By Michael Marshall. The urge to reproduce, to pass on our genes to a new generation, is one of the most powerful in our lives. This is equally true of the bewildering variety of animals with whom we share the planet. And they have an equally bewildering variety of ways of going about it. Our opinion editor Amanda Gefter recently visited an exhibition entitled The Sex Lives of Animals , which seeks to overturn the idea that animals engage in sex purely for procreation. So, here is a run-through of the huge diversity of sexual behaviours found in the animal kingdom.
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Non-reproductive sexual behavior in animals
Animal Sex: News and Features - News and Scientific Articles on Live Science
Animal sexual behaviour takes many different forms, including within the same species. Common mating or reproductively motivated systems include monogamy , polygyny , polyandry , polygamy and promiscuity. Other sexual behaviour may be reproductively motivated e. When animal sexual behaviour is reproductively motivated, it is often termed mating or copulation ; for most non-human mammals , mating and copulation occur at oestrus the most fertile period in the mammalian female's reproductive cycle , which increases the chances of successful impregnation. Females often select males for mating only if they appear strong and able to protect themselves. The male that wins a fight may also have the chance to mate with a larger number of females and will therefore pass on his genes to their offspring.
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Animals are kinkier than you
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. A mating system describes how males and females pair when choosing a mate. Males and females differ greatly in the investment each makes to reproduce, and may therefore approach mating with differing strategies. To study these differences, scientists observe mating systems and describe how males and females come together.
Non-reproductive sexual behavior consists of sexual activities animals participate in that do not lead to the reproduction of the species. Although procreation continues to be the primary explanation for sexual behavior in animals , recent observations on animal behavior have given alternative reasons for the engagement in sexual activities by animals. Observed non-procreative sexual activities include non-copulatory mounting without penetration, or by the female , oral sex, genital stimulation, anal stimulation, interspecies mating, and acts of affection. Lions are known to engage in sex to create bonds and interact with each other. Lions live in a social group known as a pride that consists of 2—18 females and 1—7 males.
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