Outside of dolphins, the occasional horny monkey, and us, Mother Nature's creations get their sex on because instinct tells them to. So you would think it's a simple matter of looking around until you find a mate (any will do) and then making the babies, right?
Yeah, no. Turns out animals resort to some mighty creative methods when getting their freak on. Methods that, in many cases, mimic our behavior to a T. No matter what kind of shit you've pulled in the name of gettin' it on, chances are something much lower on the food chain does the exact same thing. For instance ...
Homosexual behavior is nothing new in the animal world, and plenty of animals partake of it. But as far as we know, only two species will have a pair of females get it on so the males can watch and get aroused: us, and goats.
Appropriate, since "lesbian" and "goat" are two of porn's top five search terms.
Yes, male goats love to watch a female goat get it on with another female, even if her beard is manlier than his. In most cases, it can turn him on so much that he wants to jump in and mate for real -- that is, in fact, the point. Unless, of course, the females kick him out because they've grown to like each other too much.
Lesbian goat sex, however, is not so much a hobby as it is a last resort. Much like an open marriage where a second woman is brought in to spice up the bedroom, a female goat will hump another female only if the male shows no interest in mating otherwise. Then she'll approach another female, and after probably coyly talking about how she's totally never done this before, they start mounting each other. A male will come running soon after.
Instead of viewing that, look at some horny goat weed, which is approximately the same thing.
And that's when things start to get freaky: Goat sex involves a boatload of urolagnia, which is the fancy-schmancy term for getting turned on by pee. She will piss all over the place in the hopes that the male will stick his head under the hot yellow stream, open his mouth, and soak it all up like a kinky little sponge. At that point, it is on.
And no, it doesn't work the other way; if the female just wants to laze around and watch Baa or No Baa, the male goat won't fuck another male until she gets the point. Even if she requests it, he would probably just laugh and bleat about how he's totally not gay.
It's a common, albeit shallow practice of ours to hang around with people fatter, uglier, smellier, or greasier than us. Not because we're good people and want to be friends with everybody, but because we look like supermodels when standing next to that anthropomorphic garbage heap we call our buddy.
Well, it seems that shallowness is duplicated in, of all places, the guppy world. Like many animals, female guppies are drawn to the brightest-colored males when searching for mates. It's simple evolution, really: The prettiest and flashiest are almost always deemed the strongest and most fertile, so they get all the sweet sweet loving. Meanwhile, the drab and dull are left to sit at home and gawk at porn, their ass-ugly genes successfully prevented from spreading like the virus they are.
Per Harald Olsen/Wikimedia
"Whatcha doin' tonight?"
But scientists noted that the duller-looking guppies were getting laid almost as often as their gorgeous peers. Were the females that desperate and simply settling for the first fish that didn't make them vomit up their algae? Did the males have that great a personality? Were their daddies rich?
Nope, it turns out they found a group of males who were even more dull, and started hanging around them. They looked like brightly colored studs in comparison, and the ladies suddenly came a-runnin'. So if you thought you were clever shit for conveniently arranging a "guy's night out" with some toothless hobo who hadn't showered in six months, just know a bunch of fish had the same idea, thousands of years before you were ever regretfully conceived.
Although you could both compensate for your dullness just by wiggling your magnificent tail.
The fact that guppies do this is actually doubly interesting, since it shows a sense of self-awareness that most of God's creatures simply don't have. An ugly guppy actually knows he's ugly, drawing that conclusion based on how little tail he gets compared to the other guys. Once this revelation of hideousness sets in, he sets out to find dudes that are even bigger dog-faced losers than he and wins over the ladies that way. So if you ever come across a dull, almost transparent guppy or two, salute them for their continued efforts in fucking natural selection up the ass.
Sure, animals are animals -- there are lots of species where the male kills the shit out of the female (or vice versa) in the process of mating. But when we say that Tasmanian devils are into 50 Shades of Grey-style BDSM, we're telling you they do the kind of rough painful play humans do. It's controlled, it's initiated by the victim, and if it isn't rough enough, they don't get off.
But when they do get off, they whirl around like a tornado.
The female won't even consider a mate unless he proves his physical worth to her. But instead of going out and hunting or fighting other males, this involves beating the actual shit out of her -- biting, scratching, punching, kicking, throwing her against the wall -- the more violent he gets, the more she's turned on. If he fails to whale on her to her satisfaction, she'll turn the tables and beat the living piss out of him, before leaving to find a real man that can adequately pound her face into dust.
Their actual sex is almost as violent as the foreplay, lasting over an hour at a time, involving lots of biting and scratching, and repeating itself over and over again for two days. And, as is befitting a species that actively tries to murder one another as an aphrodisiac, there's no cuddling afterward; the exhausted male quickly falls asleep in front of his newfound baby mama.
Kathy Atkinson/OSF/National Geographic
As with humans, the most innocent-looking animals are secretly the kinkiest.
And then comes the cheatin'. Tasmanian she-devils want to ensure that they mate with the best possible male; therefore, she will typically go back to the store right after bringing home a whole bunch of groceries. While the male is snoozing, she will escape and repeat the fight-then-fuck process with other male devils. She will do this again and again until she's satisfied, or until she ends up on whatever the Tasmanian devil version of Jerry Springer is.
She-devils can carry up to four pups at a time, and (in a slight departure from how humans do things) each one can come from a completely different father. Their family reunions must be the most awkward things on the planet.
