What does animal behavior tell us about sex and love? - Essay Prowess

What does animal behavior tell us about sex and love?


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What does animal behavior tell us about sex and love?

Animals offer a wide range of lesson to humans concerning sex and love. By nature, humans are social animals and they can learn peaceful coexistence from the animal kingdom. Therefore, human beings have much to learn from animals because the latter have a greater capacity of intricate social cooperation system and huge depth of emotions (Kohn and Kottler 12). In addition, animals have an ability to care for one another and for humans. Most importantly, animals are able to experience feeling that helps them to cope with emotional lives such as love, joy and anger. Different animals exhibit diverse sexual behaviors. Animals show in their behaviors that they understand what love is. On the other hand, some animals such as eagles are able to choose their mating partner for life (Horstman 34). In such a case, it is only after the partner has died that they choose another mating partner.

In the animal kingdom, the female partner is attracted to the male counterpart because of his ability to release a sexual attractants referred to as pheromones. The chemicals in this product are able to attract potential females for mating. Similarly, researchers have revealed out that this product play a critical role in attraction of human (Kohn and Kottler 16). The research conformed that pheromone usually produce its effects in the women brains as well as gays.

Varieties of animals mate for a long period such as gibbons, bald eagles, termites, albatrosses and wolves. However, researchers have revealed that they normally mate in order to acquire pleasure. Unfortunately, these animals mate without necessarily forming relationships. Additionally, sexual acts in animals normally encompass competition among partners. On the other hand, females are able to select their mating partners if they are able to protect themselves or are strong enough (Kohn and Kottler 12). Some animal’s species are engaged in sexual acts for other activities other than for reproduction.

Various animals express different mating systems such as polygamy, monogamy, polyandry and polygynandry. In this regard, monogamy involves one male and one female partner who are engaged in sexual acts exclusively. Animals such as pigeons are able to form long-term pairs and share responsibilities in raising their offspring (Kohn and Kottler 19). However, other species such as emperor penguins are characterized by the ability to change their sexual partner every season. In human beings sexual, monogamous is referred to a sexual relationship between a male and a female partner exclusively for sexual interactions. However, sexual monogamous animals are not socially monogamous. The latter is comparatively rare animals. Research indicated that approximately 90 percent of avian animals are socially monogamous. Nonetheless, 97 per cent of mammalian species are not socially monogamous (Horstman 37). In addition, approximately 15 per cent of all species are socially monogamous. Similarly, other species such as insects, fish, and reptiles are socially monogamous.

Although most animal species are socially monogamous, they are rarely sexually monogamous. In this regard, a wide range of animal species have many mating partners hence they are sexually non-monogamous. For instance, although more than 90 per cent of avian species are socially monogamous, only 30 per cent are sexually monogamous.

According to DNA, fingerprinting only rare animal species are sexually monogamous. Moreover, animals exhibit polygyny where one male have multiple females. In groups of females, only one male will mate with them. In addition, multiple females are attached to a single male (Kohn and Kottler 12). In case the male is killed or driven out from these females, a new male is attracted to the group. However, the new male has to compete with the offspring of alpha male. Animals such as European pied flycatcher are predominantly polygynous. In such a case, the male develop many territories for their female partners in order to breed. In some species such as mammals, more than 90 per cent of all species are polygamous (Horstman 39). In addition, this mating system is very common among vertebrates.

One female can have multiple male partners, which is commonly referred to as polyandry. For instance, red lip blennies females are polyandry. Additionally, anglerfish’s females practice polyandry where they mate with variety of males. The males are relatively smaller as compared to their female counterparts (Kohn and Kottler 12). Many males bond on the skin of the female where they digest the skin and releases sperms in the female’s bloodstream in response to hormones.

Other animal species also practice polygynandry where many females mate indiscriminately with many males. However, both male and females have equal numbers. Polygynandry is common among the vertebrate species. For instance, bonobos and chimpanzees are promiscuous polygynandry. The animal species live in social setting involving several females and several males. Each male mates with multiple females and vice versa. In bonobos, for instance, they utilize sex for reproduction as well as for eliminate social disagreements (Kohn and Kottler 12). Therefore, in these species, promiscuity is very common. Spawning animals such as herrings, and forage fish practice mutual promiscuity.

Scientists argue that animal’s species, which do not practice monogamy, are referred to as polygamy. In such a case, polygamous animals practice polygynandrous, polyandrous or polygynous. Animals can exhibit either polygamous or monogamous behaviors based on their environmental conditions (Horstman 34). For instance, social wasp can exhibit either of these conditions. Other animals have high levels of competition and male-male aggression in order to mate.

