The Bonobo Factor: Sex and Food

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Read the introduction to this series of posts here.

Bonobo Love Secret 07 - Sex and food go together better than love and marriage—at least for bonobos.

“Sex At Dawn” co-author Christopher Ryan writes:

Nothing gets a bonobo orgy started faster than a feast. Give a group of bonobos a bunch of food and they’ll all have some quick sex before very politely sharing the food. No need to fight over scraps like a bunch of uncouth chimps!

What does this mean for us?

Of all of Christopher Ryan’s points, this made me chuckle the most. Can you envision it? At the next gathering of your friends for dinner or backyard barbecue? Everyone gets naked and stirs up the senses with some heated, loving sexual energy before eating. Like the bonobos, the group is not concerned about who touches who. Everyone joins in the sensual flow. Everyone’s senses get revved up, “egos” get shut down and the group floats on a cloud of mellow, satisfied, uncompetitive bliss as the food is served up. The meal is characterized by playful food sharing.

There has always been a connection between food and sex in human culture. Some of the most memorable erotic movie scenes show lovers feeding each other or playing with the texture and tastes of food.

9 1/2 Weeks 

Tom Jones  

Like Water For Chocolate 

Tampopo  

We often describe a delectable meal as being “orgasmic”. Whether it is the physical activity and energy required for love-making, or the activation of the senses, people often feel hungry after making love. Nothing like a tasty snack to prepare for the next round.

When we look at a lovely spread—think perhaps of a Christmas or Thanksgiving feast—it has a stimulating effect. The smells activate our senses. We can almost taste the food. Or eyes drink in the colors and textures. We enter a heightened state of anticipation. Bonobos seem to use this heightening of the senses—the excitement and anticipation of sharing a feast—to spur them into sexual interaction, almost like a natural progression. They ‘feed’ on each other’s sexual energy as an appetizer, raising their pleasure bar higher, and then enjoy the sharing of the food.

Type “sex and food” into Google and it returns 1.56 billion results. You would think “sex and love” would yield more, but in fact it comes up short, with only just over 1.4 billion results. “Love and marriage” finishes a far distant third, with just over 600 million results.

The bonobos aren’t the only great apes who think sex and food go together better than love and marriage.