“Forget the Kama Sutra. When it comes to inventive sex acts, just look to the sea.”
Well now. If there’s one way of making sure people read something important, you might as well throw some sex into it.
Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep by Marah J. Hardt delves into just how marine life gets it on. And if you think the Cosmo is inventive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
With a knack for dividing the mass of copulating marine organisms into relevant and understandable chapters, Hardt exposes the fetishes, the violence, the intimacies and, above all, the adaptability of marine life as they follow the overpowering instinct to survive and multiply (two things that are not, in all cases, compatible with one another).
Perhaps you have heard the tidbit that tiger sharks fight each other in the womb – that is actually true, but by far not the most fascinating thing Sex in the Sea teaches the reader.
Besides a voyeuristic appreciation for the ocean’s sexual repertoire, this is ultimately a book about biology – and modern biology would be moot without application to an organism’s interaction with the world around it.
Thus, besides the biological wonders – besides the way the boggle our minds, and force biologists to find new inventive ways to study animals and their behaviours – Sex in the Sea shows WHY it is important. How our own human interactions with the sea and all its components threaten it – and in the long run, ourselves.
Besides being well-researched (Hardt is a coral reef ecologist), Sex in the Sea is spectacularly written. Not only is it easy to understand (my zoology education stopped after high school biology), but it had me giggling like a teenager. Some clever (and some really terrible) puns abound, though never in bad taste. Not to mention that the interposed sketches and the “track list” really add to making this a book that can be not only understood but also enjoyed by laypeople.
(Unfortunately the eARCs did not have the full track list, but I loved the idea.)
If you’re going to read one science book this year, let it be this.
Sex in the Sea has a website here, where you can read many many examples of the ocean’s creativity.
Read my list of some things I learned about Sex in the Sea here.
Disclaimer: I received a free eARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.