Male Monkeys "Pay" For Sex

Michael Gumert of Nanyang Technological University of Singapore discovered that male macaques "pay" to have sex by grooming the females. Interestingly, market forces apply even to monkey sex:

On average, females had sex 1.5 times per hour.

But this rate jumped to 3.5 times per hour immediately after the female had been groomed by a male -- and her partner of choice was likely to be the hunky monkey that did the grooming.

Market forces also acted on the value of the transaction.

If there were several females in the area, the cost of buying sex would drop dramatically -- a male could "buy" a female for just eight minutes of nit-picking.

But if there were no females around, he would have to groom for up to 16 minutes before sex was offered.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gUTyYpPmEHzLP5a_rDsPDkGv8aXA - Thanks casey!


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That doesn't sound like "paying" for sex at all. It sounds more like bonding through grooming and the bonding making her feel more up to sex. One intimacy leads to another and all?
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My wife and I were at the Albuquerque Zoo, and saw two roadrunners having sex in a cage. The interesting thing was that the male had a mouse in its beak. When they were done, he dropped the mouse, which was taken by the female. I had never seen anything like that before, and we were both amused by the sight.
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"But if there were no females around, he would have to groom for up to 16 minutes before sex was offered."

16 minutes of groom turns any heterosexual monkey boy into a sex crazy homosexual?
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sam Says: "You could just as easily (or more easily) say that monkeys relax their partner or get them in the mood by grooming them."

- If you consider it to be merely foreplay, why would less foreplay be necessary in the presence of competition? - "If there were several females in the area, the cost of buying sex would drop dramatically..."

Are they closet homosexuals turned on by the presence of other females? I suppose you could test that hypothesis by testing for physiological markers indicating stimulation. Frankly, I find their explanation more plausible though.
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Well, perhaps they should call it a "barter" then - male monkey provide a service (grooming), for which the female monkeys reward with sex.

The interesting bit is when there's a lot of females: the "price" for sex (i.e. how long the grooming lasts) gets lowered. This suggests that market forces is at work, even at this crude level (and with monkeys!).
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