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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Wild Sex excites me

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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We humans like to think we have the corner on kink. We bust out our whips and chains, flouting our sexual ingenuity. But, as Dr. Carin Bondar has been telling audiences for years, our sex lives are PG-13 in comparison to those in the animal kingdom. Now, she’s teamed up with producer Benjamin Hewett, director Richard Slater-Jones and award-winning wildlife documentary film company Earth Touch for new web series bluntly titled Wild Sex that bares all when it comes to the bizzarre body parts and behaviors involved when animals bump uglies.

“I have been writing and talking about animal sex for the better part of 5 years,” explains Carin, who received her PhD in Freshwater Ecology from the University of British Columbia. “We hit topics hard, and not just for the quirk factor, but because there is a lot of cool science behind so many strange mating rituals.”

When it comes to salacity, this series has it all. The show looks at the spicy sex lives of all sorts of animals, from insects to elephants, outing each for their kinkiest traits. It has your basic fetishes from bondage to orgies, prostitution, and even a little sexual cannibalism. I was fortunate enough to preview the first three episodes, and I am more than impressed with the accuracy, indecency, intelligence and humor with which Carin and her team have tackled these, uh, sticky topics. They make no apologies for the straightforward style—this is a show that gets down and dirty with nature’s deviants. “The show is all about sex, and I was not shy about it,” says Carin. “I approached it from a go big or go home standpoint. I feel like it could have come across as really drab if I played it too safe.”

And go big she does. This is no surprise to anyone who has met Carin in person. Her slogan “biologist with a twist” is spot on, and her bold yet charming personality is immediately apparent when you meet her. On screen, it is even more captivating. She has a way of drawing you right into the room with her, which, given the titillating subject matter, may be a little uncomfortable at times—in a good way. The second episode (which is about getting stuck during copulation) had me wincing and cringing throughout, yet like the soapberry bugs Carin describes, I was totally hooked. From sex toys to half-naked men, Carin wasn’t afraid to choose the right tool to get across the science—which is, of course, the show’s ultimate goal.

“I think that the person who would normally watch a science show will love it,” says Carin, “but people who would not normally watch science shows will have their attention piqued and will love watching it (and learning it!) too.” She giddily explained to me how even the actors and crew got a lot out of filming. “While we were shooting there were so many learning moments with members of the crew…people would say things like ‘Wow! I didn’t know that—that’s so interesting’. ‘I had no idea that…’ ‘I’m so glad I learned that…’”

Carin’s passion for the science behind the sex is what really makes this series work. Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m not shy about these things, but Carin’s knowledge is impressive and disarming, even for a shameless girl like me. In my interview with her, she easily made me blush. It was my fault, really. She mentioned that working with elephants was one of her favorite moments of filming, and I made the mistake of asking how they fit into a sex show. “Surely you must know about the penile clitoris?!” Actually, I don’t, but I’m looking forward to that episode, titled “You Can’t Rape An Elephant.”

Carin is well aware that not everyone will respond kindly to her bold approach to a series about animal sex. “I will (and already have) received feedback along the lines of : oh she sold out to using her looks instead of her brain, oh she’s desperate for attention, etc,” said Carin. It’s sad that any time an attractive woman talks about an even remotely racy topic, she gets these kinds of comments. But Wild Sex isn’t gratuitous; it’s an intelligent, well done scientific program that happens to be about fornication. “So yes, there is sex,” Carin says confidently. “And graphic language. And me being sexy. Take it or leave it, I stand behind my work 100%.”

I’m standing with her. This series is amazing. Carin is a smart, strong, beautiful woman with four kids who isn’t afraid to bust out of puritanical norms and discuss the darkest of animal desires with wit and sex appeal. She is the epitome of a modern feminist, unafraid of and unapologetic about being true to herself and to the science that inspires her. Besides, you have to give props to anyone who can say “detachable swimming penis”, “penis snapping” and “vaginal plugging” with a straight face.

So do yourself a favor: grab some chocolate-dipped strawberries or some oysters, light some candles, and sit down and watch Wild Sex from Earth Touch TV. I can definitely promise things will get wild, but hopefully, you’ll find your brain as aroused as other areas. Carin, Benjamin and Richard have truly nailed it—pun intended.

I only hope that I can find a way to slip in for a cameo when she films season two… What do you say, Carin? What does a girl have to do to get on an episode of Wild Sex?

…Uh, on second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.

Episode 1!

Photo of Dr. Bondar c/o Kim Mallory Photography

Christie Wilcox About the Author: Christie Wilcox is a science writer and blogger who moonlights as a PhD student in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Hawaii. Follow on Google+. Follow on Twitter @NerdyChristie.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Mr. Natural 12:07 pm 11/21/2012

    Article lost me in the first two words.

    “Us humans?”

    Link to this
  2. 2. Mr. Natural 12:18 pm 11/21/2012

    Dr. Carin is a beautiful woman who has the courage to go on television, looking sexy and talking about sex.

    What a courageous ground breaker.

    Why should men be the only ones who get to exploit female sexuality for financial gain?

    Emmeline Pankhurst, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem would all be so proud.

    Link to this
  3. 3. Carin 2:32 pm 11/21/2012

    Well – there’s not much in the way of financial gain, that’s for sure :) Look, I have no problem owning my sexuality, and celebrating it along with my love of science. I feel like it’s about time for someone to say: it’s ok to do BOTH.

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  4. 4. Laphroaig forever 9:28 am 11/22/2012

    I don’t mind “us humans” but “We bust out our whips and chains, flouting our sexual ingenuity.” is a classic flaunt-flout misuse on a par with an historic Vancouver weekly newspaper’s page one headline “Hookers Flaunt New Bylaw.” Good article otherwise, though.

    Link to this

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