Much More Than You Wanted To Know About Sex
The next time someone stigmatizes a transgendered person, or someone whose sexual orientation is different than theirs, tell them to take a moment to consider the incredible sexual diversity of life on Earth.
While nature is casually coughing up rebuttals to the myth that homosexuality is not kosher in the animal kingdom—of which we hold a privileged, if unelected, seat in Parliament—it’s also challenging every fucking thing we ever thought about fucking.
It would take a decade-long gender theory course to piece together the complicated and sometimes nauseating story that is sexual reproduction, but I’ll take a crack at it.
I’ve made an important discovery: it’s really, really weird.
Put aside the sadomasochism of preying mantis relationships, or the gender-bending parenting of seahorse societies—nature is endlessly creative in ways our pornographers can’t even fathom.
Cockroaches, perhaps to further expand the list of reasons why they are our superiors in every way—there’s gotta be a reason beyond indestructibility that explains why they’ll outlive us in a nuclear apocalypse—have their own internal sperm banks. So if Mrs. Cockroach wakes up after a night of binge-drinking the fermented spoils behind an all-night diner to find herself in bed with Mr. Cockroach—and she wasn’t wearing any protection!—she can store that sperm until she’s ready to start a family. Like, when she finds a nice niche in your wall cavity.
In what might give penal inadequacy a whole new dimension of crazy, some spiders have adapted their penises to break off and clog their lover’s orifices to keep them from seeing other mates. If that sounds reprehensible, it’s no different than some forms of female circumcision still in practice today. Who’s the real insect, eh?
Anyone who’s been horrified by the prospect of bed bugs, might be terrified to know that they don’t even have need for a vaginal orifice in order to have intercourse; the male’s penis, razor-sharp, finds whatever means it can to get its sperm inside a female.
With the advent of cloning, and other developments in reproductive medicine that will make it possible one day for two people of the same sex to produce a child that is equally parts mommy and other mommy—or daddy and daddy—sexual reproduction may be coming full circle. Before the evolution of sexual reproduction, childbirth existed without any need for fornication—kind of like getting the calories from ice cream without the fun of licking it off your lover’s navel.
It’s called “parthenogenesis,” and it’s what allows many species, including Komodo dragons, to be both mom and dad to their young. Unfortunately, the children of an immaculate Komodo conception will never know what it’s like to be single parents—in the truest sense of the word—as the number of chromosome pairs from a single gender can only produce viable eggs when the child is male.
When and if you ever have to explain the birds and the bees to your kids, do them a favour and talk to them about the Ron Jeremys and the Jenna Jamesons instead. Don’t make them feel unwelcome at home if they find very ordinary pleasure in the form of someone of their own gender. That’s a uniquely human sexual taboo.