As cute as they can be, primates aren't known for their sense of shame concerning, um, private matters. But as TMI as the primate section of the zoo can be, there are still lots of surprising facts about primate sex that are pretty hard to forget. Whether it's baboons, bonobos, or spider monkeys, If you've ever found yourself wondering, "What is primate sex like?" and you don't mind some pretty vivid images, you're welcome. Everyone else, sorry.
Which primates are into older ladies? What species is gets it on for pleasure? And which enjoy same-sex trysts? Read on to find out everything you ever wanted (and didn't want) to know about sex in primates.
Macaque Monkeys Engage in Prostitution
A study of macaque monkeys in Indonesia found that males "paid" for sex through favors to females. The payment was offered up front: a grooming session for the female. When groomed, female sexual activity more than doubled. However, when the number of females increased, the males' willingness to trade for sex went down. In summary, the oldest profession in the world is not just for humans.
Bonobos Do It Face-to-Face
Unlike most primates, which prefer to copulate with the male positioned behind the female, bonobos face each other in the "missionary" position. It would be romantic if it weren't for the fact that bonobo sex lasts an average of 13 seconds.
Male Barbary Macaques Are Into Shouting
Turns out that male Barbary macaques are into screaming. Studies suggest that female Barbary macaques shout during sex in order to bring their partner to climax, and it's effective. In fact, it borders on necessary; in one case study, males ejaculated less than two percent of the time when the females didn't scream.
Bonobos Frequently Have Same-Sex Encounters
One of the most unique traits of the bonobo is the extremely common occurrence of female-on-female action. Undocumented in any other primate, female bonobos often rub their genitals together. Males get it on this, too: they perform their own variation of this act wherein they, um, "swordfight." Yeah, they rub their penises together while hanging from a branch.