Sex for pleasure may not seem revolutionary until you apply the idea to other species. Other creatures appear to be having sex for much more than procreation, with each newly discovered sex act further firing up the “what’s natural” sexual debate.
Dirty, naked, animal, grunting sex can have you feeling like you’re one with nature. But that takes on a whole new meaning when cast against all of the action had in the Animal Kingdom.
Not only do spiders warm up, LiveScience reports that male Australian redback spiders engage in 100 minutes of foreplay. In arousing a female, he must perform an intricate dance upon her web. If she digs it, he’s given the green light to insert one of his two sexual organs into one of her two semen “storage” organs.
She may then actually eat him, even just partially, during sex. After 15-20 minutes, they’ll separate, only for the male to do another mating dance in hopes of gaining access to her other sperm storage organ. University of Toronto researchers found that males who wooed potential mates for 100 minutes or more were likelier to mount again.
Men, take note: the shorter the male’s foreplay session, the greater his likelihood of being eaten by his mate on the first go-around.
Who would’ve thought? Fruit bats have oral sex. According to Chinese and British researchers, oral sex for these mammals means more time having sex. While having sexual relations in a “hanging” position,” the female will perform oral sex on the male.
Nature is trumping nurture in the great “what makes people gay” debate. Humans have observed same-sex attractions in approximately 1,500 species, including deep-sea octopuses, dolphins, killer whales, crabs, and giraffes. The entire dwarf chimpanzee species, one of the closest to humans, is bisexual.
While some interactions are quick sexual encounters, others court each other, like the male ostriches, known to perform “pirouette dances” for a male of interest. Sometimes the sex is regular. Male lions guarantee loyalty and tribal bonds by having sex with each other.
Sometimes the romance is for life. Male penguins have been known to nest, as have female black-headed gulls, with nearly one-fourth of black swan families headed by same-sex couples.
Female painted dragon lizards accept only long-term relationships. This is in large part because she’s not going to reproduce after the first tryst. According to researchers at Göteborg University in Sweden, reproduction will happen only if her mate doesn’t skip town.
Female crickets are into the thrill of the chase. According to Illinois State University researchers, they actually mark their mates with a chemical imprint during sex to make sure they don’t “do it” with the same male twice. A female cricket will also stay clear of males bearing the mark of their identical twin sisters.
Extreme Sexual Sadism
Remember those Australian redback spiders? They actually regularly engage in something thankfully rare to the human species – sexual killings. Even when a male spider breaks out all of his best dance moves, there’s a good chance that he’s still going to be killed and eaten by Mrs. Hannibal Lecter when the deed is done.
Adding insult to injury, another male spider may work his way into the action. Apparently, she can’t tell – or doesn’t care to tell – the difference between mates.
Bonobos (dwarf chimpanzees) are known for being very promiscuous, having heterosexual and gay sex more often than all other primates. This female-dominated, nearly nonviolent group has been observed engaging in all sorts of sexual activities. Mothers have even been known to mate with their grown sons. Such free love is believed to strengthen social bonds and alleviate conflicts amongst these fairly peaceful creatures.
Given their short breeding season, some species need to be promiscuous in the name of survival. In passing along their genes, red-sided garter snakes are known for “orgies” – with a bunch of snakes forming big “mating balls.”
Female toads sometimes have sex with several males at once. This activity may result in her drowning or going on to produce offspring with several dads.
Monkeys, red deer, porcupines and killer whales are among a host of animals known to pleasure themselves. And they go out of their way to get creative, doing things like rubbing themselves against stones or roots.
Most animals are promiscuous. The female sparrow, for example, has “extramarital” relations, even when she has paired with a mate. She’s always on the lookout for mates who are small, dark and handsome.
Humming birds and the highly aerial swifts take sex to a whole new level, mating while airborne.
The desire to change from one sex to another isn’t found only among humans. Worms, fish and slugs are among the species that undergo “sequential hermaphroditism.” They begin life as one sex, but change to another later in life.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany discovered that male chimpanzees give females pieces of meat for sex. These males were found to get twice as much action as males who didn’t share.
Male flies have also been observed giving females food for sex. The gifts given by balloon flies are empty silk balloons, meant to fool the female into sex. Of course, if this is discovered, it doesn’t matter. He has sex several times a day with a number of females anyway.
Suddenly, maintaining our sex lives doesn’t seem nearly as exhausting, does it?
Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."