7 Ways Animal Mating Is Like Human Dating

…and 1 way it (hopefully) isn't!
7 Ways Animal Mating Is Like Human Dating 1

When you think of human mat­ing rit­u­als, what comes to mind? Is it the pre-​date primp­ing? Verbal spar­ring? Fooling around in a movie the­ater because you want safe pseudo-privacy?

Dr. Carin Bondar’s book Wild Sex: The Science Behind Mating in the Animal Kingdom is full of bite-​sized, wild rites of repro­duc­tion — strat­e­gy, seduc­tion, sex itself, and so on.

Many ani­mals, from orang­utans to song­birds, dis­play mat­ing behav­iors that feel sur­pris­ing­ly relat­able. First up:

Joey doesn’t share food!

— Joey Tribbiani in Friends Season 10, Episode 9 (The One with the Birth Mother)



Female Orangutans Snatch a Potential Mate’s Food

Do you ever sneak fries off a date’s plate — not because you can’t get your own fries, but because you want to see their reaction?

Female orang­utans and chim­panzees some­times do the equiv­a­lent to:

  • Observe a poten­tial mate’s personality
  • Decide whether he would be a good mate
  • Filter out the most aggres­sive suitors

Less direct­ly, it reminds me of a friend say­ing — with the ini­tial dis­claimer, “I know it sounds manip­u­la­tive, but” — they slight­ly adjust plans short­ly before a Tinder date with a man to see how he responds.

And yes, the guys not infre­quent­ly lashed out.

It didn’t even occur to me to judge the inten­tion behind my friend’s action — I’d asked dates if they were in the mood to do some­thing else all the time, sim­ply because I want­ed to, and didn’t real­ize it could be an issue.

As far as I was con­cerned, it was savvy to do some­thing harm­less that would expose poten­tial harm quick­ly and easily.

City Boys, Country Boys, and Great Tits

Urban noise pol­lu­tion from traf­fic, fac­to­ries, and a dense human pop­u­la­tion makes it hard­er for a bird’s mat­ing call to reach its intend­ed audi­ence. Some male city-​dwelling birds and grasshop­pers may sing faster songs with high­er notes and more "phras­es" to adapt to the ambi­ent sound.

Great tits (the passer­ine bird, Parus major) have dif­fer­ent “dialects” depend­ing on the envi­ron­ment — some­times to the point of coun­try gals not “under­stand­ing” city boys’ mat­ing calls, and vice versa.

Betta Lovers vs. Fighters vs. Dividers

Which Betta boys fin­ish first?

While the say­ing, “Nice guys fin­ish last,” is pop­u­lar, that doesn’t mean it’s nec­es­sar­i­ly true. Attraction and mate choice depend on indi­vid­ual pri­or­i­ties and envi­ron­men­tal con­text — even in seem­ing­ly sim­ple ani­mals like Betta splen­dens, the Siamese fight­ing fish.

Oliveira et al. in 2021 observed the fol­low­ing trends in B. splen­dens’ mat­ing preferences:

  • Males admired female bold­ness and looooved when poten­tial mates active­ly showed inter­est by approach­ing him and check­ing out his nest.
  • Females pre­ferred the com­bi­na­tion of bold col­oration and nonag­gres­sive behavior. 
    • They often chose lovers (who focused atten­tion on the female) over fight­ers (who focused on fight­ing oth­er males) and dividers (who did a mix of both).

Sure, some male aggres­sion could indi­cate good health and the abil­i­ty to pro­tect ter­ri­to­ry. However, nonag­gres­sive males:

  • Pose less risk of harm dur­ing the mat­ing process
  • Are like­ly to invest more in courtship and nest maintenance

While humans aren’t even close to Siamese fight­ing fish, I feel that deeply: a man who can pro­tect and serve is great — but I’d hate for a part­ner to end up being the enti­ty I need pro­tec­tion from.

Confrontational Mating Disruption Is Frowned Upon

Don’t be that guy at a par­ty. You know you done goofed when a Dominatrix makes a new house par­ty rule about your behav­ior specifically:

Go to the sex floor to have sex. Do not go to the sex floor to watch, touch your­self, or intrude upon oth­er people’s scenes.

