My latest piece for BBC Future is now up, and it focuses on how the things we may think of as odd, gross, or strange when it comes to human sexual practices are perhaps entirely normal for other species.

Romantic relationships are complicated, and so is sex. Relationships can be fraught with the potential for miscommunication or misunderstanding at the best of times, so imagine how troublesome it is to admit, out loud, to your partner, that you've got a sexual interest or fantasy that sits far outside the cultural norms.

But here’s a secret. For just about any fantasy between consenting adults that might be thought of as beyond conventional sexual practices or decency as dictated by society, you can bet that there's a non-human species for whom that particular behaviour is commonplace. Sure, there are plenty of examples of creative role-playing, food in the bedroom, or unusual places to do the deed, but even when you push the boundaries much further the chances are you’ll find it happening in the animal world.

Click on over and check out the rest. There are giraffes, hippos, sharks, snakes, and even a cephalopod or two. Think of it as fifty shades of animal grey.

Photo copyright the author.