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Behind the screams

The couple next door that keeps you awake with howls of carnal ecstasy may not be having as good a time as you first thought.

Apparently, crying out during sex not only expresses pleasure but also increases the popularity and social standing of your partner, reports Metro.

A study of the mating habits of bonobos, or pygmy chimpanzees, by researchers at St Andrews’ University in Scotland, found that the louder the lovin’, the higher social class one of the participants is.

The study found that lower-ranked partners make most of the moans, which tends to increase with a partner’s social standing. Like a way of advertising that you’re having nookie with someone who’s in the cool gang.

Of course the behaviour of pygmy chimpanzees is then directly compared with that of humans.

‘Female bonobos achieve power by forming coalitions with other females as well as males, so getting powerful female friends, and advertising it, matters,’ says primatologist Dr Zanna Clay.

‘Like humans, sex among bonobos is not only used for reproduction, it is also important in other ways, such as friendship and bonding, and keeping close to powerful others.’

The researchers spent a year in the Congo watching the primates copulate.

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