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Sexual Selection and the Dating Jungle

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A new workshop hopes to teach single men and women the art of flirting. Sounds like a great idea and, at 35 Euros ($48 US), it seems reasonably priced, too. The only problem is that this seminar takes place at a zoo in Apeldoorn, Holland and the tips being offered come from a bunch of monkeys, apes and chimpanzees.

For several years now experts at Holland’s Apenhuel Primate Park have been observing the courting and sexual tendencies of these primates, and firmly believe that humans can learn a thing or two about courting, dating and love making from them.

 The zoo’s Patrick Van Veen, who came up with the idea for a workshop, thinks ordinary dating manuals have little value.  Instead, he is instructing individuals to tune into and rely on their animal instincts. Van Veen would agree that the phrase, “follow your nose, it always knows” can really make a difference in one’s dating life.

 Indeed, one can sometimes put aside deodorants and perfumes in favour of a different scent and generate favorable results. While cosmetic fragrances and manufactured scent products trigger physical attraction they are only mood enhancers and do not act as sexual stimulants. The reality is that it helps when a woman can smell a man’s natural scent, as can female apes. It’s not news that scientists have shown that women are attracted to male scented sex hormones (pheromones.) As for the guys, natural scent also plays an important role in female attractiveness. According to Florida State University psychological scientists Saul L. Miller and Jon K. Maner, male testosterone levels increase or decrease depending on the body odor emitted by females.

If that didn’t surprise you, consider this: Women tend to be finickier and/or more promiscuous at certain times of the month than others.  A study on chimpanzee mating preferences conducted out of Taï National Park in the Côte d’Ivoire showed that the study’s female primates were all more selective about choosing a mate during the periovulatory period. Subliminal intuition causes these lady chimps to be more selective (and with good reason) when they are the most fertile for breeding purposes. Assuming human female sexual selection patterns mimic those of the monkeys, going out at the right time of the month may help you sniff out the bad boys from the keepers.

Of course, if you believe in the principle “Monkey see, Monkey Do” the pygmy chimpanzees are the ones to follow. According to Van Veen, they are the most sexually active and they don’t only do it to reproduce but for stress release and often for the fun of it. Sound familiar?

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