SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
April 8, 2009

Meat for sex?

Posted: 11:51 AM ET

Have you ever treated a date to an expensive meal in the hope of "getting lucky" afterwards? A new study finds that this may actually work - if you're a chimpanzee.

Sagu, an adult male chimpanzee, holding a piece of meat from an animal he caught.

Scientists studying chimps in the Ivory Coast discovered that males give meat to females in exchange for mating access ­– a win-win exchange for both primates. And in this primitive style of wine-and-dine, it turns out the more meat you share, the more sex you get in return.

Researchers Cristina Gomes and Christophe Boesch from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropoloy in Germany published their new findings in the journal PLoS ONE on Wednesday.

"Our results strongly suggest that wild chimpanzees exchange meat for sex, and do so on a long-term basis. Males who shared meat with females doubled their mating success, where as females, who had difficulty obtaining meat on their own, increased their caloric intake, without suffering the energetic costs and potential risk of injury related to hunting," said Gomes, lead author of the study.

Male chimpanzees also were more likely to share a piece of meat with random females who displayed signs of being sexually excited, although their mating "score" rate remained high with female chimps who weren't in heat - as long as the females got fed.

This study specifically looked at the long-term (22 months) effects of meat-sharing, which proved more fruitful for both sexes than short-term exchanges.

"These finding are bound to have an impact on our current knowledge about relationships between men and women; and similar studies will determine if the direct nutritional benefits that women receive from hunters in human hunter-gatherer societies could also be driving the relationship between reproductive success and good hunting skills," Gomes said.

For now, though, it's just "monkey business."

Posted by:
Filed under: Animals

Share this on:
Matt   April 8th, 2009 1:35 pm ET

Chimpanzees are apes, not monkeys. Monkeys have tails.

Chi Town   April 8th, 2009 1:51 pm ET

And thus was the start of prostitution... next came politicians

Pluto   April 8th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

You gotta have meat to have sex.

Chris   April 8th, 2009 2:52 pm ET

It looks like chic's are chic's no matter the Species. They want a guy who has things. Money, cars, bling-bling, meat.


Aaron Brown   April 8th, 2009 2:53 pm ET

Yeah, but "monkey sex" is just more funny than "chimpanzee sex"

Chad   April 8th, 2009 3:15 pm ET

No kidding!! Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us CNN!!

TARZAN   April 8th, 2009 3:26 pm ET

Definitely taking her to the buffett tonight 🙂 .....Golden Corral, here we come....

B@tman   April 8th, 2009 4:02 pm ET

You'll likely fair better if you consider Outback. No rules, just right...

Catapult   April 8th, 2009 4:19 pm ET

Proving, once and for all that there is very little difference, if any, between apes and humans.

IceT   April 8th, 2009 4:48 pm ET

My wife's a vegetarian ... I'm gunna sprinkle some baco-bits on her salad tonight!

anthrochick   April 8th, 2009 4:52 pm ET

This is not new news. Physical anthropologists have known about this for years. Perhaps not in the detail and with the statistics this study verified, but it's not 'breaking news.'

Johnny Frisco   April 8th, 2009 5:10 pm ET

CNN – thank you for this valuable piece of information. From now on, I will use your portal as a sex guide. We share 97% of DNA with Chimps after all.

david   April 8th, 2009 7:04 pm ET

Am I dirty minded, or did some serious innuendo get past the editors in the 5th paragraph?

Johnny Rockets   April 8th, 2009 9:01 pm ET

This is similar to successful men with money and using it in the dating scheme and buying gifts for women in hopes to get sex...

Sujata   April 8th, 2009 10:13 pm ET

Interesting... I wonder if herbavores have a similar relationships but instead of meat, nuts and berries are exchanged.

Kat   April 9th, 2009 7:37 am ET

LOL @ Ice T:

"My wife’s a vegetarian … I’m gunna sprinkle some baco-bits on her salad tonight!"

William   April 9th, 2009 9:12 am ET

" ... impact on our current knowledge about relationships between men and women ..."

Pretty profound.

So women want to "marry well" and make babies. I don't think this strategy has changed much in the last 20,000 years.

William   April 9th, 2009 9:16 am ET

I just got my woman some flank steak, a really big hunk.

