Before enrolling at Cornell, I had a dire fear of hexapod invertebrates. At the sight of a butterfly landing on my arm, I would recoil in disgust. The thought of a ladybug brushing against my thigh made me toss and turn all night. One time on the kindergarten playground, I actually did get ants in my pants, and the very episode sent me into a psychotic spiral alongside throbbing booty bites. Bees were the worst of my fears. My parents dragged me to see Bee Movie, and I left the theater in hysterics. Yet for some godforsaken reason, the first class I enrolled in as a freshman was “Honeybees and Humans.”
This class coerced me into appreciating the insect world. It grew beyond a simple appreciation and became something I couldn’t get enough of. It didn’t help that the first friend I made during O-Week was Bug Boy, the feral creature fiendishly dancing at the Arts Quad silent disco. He took me on bug hunts with his fellow entomology majors. You could spot them across campus carrying their nets like a posse of Animal Crossing characters. It was so dorky that I had to infiltrate their way of life. I have a passion for people with passions; fools unapologetically obsessed with a very specific niche. Be it waterfowl, 15th Century Arabic calligraphy, mazes, non-edible uses of cheese or the art of boomerang throwing, I try to understand the seemingly random interests people are willing to dedicate their lives to. This time it was bugs.
Through my adventures with Bug Boy, I have discovered something about insects that everyone should be obsessed with: How they fuck. The realization happened when I walked in on an entomology major intensely studying slides of moth vaginas. Humans think they have a monopoly on sexual degeneracy, but we have been beaten out by our creepy-crawly companions. The fauna of our planet does not follow prudish 1950s lifestyles like we imagine them. Eating ass is missionary position compared to the fruit fly Drosophila bifurca shooting sperm cells 20 times the size of its body. It has such a long tail to fill the female to the brim, so she can’t mate with any other sexy suitors. Imagine dropping a load and having it consist of one single swimmer who could easily take you down in Mortal Kombat. If you were a Mormon cricket, your splooge would be 27 percent of your weight, so a 200-pound person would bust out a 54-pound nut. To say the least, it would be a little more difficult to jack off into a sock.
Insects can also contort themselves into positions “The Kama Sutra” could never fathom. Flies must rotate on their penis, sometimes even a full 360 degrees, to keep fucking. It’s the ultimate pole dance. Then there are stick insects who boink nonstop for months. They’re allowed to do this in the wild because to predators, it looks like two sticks making love and not a vulnerable snack waiting to be eaten mid-orgasm. Besides stamina, these kinky crawlers also possess mastery over the orgy with their stick threesomes.
While the crazy world of critter coitus may seem alluring at first glance, there is a more barbaric boundary to bug busting. There’s blunt-trauma coitus and cannibalism. Since female bed bugs don’t have vaginas, the males developed a spear-cock to stab her body. Bean beetles were blessed with vaginahood, but the male’s penises are still full of gnarly spikes that are understandably harmful to have sex with. Then, of course, there are the female cannibals like the praying mantis, who devour their mates as a statement of the strangeness of evolution, or perhaps as an act of radical feminism.
Unlike most of my columns, this is not advice. I do not condone taking tantric tips from bugs, but I would be impressed if you had a spare penis like an earwig in case your first one broke off. Perhaps it would be noteworthy if you spent 79 days interlocked in forest floor intercourse like a stick insect, but those 79 days could be used for something more productive like finding the origin of mysterious mushroom circles near your house or composing a klezmer rock opera.
What we can appreciate by studying kinky crawlies is how user friendly our genitals are by comparison. If evolution took a small turn down a more chaotic road, perhaps our jiggly bits would also be horrific hardware of reproduction. By studying insects, we should be thankful we don’t cannibalize every Tinder hookup or need to do aerial gymnastics in order to stay in the hole. Biology has been more or less kind to the way we fornicate.
Anya Neeze is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to email@example.com. Boink! runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.