Fruit bats go down to keep it up

I’ve always been curious to know what a random investigator would make of my in-box. Lots of people find theirs clogged with offers of penis extensions and tireless nights of love; I have the added joy of getting soft-peddalled syphilis diagnostic kits. I also get alerted when medical journals publish papers on a variety of sexual practices. I’ve never thought to restrict the papers to “Humans only” (an option in PubMed). And so it is that I can belatedly bring you the oral sex lives of fruit bats.

The paper, in the (wonderful, open access Public Library of Science), even includes a little cartoon video. Bat porn. In essence, scientists in China have found that a female fruit bat will go down on her partner while he’s taking her from behind. Apparently, the extra stimulation helps him keep it up longer (not a universal observation among females of our species, I venture to guess). The researchers come up with a number of reasons why a lady bat might go to this trouble, among them that it might give his sperm more oomph, might make him less likely to roam, might clean up nasty infections before he passes them to her. But I particularly like their closing shot:

“The behaviour presumably favours the donor, although it may also benefit both partners especially if fertilization success is increased. It is conceivable that the female manipulates the male by increasing sexual stimulation, so that she ultimately benefits.”

I think that’s known as the Pleasure Principle.

Thanks to Klaus for stimulating me to post on this.

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This post was published on 17/11/09 in Good sex and bad.

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  1. Comment by Lee Rudolph, 17/05/10, 06:11:

    Repercussions in Ireland:

  2. Comment by Lee Rudolph, 17/05/10, 06:14:

    Drat. I forgot to obfuscate the URL to keep it from being gobbled up by the software. Here goes again:

    www . newscientist . com / article / dn18916 – bat – fellatio – causes – a – scandal – in – academia . html

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