Just how strong is an animal's mating urge, and is there any comparible copulsion in humans?

I got to thinking about it the other day when a coworker related that one of their stallions had once broken out of his stall and into a mare’s stall during the breeding season. I know that when in heat animals will go to great lengths to mate, but I’m wondering, do humans have any way on understanding just how strong that urge is? Is it along the lines of a drug addict’s urge for a fix? If human’s had a similar heat cycle, would it be something we could resist through willpower?

There are plenty of humans who experience sexual urges too strong to control by willpower alone… Some urges are strong enough to compel people into criminal behaviour. Just look at all the teen pregnancy and sexual assault problems for examples of excessive “mating urges”… We are animals too and there’s not much that similar mammal species experience that we ourselves don’t .

agree with most of what mike is saying … what sets we humans apart from animals is our compassion and guilt … if those had not been an issue … laws would not have been put in place to circumvent miscreants 'n malefactors.

Or, iow, consciousness. Our ability to resist such urges is what separates us from animals.

“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.” H. G. Wells

I think this is true. The desire to reproduce should be just about right for the circumstances for any species, so we may not crash through walls to mate like a stallion, but that’s because we have other ways to get to our mates.

Anyone who has been an adolescent boy has at least some idea, I’d have thought. Luckily, adolescent boys have a gripping hand, errr, handy.

I just want to say that “copulsion” is a perfect word for “mating urge.”

Copulation compulsion. Amiright?

Carry on.

Yes, but teens aren’t ripping off clothes and having sex in class, the hallways, the bus, etc. Though they may be horny I don’t see it nearly on the same level as an animal’s urges.

So what urges do we feel that may be comparable? I’m trying to get a grasp on just how strong these urges are to set them in a frame of reference I can understand.

The *urge *is likely about the same. What animals lack, that humans have, is shame and handcuffs and the ability to predict the consequences of our actions.

The stallion doesn’t care that he “shouldn’t” be mating. If the mare will have him, he’ll break down a couple of stalls to get to her. Why not? He’s not worried about being arrested, or sent to the Dean’s office, or being on the hook for 18 years of foal support.

If kids didn’t fear getting in trouble, they’d be groping in the choir room. In fact, there’s quite a bit of groping going on in the choir room, or at least there was in the Dark Ages when I was in the choir room. Um, school, I mean. When I was in school.

For truly instinctive behavior, you have to look at behaviors more directly related to survival. Like someone unexpectedly pulled underwater. The response will be pure urge to reach the surface.

Speaking of “Stallions”, has it been established scientifically that male humans have a pretty strong constant “urge” whereas female are generally less horny at least on a “constant” basis. Or is this my male sexist pig coming out?

It has not been scientifically established to my satisfaction, although you’ll find plenty of studies saying it has, and that yes, men have higher libidos than women (on average, outliers of course exist.) The reason I don’t accept them is that they use self-reports of sexual thoughts and sexual activity…which I find problematic when we don’t have an even playing field in our culture. Men are socially allowed to hire prostitutes and encouraged to masturbate and even male priests have a (sick, wrong, abhorrent) cultural mechanism in place to allow them to break their vows of chastity more often than nuns - all of these have been pointed to by researchers as actions “proving” than men have a higher sex drive than women. Men also have a lower risk level should they chose to have sex, not having to worry about potential pregnancy in the same way women do, especially today when abortions are becoming harder to get again.

So I don’t think the question is answerable in an environment which continues to treat men and women differently when it comes to the decision to have sex. Our control of women vastly outweighs our control over men…we could have identical libidos (as suggested by some research) and still act very differently (as suggested by other research.)

Since you asked, absolutely. My first thought on seeing query title. (Which is actually kind of weird.)

Yeah, I agree with those who have said there’s no reason to think that the urge in humans is any less. It’s just that humans have more restraints, internal and external, keeping us from acting on the urge (and, as Baron Greenback mentioned, alternative methods of appeasing the urge that aren’t as readily available to other species).

So then can you train a dog to not go a-hunting when the season hits? I’ve never heard of that being done, but your comment implies it can.

Except the weasel.

I don’t think the comparison is apt. The stallion broke out of its stall and into the mare’s stall because it could. If horny teens can get away with it, they certainly will have sex in classrooms, in hidden school hallways, and the like. Sealed in a concrete bunker, a stallion has as much restraint as teens afraid of social pressure.

If you keep the dog in sight at all times and he’s well trained, yes. I’ve known two intact dogs who would “leave it” and “heel” even when tempted, so it can be done - but these were dogs who were very well trained working dogs, not your average pet store obedience school graduates. I wouldn’t vouch for even the best trained dog to resist a bitch in heat if his handler was not in the same room, though. Because, just like our hypothetical teenagers, a supervised, well-trained dog can resist the urge to mate as long as it’s not worth it to him, but if he thinks he can get away with it…

I think this was a joke, but being the SDMB, I feel compelled to point out that female weasels will die if they can’t mate, once they go into estrus. Teenaged humans, although they may genuinely feel the same, won’t actually die if they don’t screw. :wink: