The 7 Worst Sex Lives in the Animal Kingdom
Human beings are kind of lucky in the sense that both genders generally find sex fairly pleasurable. We imagine society would be quite radically different if, say, males thought sex was something to be avoided at all costs.
Yet for many (or even most) species, that is the reality they live with every day. For one gender, sex is the only reason they're alive; for the other, it's a terrifying, painful nightmare. For instance ...
Rhesus Macaque Males Get Attacked Right as They're Climaxing
For most animals that reproduce sexually, the fun comes with a price. If you're a guy, every so often other guys are going to try to kill you so they can have sex with your girlfriend. It's nothing personal, you're just an obstacle to their mission of spreading their genes around. For communal animals like monkeys, if you're going steady with a lady, you'd best watch your back.
"Guess where this banana goes."
But the rhesus macaque takes male rivalry to incredibly dickish new levels. Imagine, if you will, that you're a dominant male macaque and you've just won a fight over the affections of a lady monkey. You take your well-earned reward right there in front of everyone, but just as you reach your climax and throw up your o-face, suddenly you have some shrieking monkey asshole all over you, clawing at your eyes and biting your neck.
That's right, these monkeys have learned that the best time to attack a strong opponent is when he's at his most vulnerable: right at the point of orgasm.
The rhesus macaque's o-face is one of constant vigilance.
And this isn't just some hilarious coincidence some scientists saw once -- over half of all macaque sexual encounters end this way. Every time they start to get really into it, they know in the back of their monkey minds that they're putting a "beat the crap out of me" sign on their backs.
How do the sexing males keep falling for this? Apparently, the macaques have also mastered the art of bullshitting. According to researchers, a rival will sneak up to the coupling pair and "feign indifference by digging casually in the sand or pretending to collect handfuls of pebbles" until the moment is right.
"Mind if I stand suspiciously near your genitals and just, y'know, chill?"
And it's not always just one attacker -- up to nine monkeys have been known to join the surprise attack, leading to the world's most severe case of monkey blue balls.
Hey, speaking of which ...
The Short-Beaked Echidna's Balls Swell Up to 500 Percent While Waiting for Sex
Lots of men suffer anxiety about the power of their equipment. Not so for the short-beaked echidna, which packs a four-headed superpenis. When it engages in sweet echidna loving, only two heads work at any one time while the other two rest, meaning it doesn't need to worry about the 20 or so minutes of downtime that plagues human men.
"Another couple of dicks would come in real handy just now."
Unfortunately, the echidna has a different problem. Short-beaked echidnas are basically solitary animals, and the only time they gather is mating season, from the end of June through the beginning of September. To get ready for this, their testes start swelling with seminal fluid. The bad news is that the testes aren't external, but they stay inside the body. And when we say they swell up, we mean really swell -- to at least 200 percent of their normal size, to be exact.
"Oh, oh God, I can't feel my feet. I can't feel my feet!"
What's more, the ladies they're looking to impress are incredibly picky. So picky, in fact, that they will only have sex with one guy, one time, during the entire mating season. So the male has to follow her around, along with several other guys, while they try to fight their way to the front of the line of suitors.
They have to do all this while dealing with their gigantically, painfully swollen balls, knowing that if they don't get their chance, it will be 10 months before they get to try again.
"Large bundles" of echidna sperm. Their whole mating cycle must be like the first two hours after a trip to P.F. Chang's.
Red Velvet Mites Jerk Off Alone, Then Leave
When the time comes for the male red velvet mite to settle down and raise a family, it has an incredibly romantic method of attracting a mate. First, it seeks out the perfect love nest, just an out of the way little vacation spot with lots of leaves and branches and other stuff that lady mites love.
Then, it hoses the entire place down with its semen. It just comes everywhere. Did we say romantic? Really it's more like a college dorm room.
You do not want to hold a black light up to this image.
Next, it's time to find a girl. Luckily, the mite has already demonstrated its skills in creating a gloopy, dripping modern art masterpiece. Ladies love an artist, so the mite leaves a trail of roses to what researchers like to refer to as a "love garden." Well, not really roses, but more like silk out of its butt.
Once the right sexy mite female has been found, the male says, "Alright, enjoy yourself! Bye!" and just goes ahead and leaves. No really, he's had his fun. When a female mite follows the trail, "sex" involves her sitting in the goopy, spermy mess he left behind and getting inseminated. Happy honeymoon!
"No no, it's fine, go ahead and start without me!"
It's kind of like if our love ritual involved the guy masturbating onto the bed and then heading off to the bar while his wife rolled around in it for a while.
Still, it could be worse ...
Seed Beetles Get Their Lady Parts Destroyed During Sex
Imagine that you are a female bean weevil, also known as a seed beetle. You're really going to regret this in a minute, but bear with us. Picture yourself cruising down Seed Beetle Lane, where all of the studliest dudes hang out. After a particularly enticing courtship from one of the males, you take him back to your beetle bed inside of your bean house.
