Sexual swelling

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Sexual swellings are enlarged areas of the perineal skin occurring in some female primates that vary in size over the course of the menstrual cycle.[1] In ovariectomized chimpanzees, estrogen stimulation can induce such tumescence and progesterone can inhibit it.[2] Studies of chimpanzees[1] and Barbary macaques[3] suggest that sexual swellings serve as honest advertising of female fertility and thereby encourage males to copulate when the probability of conception is highest.


  1. ^ a b Deschner, T.; Heistermann, M.; Hodges, K.; Boesch, C. (2004). "Female sexual swelling size, timing of ovulation, and male behavior in wild West African chimpanzees". Hormones and Behavior 46 (2): 204–215. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2004.03.013. PMID 15256310. 
  2. ^ Graham, C. E.; Collins, D. C.; Robinson, H.; Preedy, J. R. K. (1972). "Urinary Levels of Estrogens and Pregnanediol and Plasma Levels of Progesterone during the Menstrual Cycle of the Chimpanzee: Relationship to the Sexual Swelling". Endocrinology 91 (1): 13–24. doi:10.1210/endo-91-1-13. PMID 4112628. 
  3. ^ Brauch, K.; Pfefferle, D.; Hodges, K.; Möhle, U.; Fischer, J.; Heistermann, M. (2007). "Female sexual behavior and sexual swelling size as potential cues for males to discern the female fertile phase in free-ranging Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) of Gibraltar". Hormones and Behavior 52 (3): 375–383. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2007.06.001. PMID 17644098.