Are we bonobo sapiens or killer apes?
A lot less?
These are some of the sugar plum conundrums that dance through my holy-dazed hangover, ringing in my ear with a “Happy Nude Rear,” as I give my best good-riddance thwack to the last of that ass we call “2021” and resolve to go bonobos into this brand spanking new 2022.
Not that my New Year’s Resolution for 2022 is actually new; in fact, it’s rather similar to my 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 resolutions, making 2022, aka MMXXII (Roman Imperial drum roll please)… the eighth great Year of the Bonobo!
Or does it just put us all behind the Eight Ball?
Will 2022 be eerily like *2020 too*? According to everyone from distinguished scientists to apocalyptic fatalists, the prognosis is bleak for all of us Great Apes—both the highly endangered and obscenely overpopulated species—as well as all of the other fauna and flora currently choking on our filthy-and-filthier Capitalogenic air, plastic-permeated waters and this sacred, soil-contaminated, fracked-up ground we strut upon.
To use one of the English language’s more delightful and flexible words in its absolute worst way, I believe it is safe to say, “We are fucked.”
So, why even try to “go bonobos” in 2022… too?
Making Peace through Sharing Pleasure
You may have heard the word about bonobo apes being humanity’s closest living cousins who, along with common chimpanzees, are over 98% genetically similar to us. Not that bonobos (Pan paniscus) are some sort of primitive, hairy people; not at all. However, they do share a lot of qualities with Homo sapiens, and one of their most interesting traits (at least for me as a sexologist—and perhaps for you as a human being) is that they—like us—seem to really enjoy sex.
Unlike us (especially Neo-Puritanical us), bonobos make it a priority to have sex—both quality and quantity—with friends and strangers of different genders, in a Bonobo Sutra of positions that would break the neck of a Tantric gymnast. But it’s not just how they have sex; it’s how bonobos use sex—to resolve conflict, reduce stress, express affection, curry political favor, celebrate, commiserate, compensate, negotiate, as a means of economic exchange and to keep the peace in their communities—that makes them worth turning into a New Year’s resolution (for the eighth hungover time).
Bonobos make peace through pleasure. That’s a game-changer; at least, it should be.
In the century since they were *discovered* by humans in 1930, no bonobo has ever been seen killing another bonobo in the wild or captivity. Maybe you’ve heard about this, although it’s likely you haven’t, as bonobo peacefulness—let alone the fact that they achieve it through sex—is hardly referenced by our bloodthirsty, billionaire-owned, sex-denigrating Mainstream Media. Regardless, the bonobos’ non-lethal behavior is truly remarkable, especially since all the other great apes have been known to kill each other—humans ranking first… by leaps and bombs.
So, our bonobo cousins hold the keys to peace on Earth. Whether or not we humans have ever held these shining keys—and there’s much intriguing evidence that we have—we lost them long ago. With violence on the rise (despite what Capitalogenic Polyanna Dr. Steven Pinker professes) in our homes, streets, schools, massage parlors, temples and supermarkets, as the Pentagon budget balloons, waves of cold war chilling our veins, threats of hot war frying our brains, nuclear options being floated like explosive bars of soap in the dirty water… it’s a set of keys we really need to find ASAP.
When you’ve lost something, it helps to retrace your steps. Let’s start with going back about a year…
A Fascist Festivus
The year 2021 began on a beautiful blue wave of hope that crashed within less than a week, washing away all pretense of “progress” that’s actually progressive. As Dr. Christopher Ryan points out in Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress, “When you’re going in the wrong direction, progress is the last thing you need.”
Between the “Airing of Grievances” (Stop the Steal!), the “Feats of Strength” (Storm the Capitol!), the “unadorned aluminum pole,” embodied by the various flagpoles serving as weapons, battering rams and standard bearers (standards including the Confederacy, Holocaust Denial and Back the Blue used, somewhat ironically, to beat the Blue), and the “miracle” of all those mangy MAGAts strolling past Capitol security, it was a kind of Festivus… though certainly not “for the rest of us.”
Actually the opposite of the agnostic anti-commercialism of the original anti-holiday and its Seinfeld spin-off, tRump’s Rape of the Capitol was a Fascist Festivus, a socio-political and very physical assault on our hemorrhaging nation’s fragile center and—as RepubliQan election sabotage and chicanery spreads across the land—a possible “prologue” to the real Brownshirted thing.
