Cocks (almost) don't have a penis, a trait common to 97% of bird species, but they can grow one when the expression of the Bmp4 gene is prevented. The expression of this gene causes the percursor of the phallus in the chick embryo to undergo apoptosis (cell death) and Bmp genes are also involved in 3 other bird traits: feather development, toothlessness and beak shape. In penis-less bird species, copulation requires a sex maneuver nicknamed the cloacal kiss (in French) which requires a full cooperation of the female (3 min of tender parrot sex). In species where males have a penis, like ducks, females are less lucky: the coevolution of the rather convoluted morphology of male and female genitalia has been hypothezised to occur through sexual conflict [many previouslies]. The evolutionary mechanisms that drove phallus reduction in most birds species are still unknown.
Nicolas Guéguen is a researcher in human behaviour who runs curious and somehow whimsical experiments. With the help of a small army of "confederates", he studies the effects of various stimuli, including dogs, smiles, fireman uniforms, bust size (inflatable), hair color, music, flowers, figurines, touching, mirrors, names etc. on the courtship, sexual, helping, chivalrous, tipping, buying, hiring, compliance or eating behaviour of unsuspecting victims. Because not all experiments are successful, he has also published one failure in the Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis. Selected papers are listed below the fold. [more inside]
Bats eavesdrop on the sound of copulating flies (includes grainy sextape). Another summary with additional comments.
Sex: wot's the big deal is a sex exhibition for kids currently taking place at the Cité des Sciences in Paris. Pre-teens can learn about love, puberty, making love and making babies, and they can also experiment a little bit. The show is based on Willies: a user's guide (in French: Le zizi sexuel) by Swiss comics creator Zep, and features the rising star of French playgrounds, Titeuf (NSFW unless you're a French preteen)
EU Tube: sharing the sigh(t)s and
soundsmoans of Europe. Human rights around the world? 700 views. A smoke-free Europe? 2300 views. 44 seconds of sex scenes from award-winning, popular European movies? 1,900,000 views. The European Commission just launched its own YouTube channel, using the oldest marketing trick ever, all for 350 Euros per clip (link includes the list of films), even though the usual suspects aren't happy.