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  • Okay, so if you're a guy with a sexy mermaid it would be a tad frustrating that she may not have a certain lady part on the bottom but... she has a mouth! And hands! Don't those attributes ever come up as a solution for "the mermaid problem?"
    • Yes. In fact, mermaids are used as a symbol of fellatio.
      • Really? Where? I have never seen mermaid as a symbol of fellatio before in my life.
      • Mermaids used to represent prostitutes; Mary Queen of Scots was particularly associated with them. Maybe that's where the fellatio idea came from?
    • She also has a navel.
    • You can go your whole life with a perfectly happy sex life that doesn't include penetration. The hands ought at least count for something... "erotic massage", anyone? (Don't answer that.)
      • No I couldn't.
    • Let's not forget titty fucking.
      • Lovely.
    • So... suffice to say that it's not an insurmountable problem. It's still a problem.
      • Teehee. Mountable.
  • Also, why is it only a problem for the guy- how is a mermaid suppose to experience sexual pleasure? I mean, she can give the guy a handjob or blowjob as has been established above, but how's the mermaid herself supposed to get off?
    • Well, if she's a fish down there, then perhaps the notion of sex for pleasure might be alien to her. Either that, or she's got other erogenous zones.
    • ... Who wants to have sex with someone/something that isn't able to enjoy it and give back?
    • Presumably if she has nipples, they'd have human sensitivity.
  • I think the real question is, who would want to have sex with something that had a giant fish head?
    • You probably don't wanna know the answer to that one.
    • The Cat.
    • You couldn't have sex with an inverted mermaid, either. It probably has a fish's brain, and definitely can't speak above the water, so...how's it going to give consent?
      • The same way an animal does. Consent need not be verbal mind you. I'm fairly certain if a woman kisses me and starts removing clothing that consent has been granted via nonverbal clues. That is to say if she's naked and I'm naked and she's mentally aware (so if it has a fish brain it possibly too stupid to consent, but not being able to speak above water is a non issue.)
      • You can have sex without consent! It won't be good sex, and its morally wrong, but you can still have it.
      • And that is what we call rape.
  • Doesn't this whole thing ignore the fact that not all fish reproduce externally? There's several species that give livebirth and thus presumably have sex the way a human would understand it.
    • They're still fish. You'd need a Male-to-Female Universal Adaptor for it to not still be a problem.
      • So what? Considering the top half more or less looks exactly like a human's top half, who's to say there's not just one more organ that closely resembles humanity? Also, they're not fish, they're mermaids. They have fish-like quality, but they aren't fish.
  • Since the first mermaids were most likely created by deliberate magic, as opposed to good old natural selection, wouldn't the best answer would be to say that they do have mammalian genitals and A Wizard Did It. I'm sure that whatever entity that created the mermaids would consider the possibility that a land-dweller might want to have sex with one.
  • Despite all the possible loopholes and workarounds to the whole thing, what bugs me is the lack a third option: having them be a sort of even mix of fish and human all over, like the zoras.
  • Why is this problem only about sex? What about the fact that the top half should drown, since they lack any apparent gills, and only have a human nose?
    • They obviously have internal organs (different from those of known mammals and fish) that replace human lungs and can draw oxygen from either water or air (except for that species of merpeople in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which can only draw oxygen from water and not from air). Yes, I'm aware such organs would have to compensate for the difference of oxygen concentration in air and water...
    • I always assumed that mermaids and mermen were amphibious, with gill-like structures on their necks or elsewhere on their bodies for water-breathing, and lungs (or something similar) for air breathing.
  • So if most mermaids (and mermen) are drawn so that their "fish" tail is long and flexible enough to fold like a human pair of legs, or at least wrap like a thick eel... Well, it Just Bugs Me that reverse mermaids have top halves that are more like the front half of a fish than the top half of something that might have a normal mermaid's lower half. It just seems like some sort of Double Standard.
  • They're not fish dammit. They are sea mammals. All problems solved, from breathing under water, to sexual reproduction to having boobs. This is THE most obvious answer. What bugs me is how in the world didn't anyone even consider it.
    • I've always thought the same thing especially given the way they swim. Every mermaid animation I've ever seen shows the tail moving up and down (like a dolphin) rather than side to side (like a fish).
