The Blog

Do Humans Have a Mating Season? Not Exactly...

Revactin Staff

Life can be pretty tough for a male impala. Sure, the medium-sized African antelope is athletic, with a cruising speed of 55 miles per hour and a vertical leap measured at an incredible 33 feet. But you have to remember they are blessed with these physical gifts because they make their living outrunning lions and leopards. And the lengths male impalas need to go for a little love make predators the least of their problems.

For most of the year they generally ignore their female counterparts. However, every May a surge in testosterone causes male impalas to begin trying to collect as many females into a breeding herd as possible. The ones who manage to gather a harem are so focused on keeping other males away that they stop eating or grooming themselves. By the end of their three-week breeding season the male impala who finds the most success with females is usually a skinny, filthy mess, and highly susceptible to becoming a lion's next snack.

While humans are social animals like impalas, we fortunately don't have to go through a similar process when it comes to mating. But that doesn't mean the mood doesn't strike us more frequently during certain parts of the year.

For example, we know that the most babies are born in the United States from July through September. But most researchers believe the reason for a spike in summer births has less to do with biology and more to do with free time. The number of holidays between late November and early January gives people more of an opportunity to engage in the types of activities that lead to a baby nine months later. And the pattern holds up in other countries as well. In Japan births not only spike about nine months after the spate of holidays around New Years, but also nine months after Golden Week, a series of four spring holidays that occur over the span of seven days.

Other research also shows a "summer vacation" effect on sexual activity in countries where people traditionally take time off in the hotter months. A study of Google search terms showed that people are most likely to look for love (and also pornography) online in early summer. While some sexologists hypothesize that it could hint at some sort of primitive biological cycle, the majority think it just coincides with when humans take time off.

So, unlike impalas, humans aren't slaves to biology when it comes to breeding time. However, dismissing these human "breeding seasons" as nothing more than the result of free time would overlook some important aspects of human sexuality. Time off from work gives people a chance to de-stress, focus on what's important to them, and connect with their loved ones. Unsurprisingly, sex can be an important part of all three of those things.

Additionally, we should probably remind ourselves that we don't necessarily need to take a day off from work to tend to our romantic relationships. While impalas may need to fit all their loving into a three-week period, we have the freedom to choose when we do it. So next time you take some time to prioritize your relationship, don't feel guilty. It's part of what makes you human.