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The cooperative sex: Sexual interactions among female bonobos are linked to increases in oxytocin, proximity and coalitions

Moscovice, LR, Surbeck, M, Fruth, B, Hohmann, G, Jaeggi, AV and Deschner, T (2019) The cooperative sex: Sexual interactions among female bonobos are linked to increases in oxytocin, proximity and coalitions. Hormones and Behavior, 116. ISSN 0018-506X

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Abstract

In some species habitual same-sex sexual behavior co-occurs with high levels of intra-sexual alliance formation, suggesting that these behaviors may be linked. We tested for such a link by comparing behavioral and physiological outcomes of sex with unrelated same- and opposite-sex partners in female bonobos (Pan paniscus). We analyzed behavioral outcomes following 971 sexual events involving n = 19 female and n = 8 male adult and sub-adult members of a wild, habituated bonobo community. We additionally collected n = 143 urine samples before and after sexual interactions to non-invasively measure oxytocin (OT), which modulates female sexual behavior and facilitates cooperation in other species. The majority of sexual events (65%) consisted of female same-sex genito-genital rubbing (or GG-rubbing). Female dyads engaged in significantly more sexual interactions than did inter-sexual dyads, and females were more likely to remain within close proximity to their partners following GG-rubbing. Females also exhibited greater increases in urinary OT following GG-rubbing compared with copulations, indicating a physiological basis for increased motivation to cooperate among females. The frequency of coalitionary support among non-kin was positively predicted by the frequency of sexual interactions for female as well opposite-sex dyads, although coalitionary support tended to be more frequent among females. The emergence of habitual same-sex sexual behavior may have been an important step in the evolution of cooperation outside of kinship and pair-bonds in one of our closest phylogenetic relatives.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences, 06 Biological Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2020 11:10
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2020 11:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.104581
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12039

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