to engage in sexual behavior (sometimes with the mother). Possibly sexual behaviors include inserting the rostrum in a partner's genital slit and pushing them along, often while buzzing or clicking. Both male and female dolphins are known to masturbate, rubbing their genitals against inanimate objects, such as bouys, or other things that happen to be handy, such as passing seaturtles. Dolphins, especially males, are known to direct sexual behavior towards humans, especially females (this can be very dangerous for the humans), and there was a case in captivity where a female dolphin attempted to solicit sex from a fur seal (Tayler and Saayman, 197something...).
In Australia, male dolphins will form coalitions and herd a female (who is generally trying quite hard to get away) to themselves for weeks or months at a time, very much the same way that chimpanzees will.
While male-female penetrative sex in dolphins is a very rapid event, pair activities leading up to it occasionally take several hours, and include everything from gentle caresses, to gentle teeth raking, to one dolphin charging toward the other to turn and swipe by at the last moment.
The Hawaiian slang "Hana nai'a," literally translated as "dolphin work," is used to refer to sex. It was also the name of Dr. Norris's research project in Kealakekua, back when. (read Norris, K. "Dolphin Days: the life and times of the spinner dolphin")
Bonobos (the so-called "pygmy chimpanzees", a different species than chimpanzees. Yes, we humans have FOUR sibling species. Kanzi is probably the most famous bonobo, language-trained with great success under Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh) are the only other primates besides humans that can have penetrative sex face-to-face, belly-to-belly. They often do, although a variety of other positions are also used. Most interestingly, bonobos have been observed using seemingly symbolic (!!) hand gestures to indicate a desired sexual position. Little is known about this behavior so far, but oddly enough, it could very well be a precursor to linguistic behavior. Female-female sexual activity is especially common in bonobos, and seems to reaffirm social bonds, and perhaps be used in determining social status. May be used as greeting behavior. In other words, a lot like grooming is for many species.
Unfortunately, I know less about bonobos than dolphins, and a little less about social/sexual behavior than cognitive behavior.
Oh, and Beppie: from what anthropology I've read, while strict monogamy is relatively rare as a cultural standard (and almost doesn't exist in practice), very poly cultures are almost nonexistant as well--it's just too expensive. I think serial pair-monogamy is actually slightly more common than anything else, which is really kinda weird, which is why scientists are trying to come up with a reason for it. Limited polygyny is practiced in a reasonable number of cultures, and polyandry in a very small percentage. If I have a chance, I'll try and find the numbers...
Posts: 257 | From: Sarasota, FL | Registered: Jan 2001
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Isn't science amazing? I had always wondered why guys are always so horny, but after my biology class this year, I know it's not their fault...it's all in evolution.
Posts: 304 | From: Pittsburgh PA | Registered: Aug 2000
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Thanks Eclipse, that was really really interesting!
quote:Originally posted by Eclipse: Both male and female dolphins are known to masturbate, rubbing their genitals against inanimate objects, such as bouys, or other things that happen to be handy, such as passing seaturtles.
"other things that happen to be handy, such as passing seaturtles". Turtle dildoes! How very practical!
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