Perverted Penguins Perplex Polar Pedestrian

penguins
Dr. George Murray Levick was fascinated with penguin sex. Back in 1911 and 1912, he was the first scientist to stay for an entire mating season in Antarctica in order to study penguin procreation.

What he saw, however, confused him and shocked his traditional English morals. Penguin males were having gay sex, raping females, mounting the corpses of dead females and molesting penguin chicks. When he submitted his report to the Natural History Museum in London, the curators decided it was too shocking and cut those passages out of his report. They did publish an uncensored limited edition of 100 copies to circulate among leading scientists whose morals, supposedly, would not be corrupted by penguins.

Bird expert Douglas Russel explained necrophilia among penguins to the BBC, saying that the males don’t realize the females are dead. But what about the other unusual acts? These sexual variations are worthy of study. Why do animals and humans engage in sex acts that don’t lead to the creation of children? There doesn’t seem to be any practical purpose to it. Or perhaps the assumption that everything in nature has to have a practical purpose is a flawed one.

Dr. Levick was part of Robert Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition, an attempt to be the first to trek to the South Pole. The advance party reached their goal but had been beaten by the Norwegian team of Roald Amundsen. Scott and his advance party all died on the journey back. Levick was not in the advance party and survived. Dr. Levick’s notes have just been published in the journal “Polar Record.”

In the age of the Internet, penguin sex just isn’t that shocking anymore.

[Photo courtesy Brocken Inaglory]

The Sex Toy Vending Machines Of Spain

vending machines
You’ve probably heard of the vending machines in Japan that sell used panties supposedly worn by schoolgirls. It appears Japan isn’t alone in having sexual vending machines in public places. Not far from my home in Santander, on Spain’s northern coast, I came across this innocuous-looking little cubbyhole. Its vending machines offer hot food, soda and snacks 24 hours a day.

It’s in between a bar district and the residential neighborhood where I live, so I popped in here one night for some potato chips to absorb some of the wine I’d drunk. It turns out I could buy more than potato chips. Further inside, out of view from the street but still completely open to the public of all ages, was a vending machine selling sex toys.

The picture is on the next page, and no, it’s not work safe (duh!).Vending Machines
Whatever entrepreneur thought this up was a genius. When you’re coming back from the bars late at night you always need something. If you’re a married guy like me, it might be something as mundane as a snack. If you’re getting lucky with someone you met on your fifteenth round of sangría, you might need some flavored condoms. If you didn’t meet the person of your dreams, you can at least cuddle up to a giant black dong for only €16.50 ($21). Just don’t forget the lube for €6.50 ($8.29) or you might wake up the next morning with more than your head hurting.

This isn’t the only dildo vending machine in Spain. A friend of mine came across one in a youth hostel where she was staying with her two little daughters. The girls saw it first because they were attracted by all the shiny colors. They asked what the dildos were and their mother, quite wisely, I thought, answered honestly and with just enough information to satisfy their curiosity. They shook their heads at the weird things adults get up to and soon forgot about it.

Spain isn’t some decadent place full of loners seeking out dirty vending machines. You can also find vending machines selling books. So far I have yet to see a vending machine that sells books and dildos. I’ll be sure to tell you if I do.

Unusual aphrodisiacs from Asian countries

balut Wondering how to get you or your partner more in the mood for sex? Instead of opting for expensive pills or unnatural remedies, why not learn from the Asian culture and try one of these libido-boosting aphrodisiacs? From dangerously poisonous fish to fertilized duck embryo or snake’s blood, it is clear some people really will try anything to have good sex. While these odd ingestants may be useful for people in Asia, I’m thinking that others may want to stick to increasing their libido the old-fashioned way: getting drunk and watching porn.

Balut

Balut is a common finger food in Southeast Asia and is literally an almost-developed duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. If you want to try this delicacy for yourself, head over to the Philippines, where it is most common, or Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia. It’s a very popular food to enjoy at bars while drinking a beer, which makes me wonder if it’s the Balut making people horny or the alcohol.Bull Balls Soup

Bull Balls Soup, also known as Soup #5, originated in the Philippines and is a dish made from the bull’s penis or testicles. The genitalia is washed and then scorched in boiling water before being cut into small pieces. These bits are then simmered in a pot along with other meats, vegetables, and ginger. Not only is it said to be tasty, but also the bull’s genitals in the soup are believed to have a higher potency than even Viagra.

durian Durian

It’s hard to believe anything that smells this bad could be considered arousing, but this odorous fruit is said to have a strong aphrodisiac power. In fact, in Indonesia a common saying is “the durians fall and the sarongs come up.” The stench of the fruit is so overwhelming that many public venues like restaurants, hotels, and buses prohibit durian from being brought inside. I guess some people find unpleasant smells sexy.

