Episode available within Canada only.
Photo: Gabriel Levesque
Read a review by Globe & Mail critic John Doyle

The Birds do it. The bees do it. It seems we all do it. But we like to think we are different from other animals. So are we? DECODING DESIRE unravels the mysteries of sex and desire and explores how sexual diversity and the experience of pleasure itself may be the key to species survival.

Traditionally, the common assumption has been that men are sexually dominant with strong desires, while females are more interested in security and monogamy. But is this really true? Scientists are increasingly looking at animals to reveal more about our own sexual behaviour. Decoding Desire features leading scientists who examine weird and wonderful mating behaviours - from preening peacocks to promiscuous primates - revealing research that shatters old assumptions and alters our views about human sexuality.

Are men sexually dominant? <br />Photo: Gabriel LevesqueAre men sexually dominant?
Photo: Gabriel Levesque

So who is in control of the mating game? Is it males or females who do the choosing and why do we, and other animals, choose one partner over another? Is it all about finding the right evolutionary cues – square jaws, the right hip to waist ratio and the flashiest plumage? Or is it possible that attraction is a response we learn? 

Whether exploring the brain chemistry of love and monogamy, the decreasing differences between men and women or the surprising truth behind what turns us on and why, Decoding Desire will challenge everything you thought you knew about sex and desire and leave you looking at men, and women, in a whole new way.

Decoding Desire is directed by Ryszard Hunka and produced by Erna Buffie for Merit Motion Pictures in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Credits (Click to expand)

Decoding Desire

written and directed by
Ryszard Hunka

produced by
Erna Buffie
Merit Jensen Carr

line producer / production manager
Sandra Moore

David McGunigal

Gabriel Levesque

original music
Shawn Pierce

graphics and animation
Christian Procter
Sean Procter

animation assistant
Francis Liwanag


assistant camera
Caley Gibson
Pascal Boisvert

Lorne Bailey

location sound
Russ Dyck

Bonnie Dickie
Kym Dopheide

visual research
Diedra Renee Bayne
David McGunigal
Amy Simoes
online editor
Jack Lauder

sound editor
Russ Dyck
John Schritt

re-recording engineer
Howard Rissin

assistant editor / conform editor
Diedra Renee Bayne


post production supervisor
Sandra Moore

post production coordinator
Diedra Renee Bayne

production assistant
Gordon Agar

Jennifer Jensen-Tracy
Christine Liber

special thanks
Susan Lee     Sara Dicker
Dr. Jonathan Balcombe    Carole Sutton
Derek Roff     Neil McArthur
Andrew Hollman    Samantha Grover
Charlie Peters     Kerri Wolosyzn
Matthew Young    Edwin Scholes

Hearst San Simeon State Park
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
State University of New York at Fredonia
Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University

Staff and students of the;
Centre Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Concordia
Sexuality and Gender Laboratory, (SageLab), Queens University
Zuk Lab, University of Minnesota – St. Paul Campus

additional footage courtesy of

The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Recordists Edwin Scholes and Timothy G. Laman
‘MORE THAN HONEY’ by Markus Imhoof /Films Boutique
Plankton Productions Ply Ltd. / Footage Search
Alejo Cerrato / Footage Search
Getty Images
Filip Wolak/National Geographic Creative
NHK  (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
One Planet
Prelinger Archives
Pronghorn Productions
Shutterstock, Inc.

‘FLIGHT TO MARS’ from The Wade Williams Collection licensed by Corinth Films, Inc.
Praying Mantis footage provided by Phil Hastings


produced with the participation of
Canadian Media Fund

produced with financial investment from
Manitoba Film and Music

shot in part on location in the Province of Manitoba, Canada

produced with the participation of the Government of Manitoba – Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit 
produced with the participation of
Earth Touch

produced in association with
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
(logo) 2014

senior producer
FM Morrison

executive producer
Sue Dando

Decoding Desire

executive producer
Merit Jensen Carr

© MMXIV – Subtle Cues Films Inc.

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online editing
Jessica Nardi

associate director
Renée Moreau

unit production manager
June Hall

senior manager
Documentary Unit
Wilma Alexander

senior producers
FM Morrison
Caroline Underwood

executive producer
Sue Dando

executive director
Documentary Programming
Mark Starowicz
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