Saturday, 11 August 2012

Biologists: Media Sensationalizes Animal Sex

Media reports on animal sex are often sensationalistic, with many humanizing our wild-animal friends "in the sack," for instance. The result can lead to a misunderstanding about the nature of human sexuality, two biologists write this week in the journal Nature.

University of London researcher Mark Brown and his colleague Andrew Barron of Macquarie University in Australia surveyed 48 newspaper articles written about animal sexual behavior in recent years and found what Brown called "some fairly egregious headlines."

More troubling, he said, were reports that linked animal sexual behavior to human sexual orientation, giving impressions that human sexuality is a simple matter of genes and hormones, the researchers wrote. In that way, such reports can create the perception that non-heterosexual sexuality is an abnormality or illness.

"It's very important that this science is actually portrayed properly, because whilst in some areas in the world, members of the LGBT community can live open lives where they're not discriminated against, in many countries around the world they're still killed for being themselves," Brown told LiveScience.

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