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1348936.  Sat May 23, 2020 12:18 pm Reply with quote

It had to pop up.

QI has mentioned many odd sexual habits and phenomena over the years, but I am sure there should be a forum for new material.

1348953.  Sat May 23, 2020 9:07 pm Reply with quote

Hi @tetsabb! Thanks for starting the feed. I'm not going to fall into the trap of researching weird sex (not yet, at least), but here's some of my favourite odd sex factoids from the animal kingdom...

Fungi have over 20,000 sexes, the microbe Tetrahymena thermophila has seven.

Female Komodo Dragons can clone themselves without having sex (called parthenogenesis), and our ape cousins the bonobos are almost entirely bisexual.

A cockroach was the first animal to be conceived in orbit. The eyelash mite is (probably) the only animal to have had sex on the moon.

Sharks have fin-like penises, dragonflies have barbed ones, seaslugs have regenerative penises, barnacles have articulated ones, and the Argonaut octopus has a detachable swimming penis.

The lesser water boatman rubs its penis for its mating call, and is the loudest animal relative to its size on Earth.

And this one needs no introduction...

1348998.  Sun May 24, 2020 10:13 am Reply with quote

humannature wrote:

Fungi have over 20,000 sexes, the microbe Tetrahymena thermophila has 7

LGBT issues must be an absolute minefield.

Last edited by tetsabb on Wed May 27, 2020 4:45 am; edited 2 times in total

1349018.  Sun May 24, 2020 2:42 pm Reply with quote

Indeed! I am struggling to think of more than three or four possible variations. Tbh, once I get past 2 it all gets a bit wooly. 7 is just about conceivable (pun intended) but 20,000????????

1349023.  Sun May 24, 2020 3:55 pm Reply with quote

Haha- seems that piqued your curiosity! Fungi are weird, but all it means is that an individual of one sex can mate with all 20,000-odd others but not with individuals of the same sex. It's a good life being a fungus! I've come across species with at least 23K, but I'm sure there are more about. As for how science counts these... well, that's a little too complicated for a forum like this.

1349031.  Sun May 24, 2020 4:57 pm Reply with quote

It appears to be a fungus called Schizophyllum commune which is available in 23,328 sexes. As suggested, one specimen can reproduce with specimens of all 23,327 other sexes, but not with its own sex. Whether a given fungus "knows" whether a given other fungus is the same sex as itself seems not to have been explored.

This article (one of those annoying ones that you can only read once and then it wants money), and this Reddit discussion provide further explanation, but I cannot say that I really understood it.

1349129.  Mon May 25, 2020 3:19 pm Reply with quote

Humannature - we do actually like sources for information - can't do the research without them!

1349146.  Mon May 25, 2020 11:57 pm Reply with quote

Apologies, Jenny. As Suze correctly, states the fungus I was referring to is S. commune, with 23,328 sexes. The literature supporting is as follows:
Original study-
And a recent Nature article on the mechanism-

The bottom line is, the fungi sexes (called 'mating types') operate a little differently to those in humans. Hence such a large number of them. Also, with regards to if they can "know" another's sex, the answer is that yes they can...

1349223.  Tue May 26, 2020 3:33 pm Reply with quote

I like that a lot.

1350703.  Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:21 pm Reply with quote

A-Sexual reproduction in the animal kingdom is always an interesting area too; A zebra shark called Leonie in a Queensland aquarium (Dockrill, 2017), an Atlantic blacktip shark named Tidbit at the Virginia Beach aquarium (Dunham, 2008) and a hammerhead shark from a Nebraska aquarium (Fountain, 2007) have all been found to have successfully reproduced without a male shark involved. This is further tested by DNA testing the offspring to find that the progeny contains no genetic material from a father.

Dockrill, P., 2017. Zebra Shark Makes World-First Switch From Sexual To Asexual Reproduction. [online] ScienceAlert. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 June 2020].

Dunham, W., 2008. Virgin Shark Got Pregnant In Virginia Aquarium. [online] U.S. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 June 2020].

Fountain, H., 2007. Female Shark Reproduced Without Male DNA, Scientists Say. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 June 2020].

Stony Brook University. (2008, October 11). 'Virgin Birth' By Shark Confirmed: Second Case Ever. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 5, 2020 from

Szkotak, S., 2008. In Shark Tank, An Asexual Birth. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 June 2020].

1350758.  Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:59 pm Reply with quote

Men! What are they good for? (Putting up shelves is a good answer to that one).

1350776.  Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:43 pm Reply with quote

Fair point; I don't know why we bother being good either - women clearly prefer all that's worse and/or worst; maybe the babes feel better that way.

btw if all the mirrors in the place are 'correctly positioned' I don't get to see anything of myself above lower chest height - if that.

1350802.  Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:43 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
Fair point; I don't know why we bother being good either - women clearly prefer all that's worse and/or worst; maybe the babes feel better that way.

You've clearly met the wrong women! I don't know one woman among my personal acquaintanceship who goes for 'bad boys'.

Ian Dunn
1356691.  Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:45 pm Reply with quote

Last year, the British Museum put on exhibition of Japanese manga comics. One of the first things who came across when enterting the exhibition was this image from the front cover of a manga called Miyuki-chan in Wonderland by the all-women CLAMP group of manga artists (photo taken by myself).

It is particularly interesting they went this image, because I'm not sure how many people knew that when they looked at it, they were looking at the title character from a lesbian sex comedy. The story sees the title character finding herself sent into other worlds, including Wonderland (complete with a dominatrix-like Queen of Hearts) where she is the unwilling target of every woman around. The series also features foxy boxing, strip mahjong and women dressed as erotic chess pieces (to be fair, some people are into pawn).

The series was released in English and is available as an e-book for those who might be interested, although I should say that while CLAMP are one of the most popular manga artists around, Miyuki-chan in Wonderland is considered by many to be the group's weakest work.

1360896.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:23 am Reply with quote

An interesting view of whether homosexuality is forbidden according to the Bible or not:

As someone who grew up learning about the Old Testament in Hebrew, there are a number of things that stand out about the general acceptance of certain passages, but in this particular case it's the case of Leviticus 18 which are very strange.

The section actually starts off with telling the Israelites "not to do as they do in Egypt... or in Canaan". Most of the section seems to deal with incest, and specifically sex with different women, and there are a couple of sections that seem to be "inserted" at a later edit which are the ones dealing with homosexuality, but even then they are very strange.

While every other line is extremely specific with the words used, in the two lines used to refer to homosexuality, the lines use the word for man (ISH), and then another word ZACHAR, which is typically used to mean male, and then completes using the word for woman (ISHA), not the word for female.

The reason why this is strange is because the original meaning of ZACHAR in itself is in question, and was sometimes used to distinguish between little boys (toddlers), and men (after the age of 13), and was in itself confusing. This makes more sense when you realise at the start the passage specifically tells them not to do as other people, and at the end of the passage it explains that the lands were defiled because people had previously done these things.

There have been some papers written by some scholars to suggest this was inserted at a time when Greek influence was spreading across the Levant (including the Ptolemies in Egypt), and while homosexuality seems not to have been regarded as wrong, sex with children was, and it's something that Ancient Greeks may have brought with them.

I don't suppose we'll ever really know, but as an interesting aside, some old testaments, when first published in other European languages other than Latin, Greek and Hebrew, seem to have translated ZACHAR to other words than simply mankind or man. The Lutheran German Bible, for example, uses the word KNABEN, which actually means boys.


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