There is a wide range of misconception about the reasons why animals mate. In this case, some people believe that animals have sex only for reproduction and not for pleasure. Moreover, others assume that only pigs and humans species that are engaged in sex for pleasure. However, studies show that some species engage in sex for non-reproduction. Therefore, they argue that animals engage in sex because of sexual stimulation, which is pleasurable (Horstman 45). Female mammals are able to reach orgasm because they possess clitoris. Nonetheless, studies are unable to establish the animals’ subjective feelings.

Furthermore, it is not clear whether animals experience emotions like human beings. Nonetheless, a research by (Horstman) indicates that sexual intercourse among animals is not primarily for reproduction. Actually, they are motivated to mate because of positive feeling they experience (Horstman 49). Therefore, researchers argue that animal engage in sex because it is a source of satisfaction and pleasure. Studies have confirmed this by the willingness of males to work extra hard in order to have access to female partners. Female animals also demonstrate positive experience in relation to sexual intercourse (Kohn and Kottler 23). For instance, female mammal’s physiology such clitoris stimulation is able to provide a positive experience. Furthermore, there is improved reproduction because of successive clitoris stimulation.

There are various reproductive sexual behaviors demonstrated by various animals. For instance, they have hermaphroditism, cuckoldry, sexual coercion and unisexuality as well as cuckoldry. Cuckoldry is a strategy where small male in spawning animals use in order to dominate aggressive and large males (Horstman 67). The practice if often related to polyandry. However, these males and females do not engage in courtship. They usually release the gametes rapidly when they come across a fertile female. In addition, this system is very common among the fish species. It is also efficient because of natural selection (Kohn and Kottler 12).

Sexual coercion is common among different species, where male partner normally dominate by size and force. The sexual behavior is common among the herd species especially herbivorous animals. On the other hand, some avian species such as ducks use violence during sexual intercourse. There are reports that animals engage in sexual behaviors such as prostitution, interbreeding and Pavlovian conditioning.

Animals are also involved in non-reproductive sexual behaviors such as masturbation, bisexuality, homosexuality and orals sex. In some species, both females and males partners are engage in masturbation. Other animals such as sheep, goats and brown bears engage in orals sex. The females occasionally lick the shaft and tips of the penis. Animals such as ape, mammals and marine birds are involved in homosexuality. Other primates such as bonobos do genital-genital rubbing with their partners (Horstman 78). Bisexuality is also a common non-reproduction sexual behavior where a male partner engages in sex with both male and females. Furthermore, studies also show that animals participate in inter-species mating where partners from different species mate.


Although animal’s sexual behavior and their love affairs can help human to learn a lot, the latter is guided by moral rules in the society. The sexual and romantic attraction differs between humans and animals. Additionally, animal’s sexual orientation differs with that of human beings. In this regard, their cognitive perspective controls sexual orientation in humans. For instance, sexual arousal occurs because of sexual responses. The human brain inhibits or triggers sexual responses (Kohn and Kottler 56). The sexual response in human unlike in animals involves three components such as attribution, labeling and detection. Some of the animals rely on the use of pheromone hormone, which is not applicable to humans. On the contrary, human being utilizes cues and behaviors to respond to stimuli. In addition, human’s sexual orientation is shaped by culture, personal, family and society experiences. Research indicates that since animals and humans live in different environment, their sexual behaviors are incomparable (Kohn and Kottler 29).

Environmental factors play a crucial role in determining the sexual behaviors of various organisms. Unlike animals, children receive guidance on different sexual behaviors. For instance, parents’ guide their children on sexual acts such as masturbation although they feel pleasurable unlike animals. Animals do not apply the concept of punishment and rewards when dealing with sexual behaviors as compared to humans. Furthermore, humans are encouraged to utilize learning by observation, plans, thoughts and anticipations when dealing in this case. Some of the behaviors such as sexual coercion are not encouraged in humans because of legal background that they should abide (Horstman 87).


Human sexual orientation, unlike animals, is a crucial behavior that is determined by various facets in their lives including learning, cognition and physiology. Therefore, human sexuality is a multi-dimensional idea that requires inclusion of a wide range of idea and perspectives. It is important to note that animals express love and sex in a similar manner but in humans, culture, environment and laws govern sexual affairs and love (Horstman 78).

Works Cited

Horstman, Judith. The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.

Kohn, David, and Malcolm J Kottler. The Darwinian Heritage. New York: Princeton University Press, 2014. Print.