You're Not a Chimpanzee, So Don't Make Love Like One

December 10, 2014 11:00 PM

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Why do people have sex the way they do? There are lots of puzzling things about that, but three really stand out. Sex between two chimpanzees takes a few seconds, but sex between humans can take hours. Why are we so different from them? Men can only have a few orgasms, but women can have lots of orgasms, separated by long intervals of high arousal. Why are we so different from each other? And finally, surveys done by people like Shere Hite and Alfred Kinsey have consistently shown that intercourse isn't really the easiest way for many women to have an orgasm. [3] Oral sex and masturbation often work better. But why wouldn't the activity that leads to fertilization be the most reliably pleasurable one? And why do we humans engage in so many other sexual activities, from anal sex to zoophilia, that also have nothing to do with reproduction?

To answer these questions, we'd need to know how our human way of having sex evolved. But there's no generally accepted theory. Ten years ago, Elizabeth Lloyd's explanation of the female orgasm looked pretty plausible [5]. She argued that women can have many orgasms simply because there never was an...

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