The Great Bonobo Apes of Congo: Love, Not War
Bonobos have quite intriguing ways of approaching and solving fights. These peace-loving creatures essentially use their charms to pacify conflicts or to reconcile indifferences.
For instance, if two bonobos were fighting, they would end up hugging or kissing each other, restoring harmony and peace to the tribe.
The behavior of bonobos towards sex is fascinating as well. In fact, a male bonobo inviting for food could also be inviting for sex. Male invite females, females invite males and other females.
Sex plays an important role in any bonobo’s society. The need to copulate is often displayed in various manners, displays, and genital contacts. In other words, bonobos are sexually active, and they get aroused pretty easily.
Earlier studies indicate that bonobos, unlike other creatures, has adapted the face-to-face copulation, much like what we humans do.
However, this early discovery was never recognized, not until the same findings resurfaced in the 70s. In fact, one out of three copulations was performed in humanlike mounting, which is amazing considering that chimps don’t adapt into such kind of position.
Other indicators include the willingness of the female bonobo to have sexual contact as indicated by its swelling pinkish genitals.
Genital rubbing between two adult bonobo females is also common, using special positions, resulting to squeals and grins. The same principle is also being practiced among male bonobos in different positions and variations.
Sex is indeed just part of bonobo’s day-to-day activities. While this often leaves an impression that they are the most “oversexed” species, but in their own world, they do it in a very relaxed and casual manner. Unlike in humans, bonobo’s sexual flares are rather quick, lasting only 13 seconds or less.
The excitement to food often results in sexual arousal. Or, some experts would rather believe that it’s due to competition. Whatever it is, the bonobo’s way to avoid conflict and fan out competition is to have sexual contact.
But bonobo’s sexual needs aren’t all related to food. For instance, out of jealousy, two male bonobos engage in a fight, and later on reunite, and perform genital-to-genital rubbing.
Routine activities resulting to petty misunderstandings that could have led to the use of force are literally calmed down using assurance or gestures of sex. Controlled studies have had these findings confirmed.
Sex as a means to pacify or diffuse conflicts is not unique to bonobos. However, bonobos seemed to understand how to incorporate sex as part of their natural social activities.
These peace-loving creatures have amazed scientists for years, which, if the same principles were to be applied to humans, suggest that coexistence not only exist on heterosexual partners.
Without a doubt, bonobo’s life cycle is truly interesting and at the same time intriguing. I wish to invite you to come to Africa and see them in the flesh.