How to talk to your kids about animal sex


Ha ha - went to Alligator Adventure with my daughter, then about 7 or 8, and the Gavrils were having a go. Oh look! The boy alligator’s lying on top of the girl alligator! Uh, oh, ah…looks like the gavrils are making a baby gavril! Yeah, awkward.

6 year old vonbobo: “Why is that one sheep riding on the back of the other sheep?”
everyone else: (laugh at 6 year old vonbobo, then say nothing)

…and when the guy asks what he’s being arrested for the policeman says, “Transporting young gulls across a sedate lion for immoral porpoises.” Thank you! I’ll be here all week! Please tip your waiter!

Seriously, though, for me it wasn’t an uncomfortable moment at the zoo. It was one of those shabby traveling circuses. There was an elephant ride, but the poor elephant was unrideable. He was off in a corner of his “pen” (a fenced in part of a mall parking lot) with an engorged member. He was rocking his hips to and fro. I know I’m anthropomorphizing, but he looked both unhappy and uncomfortable. And what I needed was someone to explain how humans can be so cruel.

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Bart Simpson: “Look, Santa’s Little Helper is trying to play leapfrog with (girlfriend dog) and can’t make it! Come on boy, you can do it!”

A few years back I visited an aquarium. Might have been the wonderful Monterey Bay aquarium. In any case, a docent explained that the three sea otters normally on display had to be separated because one of the ladies was in season.

“You might observe behaviors associated with this time” she added cryptically.

One lady otter was floating on her back high above the audiences’ heads, vigorously, um, whacking away.

I’m glad I didn’t have a kid I had to explain that to.


All introductions for children to animal sexuality (secks-you-ality) should begin with this David Attenborough clip.

the lions “because it’s a noisy affair”

Friends of mine brought their daughter to the Oakland Zoo for the first time when the camels were going at it. Apparently they were going at it for the entire duration of their visit, because you could hear it from any point in the zoo.

and, counterintuitively, tortoises. “It’s a very slow process and they
are not discreet at all.”

I remember a lot of hoarse grunting, but mostly the grinding noise of shell-on-shell.

I wish the title had been:

How to talk to your kids about gigantic walrus penis.


Yup. Baltimore Aquarium, standing between my college boyfriend and my grandma, as the harbor seals had enthusiastic sex in front of us. Could not decide which way to look.

Better: National Zoo, on a fourth date with my now-husband. Giant tortoises having extended, LOUD, awkward sex on a sunny Saturday in front of approximately 20% of all 3-6 year olds in the greater DC area. Heard a lot of extemporizing from parents. Laughed ourselves silly, especially as the female just kept eating lettuce through the whole thing.

After my father’s funeral, all the adults ere standing around being distraught, and the dog flipped out and started humping my 4yo nephew, who shouted, “he’s hugging me!”

I think we saved the walrus dick for his teen years.

We did a trip to the zoo in elementary school and great mirth ensued when a donkey pulled out after intercourse. Goddamn, what a huge, veiny triumphant bastard.

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City people are weird.

If I’m ever in that situation with my now 2.5 year old daughter, I’ll tell her exactly what’s going on. Seriously, our society is completely fucked up when it comes to sex, it’s incredible. There is no life without sex!


Probably best to start with the animals that don’t engage in too many depraved practices, like savage duckrape, traumatic insemination, or using their detachable penises as plugs into prevent copulation with competing males…

Have them read “The Spider” by John Crompton. After that they’ll be favorably impressed by almost any sort of human sex.

Daddy: “Well, Susie, that sheep has hurt its front leg, and the other one is giving it a ride back to the barn.”

Susie: “Isn’t that typical. You try to help someone and they end up screwing you.”


Someone, I forget who, described them as ‘Slow, but diligent sex-maniacs’.

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So many Grindcore bands…

Having grown up in the country, I aver that there is such a thing as being too comfortable with animal sex…

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Somebody probably should have told all-around-awful-person Neal Horsley about that.



Not having kids, and with most of my friends’ kids now teens to adults, I’m unlikely to ever be asked. I hope I’d be more amused than flustered.