Recently, newsfuck made a similar mistake, noting in a comment on this journal that "I do not want to know how unlikely it is for tentacles, whether flesh or flora, to do what needs to be done. In fact the pseudo-science that ardent tentacle-sex authors pepper their prose with make the end result all the more delightful."
Now, until I saw her comment, it had never really occurred to me to muse on the botany or zoölogy of tentacle porn, but once the question's probing tendrils had deposited their larvae in my mind, they refused to lie (or perhaps 'lay') still. So, I scanned my rolodex for intersections of the sets marine biologist and pervert and fired off a couple e-mails.
Today I received this from an old university chum*:
Your question has caused me some degree of reflection. As such, I penned this brief missive whilst the oil in my automobile was being changed last week. As you might guess, it took some great time for said oil to be changed, hence the length and scientific detail. I would ask that you kindly post this for the reference and wellbeing of your readership. I highly encourage them to all pick up a copy of Dr. Tatiana's wonderful guide, as well as a copy of Brusca and Brusca, or perhaps Rupert and Barnes. Perhaps it might also be of interest to declare a contest for the most accurate, strange, and wondrous writings with a non-vertebral theme, but excluding the usage of of the class Cephalopoda.
In Ophiuroids We Trust,
p.s. Please note I have included Mme. Hermissenda C. Rassicornis (Herme to her friends) on this missive, as her thoughts and ideas have been inspirational.
A Brief Essay on the Sad Lack of Imagination in Invertebrate Oriented Erotica with Brief Notes on the Lascivious Nature of Both the Lophotrochozoa and Ecdysozoa, or, Getting Beyond "Hur hur! That Squid Tentacle Looks like Penis!"
by Balan U.S. Nubilus
I am here to write about what I see as a severe lack of imagination, creativity, and all around failure of spirit and mind in the erotica world when it comes to sexual relations with non-mammals. As an invertebrate biologist, well versed in the bizarre sexual proclivities of the invertebrate and plant world, and witness to many a ribald joke by fellow students and professors of these wonderful creatures, I am sadly disappointed in the writers and filmmakers of the world. I hope that this small tract can outline not only where you have gone wrong, but provide some future directions so that the world can get off of this sad and worn out trope of cephalopod or creeping vine oriented tentacle sex. It is high time to move on.
I must say, it is with some trepidation that I enter into this discussion. I am not a connoisseur of "tentacle porn" and other forms of non-human erotica. I have, while at a few of the infamous Boston Tequila and Porn valentine's day events, had the occasion to witness some of the highlights of the genre. Similarly, I am a modern human being on the internet. It is impossible to escape the occasionally "Oh my god, have you seen this!" forwarded email, or the occasional example of something done right from my friend, M. Tesla. But really, I. Am. So. Bored.
The Plants, Or, Vegetable Love
Let us first take a moment to consider biological considerations, as that was the topic that first prompted this little screed. I will begin with things from the Plant kingdom. It was asked, is plant tentacle/vine sex actually possible? My resounding answer is, well, not. Granted, I am not a botanist, but, my understanding is that plant movement occurs through slow changes in turgor pressure and growth investment. Yes, when films are speeded up, the whole affair looks rather creepy. Not, plants do not possess the physiological machinery to move at the necessary speed to satisfy whatever gaping orifices with which they are presented.
True, there are examples of fast plant movement in nature. To whit, there are the snapping mouths of fly catchers and the like. These, however, are usually based around the quick release of build up pressure, rather than any suddenly directed movement. Consider it like springing a mousetrap. When it comes to matters of the bedroom, this strategy may enable a plant one good large quick thrust, but there lies an end.
And it is not even as if actual plant reproductive structures are involved in this action. Popular depictions involve vines, leaves, branches, and the like. These are hardly the drippy primed naughty bits of plant sexual reproduction. The male part, the stamen, is composed of a filament capped with a pollen bearing anther. While there is a wide variety of variation here, that the stalk of a stamen is called a 'filament' should be telling. True, stamen's have often been observed copulating with a wide variety of insects and birds (huzzah pollination!), but this is often the gentlest touch, not an obscene thrusting and grunting motion. Nor is there any movement other than in response to pushing from the pollinator itself. Granted, the female organ of a plant, the carpal, may present more opportunities for literary exploration, but, again, non-moving, and certainly not an organ of penetration. But, again, I leave it to the more botanically inclined to explore this realm. But, in general, plant tentacle sex of any sort? Sorry, but I must place this in the highly unlikely to not quite possible category.