All year long, America’s response to 1/6 has been a mixed bag of rats and stonewalling brats. Not that 1/6 was 9/11, and even 9/11 wasn’t as bad as America’s response to it: bombing and torturing countless Middle Eastern innocents whilst shoving the Patriotic Act up the collective colons of U.S. citizens. Now the hemorrhoids of our oppression are swollen with trauma and trigger-happy paranoia.
Oz vs. Dr. Oz
Are we having fun yet? The billionaires are. At least, they’re trying their multi-billion-dollar best to have fun. The biggest exhibitionists are following the trajectory of their sperm into space. The rest are hiding behind fortresses, body guards and walls of money that grew higher as the pandemic grew longer, trying their best to have private fun that nobody will tweet about, though you get the sense it’s not really fun for them either.
Bonoboville had some fun in 2021; we always have fun every trip around the sun! Maybe a little too much sun, as 2021 featured history’s hottest summer—city-sized hell-fires, hurricanes, apocalyptic floods, melting glaciers, fire domes and town-shattering tornados. If only these super-tornados would whisk us up to that sweet poppy-filled Land of Oz, but instead we’re stuck on a raging Earth with celebrity scammer and Senate hopeful Dr. Oz. Well, most of us are stuck; a few get to fly their own dicks into space for a obscenely expensive minute or so.
Misery met the miserly in 2021, as miserable refugees faced imperialist cowboys defending the bricks in their miserly owners’ rusting walls. Meanwhile, in the trees, the birds and the bees, known for showing us how to make love, are now dropping like flies… and so are the flies.
Through the dying flies, ivory-billed woodpeckers and humans of 2021 strode the fascists and the fascist-roleplayingnarcissists, the tRumps, Bolsonaros, Erdogans and Orbáns, followed by the stumbling Neoliberals, the Bidens, Bojos and Macrons, all these fossil-fuel-loving buffoons financed by fearful billionaires and fearless corporations, pilfering every planetary resource their greedy little maws can suck up. No wonder poor Mother Earth is heaving her naughtiest children (us) off her ravaged teats with twisters, quakes and viruses.
Can you blame her?
After all, humans pretty much “paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” as Joni Mitchell sang so sweetly to us almost half a century ago, when we had a chance to unpave and save it.
But it’s not just our Dirty Mama hellbent on getting rid of her evil spawn; we spawns are also busy demolishing each other, as crumbling buildings collapse on residents, gas-guzzling cars plow into parades and mouth-breathing militants refuse to wear masks. And guns, baby guns, guns, guns, stacked up on bookshelves behind influencers, cocked on U.S. Congressional family Xmas cards, swinging like fancy purses from the shoulders of ammosexual incels, high on rage and “fear for my life,” strutting their stuff and, every once in a while, on purpose or by accident, shooting their deadly loads.
As a sex therapist, I was particularly horrified by the religiously infused, anti-sex worker Massage Parlor Massacre in March 2021, though it was just one among so many mass murders, domestic murders, police murders, vigilante murders, drive-by killings, film shoot deaths, Gabby Petito strangled by her own dirty Laundrie… who can keep up with it all?
At least, at last, despite the howling of warmongers failing at another one of their beloved military adventures, old Sleepy Joe pulled us out of our “war” in Afghanistan—an invasion and occupation he voted for in 2001. Well, as in bad sex, so in a bad war (or any war): Best not to go in at all, but if you do go in, better to withdraw now than never.
The mainstream media tried not to cry too loudly about ending the war, but we all know that when it comes to clickbait, nothing beats bombs and dying humans. Well, sex does, but the MSM is too afraid of the Anti-sex Mafia on the Religious Right and the Woke Left to actually lead with sex (at least not sex-positive sex); disgustingly, war is the safer bet for the MSM.
But we have to do the “love” part! That doesn’t necessarily mean having sex with Afghans (though it could, and I have, and Kalashnikovs aren’t the only oblong weapons those sexy bearded dudes know how to use). There are many other ways to express “love” and pleasure in accordance with the Bonobo Way of peace through pleasure, and cutting off aid to innocent, starving Afghans isn’t one of them. Neither is droning ten innocent Afghans on our way out.