But we are far more civilized than the chimpanzees ... we cook the meat first. Even if the rest of the scenario sort of plays out the same.

Jelea   April 9th, 2009 9:19 am ET

Same old story. That's why you see the old rich dudes with the trophy second wife. Money is meat.

Webbie   April 9th, 2009 9:22 am ET

I don't think baco-bits are real meat dude!

This reminds me of an old joke: What food turns chicks OFF from sex?

Answer: Wedding cake!

Roger   April 9th, 2009 9:32 am ET

Who did come first?? The prostitutes or the politicians???

Jeff B   April 9th, 2009 10:17 am ET

Here we go again...Trying to extrapolate the behavior between the sexes of chimpanzees to humans...Other ape species have different behaviors between the sexes. Some species of gibbons are monogamous and bonobos are polysexual and fairly egalitarian in the relations between the sexes. Of course trying to reinforce sexual stereotypes sells newspapers thus sensational articles like this will continue.

Cimarron   April 9th, 2009 10:53 am ET

No kidding! I learned that the same rule applies to our species when I was a youngling.

JB   April 9th, 2009 12:03 pm ET

"Can I buy you a drink?" wait ... "a chunk of meat..."

FFF   April 9th, 2009 12:32 pm ET

One more evidence that humans and apes are cousins. Giving food to a potential mate is the oldes trick on the book!

dave   April 9th, 2009 12:50 pm ET

Meat you say?
What about fish sticks?

Jayson   April 9th, 2009 1:03 pm ET

@anthrochick –Quit yakking! Most of the readers on this board are NOT physical anthropologists. What this study did was provide greater detail and new insight into chimpanzee behavior, it also confirmed some previous findings so umm, how is that NOT newsworthy for a science article? No, it may not be "breaking news" but NO ONE said it was.

I wonder if female chimps also have smug yet completely unwarranted attitudes like some of their human counterparts. Might make for an intresting study....

Duh   April 9th, 2009 1:06 pm ET

The most important part of the article: "females, who had difficulty obtaining meat on their own, increased their caloric intake" – I doubt that most modern American women have ANY problems with their caloric intake. In fact, I think most women are already getting too many extra calories right now and don't need any man to help out!

sanjosemike   April 9th, 2009 1:50 pm ET


"Do you still have a job? How much do make? Are you independently wealthy? No nerds welcome unless you are extremely rich. If you don't qualify, do me a favor and leave this stool empty."

Seems to me nothing has changed. The best way to get shot down when you approach a lady is for her to find out you are "failure to launch." And no, I don't blame her.


eijumi   April 9th, 2009 5:28 pm ET

once again our tax payers dollars hard at work.

Sanseh   April 9th, 2009 6:34 pm ET

The meat lobby is over doing it, maybe it was a flower more will understand the sentiments.

Sanseh   April 9th, 2009 6:44 pm ET

A question do they eat weak and sick animals like humans or just avoid those type animal that live off diet of growth hormones, and antibiotics and fattening agents.

Does it show the chimp prowess, so he makes a girlfriend chimp, or chimp heroics, I just don't get how they get prostitution, and food/nutrition benefit or is some other projections from the author warped mind?

I know what a chimp is telling this girl look I am strong and powerful you see, I'll make you a good husband. Well that sound normal. A chimp wooing its mate.

Charles A. Bishop   April 9th, 2009 9:05 pm ET

That some troops of chimpanzees participated in cooperative hunts and engaged in limited sharing is well known. That males shared with females is a new twist. If the common ancestor of chimps and humans also hunted and shared meat, then it would suggest that that behavior cannot explain the separation some 7 million years ago. Instead, hunting of small/slow animals in a more open environment that favored bipedal locomotion best explains the separation of the hominin line from the chimp line. Because fewer plant foods would have been available in such an environment, selection would favor all sorts of sharing and especially sharing between males and females. Maybe Owen Lovejoy was right.

JungleJim   April 9th, 2009 9:10 pm ET

Does Opra have a tail?

Traci   April 9th, 2009 9:23 pm ET

Chimps do not exchange meat for sex. They share their food and female chimps view them as good hunters and kind males and therefore see them as good mates. It is a huge leap to suggest that male chimps give female chimps food and the female chimps then give them sex or an IOU for sex. This is nothing more than a crass attempt to promote materialism and power rather than sharing and caring amoung humans. Women would give men some of their food if they were hunger and it has nothing to do with sex.