The Cephalopods, or, Hot Calamari
Moving on to tentacle sex, I must say, there is a surprising degree of accuracy here. Animals of the class cephalopoda do indeed have a tentacle of a sexual nature. So, bravo for getting that right. What is more interesting, particularly in regard to octopodes, is that said appendage often BREAKS OFF during the act of intercourse, sometimes then moving about independently! Delightful! The possibilities of a saucy heroine coming home with a still active souvenir of her journey, and what she does afterwards, offer up a cornucopia of possibilities.
The idea that every single tentacle of a giant mutant squid beast would be involved in any orgiastic activities, however, are a bit off the mark. Most squid, octopus, and cuttlefish (to which I ask, who has properly explored the erotic possibilities of cuttlefish? The cuttlebone provides a wonderful "saddle", if you will) have suckers with teeth on all of their tentacles. Numerous accounts abound of divers getting into tussles with large, but not giant, squid, and coming away with circles of flesh removed from their bodies. Sharp. Pointy. Teeth. Of doom. I am not sure about how you would feel if placed in such a situation, but I am sure that when our brave hero finds himself the target of the ministrations of the some oversexed squidlord, his nether regions will be subjected to far more pain than pleasure. I leave that as an open topic to other authors.
Further Possibilities, or, Live Nude Prawns
Thus ends my discussion of all things cephalopod. Which is my real problem, because thus endeth any discussion of invertebrates in the sensual spotlight. It as if some pornographer, centuries ago, saw an octopus and thought "Hur hur! It's arms look like penises!" and, save for the extension to vines, there has been nary an innovation in the use of giant mutant alien invertebrates ever since.
Those of you who are unfamiliar with the entirety of the kingdom animalia, nor their sexual proclivities, I exhort you to pick up the excellent Dr. Tatiana's Sex Guide to All Creation. Read it. Sit back. Now imagine the possibilities. I will here present a few of sundry bits about the majesty of the invertebrates for your mental appetites, and suggest that, with all biological accuracy, you go forth and get past the damned tentacle thing. It's so so SO done.
The Gastropods, or, Bring on the Garlic Butter
To begin with, let us stay within the phylum Mollusca, but leave the much beloved class cephalopoda. Takinga brief stroll over to class gastropoda, the snails, there are a few possibilities that are not too much of a stretch for the tentacularly fixated. Namely, most snails have antennae. And not only do they have very tentacle like antennae indeed, but they are laden with sensory structures! How perfect! Go, look at a snail or limpet (whose suction ability ought not to be ignored), and examine the waving lubricated little appendages. There! It may not be truly original, but it's something. Or, you have the possibilities of a mutant nudibranch, its phallic cirri waving in the air, filled with goo sequestered from consuming some amour inducing plant. Of course, class gastropoda also adds one quite kinky opther possibility. As a crotchety old paleontologist once told me, regarding gastropod torsion (as can be seen in any volume of Brusca and Brusca), "To be a gastropod is to shit on one's head." For those of you who are in to that sort of thing, I hope I have provided some good fodder for new texts.
The Bivalves, or, Tales of Mussel Bukkake
Taking a step to the side, let us briefly consider phylum Mollusca class Bivalvia. Yes, bivalves at first seem boring - little sessile clam-like things that they are. However, bivalves engage in the one behavior that heretofore I think sounds like the most delightful sexual activity ever. Free spawning. I mean, seriously, think of it, you catch a sudden whif of the right scent, the right temperature, or a little shake, and then EXPLODE in pleasurable gamete release. I, myself, have had this happen right in my face in an orgy of mussel bukkake, but picture the potential for some nubile nymphet subjected to the experiments of a dastardly doctor in fusing the sexual needs of a scallop with the body of his scientific muse.
