Go Bonobos in 2024!

Bonobos grooming each other. Photo: DBeaune, CC BY-SA 4.0.

It’s a New Year, Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners, a socially sanctified turning point in calendrical time with stirring possibilities that shimmer like GloFish in a pool of fresh clean water, awaiting my dive down into a future so bright that all you can see is my “Happy Nude Rear.”

So, why do I feel like I’m being marched, blindfolded, starved, half-naked (and not in a “happy nude” way) and shackled to fellow hapless humans—like the poor Gazan “POWs” I see on my news feeds—goosed by Israeli Tavor X-95 rifles, or maybe shot, beaten, blown up by American-made bombs, exterminated by AI (Artificial Ignorance), or *just* mocked and dehumanized as we’re all shoved through a trapdoor into 2024?

Also, there’s almost no fresh clean water, and what there is costs $14.95 a cup.

Make Like Bonobos, Not Baboons

With such bleak nightmares and much worse – actually happening now in real time in Gaza right before the eyes of the world – set against the annual wet dream of a brand-new run around the sun, I resolve to #GoBonobos in 2024.

Bonobos (just in case you don’t know) are the “Make Love Not War” chimpanzees who swing through the trees as well as with each other. They’re also humanity’s closest genetic cousins, but unlike us, they honor love over hate and lust over greed, practicing what I call “The Bonobo Way,” an uncanny but very real path of peace. That is, bonobos (pan paniscus) are the only great apes who have never been seen killing each other in the wild or captivity.

How do they do it? Bonobos make peace through pleasure (including but not limited to sexual pleasure), with a generous helping of female empowerment (females rule Bonoboville), male nurturing (take care of our dudes!), ecosexual intelligence (save our planet!), a strong sense of connection (community is key) and sharing resources (sharing is caring).

Sound good? It is good.

Indeed, now more than ever, we the peoples of the world need to “make like bonobos, not baboons.”

Year of the Bonobo

You may have heard me say it before, but I’m saying it more for 2024. Yes, it’s a new year, but it’s my same old new year’s resolution as 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. This makes 2024, aka MMXXIV (imperial Roman drum roll, please) … the 10th Great Year of the Bonobo! Woohoo!

But why, you may wonder, after a decade of resolving to go bonobos, aren’t we there yet? I’d like to say that we’re *almost there.*  However, in so many disturbing ways, 2023 drove us farther off the path of peace through pleasure than ever.

First, going by the mass murder and mayhem count—in wars abroad and at home—humans appear to be going more bananas than bonobos.

Second, going by the demonization of any expression of sexual pleasure even slightly outside the theocratically blessed, baby-making “norm,” we are being force-fed the most unbonobo bananas ever grown since United Fruit colonized Central America.

Indeed, looking over last year’s resolution to “go bonobos,” I am vexed to see I successfully foretold that this past year (2023) would be “worse, much worse” in many ways than the year before. This was not exactly a unique crystal ball prediction, but sadly, it came all too true.

Annihilation Nations

Annihilation was in the air, on the ground and at sea all through 2023.

Many were annihilated by bombs, AR-15s, knives, chemicals and the occasional bulldozer. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians were killed in their grinding war with Russian, using American munitions, including cluster bombs, though now “quietly shifting” from counteroffensive to a more “defensive posture.” Whole families in Gaza were annihilated by Israel’s ferocious bombardments in 2023, also with American bombs, as the U.S. even blocked a U.N. Security Council Ceasefire Resolution. More wars raged (and still rage) in Myanmar, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Somalia and other African countries. Sorry if I’ve left out some; there are so many fighting and dying in these ongoing cycles of perma war around the world, it’s tough to keep track.

I call it “perma war” because it’s like perma press, only instead of pants that don’t crease, it’s wars that won’t end.

Additionally, there were (and still are) our ongoing *wars* at home. Though the all-around crime rate in American cities went down in 2023 (woohoo!), murders and mass murders committed by ammosexual incels, PTSD-traumatized veterans, social media-crazed misfits, lonely human apes and our more and more militarized sadistic police continued to kill us at home.

Will all this killing get worse in 2024, or will we finally “study war no more”? Probably the former, but at least we could have a real ceasefire in Palestine… couldn’t we?

Apparently not yet, as of this writing. The Zionist bombing, slaughtering, mass executions, displacement of Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank, and even the “accidental” murder of Israeli hostages trying to surrender, in the face of massive protests around the world, has been especially harrowing and utterly unconscionable in the last quarter of 2023, now bleeding into 2024.

