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Human female sexual orientation has received increased attention from scholars in evolutionary and sexuality-related sciences. As our understanding of female sexual orientation matures, especially same-sex attractions, many of our scientific assumptions must similarly progress. Better operational definitions will help focus current theoretical frameworks for understanding same-sex attraction among females, and guide future refinements to these models. Here we advocate for more precise characterization of the female sexual orientation spectrum, which in turn forces reconsideration of two pervasive assumptions in this domain. The first is that female sexual orientation is accurately characterized as a smooth unidimensional continuum. While concepts and terminology that aid our understanding of female same-sex attraction often convey stepwise gradations along a sexual orientation spectrum, we present relevant considerations for treating categories of female sexual orientation as more dissociable than typically acknowledged. Reframing this discussion leads naturally to reconsidering a second assumption – that all female same-sex attractions require adaptationist explanations, or the same kind of evolutionary account. Here we propose that most female non-heterosexuality poses little or no challenge to Darwinian frameworks, although evolutionary considerations can nonetheless help our understanding of the proximate development of such attractions.
Androphilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal to adult males, whereas gynephilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal to adult females. Male androphilia is considered one of the outstanding paradoxes of evolutionary biology because its very existence flouts our expectations concerning what constitutes an evolutionarily viable trait (Bailey & Zuk, 2009). In humans, male androphilia is heritable, as evinced by twin studies (Alanko et al., 2010; Bailey et al., 2000; Kendler et al., 2000; Långström et al., 2010), as well as research in the area of molecular genetics (Hamer et al., 1993; Mustanski et al.,2005; Sanders et al., 2015). Despite the heritability of this trait, androphilic males reproduce at far lower rates when compared to gynephilic males, if they reproduce at all, which, very often, they do not (e.g., Bell & Weinberg, 1978; King et al., 2005; Saghir & Robins, 1973; Schwartz et al., 2010).
The Arashiyama group of Japanese macaques holds a distinguished place in primatology as one of the longest continuously studied non-human primate populations in the world. The resulting long-term data provide a unique resource for researchers, allowing them to move beyond cross-sectional studies to tackle larger issues involving individual, matrilineal and group histories. This book presents an overview of the scope and magnitude of research topics and management efforts that have been conducted on this population for several decades, covering not only the original troop living around Kyoto, Japan, but also the two subgroups that were translocated to Texas, USA and Montreal, Canada. The chapters encompass topics including life history, sexual, social and cultural behaviour and ecology, giving an insight into the range of current primatological research. The contributors underscore the historic value of the Arashiyama macaques and showcase new and significant research findings that highlight their continuing importance to primatology.