Monkey Brains

While the eating of monkey brains is controversial – the practice has, unfortunately, led to the over-killing of the animal in Indonesia – it is actually enjoyed in many countries around the world due to the dish’s believed ability to cure erectile dysfunction. Disturbingly, many people enjoy eating the brains of the monkey while the animal is still alive, although laws are currently being implemented to make this illegal. Before you go digging into this delicacy, however, just know that in return for horny side-effects, you’re running the risk of acquiring Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, an illness similar to Mad Cow.

snake wine Snake’s Blood/Wine

In Asia, snake products in general are believed to create an unusually high sex drive. One way to achieve an increased libido is by drinking a concoction made by infusing the essence and venom of a poisonous snake into grain alcohol or rice wine (shown right). While this may not sound appealing, your other option is to slice a poisonous snake open and drink the blood straight out of its body.

Tiger Penis Soup

As we’re basically talking about the power of the penis here, it’s not surprising that a number of Asian aphrodisiacs are literally penises. Although the tiger is near extinction, that doesn’t stop locals of China and Southeast Asia from consuming the appendage for its sex-enhancing properties. Making the soup is a time-consuming process, as the tiger penis must be dried out and then soaked in water for a week. From there, the penis is simmered with spices and other ingredients. Sound tasty? Because of the difficulty of procuring the penis of an endangered animal, a bowl of this stuff can cost a few hundred dollars.

caterpillar fungus Caterpillar Fungus

Caterpillar fungus, or “dong chong xia cao” (summer grass, winter worm) in Chinese, has been a popular element of Chinese medicine for hundreds of years as a way to treat cancer, exhaustion, and, of course, impotency. The product is created during the winter when the ghost moth caterpillar burrows into the ground and hibernates. During this time a fungi enters the caterpillar’s body and eats it from the inside. Eventually, the caterpillar fungus will erupt from the dead insect’s head. While this may sound like the plot of a horror movie, this natural sex-enhancer can cost over $100 per gram depending on where you purchase it.

Bird’s Nest Soup

While many people think of a bird’s nest as nature’s architecture, others enjoy it as a tasty and libido-boosting meal. The soup is not made with just any old bird’s nest, but one made of solidified saliva, as these have the best texture for creating the cuisine. To make the dish, the nest is dissolved in water and, depending on if it is a natural white or red nest, can cost over $100 for a bowl.

hagfish Hagfish

This slime-producing eel is the only animal on the planet that has a skull but no vertebral column or jaw, making it difficult to classify. Although many are unsure as to whether the Hagfish is behind or ahead of the evolution process, one thing is certain – people from Southeast Asia love them. So what is it about these odd-looking creatures that turn people on? Most likely, it is the resemblance to a penis in shape and its production of a large amount of slimy liquid when stroked.

Dog Meat

Though many Westerners may object, in certain Asian countries it is said that eating dog meat creates a warm sensation throughout the body that is linked to passion, intensity, and carnal urges. What’s really unsettling isn’t so much the fact that it’s dog meat that’s being eaten, but that it is believed that the slower and more painful the death of the animal, the more flavorful the meat and the stronger the effects on sexual stamina. I guess for some this is worth it for a steamy night of passion.

[images via raeky, BorgQueen, Genghiskhanviet, Magnus Manske, Lmozero]

10 sexy sites from around the world

sex Forget castles, churches, fine art galleries, and history museums; the sites on this list celebrate the thing almost everyone has in common, sex. From penis parks to fertility shrines to bondage demonstrations, these sexy sites from around the world will make your trip a bit quirkier and your mind a bit filthier.