Meat for sex? - Vuju Webmaster Forums   April 9th, 2009 10:10 pm ET

[...] meal in the hope of “getting lucky” afterwards? A new study finds that this may actually work Meat for sex? – SciTechBlog – Blogs __________________ Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius [...]

Tim   April 10th, 2009 6:57 am ET

I am going to try this and see if it works for me. I can't wait to give a chimpanzee some meat

Distinct   April 10th, 2009 10:30 am ET

Johnny F., we share 97% of DNA with a lot of things. And that's mainly because of our DNA structure, what's different is the sequence of nucleotides inside that structure.. New Scientist(site and magazine) had a write up on this that goes a little more in depth if anyone was interested. It's a win win situation for both male and female. The males get a chance to mate, and the females get to eat food they otherwise would not eat. I do see a connection, but this connection is not just with chimps, it's with a vast majority of animals. Food has, and probably will always have some association with increasing the chances for males to mate, regardless of the species.

Peter   April 10th, 2009 10:45 am ET

"A wise monkey is a monkey who doesn't monkey with another monkey's monkey".

Damon   April 10th, 2009 11:14 am ET

I bet if the scientist redesigned the experiment, they might see bartering beyond just meat...right? I agree with what Chris said, as crude as it might be, but he seems to be onto it. Next study: see if male chimps are as blind as male humans when it comes to being taken advantage of for your meat.

Amy   April 10th, 2009 11:14 am ET

As long as my man brings home the bacon, he can have all of the tail he wants.

Curious   April 10th, 2009 11:19 am ET

So chimps love meat and rats love cheese.....when they get what they want they get happy and have sex......that still doesn't solve the mystery of what women want......I don't think they know that that sense we are far behind chimps!!

Curt   April 10th, 2009 11:37 am ET

This is why humans are smarter then chimpanzees. The human male knows it much easier to get sex if you give her a bottle of wine instead.

Chi Town   April 10th, 2009 2:11 pm ET


That is a good question... by guess is they were twins... or simply one in the same. LOL

Franko   April 11th, 2009 5:34 am ET

From Chimps, with simple wants, we have greatly evolved
Not meat, or candy is dandy, but virtualized, monetarized to Surrogate Mothers
Not efficient Hunters, but the shrewd, secretive Bankers, will swarm the Earth

DJ   April 11th, 2009 7:55 am ET

Sexual selection behaviors are an interesting area of study, thanks for blogging on some research.

MEat MAN   April 11th, 2009 4:42 pm ET

Does it matter how big the meat is? BEcause what if the ape has allot of meat? will the girl ape be like "what! what! you trying to call fat?

Tom   April 11th, 2009 7:22 pm ET

I guess that sharing 98% of DNA does provoke some similarities. If you buy the girl dinner, maybe you expect her to put out. Not a lot of difference between animals!

jbar   April 12th, 2009 10:50 am ET


Jack Flannigan   April 12th, 2009 11:57 am ET

Well this certainly helps explain my sorry condition -a vegetarian with an offering of cabbage or parsnips just does not stand much of a chance does he!

Mark   April 12th, 2009 2:22 pm ET

Inuendo, meat and females who want it.

Next on CNN.

philly   April 12th, 2009 10:35 pm ET

1st the prostitutes then the lawyers thereby giving birth to politicians..............ya gotta love this stuff

dustmang   April 13th, 2009 9:37 am ET

Finally a scientific explaination as to the reason frat boys put gel in their hair. Its like a marinade for the meat.

MrApe   April 13th, 2009 11:02 am ET

I bought a rump roast and just cut a hole in it and did it "American Pie" style. The best thing about this method is I don't have to deal with a woman.

Joe   April 13th, 2009 6:18 pm ET

I got a big salami for any female that wants my meat.

SK   April 15th, 2009 1:12 am ET

Can you imagine all the sex the male gets if they are on the Atkins diet? Wow...I'm gonna make my fiancee go on that tomorrow. "Honey, we're going on Atkins so you put out more"

ABC   April 15th, 2009 8:50 pm ET

any nice ladies in need of meet here?

