Biology - Other

Comparing Human and Animal Sexual Behavior

Allison Stine's image for:
"Comparing Human and Animal Sexual Behavior"
Image by: 

Man has always wanted to distinguish himself from the animal kingdom and say that he is superior. That man is said not to behave in animalistic ways. But in reality, humans are animals just as trees are plants. Humans have shuddered to think that the primitive ways animals mate could somehow be tied into us. We fear that somehow we have no control over ourselves and our desires; that it is all determined by nature and we are no more intelligent that beasts. But just like some of the instincts we have retained from our ancestors such as the fight or flight reaction, we also have kept sexual instincts.

Pheromones; are they for humans as well

Pheromones are scents that animals give off to attract mates during breeding season and also to mark territory. For many years scientists believed the human race lacked pheromones. It was believed that we had somehow evolved above that primitive mating. But new science suggests that we do in fact possess pheromones.

There has been debate on where exactly our pheromone glands are located. Some scientists say that they are in our armpits, while others say they are located in erotic areas such as our wrists, neck, and pelvic area.

One good example of human pheromones is that over the years we have noticed that women living close together such as in dormitories will have a synchronized menstrual cycle after time. This happens from odor cues we do not consciously smell or realize but our brain recognizes. The scientist Martha McClintock discovered this and another very surprising discovery. She collected sweat from women during different stages of the menstrual cycle. Then she had subjects smell them and soon found that the flow of menstruation sped up or slowed depending in what stage they where in.

In recent years there has been development of pheromone colognes and perfumes. Although we can not smell them, it seems that our nose detects them just as an animal would. After all, smelling nice has a lot to do with attracting potential love interests. Humans spend billions of dollars a year on perfumes, deodorants, and scented soaps and lotions. If you are still not convinced perhaps think of how many times you find yourself leaning forward in an elevator to smell the cologne or perfume that you smell wafting your way.

Mating Rituals, visual Triggers, and Relationships

We have all seen some intricate mating rituals in our biology class as students. We all wonder how anything would be attracted by such an odd display. These mating rituals are to show the females that the males are strong and able to give healthy offspring. The female will be picky and show submission to the one she picks. This is not much different in the human race.

When in comes to humans, which type of mate do we swoon over? Do females go gaga over the pudgy guy in the library or the handsome hunk on the football field?

The fit powerful males will instinctively preside. Although the new trend is for women to be straight sticks, males will normally go for women who have child-bearing traits such as large breasts and hips. However, unlike animals, we have emotions that do not have us competing to the extremes animals do.

Humans also mate poach, or steal another's more attractive mate. For example the age-old drama story of one member of the relationship to leave for a more attractive mate. We also have many other animalistic sex traits. For example while some animals are only monogamous or polygamous, some like us can choose to be either. Like some animals such as some breeds of cows and primates we do have homosexual tendencies.

The Human Mating Season

Scientist can never agree if humans too have a mating season. However, the months with the highest amount of births are August and September. When thinking of the nine month gestation period of pregnancy, conception would have to occur in November and December. This suggests that there may be more mating and hormones in Fall and Winter. There have been new studies about this. It seems that the time of year humans conceive is when the sun is up for about half of the day, or twelve hours and the temperature is mild. In North America this happens during these months. There seems to be twice a chance to become impregnated during this time. Some theorize this weather pattern may increase ovulation or sperm production.

Through millions of years of evolution, humans have indeed retained many of the same mating instincts as the animals around us. We too have instincts, pheromones, mating seasons, and other relatable mating traits. But rather than being disgusted that we are closer to animals than we had believed, we should see that we unlike animals have emotions that let us be quite different at the same time. We may have a spike in hormones in the fall that leaves us more prone to sexual activity but we have the choice to decide whether or not it is what we are going to do. But it is undeniable that we are more like animals than we had thought.

More about this author: Allison Stine

From Around the Web