Wednesday, June 14, 2023, June 14, 2023 WIB
Last Updated 2023-06-15T00:37:37Z
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This Animal Masturbates Most, Curious Biologist

Photo: Visitors flock to Ragunan Zoo during the 2023 Chinese New Year holidays. (CNBC)

Masturbation is a common behavior among primates, including monkeys and apes. Biologists have conducted research on the reasons behind this behavior and have found several hypotheses, with evolution being a common theme.

One hypothesis suggests that male primates masturbate to increase their chances of fertilization by clearing out older sperm, making room for fresh, higher-quality sperm during mating. Another hypothesis focuses on the speed of sexual encounters; less dominant males may want to "finish" quickly to avoid interference from dominant males. By masturbating before sex, they can speed up the process and minimize the risk of discovery.

In female primates, it is suggested that masturbation alters the pH levels of the vagina, increasing the chances of insemination. Additionally, female primates may masturbate after sex to determine the father of their offspring, especially if they do not get to choose their partners.

While there are many hypotheses, researchers have yet to confirm a definitive reason for masturbation in primates. Furthermore, while male primates are known to masturbate more frequently than females, it may be difficult to detect female masturbation and therefore it is difficult to make direct comparisons.

Despite the limitations of the research, it is clear that masturbation is a widespread behavior among primates. It is found in almost all species of monkeys and apes, and likely dates back to their common ancestor.