      • That absolutely doesn't explain why they could sleep underwater and live in an underwater empire; they should be more like cetaceans then having to go to the surface and take a breather.
        • The same what dolphins and other sea mammals do. It isn't a fact in ever mermaid story that they have some castle under the sea. They could live on beaches like manatees and the like.
    • I actually kinda thought it can work that way as well. But that raises a question of whether they'd be flat-chested for a more streamlined body? If so, the mammaries would be useless, right?
      • Not every sea creature has to be streamlined. Take the boxfish for example.
      • Think manatee. More recent society has just given mermaids a more corseted look.
        • Yes, that is a very good observation, since manatee and other similar see creatures were responsible for probably 80-90% of mermaid myths in the first place. All of them are mammals.
    • I always thought of mermaids as the fishy version of a monotreme... mammals with physiology reminiscent of another phylum. Monotremes are kinda like a mix between mammals and birds (they lay eggs, but suckle young). Why couldn't there be a fishy equivalent (has partial scales and a tail instead of legs, maybe spawns instead of giving live birth, but still suckles young)? As to the 'lungs/gills' bit... what about salamanders, or lungfish? They can breathe both air and water, though they prefer one environment to the other. Also, if we assume that mermen, like most species of aquatic mammal (and some fish), have retractable male bits (otherwise where are the mermen's penises in art? (ew)), what's to say that the mermaids don't have a flap of scaled skin or something covering a human-compatible vaginal cavity? All of this is, of course, ignoring the option of shape-shifting merpeople (capable of taking on fully human forms for land use, or fully-fish forms for undersea camouflage).
      • The shapeshifting is actually in most of the original mermaid myths.
    • Physiologically, the setup that makes the most sense is that merfolk have their genitals at the same place that humans do, where the crotch is, but modified a bit in according to the structure of the lower body. Mermaids have a vulva which could be closed to protect the delicate spots and the vaginal opening. Mermen would have their genitals inside as well, extending their penises from a similar slit (basically how dolphins and whales are set up). To mate, they swim facing each other, the merman presses his hips to the mermaid's, they open their slits, and Tab A goes into Slot B.
      • I figured the mermaid would simply roe, or lay her eggs, in a shallow pool, and then the merman--or human male--would come along and fertilize them. (Then he smokes a cigarette and falls asleep.) Assuming a good lot of the eggs are viable, he could father dozens of mer-sons and mer-daughers in a sitting. Interesting thought--if one ate mermaid eggs, you know, like caviar, would they be cannibals?
      • Was there really any need to elaborate on the mechanics?
        • Considering most people can't seem to even realize that merfolk could possibly be capable of reproducing...
  • Can't the fish half just start a few inches lower?
    • Some do.
  • What about the two-tailed kinds of mermaids, like the one depicted in the Starbucks logo? That's how mythology solved the problem: two tails, and her naughty-bits intact in between!
  • Why would you want to have sex with a mermaid? I'm just pointing out the elephant in the room here, but it seems uncomfortably close to bestiality...
    • It's not so much that we all want to, but... Well, someone has to figure it out. Besides, there are lots of messed up people in the world.
    • If (s)he is sapient (almost all mer* are, regardless of *ahem* "configuration"), it's not bestiality. It might be something roughly equivalent to furry-ness, but that's a matter of opinion. (And besides, the very statement of The Question posits they're at least 50% human!)
    • It's basically just another version of Boldly Coming, and actually makes more sense when humans and merfolk are native to the same biosphere. Barring a universal progenitor race, we'd be more likely to have at least some chemical signals in common with merfolk than with anyone from another planet.
  • How do merfolk know the gender of their children when they’re just born, having no external genitalia? That always bothered me.
    • How do Dolphins do the same thing?
    • Who says they don't? It really depends on the work -- speaking about details of broad fictional concepts outside of a specific setting is meaningless. Perhaps they do and we just don't see it, Barbie Doll Anatomy and all that? Alternatively, maybe they really raise their children genderless until secondary sex characteristics begin to develop. Who knows?
  • Why are we having a lengthy discussion on sex with mermaids?
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