Oh, and pulling out of Afghanistan is cold comfort to us peaceniks as the U.S. military juggernaut pivots to more dangerous targets in and around China and Russia. Are we nuts? Don’t answer that…
In 2021, it seemed the tide of world opinion slowly (too slowly) turned against the Israeli government’s unconscionable war crimes against its Palestinian natives. As a “Jew for Palestine” deeply ashamed of my Zionist lonsmen, I’m proud of the Shministim, young Israelis of draft age who refuse to serve in the Israeli Military.
On the other hand, thanks to a 2021 SUZY boobie-prize-winning, Kavanaugh-esque crying scene and a KKK Judge, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted and sent into the warm embrace of his hero Daddy tRump, his adoring Uncle Tuck and hysterically cheering ammosexual throngs. An American success story!
The Christ-Like Torments of Assange
Even as Killer Kyle walked free, the most internationally renowned exposer of killers, Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange—winner of our “Most Bonobo Journalist” SUZY award—remains locked up. This was one of the travesties of 2021.
Just in case you don’t recall, the Anglo-American mob is after Assange for having the journalistic balls to publish footage of American military personnel sport-killing Reuters reporters and several Iraqi civilians, among other embarrassing “leaks.”
In the Fall of 2021, we received the intriguing news that a CIA cell, led by Trumpus Imperial Thug of State, Mike Pompeo,planned, scripted and even roleplayed scenarios for various swashbuckling, brutal and quite illegal plots to kidnap and/or murder Julian Assange while he was holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy. These madcap schemes were apparently deemed too James Bond (or Don Corleone), as Pompeo the Pompous and his CIA mobsters settled on letting the Brits capture and throw Assange into the bowels of Belmarsh prison where he has been isolated, frozen, drugged, starved and tortured almost to death, in an utterly evil, officially sanctioned, slow-mo murder. Needless to say, Assange’s original “fast murder” plotters are unbothered, living free as birds-before-climate-change, probably plotting more murders.
Meanwhile, as the Anglo-American Christ-like Torments of Assange (with Pompeo as Pontius Pilate?) and the arrests of other journalists continue into 2022, America’s much-vaunted Freedom of the Press has gone down the prison toilet. That’s not just Cassandra speaking; in 2021, the international number of journalists behind bars reached an all-time high.
American Whores for War
Assange’s crucible of agony and Kyle’s ammosexual ecstasy converged into a awful uptick in violence in 2021 with Jesus with an AR-15 as a popular meme.
In 2020, the old Mango Mussolini had quoted another racist, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” but in 2021, there was a lot more shooting than looting. I wish that meant shooting loads of creamy love, but sadly, it means spraying bullets more than stealing them.
Is this what comes of valuing private property more than human life?
It’s certainly what comes of valuing violence more than sex.
The flip side to homicide getting a boost in 2021 was that natural, healthy, human sexuality took Seasons Beatings throughout the year from all sides. Between Josh Hawley on the misogynist Right, winner of the “Least Sexy Politician” 2021 SUZY award(a tough contest for which he had to beat out Toad Cruz, Gym Jordan and too many more to mention) and Nicholas Kristoff on the erotophobic Left, 2021 winner for “Least Sexy Journalist” (also a competitive race), sex has been under attack.
Censorship of all things sexual is on the rise, its techno-feudal lords and their dumb bots shackling the once *free* Internet. Though Big Tech still mostly shuts down sexual imagery (as usual), the same ax of oppression is coming down on political expression, including words of all kinds. Tumblr just banned a long list of everyday words so it could keep its precious position in the Apple App Store, inoffensive to both the Evangelical Right and the #MeToo Left.
Holding forth on the subject before a rapt Charlie Kirk, Jack Posobiec, Don Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle at a 2021 Turning Point USA event was that insufferable pundit for the patriarchy, Dr. Jordan Peterson. Identifying neo-Puritanical activists on the Right (trying to ban abortion, and the mother be damned) and Left (trying to codify consent in every wink of flirtation) as joining forces from opposing directions, Professor Peterson sees the American Right and Left coming together (so to speak) to attack natural human sexuality as a “very volatile and dangerous enterprise” and to repress “sexual taboos” in favor of “traditional marriage.”
The best part of the clip is watching Guilfoyle’s cleavage jiggle as Professor Peterson—beloved by MAGAts, anti-maskers and ammosexual incels who fancy themselves intellectuals—sternly denounces “the manner in which sexual activity is occurring, especially among young people.”
