“Be not animal; refine thy rapture!” AL II:70
Most sexually active people will have more than one erotic encounter in their lives. Not so for many creatures in the animal kingdom. For bees, Pacific salmon, deep sea octopuses, twisted-wing parasites, and Labord’s chameleons, sex pretty much equals death. They get one opportunity, and that’s it. It’s a successful for perpetuating the species, but it can’t be much fun.
“Not every evolutionary success story is glamorous,” says Popular Science. “Male antechinuses (antechinii? antechinae?) spend half their lives having sex for 14 hours a day. And it’s not leisurely, loving sex. It’s frantic oh-my-god-I-must-ejaculate-as-quickly-as-possible kind of sex. The kind of sex that rapidly depletes their limited supply of sperm and causes their bodies to literally fall apart. They lose their fur. They bleed internally. They die before they hit their first birthday.”