"Come on in, Big Boy."
With the candles lit and some Marvin Gaye on the stereo, things start to heat up in Bean Manor. You start to disrobe, and then he whips it out and JESUS CHRIST!
Look at it! Loooooook at it!!!
That is, as science puts it, the "nightmarish penis" of the male seed beetle. It's a godawful doom-rod covered in sharp spikes and spines. This medieval torture device is about to go places you really don't want it to go.
You may be thinking that it probably isn't as bad as it looks, and maybe this is just what turns seed beetles on. But rest assured, it is every bit as bad as it looks. Female seed beetles sustain "heavy injuries" during sex, and all of their reproductive organs get severely damaged. They have even been known to die from it.
This poor young hatchling will soon learn the meaning of female suffrage.
Scientists believe that the male has evolved his murder-dick expressly for that reason. To injure you. Because if females can never mate again, then only his offspring get to live on to commit unholy atrocities via their own death wangs.
Histiostoma Murchiei Males Only Live Long Enough for Quick Incest
If any of you men feel as though you're constantly treated as mere sex objects for hordes of sexy, superficial women, then spare a thought for Histiostoma murchiei, a tiny parasitic mite, the males of which exist just long enough to be exploited for their man seed.
Initially, the female mite will lay an egg that hatches into a male, ready to go forth and live a long and fruitful dude life. Except that never happens, because as soon as he tumbles out of the egg, his mother grabs him and starts using him as a sex slave. His mother.
And as Oedipus Rex can tell you, that ain't no good.
What the male doesn't know is that she only created him for the express purpose of reimpregnating herself so she can give birth to her "real" children -- 500 baby daughters.
To make matters worse, before he gets to meet his 500 children/sisters, he dies, having used up his brand new life energy in a burst of incest before he knew what was happening. The 500 female babies, on the other hand, go on to lead completely full and long lives in which they eventually bang their own infant sons.
"It's a living. Well ... actually, no. I suppose it isn't."
But at least they get a merciful end, unlike this next one ...
Green Spoon Worm Males Spend Life as Imprisoned Parasite Slaves
When a green spoon worm is born, it doesn't have any gender. It just floats around in the ocean, showing no preference to either fire trucks or Bratz dolls. Its gender will be determined by what happens in its first three weeks of life, and it probably hopes to be female. Otherwise, it's going to spend the rest of its life vomiting sperm onto its wife's ovaries, begging to be allowed to die.
There's a Courtney Love joke in all of this, but we're just not sure where.
What happens is the larvae that make it safely to the ocean floor without incident grow up to be females about eight to 15 centimeters long. The larvae that instead get attached to one of the adult females becomes a male.
This male worm is only 1 or 2 millimeters long, and it is immediately inhaled by the female. But it doesn't die. No, nature is not that kind. Instead, it lives the rest of its life trapped inside the female's ovary, in a chamber called the androecium, which literally means "the small man room."
This image was taken by undercover aid workers, who left in disgust.
Once there, it has no purpose but to continually spew sperm onto her eggs to inseminate them. Obviously it can't eat, because its mouth is busy 24 hours a day, so it has to absorb its nutrients from the female while she belittles him for being a parasite.
The Redback Spider Gets Eaten While He's Boning
Nobody expects spiders to have great bedroom manners. But the redback spider, a species of black widow native to Australia (where else?), is the only species where the male will deliberately offer himself as food to the female.
Being a dude spider is already kind of a rough deal, since male spiders tend to be much smaller than their female counterparts, and spider females have a notoriously difficult time distinguishing between their partners and their dinner. If you can imagine trying to have sex with an angry grizzly bear, that's what male spiders have to deal with every time they get laid.
"SWF: Likes it rough."
The actual act of sex between spiders is a little more complicated than our "roll on, gyrate, roll off" version. Male spiders have to wrangle females like rodeo cowboys long enough to insert their pedipalps into two slots in the female's abdomen. This process takes some time, and when your mate is 10 times bigger than you and actively trying to murder you through the entire act, it's in your benefit to have some kind of distraction.
"I forgot the safe word! WHAT IS THE SAFE WORD?!"
The redback spider alone is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for poontang. He just goes right ahead and impales himself on her ravenous fangs, keeping her busy for just long enough, hopefully, to complete the deed before he dies in screaming agony. You may be thinking this is all pretty counterintuitive for reproduction's sake, but most female spiders have the ability to store sperm without it going bad, so they only have to mate once to keep making babies for the rest of their lives. It's like they have their own private IVF clinic, but with more murder.
For more horror from the animal kingdom, check out 6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think. Or learn about The 6 Biggest Badasses Who Lived As The Opposite Sex.