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Cephaloporn, a critique

People are always sending me porn, sometimes to harass and annoy (it doesn’t work), and sometimes because they think I’ll appreciate it. I suppose I’m unusual because much of the porn I get in my mailbox features cephalopods, and over the years I’ve become something of a connoisseur of cephalopod porn…and I’m sorry to say that 99% of it is crap, expressing a total lack of comprehension of why cephalopods have sensual appeal. I’ve put a couple of examples below the fold, and I’ll try to explain why they are so bad.

  • First of all, fake, unrealistic octopuses photoshopped into the image? For shame. These are the unique focus of the photograph, and if you’re going to do them badly, you might as well not do them at all.

  • Everyone who knows anything about cephalopods (and the only people who will be interested in these images will know cephalopods) has one thought in their minds when they see these: BEAKS. Is this a bizarre example of castration porn?

  • Please, please stop using cephalopods as elaborate fig leaves. I’ve seen so many photos of nude vertebrates where the artist simply slaps a squid over a primary or secondary sexual characteristic to add a little exotic mystery.

  • The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife has been done to death. Try to show a little creativity and imagination.

  • Try to respect the erotic properties of the mollusc that make it an interesting subject for porn: texture. It’s the wet slickness, the velvety softness, the muscular rubberiness* that fascinate. I suspect it’s hard to capture in crudely representational figures, and should be more a subject of abstract art.

  • The other central feature of the cephalopod are the tentacles, and they’ve been ruined by bad Japanese cartoons, which seem to be entirely by and for teenaged boys who see everything as an extension of their penis. Bad hentai has tentacles erupting and thrusting everywhere, and it’s wrong. Tentacles don’t thrust, they insinuate. They grasp, they fondle. Tentacles are not a penis analogue, but an exotic combination of fingers and tongues. Hokusai got it right, but everything since has been downhill. I see tentacle dildos, I see someone who has missed the point.

  • You know that some cephalopods, in addition to beaks, have sharp, saw-edged, pointy hooks in their tentacles, right? Another feature poorly explored in cephaloporn is the contrast: smooth silky softness combined with deadly predatory razors, like a vulva lined with fishhooks. Use it, people! Good erotic art has tension as well as suppliance.

  • Cephalopod porn should be all about beauty and strangeness. Yet all I see is an attempt to splat some grossness on a familiar vertebrate subject.

So next time any of you feel the urge to throw some cephalopod-themed pornography over my transom, keep in mind that I’m a man of wealth and taste, I’ve been around for a long, long year, and I have certain refined standards. I expect quality and I expect some appreciation of the nature of the organism.

*Although nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel, I’m afraid. Mmmm, Aplysia, if you weren’t so cold, I’d…ahem.

Comments

  1. says

    This is one of the weirdest blog posts I have read for a very long time. Yet, I feel something like a confused feeling of being vaguely enlighted… :)

  2. Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach says

    Send some of this cephaloporn to Santorum. Maybe if he gets enough in his inbox, we’ll be treated to a rant about the terrible temptations of squidly sex.

  3. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    over the years I’ve become something of a connoisseur of cephalopod porn

    I can think of worse hobbies.

  4. michaeld says

    And for anyone (1% of you maybe) who doesn’t know part of the reason for the tentacle in japanese pornography is the censorship rules require genetals to be blurred. But a tentacle is A ok.

  5. Brownian says

    Message received, loud ‘n’ clear, sir.

    [Subscribes PZ to puRRRfectporn.com, the internet's premier site for cat-themed erotica and porn.]

  6. Ragutis says

    Um, yeah… I avoid oral sex with beaked creatures. I’ve learned my lesson.

    Oops! Did I type that out loud?

  7. Moggie says

    a vulva lined with fishhooks

    Yeah, thanks so much for a mental image worse than the vagina dentata. Makes me glad I’m a vulva-avoider.

  8. generallerong says

    Hm. When I think of sea slugs, I think of recycled nematocysts and acid secretion. Ow.

    Or maybe I’m just not hanging with the right nudibranch crowd.

