Nature keeps on betraying right-wing conservatives. For example, it’s hard to claim that homosexuality is unnatural when adorable gay penguins are raising a chick together. (I’m not even getting into the question of the natural-ness of chicks with dicks.) Now, the Christian right’s monogamy poster-vole has been revealed as, in the words of the Nature paper, a “randy rodent [that] revels in raunchy romps.”
The prairie vole has long been renowned for its lifelong partnerships. Eric Keroack, the Bush administration’s appointee to oversee federal family planning programs, cited prairie vole research to support his claim that:
Keroack claims that that people who engage in premarital sex experience chronic emotional pain, which lowers their oxytocin levels. This in turn impairs their ability to form healthy relationships down the road. “People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual,” he writes.
It’s a good thing Keroack has since resigned, because his oxytocin levels might have been severely damaged by new research showing that female prairie voles are dirty, dirty cheaters. Paternity tests reveal that the voles are only socially monogamous. Sexually…well, they’re only a role model if you’re polyamorous. While maintaining their primary partnership, female voles have sex with lots of other males.
And to make moral matters worse from Keroack’s point of view, those slutty female voles aren’t even punished. From the Nature News article:
Carter has observed philandering voles in her own lab, and notes that the infidelity did not disrupt pre-existing partnerships. When a female initiates contact with an outside male, for example, the relationship remains strictly sexual. “She mated with him,” says Carter, “and then she attacked him, ran him off and went back to her established partner.”
Clearly, the next target of abstinence-only sex ed programs should be the voles.