Haesindang Park
Samcheok, South Korea

Also known as Penis Park, Haesindang Park is full of totem-pole like penis carvings, which make for interesting hiking scenery, to say the least. The story behind the park is that there was once a virginal young woman who was engaged to be married. One day, she had her fiancée drop her off on Aebawi Rock in the sea to harvest seaweed while he did work on the beach. Sadly, a change in weather brought the woman to an untimely, tragic, and penis-less death. For years following the incident, the villagers were unable to catch fish and, thinking it was because of the dead woman, created a park in her honor where they created these carvings and held religious ceremonies. While many tourists may find this site quirky, it truly is a celebration of sex and penis worship.Love Land
Jeju, South Korea

There is nothing subtle about Love Land, as the statues and public art found at this park ooze eroticism. Visitors can stroll through 140 sculptures poised in sexual positions, as well as enjoy rotating exhibitions and educational films. Interactive exhibits will get your mind racing with naughty thoughts.

sexMolokai Phallic Rock
Molokai,Hawaii

This 6-foot stone penis replica sits at the base of Nananhoa Hill in Palaau State Park. According to the legend attached to the site, Nanahoa the male fertility god, lived nearby with his wife. One day, the wife caught her husband checking out a young girl and, outraged, yanked her hair. Nananhoa retaliated, attacking his wife who then rolled down the hill and turned into stone. Moments later, he also turned into stone, except in the form of a penis. To this day, the site is still a sacred place of sex and fertility where women come to pray and make offerings, as can be seen by the surrounding coins, flowers, and shells.

Body Politics
Canberra, Australia

Body Politics is Australia’s first National Museum of Erotica and contains a collection of erotic art, sexual artifacts, and pornographic materials. What’s great about this museum is it blends sexual celebration with education as visitors can learn about things like how porn has changed through the decades, and how ideas on sexuality have evolved. One particularly interesting exhibit is the vibrator collection, which features the first commercial vibrator in Australia made out of a plastic flashlight, slot car motor, and a rubber prosthetic penis molding.

penisLingam Fertility Shrine
Bangkok, Thailand

While it’s not unusual to find a garden full of flowers, how about a garden full of penises? The Lingam Fertility Shrine, located behind the Nai Lert Park Hotel, was created to worship the female deity who is thought to reside on the property, Chao Mae Tuptim. Around the shrine is a garden containing crops of wooden and stone penises beautifully wrapped in ribbon and adorned with flowers. While the experience may feel like some kind of erotic surrealism, the legend behind the site is that women who wanted to bare children would bring offerings of flowers and incense. That is, until one woman became pregnant after leaving a more phallic offering. From one look at the park, you can see that the trend caught on.

Beate Uhse Erotic Musuem
Berlin,Germany

The Beate Uhse Erotic Museum is the biggest erotic museum in the world. Moreover, Beate Uhse, the woman whom the venue is named after, opened the first sex shop (“marital hygiene” shop) in 1962. What makes this erotic museum particularly unique is that it doesn’t just emphasize pornography, but sexuality, history, and love as well. Travelers will also love that the artifacts, dolls, masks, and art are from all over the world, from 18th Century silk paintings from China to Balinese penis carvings.

sex machines museum Sex Machines Museum
Prague, Czech Republic

While there are various museums around the world dedicated to eroticism through photography, art, and film, the Sex Machines Museum gives the idea a twist by focusing on sexual devices and pleasurable appliances. In fact, according to the museum website, it is the world’s only sex museum dedicated solely to sex machines. The museum encompasses three floors and 200 gadgets from the 16th century to present times, with life-like dolls demonstrating how to use the machines properly in times of passion (and times of abstinence if you’re looking at the scarily sharp chastity belts and electroshock penis rings meant to keep boys from masturbating).

Phallic Rock
Kharkhorin, Mongolia

Located near Erdene Zuu Monastary, the head of the phallic rock ironically points toward a vaginal-looking hill. It is said that the 2-ft long penis-shaped boulder was put there to stop horny monks who were turned on by the feminine hill from hooking up with young girls.

amsterdam The City of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

It’s hard to choose just one sexy site in Amsterdam, as the city seems to ooze eroticism. First there is the famous Red Light District, where beautiful and scantily clad women beckon passersby in for some fun. Visitors can even take a guided tour of the area from a former prostitute through the Prostitution Information Centre (PIC). There are also myriad sex toy shops throughout the city selling every gadget, gizmo, costume, and cream you could want. Moreover, visitors have the choice to visit either the Sex Museum (shown right) or the Erotic Museum, which are both full of hardcore exhibits, pornographic photos, and crazy sex contraptions.