Unfortunately, he’s right that the “sex is bad” crusade is one of the few topics that the Left and Right can agree on, at least in Congress. Consider the SESTA/FOSTA Follies, those popular bipartisan laws of 2018, backed by the anti-sex brigades, that were supposed to stop sex trafficking. Everyone in or around sex work knew that it was a ridiculous and dangerous law, but onward and forward SESTA/FOSTA marched, raided, entrapped, censored and harmed.
Three long years later, in 2021, hard Government Accountability Office statistics proved what sex workers already knew: SESTA/FOSTA laws have done nothing to stop sex trafficking, but they do a lot to harm consenting adult sex workers. Of course, that’s part of the plan for anti-sex Holy Warriors like Nick Kristoff’s beloved Exodus Cry which, in the summer of 2021, almost cut down OnlyFans with its Crusader’s swift sword.
Nothing else in Congress comes close to bringing Dems and GOPs together in mutual idiocracy, except that massive over $760 billion 2021 budget for the American War Machine. It looks like our leaders on both sides of these purported Divided States of America loathe sex and love war. Actually, they’re just whores for war. They say “sex sells,” but sex doesn’t pay nearly as much as war.
Big Tech never censors “war porn” like it censors regular porn. Images and footage of humans being killed, tortured and bombed to smithereens in the context of some sort of “war” (that gives you PTSD just to look at) is all over the Internet while sexual porn is forced into digital ghettos. No wonder humanity is going ammosexual.
Pro-Bonobo Priorities for 2022
Will 2022 bring, along with Omicron, etc., more laws against sex? More money for war? That’s what’s on the agenda (that’s what’s always on the agenda)… unless we somehow change the agenda.
Which brings us back to bonobos.
Our kissing cousins show us that all our Puritanical denigration of sexual pleasure—from both sides now!—is at least one of the factors that is pushing many of our fellow humans over the edge into greater and crazier violence.
Many anthropologists say that war evolved from the Neolithic revolution, agriculture, property ownership and the hierarchical civilizations that followed. Bonobos don’t own much of anything, so there’s nothing to kill over. However, common chimps don’t own anything either, and they do kill each other and even make a kind of war. So, ownership or lack of it is important, but doesn’t explain everything.
One of 2021’s big best-sellers, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, by anthropologist David Graeber and archeologist David Wengrow, theorizes that state violence and war “evolved,” in part, from play violence and sports (sport-killing?), at least as much as they did from farming. The two Davids also say we humans are not killer apes or bonobo sapiens; we’re humans. Well, duh… They make such a point of spelling this out several times; if I had a bigger ego, I’d think they were talking to me.
Never underestimate the intelligence and creativity of our “primitive” human ancestors just because they didn’t have computers or cars, urge David and David. Fair enough. In fact, very fair. If anything, all the chemicals, sedentary living and sexual repression has dumbed us down.
However, we also shouldn’t underestimate the intelligence and yes, even, creativity of the other great apes living on Earth with us right now (though all are highly endangered) just because they don’t speak English… though they can be taught sign language and how to use computers—including beating humans at our own games!
Though most are not so tech-savvy, all great apes, including bonobos, love games and engage in play violence. The big difference between bonobos and the other apes is that their play violence doesn’t lead to murder or war. There is no sport-killing in Bonoboville. At least, not so far. Hopefully, that won’t change in 2022.
Can bonobos teach us to play without killing each other before we teach them to turn Tag into Squid Games?
Can bonobo teach us to value lust over greed before we teach them to hoard bananas and police each other’s sexual behavior?
Can bonobos teach us female empowerment before we teach them to denigrate female sexual power?
Can bonobos teach us male nurturance before we teach them to demonize male sexual desire?
Who knows? We “civilized” humans are such know-it-alls; our Latin term for ourselves, “Homo sapiens,” means “the hominid who knows.” We’re always *teaching* or forcing our way on others, including other animals. Hopefully, we won’t force our homicidal ways on bonobos before they can show their bonobo way to us.
Interestingly, the bonobos’ peace-through-pleasure culture appears to be as much about learning and choosing to share and not kill one another as it is of instinct and genetics. We are not the only apes who “know” and can learn… as well as teach.
Can bonobos teach us—before it’s too late—to honor sexual pleasure as much as we enjoy it? You’d think it would be obvious. We are such fragile, needy creatures, hungry for love, yearning for touch, wanting to give as much as receive, longing for erotic connection, for ecstatic release. Without it, we can and do sometimes turn to lethal violence—in our homes, on our streets, through our military and police, and via our more and more competitive, divisive games.