“Interestingly, the repro­duc­tive suc­cess of dis­rupt­ing males is not always high­er,” wrote Dr. Bondar. “Males who dis­rupt the mat­ing process for oth­ers risk miss­ing out on find­ing a mate of their own.”

Was that guy “suc­cess­ful” in the sense of the inter­rupt­ed cou­ple let­ting him join? Yes, but only because they were already hot and heavy and thought, “Sure, what­ev­er. We want to get back to doing our thing ASAP.”

However, he prob­a­bly would have had a lot more fun if he didn’t creep or get banned from the House’s future sex par­ties as a result.

Crickets Love to Feed ‘N’ Breed

Ever “food­ie call” a date for a nice meal?

I love it when a part­ner orders or pre­pares food for me, and we have sex while I eat. (“The good ol’ feed ‘n’ breed,” one ex joked. Thanks, I both loved and hat­ed that word choice.)

It turns out that crick­ets do some­thing like that — a mat­ing strat­e­gy dubbed the “candy-​making hypothesis”:

  • Male crick­ets pro­duce a sper­mato­phy­lax — a deli­cious nup­tial offering
  • The females eat the sper­mato­phy­lax dur­ing sperm transfer
  • The more entic­ing it is, the more time he has to get his “groove” on!

Coagulating Cum and Expelling Ejaculate

I’ve pre­vi­ous­ly writ­ten about the cum cock­tail of semenogelins, zinc, and kallikreins:

Ever notice that there's a time delay after inter­course for semen to drip out, and it's not quite the vis­cos­i­ty it was when it came in? There's a rea­son for that: semen actu­al­ly gels and liquefies!

As the name sug­gests, semenogelins gel and thick­en the semen — then, oth­er com­po­nents cleave and liq­ue­fy it, free­ing the sperm to swim. I learned that from The Penis Book.

Wild Sex looks at the same thing from a slight­ly dif­fer­ent angle. Coagulating cum:

  • Keeps it in place for longer
  • Slows down ini­tial semen drippage
  • Makes it more chal­leng­ing for sub­se­quent males to scoop out and replace the sperm

“For pri­mates, sem­i­nal coag­u­la­tion is most pro­nounced in species where females mate mul­ti­ply,” wrote Dr. Bondar. May the best sperm win.

Low-Ranking Males Love to Edge & Goon

I can imag­ine clients of my Domination ser­vices jack­ing off to the following:

According to the sex­u­al arousal hypoth­e­sis, low-​ranking males keep them­selves in a state of con­stant sex­u­al arousal so that they can be “ready” to mount a female on short notice if the oppor­tu­ni­ty aris­es. Since these males are gen­er­al­ly not per­mit­ted to have sex by their high-​ranking com­peti­tors, it makes sense for them to do what they can do to min­i­mize the time it would take them to ejac­u­late into a female.

This pat­tern can be observed in sev­er­al species with pro­nounced social hier­ar­chies and intense male-​male com­pe­ti­tion — includ­ing our chim­panzee kin (Pan troglodytes).

There’s not much to add to the pas­sage above — it’s per­fect for those who get off on degra­da­tion as friend-​zoned beta simp orbiters! Edge. Goon. Leak. These losers know their place; they weren’t ever going to be good for actu­al­ly pleas­ing a woman any­way.

(I don’t actu­al­ly believe that FYI, but much of female Domination is under­stand­ing how men eroti­cize shame.)

7 Ways Animal Mating Is Like Human Dating 2

Sometimes, Male Genitalia Breaks Off

“Breakage of male gen­i­talia inside females may not always be under strict male con­trol,” wrote Bondar.

Female St. Andrew’s Cross spi­ders (Argiope key­ser­lin­gi) mate for longer with larg­er, more endowed males — then break off their junk and “wear” it like a plug.


Get Wild Animal Sex by Dr. Carin Bondar at Aphrodisia Boutique. Use code SUPER for 10% off.

7 Ways Animal Mating Is Like Human Dating 3

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1 Response

  1. Tez Miller says:

    Interesting book. Might have to track it down. Thanks for the rec!

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