Monkey Bussiness In Plettenberg Bay, Sa

9th June 2010

Just as in humans, monkeys often form long-term same-sex relationships. Homosexuality in monkeys often, even usually, involves pair bonding as deep and as long-lasting as between members of heterosexual couples.

 

The human pattern of bisexuality also appears in non-human primates.  In some cases, the monkeys prefer same sex, but then change to heterosexuality later.  The monkeys may even change back and forth, and in some cases, the monkeys seek sex with partners of either sex at random

 

Some monkeys have a seasonal breeding pattern, and homosexuality can therefore be seasonal.  Male capuchins, for example, often form homosexual pair bonds and have sex with each other outside of the breeding season, but will revert to a heterosexual pattern during the normal breeding season. Young Capuchin males commonly suck and fondle the scrotum of older males.

 

Proboscis Monkeys and Golden Monkeys indulge in regular male homosexual mounting. This is often interspersed with masturbation, in which the mounted male stimulates his penis with his hand. Amongst Orang-utans sexual bonding between younger animals of the same sex occurs frequently. Pig-tailed and Crested-black Macaque males use a number of ritualised erotic “greeting” gestures with one another.  This includes embracing; face-licking or kissing; fondling or the grabbing of the erected penis; mounting and rump fingering.  Both male and female Stumptail Macaques, on the other hand, are known to form intense sexual friendships with the same sex.  These same sex friendships may be of the similar age, or one individual may be considerably younger than the other.

Homosexual monkeys don’t necessarily pair-bond. Some chose to have promiscuous, anonymous sex and don’t want to be involved in long-term relationships with other monkeys.

 

By now you may be tempted to believe that all of this is highly unusual and well out of the ordinary, but you are in for quite a surprise.  Homosexual behaviour is more common amongst non-human primates than it is in humans.

 

Same sex pairs of monkeys kiss and caress each other with obvious affection and tenderness.  Male pairs and female pairs form long-lasting pair-bonds and reject, threaten, even fight off potential opposite sex partners when they are presented with them.  Same sex partners engage in almost every conceivable means of sexual expression throughout the primate kingdom.

 

Homosexuality in the animal kingdom is an undeniable fact.  It is as natural as can be.  Since it is so common, it is therefore logical for the opponents of gay rights to try to explain it away. I have listed the three main arguments below:

 

The “Pseudo-heterosexuality theory” is the favourite explanation of gay rights opponents whom claim than the homosexuality found amongst the non-human primate is the result of a shortage of, or unavailability of, heterosexual mates.

 

The problem with this argument is threefold.  Firstly, in many species with skewed sex ratios, homosexuality is often seen more frequently in the sex which is in shorter supply rather than in the sex with a surplus of individuals.

Secondly, in some species where homosexual bonds form in a surplus sex, the other sex does not form homosexual bonds when it is in surplus. And finally, in other species, homosexual mountings occur with the same frequency regardless of whether there is a surplus, and sometimes even more frequently among balanced populations than skewed ones.

 

The “deprived of heterosexuality” theory is a variation on the pseudo-heterosexuality argument.  This argument assumes that lower ranked males are deprived of the opportunity to mate and therefore turn to other males for sexual satisfaction.

 

The problem with this argument is that in many species in which harem-guarding occurs, there is no difference between higher-ranking males and lower ranking ones as to the frequency of their homosexual mountings.  Amongst female homosexual pairs of Japanese macaques and Hanuman langurs engaging in homosexual behaviours, males approaching the pair may be threatened or even attacked.  Homosexual bonds can be tight.  Amongst male rhesus macaques and crab-eating macaques with homosexual bonded partners, the members of the pair exhibited considerable distress at being separated from their partners.  In all cases, the individuals ignored the opposite sex partners offered to them, and showed considerable joy and exuberance at the reintroduction of their partners.

 

The “mistaken identity” theory seeks to explain animal homosexuality by claiming that the same sex partner is ‘confused’ and unable to identify a member of the opposite sex.

 

The problem with this theory is that in some animals, the differences between sexes are obvious as they differ in body colour, shape and size. Yet in these particular species, homosexual bonds still form, even when body shape precludes easy homosexual mounting.

 

In conclusion: Homosexuality is widespread, common and impossible to deny or explain away any longer.  Homosexuality is as natural as flowers in spring, and it is high time we accepted that fact.

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