What is wrong with us humans? Baboons are better behaved.

Of course, it’s not all of us humans. Some of us were in the streets rallying for peace and justice in humongous demonstrations, and others were on our devices, agitating to stop the war(s) all through 2023 with no sign of letting up in 2024. Special kudos to our friends Abby Martin, Robbie Martin, Mike Prysner and CounterPunch colleagues for advocating ceasefire and a free Palestine online and on the street.

Props also to Soma Snakeoil, the Damianos and my husband Max’s former partner Veronica Vera for their sex-positive activism on the web and in the public squares of so-called civilization. For more Make-Love-Not-War heroes, winners (and a few choice losers) of this past year, check out the 12th annual SUZY Awards 2023.

For the 12th year, “Best Journalist” goes to Julian Assange, still locked up in Belmarsh Prison for daring to publish the American War Machine-humiliating truth about perma war and its inevitable, insidious, Collateral Murder.

War Crime as an Aphrodisiac

So, who is it that that has such a hard-on for war instead of love? The warmongers, of course, our distinguished world leaders, the alpha males and elite females of the Capitalocene, the scheming war profiteers, the narcissistic presidents, the paranoid billionaires, the corrupt politicians and their slimy sons-in-law, the oil barons and their ladder-climbing, apple-polishing, support personnel.

While most of us are rightly repulsed by the horrors we see in our news feeds, for these folks *at the top,* war porn is better than Viagra; it makes both their penises and portfolios rise, especially when the contested region is sitting on top of desirable, natural resources. Or is it just a *coincidence* that huge oil and natural gas reserves were recently discovered off the Gaza coast?

Many American leaders of both major parties are even agitating for war with China. While the Chinese say(in a Bonobo Way), “planet Earth is big enough for the two countries [the U.S. and China] to succeed,” the U.S. Army prefers to compete, commissioning the Rand Corporation to “think the unthinkable” and imagine “War with China.” What’s next – doing the undoable and inciting World War III in the China Sea?

At least, the worst war criminal of the latter half of the 20th century, Henry Kissinger,  finally left us in 2023. This real-life Dr. Strangelove famously opined, “Power is the greatest aphrodisiac.” That hasn’t been my experience personally, nor as a sex therapist who hears about a lot of people’s turn-ons. If it were true, most of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers might not have accused him.

Power is more of an intoxicant than an aphrodisiac; some world leaders seem to be so intoxicated by power – and the fear of losing it – they don’t seem to give a damn about the people their policies are killing; if they do, only their therapists, sex workers and bartenders know.

Of course, anything can be deemed an aphrodisiac, if you profess faith in it, as the faith-professing, district-swinging Congresswoman Lauren Boebert proved when the notoriously unerotic Beetlejuice made her so hot “Miss Ammosexual” had to cool off her hand on her date’s crotch.

Well, our faith leaders do “mess up” sexually; they’re only human apes! However, for the rest of us, sex had better be under control, preferably harnessed into a capitalist project, like breeding workers to exploit. Otherwise, our leaders would rather we not spend too much time on sex, especially if it’s recreational, not procreational. They want us out of bed and on to work, maybe with a fast-food break before online shopping.

Outercourse is In & Religiosity is Out

Among bonobos, lust trumps greed, and recreational sex is far from just profligate fun; it’s key to keeping the peace. Bonobos engage in a lot more outercourse than intercourse, including erotic, affectionate touch, massage, tickling and cuddling that diffuses violent tension and keeps everybody calm. Could something like that work for humans? Doesn’t it already?

One promising rather bonoboësque sex trend for 2024, especially among Generation Z’ers, is “shallowing.” Somewhere between intercourse and outercourse, “shallowing” involves stimulating the outside of the genitalia without going inside, and is more likely to bring a female to orgasm before a male partner – usually a good thing – and less likely to cause an accidental pregnancy – also usually a good thing… though not according to the religio-fascist misogynists in power who want women to breed more exploitable labor.

All the major monotheistic, aka Judeo-Christian-Islamic, religions and some of the polytheistic ones condemn most recreational sex. Even though our 8 billion+ human population is straining earth’s resources to the brink, our religious leaders exhort us to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Despite all the preaching in American (and Israeli) halls of government that are supposed to separate Church from State, another way that humanity is generally “going bonobos” in 2022, 2023 and probably 2024 too is that we are becoming less and less religious.