Elizabeth   April 15th, 2009 10:07 pm ET

Yup,when my man shows me his meat I just go ape!! And his bone has a lot of meat on it ....yuuummmmmm... :-)))

Imtiaz Ahmed   April 16th, 2009 12:03 am ET

i love to share my meat

mentalRay   April 20th, 2009 3:13 pm ET

Meat for sex huh....makes perfect sense. I want to know when putting a $10,000 rock on your apes finger became tradition.

I love you this many dollars worth.

Art   April 22nd, 2009 6:09 am ET

"Beef, it's whats for dinner", Amy, I'll be home soon!

Joe Silo   April 22nd, 2009 7:09 am ET

This is the most intelligent response: Here we go again…Trying to extrapolate the behavior between the sexes of chimpanzees to humans…Other ape species have different behaviors between the sexes. Some species of gibbons are monogamous and bonobos are polysexual and fairly egalitarian in the relations between the sexes. Of course trying to reinforce sexual stereotypes sells newspapers thus sensational articles like this will continue.


Alice G.   October 2nd, 2009 12:36 am ET

Azadeh Ansari: Regarding today's CNN online article on the subject of the "missing link" research (Oldest human skeleton offers new clues to evolution,, I have a question for you. You said, "Researchers are still trying to pinpoint when the two lineages - chimps and humans - split from their common ancestor." Just exactly how does this process possibly take place? One day this so-called hominid has two babies and one procreates chimps and the other future CNN blog writers? What about these bones possibly representing an extinct species? (That has happened a few times in earth's history.) You may have bought the comical idea that human beings are descended from chimps or apes, but common sense and an unbiased examination of scientific fact is all that is needed to know that is a ridiculous assertion. As far as the earth being "millions" or "billions" of years old, proven scientific knowledge of nuclear fusion has shown that a sun that old would be so much cooler than our own sun as to render our planet an uninhabitable chunk of ice. If you would take the time to consider all the documented facts instead of basing your opinions on unproven theories, your current paradigm will most certainly be challenged. Check out this article for some challenges you are welcome to refute, if you can:

Valeria Kelly   August 11th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

actually my sister is healthier now because of the Atkins Diet::*

Joseph White   September 30th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

the atkins diet is just about the right diet when you want to cut down body fat,~:

Car Equalizers    October 18th, 2010 1:50 am ET

atkins diet really toned my body, i love to stay on atkins diet *`,

Lunch Bags ·   November 7th, 2010 1:36 pm ET

Atkins Diet have helped me a lot in getting my healthy weight back '

surveys online that pay   April 4th, 2012 4:39 am ET

Hello there, You have performed an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

wholesale cheap Red Wings jerseys   August 4th, 2014 3:07 am ET

Spurs jerseys cheap. Sale only 18$ And 100% Stitched free shipping.
wholesale cheap Red Wings jerseys

Unblogged Bits for Thursday, 09 April 2009 | ***Dave Does the Blog   November 5th, 2014 3:56 pm ET

[...] Meat for sex? – SciTechBlog – Blogs – Ah ... and Margie cooked me a lovely steak dinner tonight ... hmmmmm ... [...]

RichardNaf   May 18th, 2017 11:37 am ET


Vans Damesschoenen
Tenis Rojos
Clarks Hamble Oak Zwart Lak
Supra Tk Society
Nike Roshe One Cherry Blossom

ThomasTries   November 10th, 2017 9:08 am ET

Adidas Ultra Boost Triple White
If you've changed the drain within a basin or bath tub it's essential to perform a drip test to ensure nothing at all is going to lead to water damage. Initially, dried up off of the drain totally so that you won't be wrongly recognized by aged water or moisture build-up or condensation. Complete the bathtub or basin continuously and effect the empty to make certain it isn't moist.

If you have costly landscape designs around your property, think about purchasing different insurance coverage for it. Most straightforward home insurance guidelines will never cover harm from wind flow or any other environmental factors to landscaping design. Which means that when your expensive imported shrubs come down within the wind flow, your home insurance insurance policy will generally not deal with it.

Fecrgehooft   January 11th, 2018 5:34 am ET

Fvrdnunj Hermes Replica Bags, Fake Hermes Bags hermes fourre tout hermes fundsKxhjzfal

Leave Your Comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP