Going Wild

The animal kingdom is even gayer than we thought, says new study

You call it a zoo. We call it a Pride parade.

A new study from scientists at Spanish research institute Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas reveals that same-sex sexual activity has been identified in more than 1,500 species across the animal kingdom. 

We’re talking fish. We’re talking spiders. We’re talking birds. If you can find it in the wild, it’s probably a little bit gay.

The study compiled and evaluated all existing scientific literature around same-sex relations between animals. That includes courting, mounting, genital contact, sexual intercourse, pair bonding, and raising young together — so basically everything gay humans do.

However, the researchers stress that same-sex activity in animals is different from the human concepts of homosexuality and sexuality in general.

“Same-sex sexual behavior as it is used here does not denote sexual orientation (i.e. an overall pattern of sexual attraction/arousal over time), sexual orientation identity (i.e. the sexual orientation that individuals perceive themselves to have), categories of sexual beings (i. e. homosexuals, heterosexuals, etc.), nor sexual preference,” the researchers write.

Same-sex activity is most common in mammals, the study finds, with 5% of mammal species and 50% of mammal families exhibiting the behaviors, a higher figure than groups like birds and insects.

Same-sex activity is also slightly more common in males than females, with 199 species exhibiting male-on-male behavior compared to only 163 species for females.

So, why do animals exhibit these behaviors? The study isn’t conclusive on that point, but it does suggest that one main reason for animals to evolve same-sex behavior is “to establish, maintain and strengthen social relationships that may increase bonds and alliance between members of the same group.” In other words, if a species is more social than solitary, it might use gay sex to facilitate community. Humans should take notes.

Though the scientists note that more research is necessary in this field, one thing is clear: if this many animals are expressing same-sex sexual behavior, being gay is 100% natural.

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