The twisted world of sexual organs
September 18, 2014 9:56 AM   Subscribe

"...it’s a world so full of carnal conflicts of interest and deception that only now are biologists getting to grips with all of its ins and outs, including an understanding of why human sex may be about pleasure rather than pain."[via BBC]

Article contains link to this interesting article (only the abstract is available but it will do): Human sperm competition: ejaculate manipulation by females and a function for the female orgasm
posted by marienbad (37 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite


 
I can't wait for this particular web design trend to die a fiery death.

Cool article though!
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:00 AM on September 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


only now are biologists getting to grips with all of its ins and outs


ಠ~ಠ
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:08 AM on September 18, 2014 [10 favorites]


Squid don’t as a rule attempt to inseminate humans ...

I wasn't worried about this until now.
posted by Kabanos at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2014 [28 favorites]


Biologists are better at painting a nightmare scenario than security analysts. Warfare and cyber-espionage? That's nothing compared to the horrors of what the natural world could do to us, if it really got creative.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:35 AM on September 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Where are people eating squid dicks for dinner? I want to avoid these restaurants.
posted by orme at 10:44 AM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


I didn't get up this morning expecting to round out my workday with images of a bedbug penis but, y'know... Metafilter.
posted by _Mona_ at 10:49 AM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Needs more Ze Frank.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:53 AM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: so full of carnal conflicts of interest.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:06 AM on September 18, 2014


It is argued that orgasms generate a blow-suck mechanism that takes the contents of the upper vagina into the cervix. These contents include sperm and seminal fluid if present; acidic vaginal fluids if not. Inter-copulatory orgasms will therefore lower the pH of the cervical mucus and either kill or reduce the mobility of any sperm that attempt to penetrate from reservoirs in the cervical crypts.

In other words, if your partner is helping you reach orgasm you're more likely to be impregnated by him, much more likely than if most of your orgasms are "inter-copulatory" (masturbatory).

Copulatory and inter-copulatory orgasms endow females with considerable flexibility in their manipulation of inseminates.

This is a fascinating result, particularly for feminists. Why wasn't this studied earlier? (he asks, rhetorically)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:26 AM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


All of this variety could be no accident, claimed Dufour, and in 1844 he came up with a theory to explain what was going on. The male of each species had developed its own, uniquely complicated sexual organ to match the equally intricate sexual organ of the female.
That's a decade and a half before Darwin and Wallace published their work on natural selection. I wonder what theory Dufour used to explain the development of the complicated variation.
posted by clawsoon at 11:38 AM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


in the cervical crypts.

In the what? This sounds really creepy. I'm not sure I want crypts in my cervix.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:54 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of my favourite offbeat quotable quotes from David Attenborough:
A slit has opened in the male's underside, and a penis protrudes - twelve feet long, and highly mobile.
It's about the right whale. I believe he also said something about one-ton testes and gallons of sperm.

Ah, yes... here it is.
posted by clawsoon at 12:12 PM on September 18, 2014


I believe he also said something about one-ton testes and gallons of sperm.

My brain has siezed upon this phrase and is now trying to work out some very obscene lyrics to the song Sixteen Tons. Thanks SO much.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:16 PM on September 18, 2014 [10 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, if you don't post the end result it'll be a crime.
posted by clawsoon at 12:18 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: Needs more Ze Frank.
Everything does.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:19 PM on September 18, 2014


EmpressCallipygos, if you don't post the end result it'll be a crime.

Okay, this is the best I could do while at work -
Lawrence said the seas have the hottest blood,
Even though the waves are a chilly flood -
He had whales in mind, but there ain’t no doubt –
Blood’s not what he should have talked about!

They got one-ton testes and gallons of sperm,
That’s the freakiest thing about whales I’ve learned
Makes sense when you think of the size of their young -
But oh my Lord, them whales are hung!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:30 PM on September 18, 2014 [28 favorites]


It [the human penis] is freakishly large compared to the penises of most of our closest animal relations - the chimps, gorillas and orang-utans.
I could swear that I've seen multiple references (definitely including Sarah Blaffer Hrdy) saying that human penises are of average size (compared to body size) among primates. The theory is that it's related to promiscuity; gorilla males, who tightly control the mating of females in their group, have small penises, while promiscuous bonobos have large penises. Humans are somewhere in the middle, suggesting that our mating habits are somewhere in the middle.
posted by clawsoon at 12:36 PM on September 18, 2014


You've nailed the chorus. Add some more verses and you'll be the toast of cetology.
posted by clawsoon at 12:39 PM on September 18, 2014


I didn't notice that the Attenborough video was embedded in the article... oops!
posted by clawsoon at 12:43 PM on September 18, 2014


in the cervical crypts.

