Sex with Aliens. I mean 'between'!

7 min read

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bensen-daniel's avatar
So I've been giving thought recently to sex with aliens. I mean between. Between aliens. Yes, two aliens having sex. I'm just watching.

See, most of the aliens I see are extensions of thought-experiments in evolution (what would happen if animals with exoskeletons became large terrestrial predators?) or topography (what if the alien used gliding symmetry) or bio-mechanics (it has wheels instead of feet). But what about aliens designed from the basis of reproduction? That is what it's all about, after all.

I've had some fun with the concept before (…) and (…), and I'd like to revisit the idea with some truly weird (but biologically plausible) modes of reproduction. Bonus points if it causes an awesome set of societal taboos.

1) :iconyasbp: got me off to a good start with, which have 7 sexes/reproductive modes/races and implies awesome things about the society of the aliens. Let's hold this up as our gold standard of alien sex.

2) I mentioned this before way back, but imagine an alien with an undefined growth pattern (like a sponge or tree or coral) where asexual reproduction results in a child very much like its parent (though not identical because of environmental differences), while sexual reproduction produces wildly divergent growth-patterns. Wealthy, successful individuals would of course leave their property to their cloned heirs (let's call them scions), because a child of sexual reproduction (let's call them pippins) might be a slavering animal, or just not very bright. On the other hand, too much cloning causes problems with Muller's Ratchet and the Red Queen phenomenon, and there will always be social reasons to bind yourself to the family of another. Plus every now and then, a pippin will pop out with BETTER genes than you, starting a new dynasty. And if not, well you can always release the cross-eyed drooler into the sewers (nothing could possibly go wrong with that strategy). There might also be some fun to be had with selectively breeding sub-sentient pippins, then cloning off scions of useful breeds. Think cultivating apple trees.

3) A species where pairs of a mobile, intelligent haploid stage (call them haplozoids) mate to produce a sessile, plant-like diploid (call it a baby-tree). Newlyweds plant the babytree in their yard, wait a year for the tree to mature, and then pluck ripe babies from it. This would have enormous ramifications for the development of society (settled agriculture comes first with nomadic lifestyles developed only after the invention of ceramic pots). When land=population, wars should be interesting, too.

4) A species (like many birds) that has females, and then a gradation of males from super-masculine types who defend a territory and collect a harem to female-mimicking types who secretly mate with other males' harems. I might be able to mix this with (

5) Males glom onto females while they're fertile and just stay in there, physically blocking all rivals.  Of course, there'll be selective pressure for females to either avoid being glommed onto, perhaps simply be viciously attacking every suitor that comes in range. The one that isn't deterred by a savage mauling is the best mate for you! And men, even if she chews your legs off, what do you need them for if you successfully glom onto her and she carries you around for the rest of your life? Add intelligence to the mix and mating becomes a game of strategy and ambush, perhaps with males and females banding into single-sex groups for better offense-defense.  Then, after they pair off, mated couples function as a single unit, and that's socially seen as a more moral, highly-developed individual. Remember the Skekis and Uruk and the Urskeks?

6) Haplodiploid aliens where males are haploid and females and diploid. Diploid males means no recessive genes in males. No recessive genes means you (a female) can marry your brother. If he's not a drooling idiot, he won't give you idiot children. This means you can have a life like Adactylidium mites, where brothers and sisters have intercourse in the womb (alright not technically the womb but you get the idea), the brothers die before they are born, and the sisters are born pregnant. Even if you don't go that far and you have brothers and sisters both growing to adulthood, you'll get very interesting social evolution. With no benefit to be gained from out-breeding (in fact it's bad since it will dilute whatever environment-specific adaptations your family has accumulated), these people won't explore. They'll stay in one place, breeding, until population pressure forces them out. Expect enormous "racial" differences without exchange of genes between local types and violent war along borders of expanding spheres of influence. Peace might only be attained by politically motivated out-cest (disgusting!), creating hybrid aristocracies that rule over two or more pure-bred populations. That state lasts, of course, until the aristocrats deviate too strongly from their ancestors, and see themselves as a separate race.

7) Hemaphrodites who exchange sperm and eggs into each others wombs. This opens up the door for bonding groups other than pairs. In fact, it necessitates non-pair-bonding because then you have both parents laid up with pregnancy (or eggs or whatever) at the same time. Perhaps one or both of the partners' siblings (and everyone will have siblings since both parents always produce children) will forego breeding and help take care of their nieces and nephews. Perhaps the most common form of "marriage" for these aliens would be a tetrad, where one sib pair marries another, and they take turns getting pregnant. Another possibility is a breeding chain, as with sea-hares, with a sperm donor on one end and a sperm receiver on the other, with everyone in the middle both giving and recieving sperm. Or you could have a daisychain, which would I suppose be more equitable.

8) Sex-change. As with many species of fish, you could have the best-fed person turn female (stopping sperm production), with the next-biggest turning male-only, followed by everyone else in the group who doesn't breed. If the female dies or leaves, the male becomes a female, and the biggest neuter becomes a male. These could actually be the same species as number (7), with hormonal changes determining whether someone produces eggs or sperm or both.

9) might be the same species as (3), where the male builds a "love garden" like a red velvet mite, leading the female on a pheromone trail through a labyrinth-like garden, at the end of which are his spermatozoa.

10) detachable mobile penis, like an argonaut. might be combined with (5)

11) mating ball (like garter snakes), where everyone mates promiscuously, but females control mate selection by closing their vaginas, and males compete by evolving corkscrewing (duck) or prehensile (dolphin) penises. Intelligence adds strategy to the mix. Everyone has a big orgy, gets high on pheromones, plays genital jenga (or I suppose twister?) and then everyone unties themselves at the end and you see who you're connected to. Mate selection would also take place with being invited to the orgy in the first place.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head (I need to go back and re-read Dr. Tatiana (…)), but I'm sure you guys have other ideas for great civilization-defining sexual strategies. Or you can just tell me things I missed in my species up above. Or reference a great idea someone else has had. All I really care about is interesting sexual...deviations. Hey! How about that?

Someone came close to beating me to it:…
based on this information and… I added a few more ideas above (7) and on
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SonicJoe731's avatar
getting probed or this.