Relationships are equally diverse, including long term pair bonds, in both between-sex and same-sex couples, one-off copulation, strictly monogamous and non-monogamous relationships, polygamy, polyandry and group orgies.
Families and child rearing are diverse. There’s male and female pederasty, incest, and likewise butch/femme female relationships. There are single parents, between- sex parent couples, and same-sex parent couples, who may acquire kids by finding sperm donors (if female), surrogate mothers (if male), or by adoption. (In some species, male couples turn out to be more successful parents than between-sex parents, just like research suggests for humans).
As in humans, there are a range of “purposes” of sex, from the obvious one of simple pleasure, to asserting domination and status, to procreation. Bonobos even use it as a form of social peacekeeping. There’s also a negative side: rape and sexual violence also occur. I confess I’ve not yet come across the wildlife equivalent of consensual S/M, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. Just about everything else is there, including transgender (routine in some species), transvestism, and the use of sex toys.
The use and manufacture of tools by primates is considered an important example of cultural behaviour in animals, and a forerunner of the activities that are so widespread among human beings.although many different forms and functions are evident in animal tool use, these examples show that nonreproductive sexual activities are part of the overall behavioral pattern: the primate capacity for object manipulation extends seamlessly into the sexual sphere.
Similar types of activities occur among people too, of course, and sexual implements of various sorts have a long and distinguished history in human culture. …Examples have been found from as far back as the Palaeolithic through to medieval times – including some Biblical references – as well as in the ongoing traditions of many indigenous peoples throughout the world.
Related Posts on Animal Sexuality:
- The Wildlife Rainbow
- Flirty fish may solve riddle of gay animals
- New Scientist: Fish that change sex – and back again
- Penguin (Gay) Parenting: Lessons for Gay Adoption
- The Saga of the Toronto Gay Penguins
- Tough Survivors: Gender Fluid Eels.
- Bisexual squid ‘can’t tell mates apart’ in dark waters – Telegraph
- A Lesson in Couple Stability From Homosexual Zebra Finches
- Breaking Up Is Hard To Do….. Also For Vultures
- The Real Mama Grizzlies: Lesbian Moms?
- Our Queer Primate Cousins
- Albatross Same- sex Parents
- Bisexual Snails
- Same-Sex Parents, Furred and Feathered.
- Queer Bonobos: Sex As Conflict Resolution
- Animals Use Sex Toys, Too
- Bighorn Rams: Macho Homos, Wimpish Heteros
- Lesbian Lizards
At Seed Magazine:
Sex At Dawn The effeminate sheep and other problems with natural selection
Bagemihl, Bruce: Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (Stonewall Inn Editions)
Long, John A: Hung Like an Argentine Duck: A Journey Back in Time to the Origins of Sexual Intimacy
Roughgarden, Joan: Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People
Sommer, Volker and Vasey, Paul: Homosexual Behaviour in Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective