The human body is strange. Bumps, ridges, openings and patches of hair cover it haphazardly like a Wooly Willy toy. Evolution has equipped us with all sorts of weird features, like opposable thumbs and long eyelashes. We’ve changed so much since the dawn of man that it’s easy to forget we weren’t always like this. In fact, we used to walk on all fours before doggy style even had a name. Evolutionary biologists have lots of theories about the way our bodies look the way they do, but one theory proposes something rather interesting: that our faces and chests are mimicking our bottom halves. If you really think about the placement of curves and holes on our bodies, it’s not so hard to believe. Here’s how evolution has moved our naughty bits up to our faces.
Boobs, butts and beaks. In his book “The Naked Ape,” English zoologist Desmond Morris theorizes human breasts and lips evolved to mimic our nether regions. He suggests that our obsession with the female chest is a direct reference to the bum, while lips are a visual analogue to genitals.
Stand on your own two feet. Desmond’s explanation for the shared attractiveness of our top and bottom halves has to do with our evolution as upright mammals. As human began walking on two legs, the method of intercourse shifted. Rather than going at it from behind (the traditional way), humans began having sex face-to-face. Our chests and lips adapted accordingly.
From the front to the back. Many researchers speculate breasts and buttocks are attractive to men because of their importance in child rearing. Butts imply childbirth, while breasts imply nursing. But humans have sex for pleasure, not just for reproduction. The writer R. Dale Guthrie believes the increasing popularity of going “braless” has made the connection between swaying breasts and swinging hips clearer.
Growing pains. Other theories propose human female breasts have grown over the years to better accommodate breastfeeding. Their size and shape are relatively unmatched in the animal kingdom, and the variety of female human nipples is huge. Aside from nursing babies, enlarged female breasts give newborns something soft on which to lay.
Your mouth is doing all the talking. The mouth opening is a clear visual echo of the female genitalia. Whether or not we realize it, bright red lipstick reminds us of a woman’s vagina, flushed and red at the moment of maximum sexual receptivity.
Size matters. Humans love to maximize their attractive organs. One needs to look no further than tight jeans and low-cut shirts for proof. But some human cultures go further lengths to increase the size of their sex organs. Women in Maori culture actually tattoo exaggerated lip lines to make their mouths appear wider and curvier.
Change is the only constant. This phenomenon of matching body parts is called automimicry, and it’s divided into four variations. An animal’s features can shift around, duplicate themselves elsewhere, or replicate in the same spot. Animals can also perform mimicry to appear younger or older, usually for mating purposes.
Automimicry isn’t specific to humans. The Gelada baboon’s nipples also bear a close resemblance to their labia. The patterns and coloring of hair are nearly identical in both the chest and vaginal areas.
Conflict or copulation? These organs have evolutionary purposes of both reproduction and self defense. The mandrill, another primate, has a brilliantly red snout that it uses in conflict. Both the male snout and genitalia are brilliant red columns flanked by the same shade of blue skin.
The nose knows. Our noses are full of sexual imagery. Nostrils have an obvious analogue in both the male and female urethra. Noses mimic penises in the way they grow and change shape. They also have the dual associations of attraction and threat. How many cartoon villains can you think of that sport bulbous, oversized noses?
Hair, hair, everywhere. Some scientists believe that eyebrow hair has evolved to bear a striking resemblance to pubic hair in its color and texture. Following this logic, the placement of eyebrows and moustache hair at either end of our (arguably) phallic nose starts to make sense.
Even chins are sexy. In the novel, “The Godfather,” one male character’s cleft chin is described as “obscene.” The references in this case of automimicry are too obvious to name.
Color counts. A study of 40 men showed that sexual responses to the color pink were high, while darker red were deemed less attractive. This makes sense, since lighter pink is associated with genitalia, while darker shades more closely resemble diseased or infected nether regions.
Nipples haven’t always been sensitive sex organs. Research finds that nipple stimulation causes sexual arousal through the release of oxytocin. This focuses a woman’s attention on her partner. Evolutionarily speaking, bigger breasts would increase the surface area for nipple stimulation. Considering that doggy style used to be the only option for mating humans, this perk (pun intended) of face-to-face sex must be an evolutionary development.
Monogamy may be ushering in evolution. Types of sexual stimulation like nipple play activate the female bonding circuit, effectively making women more attached to their partners. Humans are one of the only species that aspires to monogamy, and this psychosexual relationship might just be why.