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International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 651–661 | Cite as

Female perineal swelling and its effects on male sexual arousal: An apparent sexual releaser in the chacma baboon (Papio ursinus)

  • L. Girolami
  • C. Bielert
Article

Abstract

The function of the periodic perineal swelling that females of some primate species show in relation to their menstrual cycle has long puzzled many scientists. A role in female attractiveness was suspected, but fluctuations in female behaviors concomitant to these changes in female appearance have always prevented its assessment. By attaching a plastic reproduction of a fully swollen perineum to ovariectomized female chacma baboons, it has finally been demonstrated that the sexual swelling hasan important function in the sexual communication of this species. It induces sexual arousal in male conspecifics. The way the perineal swelling acts and other characteristic aspects of this feature appear to qualify it as a releaser for sexual behavior.

Key words

Papio ursinus baboon sexual communication releaser sexual arousal sexual swelling 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Girolami
    • 1
  • C. Bielert
    • 1
  1. 1.Primate Behaviour Research Group, School of PsychologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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