Mostly, people just want to talk about traumatic insemination. Discuss.

by nobugsonme on April 24, 2013 · 6 comments

in bed bug sex, bed bugs, Nova, traumatic insemination

Bed bug sex, bed bug sex, bed bug sex.  People just cannot stop talking about bed bug sex.

Occasionally, people write about bed bugs’ effect on human sex, for example, this article from GQ.

But mostly, people just want to talk about traumatic insemination.

How horrid  it is!  How inhuman!

And the latest source of bed bug sex education?  Nova.

(Here’s the video on the PBS/Nova site, with a transcript.)

I won’t begrudge people their fascination with the creepiest facts about bed bugs, but I am a bit troubled by the creative designs Nova placed on the bed bug models (or, shall we say, porn stars?)

I understand the intention is to have males and females easily distinguished by the viewer, but come on, Nova!

Aren’t you trying to educate people about science?

Obviously, you need some kind of marker added to a realistic bed bug image to help most viewers distinguish male and female, which isn’t always easy.

I’m just saying, there might be a more educational way to do it — one which maintains the look of bed bugs — rather than adding an artistic pattern to the entire surface of the bed bug.

These Nova male bed bugs look like gentlemen dressed for an outing.  And of course, they most certainly are not gentlemen!  That’s the point, isn’t it?

And bed bug education should be on everyone’s minds.  After all, we still have a lot of people out there who don’t know what bed bugs look like, and the educational effort isn’t always helped by popular media.

The Green Porno episode on bed bug sex remains, hands down, the weirdest bed bug-related item I’ve ever seen, hands down, just as it was back in 2010.  So much so that, of course, I must embed it here again.

(You can also view it on YouTube.)

Kudos to Smithsonian for drawing our attention back to this National Geographic video showing actual bed bugs mating (warning: graphic images — not for those in the throes of a bed bug infestation):

(You can also view it on YouTube.)

Note: If you are among those fascinated by traumatic insemination, then you may be interested in listening to the Breaking Bio podcasters talking with Bed Bug Sexpert Mike Siva-Jothy.

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1 Lou Sorkin April 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

People are fascinated with traumatic insemination, but don’t realize that it is physical trauma and not psychological trauma; the female isn’t psychologically traumatized during copulation, something she does more than once during her life. There are some behaviors that in essence state that she isn’t ready, so try it again at a later time. The bed bugs (and some other related bugs) have evolved this method of insemination and it really must be working for them. Unfortunately, almost every scientific and non-scientific description on public videos don’t fully describe it properly.

2 NotSoSnug April 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Thanks NoBugs and Lou.

I think the Nova video distracts from the science for the sake of the production. But the Nat Geo vid had some very distracting production elements as well. I guess if you’re marketing to the “video game generation” you have to hold their interest with lots of visual effects and constant movement.

During my 2007 bed bug infestation I captured 3 adults, and immediately upon being put in a jar a male inseminated another adult bug. There was no delay, as soon as the bugs hit the jar bottom the one bug chased and then grabbed the other one and wound around it. I thought they were fighting but I ended up with a few nymphs running around the jar after awhile. There were three adults so I’m not sure if the first insemination was another male or a female. I didn’t notice any further insemination events.

I wonder why the insemination took place so quickly upon being confined- whether it was the confinement itself (threat) or competitive pressure prior to confinement (no access to females).

3 nobugsonme April 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Lou, thanks for the reminder that this is a physical trauma.

NotSoSnug, you’re right– Nat Geo is not undistracting. I have grown so used to the sensationalism of most bed bug “documentaries.” You also ask a good question about the urgency with which your captives mated.

Thanks for your comments!

4 AshamedandScratching April 26, 2013 at 6:30 am

People are just fascinated by sex. Ours, penguins, bed bugs, any loving creature really.

I think it’s all the repression.

5 CarpathianPeasant April 29, 2013 at 1:20 am

Reference: the comment by NotSoSnug.

If I recall correctly, something similar happened with some that I had trapped. However, I wasn’t being quite so observant. I just wanted to trap some. Don’t even know if they were ones that were hit with alcohol first.

6 Ci Lecto May 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I suspect that our fascination with traumatic insemination mirrors our apprehensions about our own sexual “performances” and limitations…”My man can’t even get it in the hole and I’ve still born him ### kids”.

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