Naughty by Nature: Sex and the Jungle
In Pure Nature Specials: Naughty by Nature (Sex and the Jungle) filmmakers bring together a wide variety of research into the sex lives of wild animals. Exploring the apparently strange, offbeat and unpredictable mating practices of a wide variety of species, revealing perhaps that the sexual norms we as humans take for granted are not quite so clear cut.
Inserted between footage of the animals themselves are cleverly selected educational and public domain films, which bring an added layer of commentary into the work. They are done with a comedic spirit, giving the film a playfulness and lightness that serves to reduce sex from its pedestal of reverence. The film aspires to comedy as a means of engaging the viewer in a more easy conversation, assuming a sort of innate discomfort or prudishness with sex. Similarly, the comedy often frames the sexual practices of the animal world in reference to the sex lives of humans.
Exploring not only the act of sex itself, but the mating rituals that surround it, the film allows its form as an overview of dozens of animal species to reveal innate patterns in animal behavior. Though circumstances, peculiarities and environments change, some things remain consistent and inevitable. Even the incidents and behaviors that seem to be irregular, all point to nature’s overwhelming capability to guarantee the proliferation of any given species, under any given circumstance.
Though not intimately explored, nature’s compulsive need to reproduce and proliferate seems almost at odds with humans own passion for sexual intercourse, which has long been change, transformed and conditions away from its animal instincts. The question of pleasure is a distant question for almost every encounter depicted, and for most, the act of sexual intercourse is one of immense sacrifice and stringent competition. As self-centered as we are as a species, for most who watch the film, their overall conclusions will likely not be about the animals themselves but how it affects the view of their own sexuality. Is our desire for sex just a biological imperative?