No sex in the museum

Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibit in the Natural History Museum in London this year, as usual, doesn’t fail to impress. As long as you don’t go in after 5 PM and find yourself being violently shouted at and almost thrown out of the museum as soon as the clock strikes the closing time (5:45 by the way..) you should be fine.

The images are all impressive, but I couldn’t fail to notice that as on TV, violence and agression appear far more than sex. There’re practically no images of sex but several depicting hunting, fighting, killing and eating a prey. Sure enough, killing to eat is natural, but so is having sex to reproduce, isn’t it? Perhaps the images of sex just don’t cut it artistically? I wouldn’t know, you so rarely see them at the exhibits.

The only sex-related activities depicted in some of the images are the ones where males fight to assert dominance in order to attract females. It seems sex can only make it if it somehow involves violence..

Mićo Tatalović

Science journalist at New Scientist
Mićo Tatalović is environment and life science news editor at New Scientist magazine. He is also the chair of the board of the Association of British Science Writers and is actively involved in promoting science journalism in South-East Europe.
He runs the EuroScientist blog Balkan Science Beat.
Mićo Tatalović

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4 thoughts on “No sex in the museum”

  1. Yeah, it’s a funny joke; but in nature it often isn’t that difficult to find a sex partner, at least geographically…I guess it might be difficult to catch animals having sex..The Kalahari Meerkat Project has been going on for over a decade and most people I talked to never witnessed meerkats having sex!

  2. Reminds me of a joke I heard over the summer. A burned-out yuppie leaves Wall Street for the isolation of a cabin in Alaska, 40 miles from the nearest neighbour. At first he loves the peace and quiet, but as winter draws on he begins to crave company. So he is relieved when one day in December there’s a knock at the door. He answers it to be confronted by a huge and rather grim-looking man in check shirt and denims.

    “Howdy,” says the visitor, “the name’s Lance. I’m in the next cabin up the road, 40 miles yonder. Havin’ a Christmas party Saturday night, seven-thirty, good if you could come.”

    “Sure,” says the yuppie. “Love to.”

    Then Lance comes closer and breathes into the yuppie’s face. “There’ll be drinkin’”, he warns.

    “That’s great!” says the yuppie. I can drink with the best of ’em, he thinks.

    “… And there’ll be fightin’!” adds Lance. The yuppie thinks that’s not so nice, but wisely says nothing.

    “And,” concludes Lance, “there’ll be wild, wild SEX!” The yuppie brightens up at this. “Sounds like my kind of party!” he says. “Should I dress up in anything special, or come as I am?”

    “Don’t matter”, says Lance. “There’s just gonna be you, and me.”

  3. Check out The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille. He posits that different cultures have different codes they assign to words. The code for sex in American (and by extension, British) culture is violence. It makes sense when you look at a nipple on TV being given millions in fines while its completely alright to have someone stabbed and shot in great detail.