Do Human Beings Have a Mating Season?
Now that spring has sprung, you can barely throw a stone without hitting male alligators traversing into student dorms in search of female gators to mount or songbirds broadcasting their thirst for the world to hear. With animal sex on the brain and in the streets, we couldn't help but wonder: Do humans also have a mating season?
Not really, says Dr. Justine Shuey, a sexologist based in Philadelphia. It's not "like, in April all the humans will mate," she says. The desire to have sex and make babies "is different for every person that ovulates."
Dr. Megan Stubbs, another sexologist who lives in Michigan, agrees. "Scientifically, if you're talking about mating season, that's like when the fish are coming up the river to spawn. We all know that's happening in the springtime," she tells Broadly. "We know all the salmon are going to go up there, but that's their mating season. For them, they have a limited window in order to mate. But their whole purpose is to reproduce."
Pandas are another example of a species with a limited window to reproduce, Stubbs says. "They're not endangered, but they still have critically low numbers. They have a small window of their 'mating season' because female pandas are only fertile for a very short amount of time."
Humans, however, are blessed to be able to reproduce year-round. Of course, many of us are actually getting our groove on for fun, not to create babies. "For us, it's whenever," Stubbs says. "There's no specific season, there's no 'we need this window, quick, pair off' because [women] ovulate every month."
Of course, there are certain months during which more babies are born: CDC datafrom 2015, for example, found that more births happened in July and August than any other month. That means those babies were conceived the previous winter. But data also shows that birth rates surpassed 300,000 every other month of the year except February.
You're not a panda.
Experts say there are times of the year that people engage in sex more, although not necessarily to procreate. Stubbs, who regularly speaks to college students about sex, says there's a "big rise in hookups" during spring break, summertime, and around Thanksgiving because people don't want to be tied down during those times.
A study published in 2012 also suggests early summer and early winter are prime times for sex. An analysis of Google keyword searches for topics related to pornography, prostitution, and mate-seeking in a five-year period found more people keying in those terms during those times of the year.
Of course, Mother Nature plays her part as well. "A lot of people get knocked up when there are blizzards and hurricanes," Shuey explains. "When they're stuck indoors with nothing to do, they may not necessarily be doing it to mate, but they're doing it because they don't have anything else going on."
The bottom line? "Don't feel like it's not the season for you to meet someone," Stubbs says. "It can happen anytime. You're not a panda."