Bacchus has a long and remarkable history of uncovering and posting artwork that explores erotic imaginings occasioned by octopuses, for example here or here or here and (perhaps the grandmother of all such images) here. Is it any wonder that I’m honored to call myself his friend?

Reflecting on all this fun tentacular weirdness the other day brought to mind a passage that appears near the beginning of Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct. It’s a passage from another book called How They Do It quoted by Pinker as an example of the remarkable ability of human language to describe completely novel and weird circumstances. And yes, it’s about real octopus sex:

When a male octopus spots a female, his normally grayish body suddenly becomes striped. He swims above the female and begins caressing her with seven of his arms. If she allows this, he will quickly reach toward her and slip his eighth arm into her breathing tube. A series of sperm packets moves slowly through a grove in his arm, finally to slip into the mantle cavity of the female.

Well, when I read a passage like that, I cannot but think of Hedley Lamarr’s excited exclamation in Blazing Saddles: “Kin-ky!”

Real octopuses can outdo even hentai artists in strange.

And it does get kinkier still. If you want a really bang-up tale of promiscuity, gender confusion, and sexual cannibalism, you really cant do better than this Pharyngula post on the interesting mating life of the blue-ringed octopus, Hapalochlaena lunulata.

octopus sex

If we may paraphrase Lily von Shtupp: “Is it twue what they say about how your species is…gifted?”