  9. says

    As the photographer who shot one of the stock images that was used to produce one of the images you’re commenting on, let me say – I completely agree. :) The model in image #2 (with the smokin’ octopus on her) and I are both fans. So…

  10. Irene Delse says

    PZ, on tasteful cephaloporn:

    You know that some cephalopods, in addition to beaks, have sharp, saw-edged, pointy hooks in their tentacles, right? Another feature poorly explored in cephaloporn is the contrast: smooth silky softness combined with deadly predatory razors, like a vulva lined with fishhooks. Use it, people! Good erotic art has tension as well as suppliance.

    Hmmm… Like something out of H.R. Giger. Or Clive Barker’s “Tortured Souls”. (Caveat for those who haven’t yet come across that stuff: not something to Image Google on an empty stomach.)

    In a more “cute” vein, PZ, I hope you know the webcomic Love and Tentacles? ;-)

  11. Random Mutant says

    I now fully expect PZ to post a follow-up with examples of quality cephaloporn and await the post with great interest. Because, y’know, well, just Because.

  12. evader says

    It’s harder to find a more enjoyable morning read than Ol Pharyngula, I tells ya.

    Regarding the ‘tentacle rape’ subject, I read in a comment section in youtube (yes, I know…) that the tentacle rape is kind of symbology for living in Japan and being subject to nature and the wrath of the sea(?)

    The video I believe was DIFFERENT SENSE by DIR EN GREY.

  13. says

    I now fully expect PZ to post a follow-up with examples of quality cephaloporn and await the post with great interest.

    Sunday Cephaloporn?

  14. Hatchetfish says

    I just can’t help hearing “over the years I’ve become something of a connoisseur of cephalopod porn” in Jean Shepherd’s voice, and then picturing Ralph’s facial expression as he spits the Lifebuoy out at “and [...] 99% of it is crap”.

  15. Cuttlefish says

    The sexiest thing about a cephalopod is its intelligence.

    Present company excepted, of course.

  16. w00dview says

    When you mention beaks and tentacle suckers armed with hooks, I imagine realistic cephaloporn would be really extreme BDSM.

  17. F says

    Hm. When I think of sea slugs, I think of recycled nematocysts and acid secretion. Ow.

    Exciting, isn’t it?

  18. Gregory Greenwood says

    Where is the cephalopod-friendly porn, I ask you? All these fake, photoshopped tentacles and unrealistic mantle proportions, does nobody care about the body-image issues of young molluscs?

  19. EvoMonkey says

    Although nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel, I’m afraid. Mmmm, Aplysia, if you weren’t so cold, I’d…ahem.

    PZ, I had the envious job while an undergrad of eliciting a siphon/gill withdrawal reflex in many Aplysia 10 times a day for many months in a neurophysiology lab. I never thought of Aplysia as vulval; they always seemed like a huge slimy wriggling livers to me (more hepatic than vulval). Having my hands constantly submerged in 15° C seawater was not erotic in anyway. It was a very good experience since I could study during the intertrial intervals and it spurred me on to go to grad school, but perpetually cold pruny fingers was definitely the downside. Occasionally being inked and slimed with opaline was another downside. That job, however, engendered a strong appreciation and love (maybe not quite so erotic as your post) of invertebrates and invertebrate neurobiology.

  20. ccfoo242 says

    Hey do you mind putting the pics below the fold next time? That was an awkward moment at the office today…hehe…

  21. Ermine says

    Was it just yesterday that we had yet another person complaining that there wasn’t enough cephalopod goodness for them here?

    Heheh! How’s that now? Satisfied? *snicker*

  22. ambulocetacean says

    Everyone who knows anything about cephalopods … has one thought in their minds when they see these: BEAKS.

    Yah, really. It’s about as appealing a prospect as having a piranha or a Tasmanian devil hanging off the end of one’s todger.

  23. Trebuchet says

    Conservapedia already has an “Atheism and Bestiality” article; you can expect this post to show up soon as proof that all atheists love them some squid.

    No, I’m not going to link to it; I refuse to give them more hits.

  24. allie says

    Because PZ stands for Professor Zoidberg. We’re just pre-horrible experiment that went awry and turned him into an unaging cephalopod.

  25. Ermine says

    Pacal..

