I don't know what I am, darling. I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic. And the others give me either stiff neck or lockjaw.

TALLULAH BANKHEAD (1902-68)

Mating

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Motionless Sex


Gold Swift Moths are eaten by bats, whose echolocation can detect even the slightest movement – so they have to remain completely motionless during sex in order to avoid being eaten.

They still have an impressively elaborate mating process. Courtship begins when the male perches on top of a plant and dangles his bright yellow ‘scent brush’. This emits pheromones that smell strongly of pineapple and attract the female.

Then, unlike most animals, Gold Swift Moths choose from a range of sexual positions. They can do it face to face or back to front (with the male facing away from the female, so the female is the ‘big spoon’), or the male hangs upside down, attached to the female by his abdomen. No matter what, the moths stay in that position all night.

Gold Swift Moths never forget their first time. They repeatedly return to the place where they lost their virginity, and we don’t know why. It may be that they think that if sexual success happened there once, it’ll happen again. 

Noisy Sex


The Meagre Fish is the opposite of the Gold Swift Moth. It draws attention to itself during sex by being extremely loud. It is so loud that it gives away its location to fishermen, which makes it easier to catch.

In 2013 New Forest District Council received 30 complaints because people were being kept awake at night by mating Meagre Fish. They emit a loud, low hum, which convinced some residents they were suffering from tinnitus or ‘going mad’.

RITA RUDNER

Men reach their sexual peak at eighteen. Women reach theirs at thirty-five. Do you get the feeling that God is playing a practical joke?


JOHN MASTERS (1914-83)

A kilt is an unrivalled garment for fornication and diarrhoea.

Sex with Inanimate Objects


The idea of people being sexually attracted to mannequins or statues (also known as agalmatophilia - ‘love of an image’) comes up repeatedly in ancient literature.

Pliny claimed that Praxiteles’ naked statue of Aphrodite of Cnidus – the first naked female statue in Greek history - had a permanent stain on her leg from where a sailor got carried away. It was, quite literally, a seaman stain.

Athenaeus tells of a man named Cleisophus who tried to make love to a statue in the temple of Samos. When he found the marble uncomfortably cold, he changed his mind, laid out a piece of meat on the floor and made love to that instead. This would make him a carnophile according to Google and a kreaphile according to your classical elves who dislike mixing Latin and Greek roots. 

Attraction to mannequins or statues made its first appearance in medical literature in 1877, with the case of a gardener who fell in love with a statue of Venus de Milo. Agalmatophilia was recognised as an illness up until the mid 20th century, at which point it was dropped from most medical dictionaries ‘when no actual cases presented themselves'. It’s thought that the introduction of inflatable dolls may have supplanted mannequins.

Sex for Money


Researchers at Yale taught capuchin monkeys that, in exchange for a certain number of silver tokens, they could 'buy' a certain number of grapes or jelly cubes. Once they grasped this concept, they also grasped that they could use their new currency to pay for prostitutes: one monkey completely unexpectedly gave up his token to a female monkey in exchange for sex. Post-copulation, the female immediately traded the token for a grape. This outcome elicited a rather prudish response from the researchers: unspecified ‘measures were taken to prevent this sort of behavior occurring again’.

In a separate piece of research from 2005, it was shown that macaques pay to look at porn – but only classy porn. They forfeited their usual reward of a glass of cherry juice for pictures of the faces and bottoms of high-ranking females but had to be bribed with an even larger glass of juice before they’d pay any attention to low-ranking females.

Genophobia is a pathological fear of sex.

'Honeymoon rhinitis' is a genetic condition where people are attacked by uncontrollable sneezing during sex.

While mating, male camels constantly dribble & stare into the distance. After, they may fall onto their sides & lie motionless for a few minutes.

Nursery web spiders who bring an edible gift wrapped in silk for the female get to mate for 10 times longer than those that don’t.

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MARCUS AURELIUS (121-180 AD)

The sexual embrace can only be compared with music and with prayer.
 

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Monogamous Vultures


According to one estimate, only 10% of the animals that 'mate for life' are sexually faithful. Infidelity often produces a broader spread of genes and so healthier offspring – but living with a partner helps rearing offspring too, hence the compromise. Animals that are genuinely monogamous include:


Black vultures, which hang around in close familial units. Genetic tests found no infidelity, which scientists think might be due to ‘the prohibition of copulation in the presence of relatives.


The flatworm Diplozoon paradoxum. When a male meets a female they fuse together to form a single organism and so are forced to remain faithful until death.


Wedding Shrimps (Spongicolidae), which live in pairs inside a sponge made of glassy fibres called a Venus Flower Basket, which can only fit two adult shrimps. Their offspring squeeze through holes to escape but the adults remain trapped inside until they die.


Male voles have sex almost exclusively with the vole they lose their virginity to. Scientists found that when tempted by attractive virgin female voles, only 10% of committed voles took the opportunity. 

Monogamous birds 


While 90% of bird species retain the same mate for at least one breeding season, the vast majority are still cheating on the side.

There is a big difference between social monogamy – who you're sharing your nest with – and sexual monogamy. Sexual monogamy is very rare, even if animals live together rearing young.

Infidelity is rife among black swans, inspite of their monogamous reputation – one in six cygnets is the product of ‘extra-pair copulations’. Scientists worked this out by fitting tiny tracking devices on swans' tail feathers to see where they went.


One experiment paired up female blackbirds with male blackbirds that had been sterilized. The females still laid eggs that hatched, proving they'd been off with other males.


Just 25% of superb fairywren chicks are the offspring of their supposed father.


Penguins are serial monogamists – Emperor penguins generally acquire a new partner every breeding season. Some female penguins cheat on their partners with other males and then steal stones from them with which to build their nests.


 

Male peacocks make fake sex sounds to trick females into thinking that they are more sexually active than they really are.

In a survey conducted by Middlesex University 17% of Britons said they would be prepared to have sex with an android.

In the 17th century to play ‘rumpscuttle and clapperdepouch’ meant to have sexual intercourse.

After the female Ulidiid fly mates, she expels some or all of the male's sperm and eats it.

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In order to try and avoid being eaten by its mate, the male orb-web spider has detachable genitals that keep pumping after it’s run away.

The Japanese quail whips up his sperm into a meringue-like foam before mating.