Friday, 1 November 2013

Baculum and coitus during pregnancy

Pupils often ask questions that advanced learners would never think up. One such question during sexual education was, whether a fetus could be harmed through sex during pregnancy. The answer is no, of course, if the missionary position was avoided.

At that occasion I remembered the recently renewed interest, on the Internet, in the question why human males have no penis bone (baculum) and associated that scientific question with the pupil's question.

Look at the bacula of rats voles and squirrels featured at the Loom for example. The mere shape of these bones makes copula during pregnancy seem highly risky for the fetuses. Unless some sperm/mate competition scenario was conjured up, I'd bet these critters never mate during pregnancy.

The bacula of other mammals are not as  spiny, pointed or barbed. Here's one from a raccoon.
Raccoon baculum by Mordicai (GFDL, Creative Commons)
Nevertheless, if human males happened to have anything remotely similar, who knows, teachers around the world might conventionally warn pupils of sex during pregnancy instead.