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The Female's Role in Primate Socio-Sexual Communication

The Female's Role in Primate Socio-Sexual Communication

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This book deals with how females modulate sexual activity, i.e. by soliciting behaviour or by appearance, and if these aspects are under hormonal control. Two species of Cercopithecinae are studied in a series of innovative experiments that for the first time introduce the use of classic ethological models to primates. The vervet monkey does not show attractive features such as a perineal swelling or obvious cyclic changes in copulatory behaviour across the menstrual cycle, whereas the chacma baboon has a prominent perineal swelling at mid-cycle accompanied by high levels of copulatory behaviour. One-way mirror / compartment / freedom-of-choice-of-partner experimental settings show that the female vervet monkey modulates sexual activity by behaviour even though behaviour is largely influenced by social factors that override any hormonal influence on it. The use of a plastic perineal swelling model on the baboon versus concealment of the perineal swelling by pants demonstrates the tremendous potency of appearance, in the form of the perineal swelling, as a modulator of sexual activity in the female baboon, in which behaviour has a minimal role and no effect on male sexual arousal.