It's just part of their natural behaviour.metro.co.uk
Is it possible that gorillas have sex for pleasure? According to new research, it looks like they may have sex for pleasure and engage in lesbian sexual acts when rejected by male primates. The Australian research team witnessed female mountain gorillas engaging in lesbian sex for the first time, reports Independent. The behavior was documented during a research study in Virunga mountains located in Central Africa.
“Instead of seeing aggression between females over food we saw them engaged in sexual behavior which was quite surprising.”
Gorillas aren’t the only species to engage in homosexual behavior. There have been countless studies that have discovered other animals displaying homosexual behaviors. The research is the first time a gorilla was documented to have sex for pleasure, and not strictly to produce offspring.
The research started to “shed light on the origins of homosexuality,” as gorillas have similar DNA to humans. The scientist team expected to see a few lesbian gorilla couples but were blown away when they discovered 44 homosexual sexual encounters over the course of the study.
One big difference between the male and female and lesbian sexual encounters was the lack of aggression in the between the two female gorillas. Australian researcher, Dr. Cyril Grueter from the University of Western Australia told the Daily Mail that he could tell by observing that they were enjoying the encounter.
“They were obviously deriving sexual pleasure from each other. It usually happens that two females get on top of each other, rubbing their bellies and genitals together.”
Dr. Gueter watched the gorillas for two years, from 2008 to 2010, and 18 engaged in sexual activity with another female primate. They engaged in behaviors such as stimulating genitals and rubbing their bellies together. The researchers concluded that it was obvious from observing them that they were receiving great pleasure in the sexual act.
“It usually happens that two females get on top of each other, rubbing their bellies and genitals together, that’s the most frequent expression (of sexual intimacy). Our main conclusion is that it’s purely sexual behavior, they can easily shift from preference.”
Dr. Greuter further explained that it is purely a sexual act and the gorilla can easily switch their sexual preference to heterosexual if needed. He explained that it’s not they prefer the same sex; it’s just a sexual act. In other words, it was just a way to sexually satisfy themselves at the moment.
“It’s not necessarily that they have a same-sex orientation, it’s purely sexual behavior.”
Researchers noticed that those females who engaged in same-sex relations would seek privacy. Dr. Grueter concluded that it might have been a taboo act, even among the gorillas. It caused the primates to look for privacy for the sexual encounter. Dr. Grueter felt the females looked for privacy to avoid being seen by the males in the group.
“There was also a tendency for such copulations (sexual intercourse) to take place in secluded places with dense vegetation.”
Over 25 percent of the homosexual acts that Dr. Grueter observed in the two-year study noticed that at least one female was involved with a male the day before or after the lesbian encounter. Dr. Grueter noted that females that were closely related did not typically engage in sexual acts. The researchers did see an aunt/niece pairing but deemed it a rare occurrence.
“Given that such homosexual interactions happened in a completely wild setting, the claim that it is an artifact of captivity is not applicable.”
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[Photo By AP/Ben Curtis]