Erotic heritage museum Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada

I think the best part about the Erotic Heritage Museum Las Vegas is that it was created by a partnership between a pornographer and a preacher. The permanent and revolving exhibits focus on eroticism, sex, love and the belief that “sexual pleasure and fun are natural aspects of the human experience, that such pleasure must be made available to all, and that our individual sexuality belongs to each of us.” Sounds like fun!

A Traveler in the Foreign Service: (Not so) sexy time

Hugh Hefner wouldn’t make a very good Foreign Service Officer (FSO). FSO’s serving overseas need to disclose information about their lovers to the embassy’s Regional Security Officer (RSO), who in turn conduct investigations on foreign-born romantic partners to ensure that they aren’t likely to blackmail or manipulate them. There are no secrets and playboys tend to crash and burn before their careers can take off.

Managing relationships in the Foreign Service can be a travail, even for the monogamous. I was (and still am) happily married during my tenure in the service, but I have second-hand experience with this topic, vis-à-vis single and divorced former colleagues.

The expatriate experience tends to test marriages in a way that everyday life in the U.S. might not, and weak relationships don’t last long. My wife and I arrived at our first post as newlyweds and found that we needed to rely on each other more so than at home. When you arrive in a new country with no friends or relatives to fall back on, you spend an inordinate amount of time with your spouse and don’t have the same support network you would at home. In our case, and for many other couples, the experience brought us close together, cementing our bond. But that is not always the case.

I’ve heard people say that divorce rates in the Foreign Service are high, but I’m not sure they’re any higher than they are in the general population. But in the fishbowl world of the Foreign Service, where the line between one’s personal and work life is often blurred, divorce can take a toll on careers.

A former colleague told me that after he separated from his wife and arrived at a new post single, everyone seemed to already know his story. He said he was “the object of huge curiosity and scrutiny.”But it’s probably even harder for single women trying to pursue relationships in the service. Of the single men I know who joined the service, many found spouses while serving overseas, but most of the single women I know who joined in the last 5-10 years are still single, not all of them by choice. FSO’s typically move every 2-3 years, and many women find it difficult to find men in developing countries who are interested in a career woman whom they’d have to follow around the world. And even if they do find someone of interest, a moment of truth arrives at the end of the tour. When you live in Uganda and are off to Honduras next, what to do?

A single female I know told me that everyone knew who she was sleeping with at most of the overseas posts she’s served at. “You think the walk of shame is bad?” she wrote to me, in response to a question about the difficulty of dating in the Foreign Service. “Try having to call your Sudanese driver in the morning to pick you up in an armored Suburban. Talk about humiliating.” She said the “logistics” of Foreign Service life made it impossible for her to settle down.

At some posts, FSO’s live on a gated compound adjacent to the mission, and if one wants to bring home a lover to spend the time, they have to present an I.D. to an armed guard and pass through metal detectors and submit to being frisked on the way in. Not much of an aphrodisiac to say the least.

Some FSO’s, most commonly men, who might be considered slightly less-than-marketable products on the dating scene at home, do manage to trade up for attractive spouses they find in developing countries. Everyone has a story about a dorky guy with a lovely wife but, in reality, people marry for all kinds of reasons, including for money or status, even in the U.S., so odd relationships certainly aren’t the sole provenance of the expatriate or FSO.

Many a potentially good career in the Foreign Service has been ruined by philandering. Some lose their security clearances for serial cheating, which is thought to make one vulnerable to blackmail; others simply destroy their corridor reputations. The lack of privacy can be daunting, but, in reality, it probably encourages FSO’s to be faithful to their spouses, which is obviously a good thing.

The State Department has made strides of late in helping gay and straight FSO’s who live with unmarried partners, but trying to live overseas with what are called MOH’s (members of household) is also a huge challenge. FSO spouses, considered EFM’s (eligible family members) in the government’s acronym happy parlance, typically enjoy full diplomatic status overseas and can travel to posts at government expense. But MOH’s do not.

All this said, experiencing a new culture with a spouse or a new lover can be an awful lot more exciting than a stay-at-home marriage or trying one’s luck on eHarmony. But if you’re thinking of joining to the Foreign Service because you want to live like Heff, think again.

Read more from A Traveler in the Foreign Service here.

Image via Horrible Giant Jungle Flea on Flickr.