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Raunchy sex lives under the sea

Aquatic scientist Sheree Marris' newly-published book takes a unique look at the sex lives of marine creatures.

books Updated: Nov 19, 2007 20:03 IST

Imagine being chased by a portable penis that has a mind of its own or having to wait three days for your lover to get undressed. Think of the kinkiest and chances are it is already been practised and perfected in the sea.

"As humans, we think we're so promiscuous but compared to sea creatures we're just so boring," says Australian aquatic scientist Sheree Marris, author of the newly published book, KamaSEAtra Secrets of Sex in the Sea. The book is a comical exposé on the raunchy sex lives of creatures beneath the sea.

<b1>"My whole rationale for writing the book was to address the difficulty in trying to get people to care for something that they can't see -- the marine environment. I thought what a great way to connect people with the marine environment," reveals Marris, 28, in an exclusive interview to IANS on e-mail.

"Sex sells, people love secrets and there are so many wonderful parallels that we share with marine animals when it comes to sex, love and relationships. They flirt just like us, dress up to impress their loves, serenade. The works get weirder and a whole lot kinkier," says the Victoria-born Marris.

Having spent five years researching the book, drawing on her own work and talking to international experts and scouring scientific journals, Marris' interest in marine sex began when she first discovered the meaning of the term 'dork'.

"It's a whale penis. When we call someone a dork we're calling them a big dick."

So does size really matter under the sea?

"Size matters if you are stuck to a rock by your face and you can't move around like the barnacle. Its long and extendable penis helps it out. While it can't physically go around the rock pools looking for love, its penis can," remarks Marris who has done her bachelor of science (Aquatic Science) from Deakin University and is one of Australia's youngest environment ambassadors.

<b2>"Then you have the other extreme where some females can be up to 100,000 times as big as the male. The poor fellows wait so that the females can reduce themselves to optimum size but most of the times they end up inside their reproductive tract."

There are more interesting revelations in her book.

Dolphins, according to her, believe in casual and recreational sex. The male anemone fish has both male and female sex organs and the cuttlefish can change its appearance to sneak past another male and have sex behind its rival's back.

The book also looks at parenthood in the marine world. Marris cites the example of male seahorses that receive eggs from the female. They incubate them and give birth to the young.

Finding a date, however, is tough under the sea. Marine animals often fight for love. Flatworms engage in penis fencing fights each trying to stab their combatant to death.

Marris' favourite sea lover is the deep-sea angler. To attract a male, the basketball shaped female secretes a sweet-smelling perfume that arouses him so much that he is compelled to pursue her vigorously and bite her.

"This is one hell of a love bite as he never lets go," says Marris.

"He becomes fused to her and basically becomes a blob of testicles on her skin.

"She then chemically commands him to release sperm when she wants, so she's got this permanent sex slave," adds Marris who has spent many hours deep-sea diving to chronicle the sex lives of these aquatic creatures.

Marris' book has pages dedicated to orgies, sneaky sex and heartbreaks under the sea with a photographic spread on each page.

"The Kamasutra educates men on how to please their partner but KamaSEAtra gives you the tips to spice it up in your pool."

After a worldwide release, Marris hopes to soon turn her book into a documentary series. But that's not all. Next year, she plans to follow it up with another book about sex in other parts of the animal kingdom called 'KamaZOOtra'.