The Human Animal: The Biology of Love

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You best be going through heat!

Why do humans mate so differently to our closest relatives the chimpanzee?

In the 1970’s Morris began investigating intimate human behaviour, the notion of ‘love’ to find an answer to this question. For many analyzing love from a scientific and critical perspective would ruin the magic of it. However, for Morris he feels the more we understand love the more fascinating the subject becomes.  But where does love begin? How does boy meet girl? Morris takes us through the sexual development of humans. When children begin school and are no longer toddlers a major split occurs between the sexes. Children are categorized and classify themselves to fit within the two sexed categories of being either male or female.  Commonly child females group together and child males group together, creating a clear distinction and understanding of there being two sexes. Whilst each group may pass over and move between they are often hostile to one another.

This hostility and teasing is important for sexual development. In this pre-sexual phase it is important for males and females to become strangers to one another. I feel this hostility and distance are important because can children develop a clearer understanding of there being two sexes and an ability to align themselves and others to one side or the other side of the gender binary. This understanding thus influences/causes heterosexual desire as assumed and expected by culture and society so the species continues. And so children must feel separate from one another so that by the time puberty arrives they can forge an entirely new kind of relationship, one of desire for the opposite sex. There is still a sense of unfamiliarity, which has not dulled the excitement of discovery. The male and female groups lose that sense of hostility and replace it with curiosity, thus a sense of sexuality is formed.  Of course, not all children’s gender will align with their sex and not all teenagers will be heterosexual but coming from a scientific view, this would be outside the ‘norms’.

Morris now goes onto describe the stages in which relationships and eventual sex are achieved. Parading is the first stage. All over the world young adults can be observed gathering together in large informal groups in bars, parks, festivals and so on, all in order to make themselves seen by the opposite sex. Parading leads to a more direct display of interest such as eye contact. During this phase prime evil sexual influences are at work below the bodies surface. Research in certain nightclubs has suggested that the closer a female is to ovulating the sexier and more revealing her costume will be. The display of naked flesh, unknowing to them, is dictated by their physiology. For males, this visual stage of sourcing a mate is enjoyable and relished. Morris evidences this by showing young males riding scooters in Rome, chasing after the females they find attractive. In a glimpse of an eye the males have gathered all the visual information before them to decide if the female is attractive or not. But what is sexy to the human animal?

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