A reader calls the headline of this post “offensive and biologically wrong”:
A new sexuality is found in nature if it gets crunched down to chicks with dicks? Bullshit! The gynosome is an amazing discovery; it is not like anything else ever found. But to reduce it to human sexuality removes the wonder of the diversity on this earth.
She points us to Annalee Newitz, who asserts that “the gynosome isn’t a penis”:
As Jason Goldman explains in an article about the gynosome, this is a hitherto unknown form of sexual organ in the animal kingdom. When female members of the Brazilian bug species Neotrogla mate with males, they insert their gynosomes into the male’s sexual organ. Once inside the male’s body, the gynosome inflates and grows spines, then absorbs both sperm and nutrients from the male for several days.
I’m sorry, but does this sound like a penis to you? When was the last time you found a penis that grew spines, absorbed nutrients, remained erect for 75 hours, or allowed its owner to get pregnant? Pretty much the only thing this organ has in common with a penis is that it’s used to penetrate a partner during sex.
She scoffs, “when it comes to sex, humans are still hopelessly in thrall to our anthropomorphic urges – which is to say, our urge to see every animal’s behavior as a reflection of our own.” Ed Yong, on the other hand, defends the characterization:
As Diane Kelly, who studies penises, points out: