Jul 232011

Wolter Seuntjens, Karolina Hansen

Dutch Academy of ’Pataphysics, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
Journal of Unsolved Questions, 1, 2, Open Questions, 15-16, 2011 (Received July 19th  2011, accepted July 21st 2011, published July 23rd 2011)

Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own[1]. There is controversy over the question whether animals other than humans have a ToM. The question is important when assessing the status of humans within the animal kingdom. The social tool of faked orgasm seems to be unique to human beings and thus it is a strong test for the demarcation of human versus animal…

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Keywords: Theory of Mind, deception, orgasm, bonobo

  2 Responses to “Do Female Bonobos Fake Orgasm?”

  1. Why exactly do they wanna limit the research to solely female Bonobo subjects, when they already do acknowledge that recent research (Muehlenhard & Shippee 2010) shows that faking is common among human males as well? They don’t give any explanation within the proposal.
    I think they more or less a priori imply these assumptions
    1) that faking more common among females than males
    2) a similarity therein between the species
    However there is no explicit senctence on such assumptions, nor any reasoning given (the Muehlenhard & Shippee article is rather limited)!

  2. We thank Pat Maechler for pointing out an implicit assumption in our Open Question article.
    Indeed we assumed that, if faking orgasms were common in bonobos at all, female bonobos would fake more often than male bonobos. (Analogically to faking orgasms in humans: males may fake orgasms during sex, albeit less frequently than females.[1])
    It remains to be seen if male bonobos fake orgasms. If somebody – maybe Pat Maechler himself/herself? – can demonstrate faked orgasms in male bonobos, we will, of course, warmly welcome that result.
    By extension, other primates (male or female) faking orgasms will equally prove the point that present minimalist theories about primate consciousness and ToM need to be reconsidered. (“The test is absolute. There’s no way to beat it; no way to fake it.”[2])

    Karolina Hansen and Wolter Seuntjens

    [1] E. B. Cooper, et al., ‘The Faking Orgasm Scale: Examining differences in faking orgasm during oral sex and sexual intercourse’. Oral presentation given at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Annual Meeting, Las Vegas (NV), November, 2010.
    [2] R. P. Feynman, ‘It’s as Simple as One, Two, Three . . .’. In ‘What Do You Care What Other People Think?’ – Further Adventures of A Curious Character. London: HarperCollins, 1993, p. 59.