When males have females on their backs: male's tolerance, solicitation, and use of female-male mounting in Japanese macaques

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Gunst, Noëlle
Leca, Jean-Baptiste
Vasey, Paul L.
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Previous research on Japanese macaques has shown that female-to-male mounting (FMM) is performed by some females as an exaggerated form of sexual solicitation that may occur in the context of high female competition for male mates. This supernormal courtship behavior functions to prompt subsequent male-to-female mounting. In this report, we focused on the male consort partners’ responses to FMM. We studied a free-ranging population of Japanese macaques at Arashiyama, Japan, in which FMM is frequent and prevalent. We analyzed 240 consortships involving 31 females and 19 males. We tested three hypotheses regarding male’s tolerance, solicitation, and use of FMM. First, we found that FMM was tolerated by male mountees who were no more likely to aggress their female partners during a short time window around a FMM, than they were during the rest of the consortship period. Second, we showed that FMM could be triggered by male recipients, via explicit male-to-female sexual solicitations. Third, we found that some males may utilize FMM in a quest for their own sexual stimulation, which sometimes culminated in masturbation by the male during FMM. Our findings indicate that male partners facilitate the expression of FMM both passively (via their tolerance) and actively (via their solicitation). In addition, FMM appears to enhance the sexual arousal of male partners during consortships. We argued that, for females to have expanded their repertoire of sexual solicitations by adopting FMM, male mates must have played a role in the evolutionary origins and maintenance of this non-conceptive, but intense and powerful female mating tactic.
Accepted author manuscript. Embargo in effect until May 25, 2023
Female-male mounting , Sexual adaptation , Male arousal , Masturbation , Macaca fuscata
Gunst, N., Leca, J.-B., & Vasey, P. L. (2022). When males have females on their backs: Male's tolerance, solicitation, and use of female-male mounting in Japanese macaques. American Journal of Primatology. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10133/6257