In the what? This sounds really creepy. I'm not sure I want crypts in my cervix.


They battle with the cervical bloods.

sorry.
posted by Kabanos at 12:49 PM on September 18, 2014 [12 favorites]


Brings a whole new meaning to the name Crypt Keeper!
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 1:01 PM on September 18, 2014


Yeah, there is a general relationship between competition and testes size among the make primates. This is cool for a number of reasons, but one of the things I do in my anthro course is take students to the zoo and predict the mating structure based on testicle size. Bonobos are amazingly be-testicled; I have yet to see Gibbon scrota.

This is part of why I got my favorite class evaluation comment: "I really enjoyed Churachura's class, except for the fact that she is obsessed with monkey genitals." But really! Have you ever seen a proboscis monkey's penis, or the indigo scrotum of a vervet monkey in his prime, or the iridescent butt of a mandrill or other primate that hangs out in the shadowy understory, but still wants to draw the attention of females to his exceptional virility? Or the crazy vaginal shapes and corresponding peni of the galagos and lorises? This stuff is So Cool, everyone should be obsessed, especially the 18-year olds taking my class and looking embarrassed when I talk about sexual strategies.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:22 PM on September 18, 2014 [15 favorites]


Protip: when ChuraChura invites you over to their home and wants to put on a slideshow, say no.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:41 PM on September 18, 2014


Say no? Say yes, I think you mean.
posted by marienbad at 3:56 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


In the what? This sounds really creepy. I'm not sure I want crypts in my cervix.

You have to get out of here! Your vagina is haunted!
posted by zombieflanders at 3:56 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


From the article: Leigh Simmons at the University of Western Australia in Crawley points out that female genitals are generally not as well studied as male genitals

The UWA library obviously subscribes to the wrong journals.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:26 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


Squid don’t as a rule attempt to inseminate humans ...

God schmod I want my squidboy.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:41 PM on September 18, 2014


Protip: when ChuraChura invites you over to their home and wants to put you in a slideshow, say no.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:30 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Orgasms that climaxed at any time between 1 min before the male ejaculated up to 45 min after led to a high level of sperm retention. Lack of climax or a climax more than 1 min before the male ejaculated led to a low level of sperm retention.

So an initial round of intercourse that results in male but not female orgasm, followed by female orgasm 10-20 minutes later brought about manually or via a toy (let's say), immediately followed by another round of intercourse that results in near-simultaneous male and female orgasms, turns out to be a good strategy for attaining high levels of sperm retention.

Huh. How about that.
posted by kadonoishi at 7:42 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


The frame - me, in bed with my laptop open. My wife, reading in bed beside me, looks over at the open screen. Adjusting her glasses and leaning towards me, "Uhmm, what is that?"

Me: "Uh, it's an inflated leaf beetle penis, photographed as a light micrograph. Why?"

Wife: "So, how does one end up looking at insect dicks?"

Me: "Well, there's this site I really like to go to, Metafilter."

Wife: "Hmmm. I bet that's why you always get stopped by the TSA."
posted by skepticbill at 7:44 PM on September 18, 2014 [10 favorites]




notclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclickingnotclicking
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:18 PM on September 18, 2014


Oh, come on! I just ruined my google image search forever, just so you could know exactly how odd, spiny, and adorable a galago penis is!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:20 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


probscis monkey penis

False advertising, not nose-like at all.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:27 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Have you ever seen a proboscis monkey's penis

The thing about proboscis monkeys is, they've already got a penis on their face. And they always look appropriately ashamed of that fact.
posted by Jpfed at 10:41 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on! I just ruined my google image search forever, just so you could know exactly how odd, spiny, and adorable a galago penis is!

And for that I thank you. Now I just need to figure out a good segue to work that into conversations.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:40 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


showbiz_liz: "I can't wait for this particular web design trend to die a fiery death."

Ok. I'll bite. Are you referring to the rather jarring image-swap where the background image is replaced without transition? Because that is annoying. Although the small inset photos on white background don't bother me as much.

Or, you don't you like the scrolling vertical transition over large photo web design? Which I rather like. I don't have an iPad, but I imagine this looks good there too.
posted by xtian at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2014


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