Of all the things that make us human, the ability to choose our partner because we actually like them sets us far apart from other animals, who largely choose mates simply because they're nearby and no competition is around to break their spine if they get too close. We can date somebody for as long as we like and either kick them to the curb if it doesn't work out or take the relationship to the next level if it does. We can even get engaged and then hover in that stage for years.
Well, so do albatrosses, so don't feel too special. And compared to some of us, who decide that one or two dates is enough before the boning commences, these birds are fucking picky. It's a good thing albatrosses are some of the longest-lived birds on record, because their courtship can take an eternity. The reason is that each albatross has a series of basic movements programmed into its head, and if it and a potential mate can put these moves together, then they're meant for each other, and the time for hot egg-making action commences.
But it's not just a simple jump here or beak wave there. The average albatross lambada often takes hours to complete and can involve intricate sequences of bowing and bobbing, beak circling, bill clacking, Saturday Night Fever-style sky pointing, and dozens of other complex moves. A dating couple can take forever practicing their dance moves, up to two years in some cases. It's a wonder any eggs get fertilized at all, honestly.
Each pair's particular dance is unique to them, and if one of them messes up too often, the deal is off. If they can get it right, however, then it becomes a sort of "language" that only the pair can understand.
Kind of like those creepy twins from high school.
If everything get synchronized just right, then comes marriage, then comes one measly stinking egg in a baby carriage. Seriously, that's the payoff, as that's all the female can manage per year. And unless you're one of those circus stories that took fertility drugs so you could have 10 kids at once, this slow-poke breeding is shockingly human.
You know what else is shockingly human? The fact that post-marriage, the couple ceases to give a shit. Oh, they'll stay together for the kids, but they will rarely, if ever, dance again. They've already proven themselves as solid mates, so there's really no need to impress anyone anymore. There's some preening here and there, but otherwise it's the bird equivalent of a man growing a beer gut and watching SportsCenter all day while his woman watches soaps in the other room while still wearing her curlers and bathrobe.
Animal sex, by and large, is not meant to feel good; it's simply meant to pass on genes in a more or less convenient way. Obviously, we don't feel that way, but surprisingly, neither do daddy longlegs, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Looking Creepy as Fuck but Actually Being Totally Harmless. And perhaps even more surprisingly, they're not shy about telling their partner what they like and what they don't.
For example, many like being called "Big Daddy," purely for identification purposes.
A female longlegs is capable of carrying sperm from many different males at the same time. However, she can only choose one to make babies from. So, in what would be an amazing season of The Bachelorette if it weren't a bunch of spiders fucking, the female chooses whose sperm gets the go-ahead based on who pleasures her the most.
To pull this off, the male sticks his pedipalps inside of her and starts squeezing out sperm. A pedipalp, by the way, is an extra leg with a dick at the end hanging out near the spider's mouth. Hey, we didn't invent spiders, so please direct all your questions to evolution. The female responds by stroking her own, presumably dickless, pedipalp against her fangs, making a sound like squeaking leather.
Squeaking leather, conveniently, gets him hot.
The squeak isn't just the sound of palp against flesh; it's designed to help the male adjust his squeezes to her liking. In short, she's directing him. If he squeezes just right and changes things up enough to keep her satisfied, then his seed will slip all the way in, and hundreds and hundreds of little tiny spider offspring shall be sired.
If he's too rough or slow, though, then she'll squeak insistently until he softens up a tad and gets his rhythm right. If he doesn't listen, the female will reject his sperm and send him on his way. And if this happens, he'd better hope she doesn't squawk about it to her single girlfriends.
Ron Chapple studios/Photos.com
No one likes a cheater. If you're caught fooling around behind your lover's back, expect to be ostracized by their friends at best, and get the absolute snot beaten out of you at worst. Our success rate with fidelity may be spotty, but we still bristle when somebody breaks whatever vows and promises they made to another. And it turns out we're not alone in that regard; black vultures abhor cheating, too, and will go to incredible (and incredibly violent) lengths to ensure that philanderers receive their just due.
Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Philanderers lose all rights to use "black vulture" as their comic book villain or band name.
Yes, ugly, disgusting vultures actually mate for life, a practice that at least 50 percent of us sincerely believe in. But plenty of species do that, so what makes the vulture so special? Well, they take their monogamy extremely seriously. When Mom or Dad takes part in some good ol'-fashioned home wrecking and the other vultures find out, the entire group delivers an intense ass-whooping on the philanderer. And vulture beatings are no joke under normal circumstances, like fighting over roadkill. When getting violent ensures that players stop playing, you can be sure the beatings are extra vicious.
Why do they do this? Well, raising a black vulture chick requires both parents to actively participate, and not just because it's really hard for one parent to properly bestow the wisdom behind flying around in a circle and waiting for dinner to die. A vulture egg must be sat on by both parents, alternating every 24 hours. In addition, both parents share feeding responsibilities for the first year, making single parenting all but impossible in Vultureland. So cheaters aren't just being dicks, they're actively putting children's lives in grave danger. And as we well know, if there's one thing a vulture values, it's life.
When he's not revealing the secrets of animal sex, Mr. Yee reveals the secrets of the universe in his daily fortune cookie. He also sells T-shirts that you want to buy. E. Reid Ross is a columnist at Man Cave Daily and defiles comics with a few friends over at RealToyGun.com.
Related Reading: Sex in the animal kingdom isn't always this familiar. Take the female sand beetle. She can't have sex without destroying her genitals. It gets worse: giraffes are all about giving each other golden showers. If that's quite enough sleaze for you for one day, why not wind down and read about how some spiders give each other back-rubs.