You wouldn’t know that based on our leaders—from the Bush and Trump-appointed rightwing of the U.S. Supreme Court to Christofascist House Speaker Mike Johnson to increasingly prayerful Russian Orthodox Premier Vladimir Putin to Bible-citing Zionist Genocidaire Benjamin Netanyahu (whom Max calls “Benny Net Nut”)—who are trying like hell to impose their notions of an authoritarian heaven above the rest of us, pushing us to channel our natural sexual libidos into making babies, consuming products and fighting their perma wars.

On top of annihilating Palestinians in the name of “Amalek” (an obscure Biblical foe), Net Nut is actually doing more to foment a resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world than anyone or anything since the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Thank Goddess for Jewish Voice for Peace, though our voices can’t maskthe sound of Benny Net Nut’s bombs.

In 2023 alone, Israel’s and America’s attempt at *normalization* of the horrific, “apocalyptic” slaughtering of doctors, journalists, poets, children, babies and other civilians has forever damaged the entire world’s mental health in unfathomable ways. We watch videos of death like clips from a disaster movie, except this suffering is real.

Ironically, despite Israel’s ferocious attempts at humiliating Palestinians on the ground and in social media, the Zionists are the ones being humiliated as they expose their own brute cruelty (Hamas’ terrible violence on October 7th is no excuse for Israel’s far-worse carnage), ineptitude (many Israeli civilians murdered on October 7th appear to have been accidentally killed by the IDF) and inability to firmly defeat the plucky Palestinians who show their courage and ingenuity every day.

Ecocidal Blues

So much for annihilation from the air and on the ground. As for annihilation “at sea,” how about those polar ice cap melts and coral reef die-offs? These calamities might not be so immediately lethal nor the photos so nauseating as war, but having rapidly deteriorated in 2023 (the hottest year ever recorded!), they are poised to annihilate millions of life forms (including human) in 2024.

Looks like my Happy Nude Year 2024 dream of diving into a fresh clean pool is less likely than oceans flooding the vulnerable parts of coastal cities like Miami, Bangkok, Mumbai and New York City with toxic sewage.

That’s not sexy.

Plus, land (over 2 billion tons of refuse per year) and air (over 40 billion tons of CO2 emissions, up 1% from 2022-2023), continue apace.

Many of the same war criminals, billionaires, their corrupt corporations and sycophantic support systems that brought us these wars kept the ecocide raging through 2023, with no sign of letting up in 2024. It’s all related; the world’s worst polluter is the U.S. military, including its noxious subsidiaries in Ukraine, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Neither of the two absurdly unappealing geriatric frontrunners of America’s political duopoly running for U.S. President in 2024 – “Genocide Joe” supporting Israel’s war crimes, nor smelly narcissistic fascistDiaper Don,” aka “Adolph Trump,” under four indictments, whose campaign is as much about staying out of prison and getting revenge on his enemies as his Israeli counterpart –  are likely to improve this sad state of our environment.

Bonobos may not have degrees in environmental science, but they know how to live – and enjoy life – sustainably. Could we do that too? Of course, we could, as humans did for tens of thousands of years before the advent of so-called civilization, but do we have the will to try?

Censorship & Sex Trends

There was also much digital annihilation in 2023. A kinder, gentler term is “deactivation,” or social media account termination, aka internet extermination, as well as the less drastic but still harmful demonetization. Of course, lack of communication isn’t physical annihilation, but they are connected.

Attempts to ban books in 2023 outpaced 2022 by 20%. The Kinsey Institute was defunded. The firing of University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse Chancellor Joe Gow for making erotic videos with his wife Carmen Wilson capped off 2023. More heads rolled like bowling balls knocking down pins of Free Speech at universities, media outlets, government offices and corporations of all kinds on a wave of “New McCarthyism” that wrongly conflates anti-Zionism (being against Israel’s apartheid policies and its bombing of innocents) with anti-Semitism (discriminating against Jewish people), the charge often made by truly anti-Semitic Christian Zionists who yearn for Jewish control of the land of Israel so Jesus can return… at which point all the Jews will be annihilated in Armageddon. Do Israelis know this about their staunchest supporters? Do they care?

Social media censorship increased across the board in the last year, whether you’re offering information on Palestine or misinformation (or is that disinformation?) on medicine, so-called *hate speech* or sex – especially sex-positivity, as opposed to sex negative stories and salacious scandals à la Epstein, which were, if anything, magnified in 2023.

