In A Nutshell
Bonobos are an endangered ape species found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they live in small, largely peaceful tribes. Along with chimps, they’re our closest living relatives; which is why the study of their mating habits opens a political minefield. Unlike chimps, bonobos are naturally bisexual—and happily engage in homosexual acts for enjoyment, to solve conflicts, and to get ahead in the tribe.
The Whole Bushel
One of the big arguments put forward against homosexuality is that it’s unnatural, a deviation of the human mind. A deviation, that is, that just happens to also affect our closest evolutionary cousins. Meet the endangered bonobo. Sometimes referred to as “the hippie ape,” bonobos live in female-oriented tribes usually characterized by a lack of aggression and conflict. Not to mention a whole lot of sex.
As in a whole lot: Bonobos use sex as a means of greeting, a way of resolving conflicts, a method for consoling victims in distress, and something to do just for the sheer pleasure of it. According to National Geographic, around 75 percent of bonobo sex is non-reproductive—and that includes an enormous amount of homosexual couplings. Nearly every bonobo is born bisexual, and the number of same-sex pairings in their societies is so great that females actually have a specific mating cry they only use when sleeping with other females. Their whole existence seems geared towards a lifetime of guilt-free love; a far cry from the aggressive, dominant sexual behavior of chimpanzees.
Now, just because bonobos are remarkably progressive where homosexuality is concerned doesn’t mean their behavior translates to humans. After all, we’re also closely related to chimps and they only very rarely seem to deviate from heterosexual couplings. But it does put paid to the idea that homosexuality is somehow “unnatural.” If a loving God really hates all things pink, you might ask, then why the heck did he create an ape that could rival Freddie Mercury in the promiscuity stakes?