3Moaning Was an Invitation to Group Sex
Quick question: Who makes more noise in bed, men or women? Believe it or not, there haven't actually been many studies on the subject, so you should probably just rely on anecdotal evidence. Who do you hear more in hotels? Who is louder in your own bed? Which grandparent can you hear from across the house?
It's the woman, of course. With the guys, it's usually a few little grunts and squawks of exhaustion, while women are the ones you usually hear making full-throated sex noises and appeals to a deity.
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah -- ow, Jesus, not so damn hard."
Of course, the frequency and loudness and squeakiness of sex noises vary from culture to culture, but we do know that there are other primate females who also make noises during sex (we're looking at you, slutty bonobos). And we also know that at least some of the noises gushing from the woman's mouth have nothing to do with orgasms.
We have a feeling most monkey sex has nothing to do with female orgasms.
It seems like there's another reason here that we're missing. Authors Cacilda Jetha and Christopher Ryan think that it has to do with promiscuity.
In their 2010 book, Sex at Dawn, Jetha and Ryan put together a startling theory -- that humans aren't meant to be monogamous, that we were never meant to be monogamous and that biology itself is what's tearing modern marriages apart. And among the justifications for their theory, Jetha and Ryan cite female copulatory noises.
"Our work began as a scientific explanation for David Duchovny."
Remember how we mentioned female bonobos like to make lots of noises when having sex? The funny thing about this is that bonobos are just as related to humans as chimps, and they do a lot of the same stuff that we do sexually, like French kissing and oral sex and face-to-face intercourse.
Hamsters and armadillos share the same boat. The vanilla, missionary, 20 years of marriage boat.
They're also not monogamous, not by a long shot. And here's where it gets interesting: When female bonobos are screwing around, they make lots of noises, not because they're having a good time, but so the other males in the vicinity will hear them. It's a mating call. An invitation. An alert to the other boys in the area that it's party time and she's open for business.
Now, if bonobos are in the top two of our closest relatives, and they totally are, and they've never bought into this whole one man, one woman business, does that mean we should all try to Gingrich our marriages? Probably not. But you definitely should make sure the neighbors aren't around the next time you and your lady get it on.
"Come on, you dicks, evolution says I'm invited."
2Why Do We Have Sex at All? To Fight Parasites (Duh)
Let's face it: Sex is about as intuitive as shoving a summer sausage into a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. If mankind had to start all over from scratch, we're not so sure we'd figure intercourse out the second time around. There are, after all, major disadvantages to sexual intercourse. The opportunity to contract and transmit diseases, for one. And for another, think of all the energy and resources that go into courtship. It's not like Olive Garden meals are going to pay for themselves, you know.
"So ... the grilled sausage comes with the clam side in a light creamy sauce? This menu is weird."
Compare that to the ways that some far stupider animals reproduce. For example, aphids don't need boys at all -- the girls just fart out clones of themselves every 10 minutes or so. Some starfish just have to shed a limb to make a baby. OK, maybe that's not the best example of a better way to do things. But it's definitely simpler.
Everyone wants efficiency these days, but no one wants to pay the price.
So why didn't humanity take a different turn -- one where we kept the species going by just cloning ourselves? Why can't we and other sex-having species just squirt out spores from our orifices and call it a day?
The answer is that sex -- the mingling-of-fluid kind -- results in constant adaptation. Every kid is carrying the best of her mom, her dad, her grandparents and their lovers. Every one of us is a mess of genetic material coming from all over the place. And that's good, because change is what keeps us ahead of the game when it comes to our biological enemies.
Also because your family isn't really your type.
According to the Red Queen hypothesis, we have to keep adapting to keep moving forward. The theory comes from a scene in Through the Looking Glass when Alice and the Red Queen race but never move. The queen says, "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."
"And if you're running on a road made of wind and purple, then you're tripping out just the right amount."
Likewise, humans are in a kind of arms race with every other species, especially the ones that matter to us most: parasites. Animals who reproduce asexually never get a chance to mix things up -- to come up with new and better combinations of genes for the next generation. That makes them more vulnerable when a parasite comes along.
"I am become machete! Fuck worms!"
Scientists have even proven the Red Queen theory in the lab. No, not by hosting a couple and watching them breed, then comparing their medical weaknesses to a family of human clones. They just used a particular bacteria and its viral parasite. The nice thing about bacteria is that you can watch hundreds of generations evolve over a short amount of time. So they took one bit of bacteria and isolated it from its parasite partner. Then they took another bit of the same kind of bacteria and let it co-evolve with its parasite, just as it would in the wild.
"Yes, yes, that's it. Now show your flagella."
Five minutes and thousands of generations later, the second group had evolved twice as fast as the first, with more mutations and diversity. Then, just to be mean, they took the virus from the second group and infected the isolated bacteria with it. The bacteria was annihilated. If we didn't have sex, that bacteria would be us every time we came across a new cold.