[monkeywire] Study: Human women aroused by bonobo sex

Carrie McLaren stay.free at verizon.net
Thu Dec 15 12:35:02 EST 2005

Girls Gone Wild ... for Monkeys

Pornography studios might do well to take a tip from the Discovery 
Channel. According to a recent study, women are aroused by watching 
monkey sex. Sure, they're more aroused by watching human sex, but the 
loving habits of the bonobo are enough to bring out the primate in 
any civilized lady.

The study, conducted by Meredith Chivers of the Center for Addiction 
and Mental Health and J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, 
was published in the October issue of Biological Psychology. The 
researchers found that while straight men are only aroused by females 
of the human variety, straight women are equally aroused by all human 
sexual activity, including lesbian, heterosexual and homosexual male 
sex, and at least somewhat aroused by nonhuman sex.

Each subject involved in the report watched seven two-minute clips of 
sex: six scenes involving humans and one of bonobos. The subject 
constantly monitored and noted his or her subjective arousal. The 
subject was also affixed with a device that measured genital 
arousal-penis circumference for the men and vaginal pulse amplitude 
for the women.

All eighteen men were heterosexual and all reported subjective 
arousal only during the scenes with women. The objective data matched 
their reports: Images of our evolutionary ancestors do not make a man 
retrogress to Homo erectus. The eighteen heterosexual women reported 
greatest subjective arousal during the heterosexual scene, but their 
bodies reported they were less naturally selective.

Chivers said in a previous study she had shown a very low correlation 
between women's stated sexual interests and their sexual arousal 
patterns in the lab. The correlation was much higher for men, she 

"There's the possibility that genital response for women is not 
necessarily imbued with meaning about her sexual interests," says 
Chivers. She also emphasized that her findings do not imply women 
harbor a latent desire for lesbian sex or bestiality.

While the women did not report their arousal in the subjective part 
of the study, Chivers said women are generally receptive to her 
findings about their objective responses.

"When I speak to women, there's sort of an intuitive 'Oh, yeah,'" she says.

Barbara Bartlik, a psychiatry professor at Cornell, said she was not 
alarmed by the women's response to the nonhuman stimuli.

"I don't know why this has surprised everybody that women get aroused 
watching humans and animals," she says. "Animals, because of the way 
they function in an uninhibited manner...can be very arousing to look 
at when they copulate."

However, Bartlik was surprised that the men did not have the same 
response as the women.

"I would wonder if the men weren't concerned about being labeled as 
homosexual or perverse by being interested in these things, and 
therefore their erections were inhibited," she said.

Chivers hopes to discover what specific aspect of a visual stimulus 
causes women to become aroused. Some experts believe mentally 
labeling an act as sexual arouses women. Others, including Chivers, 
believe innately recognized sexual features such as an erect penis, 
even out of their usual human context, stimulate women. She said she 
did not yet know how similar to humans an animal would need to be in 
order to elicit a sexual response from women.

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