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Tactics Adopted by Animals During Sex
Sexual behavior in animals is variable not between members of the same species or within different species. Different types of mating systems have been discovered by researchers in animals. The study of animal sexual behavior is very interesting and is one of the hot topics that scientists devote themselves to. It is clear that few animals engage in sexual play like humans. About 1,500 species of animals are believed to be homosexual. Sociobiology and behavioral ecology are the two branches of science concerned with the ways in which animal societies are oriented toward sexual behavior. The mating system gives an idea of the circumstances and an idea of which male mates with which female.
The first mating system is monogamy where a male and a female together form the sexual relationship or sexual bond that lasts throughout their lives. Zoologists and sociobiologists have recommended that pair formation in monogamous animals is not always sexually exclusive. They have been found to exchange sexual activities with partners outside of sex, as seen in swans. Sometimes the exclusive mate is not chosen and the offspring is created through these non-sex partners. Social, sexual, and genetic monogamy can occur in different combinations. About 90% of birds are socially monogamous and 15% of primates are monogamous. Social monogamy has also been observed in fish, reptiles and insects. Only 3% of mammal species are monogamous. Another type of mating system is polygamy. In polygamy a man forms an exclusive sexual relationship with more than many women. Polygamy is of three kinds. Polygyny is the phenomenon where an individual of one sex mates with one or more individuals of the same species. Harems are famous for polygyny. Another type of polygamy is polygamy where both males and females can mate with more than one or more partners. Another type of mating system is promiscuity. Here in promiscuity any individual of any gender can mate with more than one individual within the social group. Promiscuity is very common among chimpanzees and bonobos.
Animals are generally seasonal breeders meaning they only mate at certain times of the year. The breeding season is responsible for bringing a number of changes in the individual such as behavioral changes, development of territorial behavior. Some animals mate annually and some mate biennially. During the breeding season females are physically receptive and in oestrus. The common term used for the receptive female is that the female is in heat. It is generally believed that animals engage in sexual activity only for the continuation of the species and not for pleasure as we find in humans, pigs, cats and dolphins.
Common sexual activities displayed by animals
Masturbation is very common among animals, including both male and female members of the species and they masturbate when partners are available to show they are ready to mate. Masturbation has been commonly observed in horses where they rub the penis against any hard material, also the kangaroo appears to masturbate the penis with the front legs. The female porcupine was seen masturbating her genitals with the help of a stick. The great sexologist Havelock Ellis has observed autoeroticism in bulls, goats, sheep, camels and elephants. Bruce Bagemihl in his 1999 book Biological Exuberance concluded that narcissism is common among both male and female partners. A number of techniques are used by animals for genital stimulation, such as using hands, feet, nipple rubbing, licking or sucking of the male’s own penis, penis stimulation by rubbing the abdomen, genital stimulation is also done by the use of some inanimate objects and this is very common among cetaceans.
Animals of many species are known to engage in autofellatio and oral sex. Although this animal behavior confuses people as it is a completely different sexual behavior that animals adopt. Oral sex has been commonly observed in hyenas, goats, primates, bats and sheep.
Homosexual behavior has been observed in many species of animals such as seabirds, mammals, monkeys and great apes. Homosexual behavior has been observed in 1,500 animal species and is well documented in 500 species. Janet Mann, a professor at Georgetown University observed homosexual behavior in dolphins. Homosexual behavior has been observed in male pairs of penguins who mate throughout their lives and build nests together, use a stone as a substitute egg in the nest and lay eggs. The Central Zoo Park in the United States conducted an experiment in 2004 on the male pair of penguins. They replaced a male pair’s surrogate egg with a fertilized egg and observed that the male pair raised this young as its own offspring when it hatched. Mounting a female by another female is a common activity among cattle. Homosexual behavior has been observed in male sheep and is known to be influenced by both the brain and hormones.
Cross species sex
Animals have been observed to mate with members of other species, as seen in the case of wild moose attempting to mate with horses. Hybrids can result from mating between animals of closely related species, but the offspring may not always be fertile. For example the mule which is the hybrid of horse and donkey is sterile, but in the case of the liger which is the hybrid of lion and tiger they have fertile females and sterile males.
Prostitution and sexual fetishes
In many penguin species females, although devoted to one male, may exchange sexual favors with strange males just to get pebbles for building their nests. Many animals have been observed using inanimate objects to sexualize themselves. This behavior resembles Pavlovian conditioning.
In many species, males are seen fighting females with force. This rapine behavior has been well documented in arachnids, where females appear to eat males when they are not tricked with food or tied with threads during the courtship process. In many herbivorous species, where there are differences in the size of male and female mates, males often appear to dominate females and engage with them with absolute force. Violent copulation has been observed in many species of birds and is very common in ducks and geese.
Sex between adults and minors
Moles of some species impregnate young females, which is part of their normal reproductive physiology. It is not known whether the courtship is by force or not.
Sexual cannibalism is well documented in arachnids, insects and amphipods where the female kills or consumes the male during or after the act of mating.
Necrophilia is a process where an animal tries to feed on a dead animal. Kees Moeliker of the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam, Netherlands observed necrophilia in a duck trying to mate with the dead duck. Moeliker has received the Nobel Prize for this research in biology which is awarded for humorous research. Such behavior has also been observed in toads.
The study of animal sexual behavior provides many clues about human sexual behavior. Sexual behavior in animals is very interesting and many facts are still unexplored and require attention.
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