    You’re not going to go very far here using that epithet. I would highly recommend you think of something that isn’t a homophobic slur – or was it your intent to make yourself look like an idiot?

    I’d like to think it was meant as a joke, but I just can’t see that, since you haven’t included any sort of punchline that might have made sense of what you actually said. Not cool!

  26. Azkyroth says

    I am sure homophobia is the only reason someone could associate a picture of a naked muscular man ostensibly being pleasured by an octopus with “gayness.”

  27. Happiestsadist says

    You’re weird, PZ. And I like that.

    Pacal: Dude, is there something wrong with you? Like, really wrong?

  28. caekslice says

    The other central feature of the cephalopod are the tentacles, and they’ve been ruined by bad Japanese cartoons, which seem to be entirely by and for teenaged boys who see everything as an extension of their penis.

    The sad part is you can be assured these comics are almost exclusively written by, and for, adult men.

  29. Stacy says

    [Subscribes PZ to puRRRfectporn.com, the internet's premier site for cat-themed erotica and porn.]

    Damn.

    I checked. And was so disappointed when there was nothing there.

    (P.S. I kinda like that first picture.)

  30. sawells says

    This post went way past Too Much Information, PZ, I now know things about your mind which I can never un-know. It is as if Cthulhu had written a letter to Penthouse. “Respect the erotic properties of the mollusc”. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

    Just to be clear, the above is an expression of love, fear and respect; not a complaint :)

  31. Irene Delse says

    caekslice:

    The sad part is you can be assured these comics are almost exclusively written by, and for, adult men.

    Don’t forget there are many women mangaka (creators of Japanese cartoons) and lots more who write tentacles fanfiction.

  32. Forbidden Snowflake says

    sawells

    It is as if Cthulhu had written a letter to Penthouse his congressman.

    That’s how the tone came through to me, anyway.

  33. binjabreel says

    @46:
    That’s what I was going to say- I’ve known more than one woman who enjoyed the batshit crazy end of the hentai pool.

  34. Rick Pikul says

    michaeld says:

    And for anyone (1% of you maybe) who doesn’t know part of the reason for the tentacle in japanese pornography is the censorship rules require genetals to be blurred. But a tentacle is A ok.

    You mean except for the little problem of Japanese pornography being just as tentacle heavy starting at least a couple centuries before those 20th century[1] laws were enacted.

    [1] To cover the other myth: They are from the inter-war period, MacArthur had nothing to do with it.

  35. jalyth says

    Pacal said it was Gay, but it didn’t sound like an insult to me. Just stating the obvious that any pics of naked men in our strange American culture are coded gay. Anyway, I laughed at the comment, a little bit.

    I really logged in to agree 1000% with Mutant at 19. I am agog with curiosity as to what quality cephaloporn would look like.

  36. Irene Delse says

    @ jalyth:

    Weird. In my eyes, the pic would only have been gay porn if the octopus was a male too.

  37. says

    Apparently, the explanation for the prevalence of tentacles in Japanese works of porn is simple – it’s illegal in Japan to show an erect penis penetrating a woman, but not illegal to show a tentacle doing so.

  38. Azuma Hazuki says

    @46 and 48

    Thank you :) Personally while I can’t stand most H art, there’s something about the right kind of tentacle-themed image that reaches in and flips some primal switches somewhere.

    Someone I know from high school coined the term “consentacles” to describe this. There’s a surprising amount of that out there, and it was a nice realization to learn it wasn’t all rape and monsters and such.

    PZ is right that tentacles don’t thrust, too; they slither, they slide in, they undulate, they curl…in short, they caress. They’re like the best of tongues and fingers side by side. I had forgotten about the beak and didn’t know about the organic razorblades, of course; the ones in my head are always smooth and silky.

    And the artist of the character whom I’m using as an avatar apparently doodled one picture of her getting nicely worked over, which was another surprise…Lady Carnelian is apparently kinkier than I thought :)

  39. mari says

    Long-time lurker, slightly embarrassed first-time commenter because I feel the need to tell people who are actually interested in erotic tentacle stuff that there’s a really excellent ebook that came out recently called Whispers in Darkness that has a couple of stories that fit the bill.