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Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom: Scientific American

This could have gone in my last post, con­sid­er­ing Porter’s life 😉 Thanks to Scott Bragg for the link.

Bisex­u­al Species: Unortho­dox Sex in the Ani­mal King­dom: Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can

… as many as 1,500 species of wild and cap­tive ani­mals that have been observed engag­ing in homo­sex­u­al activ­i­ty. Researchers have seen such same-sex goings-on in both male and female, old and young, and social and soli­tary crea­tures and on branch­es of the evo­lu­tion­ary tree rang­ing from insects to mam­mals.

Unlike most humans, how­ev­er, indi­vid­ual ani­mals gen­er­al­ly can­not be clas­si­fied as gay or straight: an ani­mal that engages in a same-sex flir­ta­tion or part­ner­ship does not nec­es­sar­i­ly shun het­ero­sex­u­al encoun­ters. Rather many species seem to have ingrained homo­sex­u­al ten­den­cies that are a reg­u­lar part of their soci­ety. That is, there are prob­a­bly no strict­ly gay crit­ters, just bisex­u­al ones. “Ani­mals don’t do sex­u­al iden­ti­ty. They just do sex,” says soci­ol­o­gist Eric Ander­son of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bath in Eng­land.

5 comments to Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom: Scientific American

  • Neat arti­cle — thanks for the link 🙂

    I’m note sure what it says about me, that I’m bisex­u­al the way ani­mals are bisex­u­al — but I’m pret­ty okay with it 🙂

  • cyn

    I’m par­tial to Spi­der Robin­son’s view, that if we (in gen­er­al, cul­tur­al­ly, uni­ver­sal­ly) had few­er hangups, we’d all be bisex­u­al.

  • I think that’s quite like­ly.

    Which reminds me — I haven’t read any Spi­der Robin­son in ages. I should change that.


    Do you think ani­mals are ostra­cized by oth­er ani­mals for engag­ing in homo­sex­u­al activ­i­ties? Does it car­ry the same stig­ma as in human soci­ety?

  • cyn

    No, because the behav­ior is com­plete­ly nat­ur­al.