On a personal level, my own sex-positive, pro-Palestine accounts on YouTube, Facebook and Instagramwere censored and deactivated in 2023, when their out-of-control AI – so-called “artificial intelligence” (which might as well be short for “algorithmic ignorance,” considering how it randomly censors some while allowing others with similar content) shut me down for no given reason, effectively isolating me from my communities on platforms I’d been on for 15 years, throwing me for a loop and into a funk that was only partly alleviated by knowing I was not alone.

Indeed, I had plenty of company—including some very fine, celebrated company—though that actually hurt more than helped me. Misery doesn’t love company when not only are you deactivated from sprawling social media monopolies, but so are some of your favorite news sources, podcasts, commentators, friends and family.

This tsunami of ignorant social media censorship, much of it due to taking screening duties away from real human beings and dumping them on AI is overwhelming, and most people can’t or just don’t bother to fight back.

I am fighting back; I am taking Mark Zuckerberg and META to arbitration in 2024. The odds are against me winning, but I will shame Zuck for his totally cucked and bogus system of deciding who shall live and who shall die in his Metaverse monopoly game.

Social media activation literally “grooms” users to depend on a particular platform for various emotional, interactive, informational and, of course, social needs. Coupled with deactivation, it is a prime source of the loneliness and isolation epidemic afflicting so many of us in 2023 and looking to expand and intensify in 2024.

Social isolation is also one of the biggest sexual problems of our times. Not that you’d know that by perusing the popular Sex Trends for 2024, which present humanity’s erotic future in terms of various apps, high-tech toys, customized fitness routines, pleasure mapping, mental health support algorithms and AI systems for Holistic Sexual Wellness (whatever that is).  I love sex toys, and what’s not to like about “wellness”? But it sounds like our personal sexual pleasures and relationships will not be healed, so much as more subjected to the whims of Algorithmic Ignorance in 2024.

It’s not all bad. One Generation Z sex trend that’s very bonoboësque involves the rather polyamorous pursuit of finding love in “throuples,” as opposed to just couples. Too bad the ChatGPT that provided that info responded to further questions about 2024 sex trends with “as an AI language model, I adhere to a set of ethical guidelines that prevent me from engaging in explicit or adult-oriented discussions.”

Ain’t digital censorship grand?

Bonobo Peace Summit

Between the daily mental onslaught of war and the repressive censorship of sex, Max and I needed our own “humanitarian pause.” So, when Friends of Bonobos (the outreach arm of Lola ya Bonobo) invited us on a backstage bonobo tour of the San Diego Zoo, we jumped up and hooted like bonobos at the chance for what I was already (rather fancifully) calling a “Bonobo Peace Summit.”

Guided by veteran primate specialist Kimba Livingston, we were treated to “inside” views of some of our closest great ape cousins: the orangutans, gorillas and, saving what I consider the best for last, the bonobos.

Due to new fences and barriers, this visit was nowhere near as intimate as my close encounter with bonobo Lana back in 2004, or with bonobo Lisa in 2016. Nevertheless, observing these expert peacemakers in action solidified my belief that peace is the way, in Palestine, Ukraine, Europe, Asia, America, Africa and everywhere we human apes reside.

Pleasure is the key to bonobo peace. During our brief visit, we saw clearly how bonobos share pleasures as a form of conflict resolution to defuse their competitive tensions and curtail fighting over food.

Not that we should make Benny “Net Nut” Netanyahu have sex with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. On second thought, that wouldn’t be the worst idea, certainly better than dropping bombs.

It’s not surprising that bonobos cooperate and make peace within their own communities, as other great apes do; bonobos and common chimpanzees can even recognize old friends and family after over 25 years. However, unlike common chimps who tend to mistrust outsiders, bonobos also get along harmoniously with outside groups – sometimes even preferring to share food, sex and intimacy with strangers more than with old friends. In a recent student published in Science, primatologists Liran Samuni and Martin Surbeck found that bonobos practice “tolerance… and cooperation between unrelated individuals across groups without immediate payoff.”

Humans are the only other great apes who demonstrate this ability to get along with outsiders, though it seems we are forgetting how to do that these days – when we need it most. Or maybe it’s just that our leaders discourage this sort of bonoboësque tolerance and cooperation, preferring to capitalize on our isolation, alienation and animosity towards outsiders.

