It's that time of year again, a time that many people either love or hate. The holiday that brings in the cash for Hallmark, floral shops and restaurants: Valentine's Day.
As I have said before, Valentine's Day isn't a special day for me. I actually prefer to stay in, watch “Die Hard” and eat Chinese takeout. This year, however, I was asked to speak at my favorite place in Omaha – our world renowned Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium for the Love at the Zoo, a Valentine's Day Dinner. I was asked to speak about human mating, which got me thinking about how different we are from other mammals.
Brier Jirka is a sex therapist with the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center. She blogs every other Tuesday. Read more from Brier.
Before I wanted to be a sex therapist, I wanted to be a marine biologist and study great white sharks. Since I can't swim, my career took another path. I love animals and have quite a list of “Jeopardy”-like facts about animals and sex.
Here are some things I wanted to share for your water cooler conversations about human mating in relation to animals:
1. There are only three known mammals that have sex for pleasure: Humans, dolphins, and our ape relative, the bonobos.
2. Holding each other is as important in the animal world as it is in the human one. African Elephants entwine their tusks and caress each other to show affection. Everyone say, “aww.”
3. The penis of the male bee falls off and attaches to the queen bee after impregnating so others cannot. Think of it like a Bee version of “The Bachelorette.” There's 11 to 12 male bees pursuing the queen, but only one wins. The only problem is that the winner loses his penis and dies.
4. Big breasts get in the way in the animal kingdom as well. A turkey's white meat is a favorite part of many Thanksgiving tables, which is why many farmers breed them for larger breasts. Unfortunately, they get in the way of natural mating. That's why more than 80 percent of our Thanksgiving Day birds are artificially inseminated.
5. Male pandas have low sex drives and since they are an endangered species, scientists are working to find ways to help them mate. Showing pandas other pandas having sex has increased panda sex in captivity from 25 to 60 percent.
Back in 1999, the Bloodhound Gang sang, “You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.” But that isn't actually what many men and women want, since most of the animal kingdom only has sex to mate.
So the next time you think of using the expression “going at it like rabbits,” you may want to rethink your statement.
To learn more about what makes both humans and animals roar, join us on Valentine's Day for “Love at the Zoo.” Tickets are limited. Click here to register.