One of the ways I know the beautiful season of renewal is here (hello spring!) is the mother mourning dove cozied up atop her eggs in the tree outside of my front door. She looks patient, warm, maternal. And then suddenly, one day I peer into the tree and find new life has hatched.
Most animals mate at a certain time of year, and the spring is when most birds do. But it’s intriguing to think that, unlike most animals, humans seem to mate and have young sporadically.
But if you look at birth patterns, you’ll find that most birthdays seem to occur at certain times of year. For humans, the majority of births occur between July and September, with September being the most common birth month in the U.S. Do the math and you’ll discover this means these babies were conceived around the holidays.
So are the holidays the human mating season? Well, births peak two times a year, both around the holidays, as well as in late spring to early summer. We know this because this is when more children are conceived, more STDs are diagnosed and treated, and more condoms are purchased.
Research has also found that sperm health is best in late autumn and early winter, which may explain why so many pregnancies occur during this time of year.
“The hard part of this is really sorting out what factor is accounting for this,” said Dr. Edmund Sabanegh, the chairman of the Urology Department at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study.
Researchers have even noted a pattern in Google searches, with more sexually related searches occurring during the holidays and in early summer. And dating terms are also searched most often during these times, too.
In regards to psychology, it makes sense that, with the weather getting colder in late autumn and winter, we desire the physical warmth of a partner.
Scientists are still skeptical about calling this a mating season, however. The reality is, humans have the ability to mate all year long. Women aren’t simply receptive to sex during these times, but many other times throughout the year. They also do not ovulate annually, but every 28 days.
Changes in seasonal sperm production may be related to factors like temperature, length of daylight exposure, and hormone variation. However, it seems sperm counts around the world are falling as a result of sedentary lifestyles and environmental contamination.
Perhaps we may not have a very specific mating season like the mourning doves outside my front door, which makes sense considering we are very complex creatures, but if we had to try to better understand when the peaks are, taking into consideration environmental, social, biological, and psychological factors working together may explain our tendency to mate and conceive at certain times of the year.
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