We need to go bonobos!

Play Ball

Since the zoo’s new barriers prevented me from getting close this trip, my most exciting bonobo encounter involved playing catch, of all things. Due to my astigmatism and general lack of athletic prowess in everything but sex and bridge-climbing, I am usually a lousy pitcher; but when Kimba suggested I throw a walnut to Lisa, the alpha female bonobo, I figured I’d give it a toss. Kimba herself wasn’t exactly Pedro Martinez, and the bonobos were missing her pitches.  So, I took a deep breath, stepped back, lobbed the nut, and lo and behold, my old friend Lisa stretched out her big bony bonobo hand and caught it! Then I did it again, and it landed in her palm, then bounced out, but she caught it on the rebound—and I could swear she winked at me whilst devouring her crunchy prize.

Here’s another one of my crazy dreams for going bonobos in 2024: Instead of bombing and shooting, the Israelis and Palestinians – or even the Zionists and Hamas – could play softball or soccer, football or whatever they want to play, as long as it’s play. Didn’t the opposing sides do that during World War I? They called it the Christmas Truce (and it might even have ended that Great War, if it weren’t for our leaders pushing for their profits).

Maybe they could also have a little sex. It goes with the territory of friendliness for apes like us. Mix up those genes! Yes, it’s a crazy idea, but less crazy than massacring hundreds of your fellow human apes every day. Besides, other than being soul-crushingly unethical, militarism simply doesn’t work. It didn’t work for the U.S. in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq, and it’s not working for the U.S./Israel alliance now.

I’m also dreaming of King Solomon, the most bonoboësque of Biblical Hebrew kings, who schtupped for peace – literally. Besides his special friendship with the Queen of Sheba, Solomon had 1000 wives and concubines from different tribes and nations, helping him to establish peaceful, diplomatic ties with all their native lands. All that sex may have made him smarter than the average monarch, as he was considered the wisest of Hebrew kings.

When Israel’s leaders start quoting Solomon’s erotic Song of Songs instead of that damned Amalek, we’ll know they’re starting to go bonobos.

In the meantime, as supposed “friends” of Israel, we Americans ought to stop sending them bombs. Just as friends don’t let friends drive drunk, nations shouldn’t let their allies commit genocide. No matter how enticingly that natural gas off the Gaza coast beckons, it’s not worth the death and destruction… not to mention the inevitable blowback.

Save the Bonobos

So, let’s go bonobos in 2024!  That’s my resolution anyway, and the resolution—as well as The RƎVO˩ution—starts with me… and you. Since you’re reading this new year’s plea for bonobo awareness (possibly for the 10th time, in which case, my apologies for the inevitable repetition, though I try to make it different each year), I hope you’ll join me in helping save the highly endangered bonobos from imminent extinction.

If there’s any hope for us humans going bonobos—even if our chances are slimmer than a blade of rainforest grass—we must do all we can to keep the real bonobos alive and thriving in their native habitat of the Congolese Rainforest, as well as in sanctuaries and even in zoos.

Lola ya Bonobo (Bonobo Paradise) is a bonobo “refugee” sanctuary outside Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Founded by the heroic 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 Brian Hare, authors of Survival of the Friendliest, as well as administrators Ashley Stone and Amanda Kuttner, all of whom tirelessly help Lola to keep studying and saving bonobos.

The Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), founded by another great friend, Sally Coxe, is continuing to develop a Bonobo Peace Forest, providing much-needed food, medical care, school supplies and jobs to indigenous villagers who live close to the bonobos in the Congolese Rainforest, and who protect their precious and vulnerable wild populations from the ruthless, desperate or just uninformed poachers who shoot them for bushmeat. BCI saves many bonobos, often giving the orphans to Lola ya Bonobo.

Thus, in 2024, for the freaking 10th time, I resolve to do whatever I can to help save the bonobos, as well as release my inner bonobo and help others to release theirs, putting lust before greed and love before hate, and to reach out to the scary but erotic stranger, like the bonobos do, and I hope you find ways to do it too.

Make Kink Not War!

Be Bonobo: Save the Humans.

It’s getting tougher by the algorithm, but let’s try to be free, peaceful, ecosexual and more in 2024.

Amen. AWOMEN. Happy Nude Rear, Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners! #GoBonobos in 2024!

Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For information and speaking engagements, call 626-461-5950. Email her at drsusanblock@gmail.com