“Our lives are largely defined by deeply felt conflicts between the reflexive generosity of our hunter-gatherer nature and the inducements to selfishness characteristic of civilization,” observes Ryan in Civilized to Death (also the author of Sex at Dawnand a four-time guest on DrSuzy.tv). Is it human nature to be violent, selfish, homicidal and ecocidal? “No, this is not the nature of our species,” says Ryan. “it is the nature of civilization, an emergent social structure in which our species is currently trapped.”
We are all Julian Assange, “trapped” in the prison we call civilization. Learning the ways of the hunter-gather-like natives of world, as well as the Bonobo Way, can at least—if not fully free us—give us the courage to make some changes.
Indeed, retracing our steps to find those lost keys of peace could also mean rediscovering our more egalitarian, sustainable, sex-positive, prehistoric, hedonic human nature before the advent of agriculture, inequality, misogyny, feudalism, capitalism, corporatism, fascism and techno-feudalism began turning our loving species against each other, as well as against our home, the Earth.
Keep Hope—and the Bonobos—Alive!
In The Dawn of Everything, the two Davids say we are currently “living in what the Greeks called the καιρóς (Kairos) – the right time – for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods,’ i.e., of the fundamental principles and symbols…This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically.”
Like the old fortune cookie curse, “May you live in interesting times,” the current unspooling “metamorphosis” could go either way in this next New Year. It could easily drive us further along that road of “progress” (that isn’t very progressive) to an even more grossly unequal, techno-sapiens, female-denigrating, male-demonizing, sex-negative, choking, homicidal, ecocidal edge, dropping us off the deep end of Capitalogenic devastation with Fascist Festivus as a national holiday.
Or we could resolve to “Go Bonobos” in 2022! We could resolve to fight, work and—especially—play for the sake of peace through pleasure in all kinds of weather.
That’s my resolution anyway, and the resolution—as well as the Revolution—starts with me… and you. Since you’re reading this new year’s plea for bonobo awareness (possibly for the eighth time, in which case, my apologies for any repetition, though it’s a little different with each year’s particular insanities), I hope you’ll join me in helping save the bonobos through donations to:
1) Lola ya Bonobo (Bonobo Paradise) is a bonobo “refugee” sanctuary outside Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Operated by the luminous, tireless Claudine André, Lola rescues “orphans” of the devastating “bushmeat” trade, cares for these little refugees like “family” and eventually releases them back into the wild. Donations are administered by Friends of Bonobos, including our amazing friends, Vanessa Woods and Dr. Brian Hare, who wrote Survival of the Friendliest.
2) The Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), founded by our other amazing friend, Sally Coxe, is developing a Bonobo Peace Forest, providing much-needed food, medical care, school supplies and jobs to indigenous villagers who live in the bonobos’ native habitat and who protect their precious and vulnerable wild populations from the ruthless or uninformed poachers who shoot them for bushmeat. BCI saves many bonobos, often giving the orphans to Lola ya Bonobo.
3) The Bonobo Project, under the direction of Ashley Stone, is helping to spread the word about bonobos, their inspirational culture and their highly endangered status. Mark your 2022 Calendar for World Bonobo Day on February 14th. Valentine’s Dayis for lovers, and bonobos are the masters and mistresses of love… all kinds of love.
If there’s any hope for us humans going bonobos (and even if there isn’t), we mustn’t let the real bonobos go extinct. Thus, in 2022, I resolve to do what I can to help save the bonobos, as well as to release my inner bonobo and to help others to release theirs (if they so desire), to put pleasure before greed (more orgasms—with socialism!) and love before hate, like the bonobos do. It’s a little corny and idealistic (and, as Pr. Max says, the ideal is the enemy of the real), but just saying it makes me feel like coming out swinging in every sense of those words.
I also resolve to work out my differences with my friends, enemies, lovers (as bonobos show us, “make-up sex” can be the best sex; just don’t do it with someone you really want to leave!) and acquaintances, including the Arcadia City Zoning inspectors who have spent much of 2021 working hard to harass Bonoboville. I forgive them, as they obviously don’t know bonobos from bananas, infractions from infringements, or violations from good vibrations. Get a clue in 2022, my beloved inspectors!
Amen and AWOMEN.