But what of eros? Thankfully, most dogs or cats don’t view us in an erotic light. Even leg-humping isn’t likely to be a sex thing. The intentions of a horny dog may not necessarily be to inseminate their owner’s leg, but instead to manage unresolved tensions within the human-canine household. Some argue it could be about dominance; others that it could be to let off steam. There is also a chance that, well, a bit of friendly leg-humping just feels really nice to a dog, but not necessarily in a knowing, sexual way. The behaviour is seen in male and female dogs, and, occasionally, in cats.
Birds, however, are another story. Birds are far more likely to feel a warmth for their owners that you could term eros. A parrot that is tenderly stroked in the wrong places by its minder, for instance, will often misread friendship signals as foreplay and begin producing sex hormones. Should you wish not to sexually excite a parrot, try not to stroke down its back or on, or under, its wings. These are the areas that males and females preen in the early stages of their courtship in the wild. A stroke like this is like the kiss and a cuddle that readies them for sex. Upon discovering this fact, I realised I had more than once inadvertently sexed up a parrot.