This is of course not to mention the abilities for bivalves to form threadlike attachments with their byssal gland, and the ever shape-changing, muscular, pulsing, turgid, bivalve foot. Or, the bizarre, soft, delicate anatomy of free swimming shell-less bivalves who, if airborne, could wreak erotic havoc on an entire countryside if presented by the proper author or animator.
Further Afield, or, You try to Find a Lophotrochozoan-Themed Pun Sometime, Smart Guy
Now, mind you, this is all from one phylum. Stepping back into the wider invertebrate kingdom yields even more possibilities. The whole lophotrochozoan group of phyla is replete with even more opportunities for deviance. I mean, come on now, there is an entire phyla called the Ectoprocts (yes, I have friends who are ectoproctologists) meaning exterior anus. These colonial buggers have an anus located right next to their mouth - which doubles as a sexual opening. The possibilities for a double penetration menage a trois are truly astounding. Add to that the fact that these beasties form calcified colonies, with specialized zooids representing all manner of shape and form, and - let's just say that were our intrepid team of buffed macho bois to come upon the cave of the giant lusty crust, they could both engage, and be engaged in, almost any manner of mischief the author could concoct, with DPs all around!
The idea of avicularia (one of the types of specialized ectoproct zooids) brings to mind the shape of similar structures that adorn the test of sea urchins, taking us to a consideration of the phylum Echinodermata. Two words. Tube feet. These little exctitable beasts (sea stars, urchins, and the ever phallic sea cucumber) are lined with not only tube feet, but tiny tipped structures that can be used to keep their backs free of cruft. What other purposes they can be turned towards (they are often quite long) is a subject for exploration, let alone the whole idea, let me say it again, of TUBE FEET - all of which are powered by a water vascular system that can generate swellings, protuberances, hardness, softness, and all manner of textures throughout the creature that can, of course, be used to great effect without ever straying outside the realm of biological reality.
As a last note on the lophotrophohozoa (and I have not even discussed their trochopohre larvae, possessed of many whirling cilia! Excitement!), I would be remiss were I to not mention Hirudinaids and other taxa that utilize hypodermic penises. Yes, you heard me right. Hypodermic. Penis. It exists. Run with it.
If you have stuck with me so far, I hope to now reward you. For now we enter the world of the Ecdysozoa - those creatures that molt. Think insects, crabs, rotifers, and more. Think hard waxy cuticle. Jumping right into the Arthropods, think specialized appendages.
But leaving that issue behind, I wish to stop for a moment and focus on the lowly barnacle. While I'm sure Oscar Brand labelled his randy protagonist Barnacle Bill as a means of implying his relative rough and tumble nature, much like these little pains in the butt (were one to have to clean them off of a ship hull), he was more on target when addressing their sexual nature. These are creatures who have the largest body size to penis ratio of any animal in nature. Approximately three times their body length, the hermaphroditic barnacle is a true man among...hermaphrodites. Imagine our lusty adventuress happens to land upon a planet dominated by giant barnacles, ten feet high. Imagine if she just happened to get there during mating season. I leave it to you, dear reader, to come up with what happens next.
Or, on the more small scale, there is the parasitic rhizocephalan barnacle, able to hijack the neural function of its host, making it a willing pleasure slave while taking over its sexual organs for its own nefarious purposes. The possibility of a mad scientist creating her army of madly devoted studs by spiking their drink with a little cyprid of course springs immediately to mind, but that is a mere start!
Of course, crustaceans also have a more tender side. Crabs cover their naughty bits with a hard impenetrable apron. What kind of wooing, promises, long walks on the beach, and poetry does it take for someone to get a crab to open up, as it were, and reveal themselves to the tenderness of love?
A Call to Action!
And so I end this brief, and certainly not even slightly comprehensive list of the possibilities of the animal kingdom for usage within erotica. Stop with the tentacles already, people. They are, if anything, the most mundane, vanilla sexual possibility that nature has provided. I challenge each and every lover and creator of the "tentacle porn" genre to go forth, armed with even this meager offering, and properly fuse their desire, erotic imagination, and a hint of biological knowledge to create something more bizarre, kinky, and interesting for the rest of the world to gaze upon and, for once, not be bored with a lack of originality.
* By which I mean 'friend,' not 'mixture of fish parts and blood used to attract sharks.'