Banana Slug of a Different Color

Julia Serano
4 min readJun 30, 2020
image from the 99 Erics book cover, artwork by Delphine Sevrain at Mean Child Studio

The following is an excerpt from my debut novel, 99 Erics: a Kat Cataclysm faux novel — a silly, surreal, sex-positive story about a bisexual female absurdist short fiction writer who dates ninety-nine different people named Eric for literature’s sake. What follows is the opening passage of Chapter 22: “Banana Slug of a Different Color.”

It was the worst possible time to be out on a date with Eric #41. Because earlier that day, I overheard someone at work mention that they went to college at UC Santa Cruz, and that their school mascot was the banana slug. And I thought to myself: How whimsical! What an unlikely creature to be a mascot! Are they even a real animal? If so, do they really look like bananas?

So while killing time on the internet just before said date with Eric #41, I searched for “banana slug.” And one webpage led to another. And then another.

And now I am scarred for life.

It started out innocently enough. First, I learned that, like many animals, banana slugs are hermaphroditic, meaning they have both female and male reproductive systems. And it turns out that they also have these enormous corkscrew-shaped penises, which are often longer than the entire length of their body, and which emerge from a genital pore just near their heads. And then I read that when two banana slugs have sex, it typically involves simultaneous double penetration. But because their penises are so large, they often get stuck inside of their partner, and sometimes it can take up to several hours before they can disengage. Which is why banana slugs sometimes resort to apophallation — the scientific term for when one slug chews off their mate’s penis after sex, thereby allowing them to finally separate. After which point, the aphallic (aka, penis-less) slug can still mate, but only as female rather than a doubly-genitaled hermaphrodite.

So now, here I am, sitting at a bar, sharing a drink with Eric #41. And I’m trying to make small talk, but honestly, the only thing that I can think about is what the world would be like if human beings mated like banana slugs.

For starters, it would mean that our genitals would be really close to our heads. This head-to-genital proximity would no doubt create dilemmas for the fashion industry. I mean, just imagine what hats might look like!

Second, it would mean that we could have double-penetration sex. Which sounds awesome at first — twice the fun, right? But surely it would be far more complicated than it sounds. I mean, we’d all have to be excellent multitaskers, as it must take oodles of concentration and coordination to competently perform these two sexual acts simultaneously.

Then once you’ve done the deed, you couldn’t just say, “Sorry, I have to get up for work early tomorrow,” and whisk off. No, the two of you would likely be stuck together for quite some time, as you both attempt to retract your large corkscrew-like penises out from inside one another. I’m sure it would be endlessly frustrating and exhausting. And you’d be so tempted to simply devour your lover’s penis and be done with it. But you can’t just do that. I mean, surely social etiquette would have developed regarding the proper amount of time one has to wait before apophallation would be warranted. Like, if it had only been five or ten minutes of attempted disengagement, then no way, no how — you’d have to give them more time than that. But after an hour, or two, or more, of not being able to separate, well then, at some point it seems like apophallation might be warranted.

But even then, you still might think twice before scarfing down your lover’s penis. Because your penis is likely stuck inside of them as well. And as soon as you start chomping away at their bits, they will surely reciprocate. In other words, there would be this whole game theory aspect to having sex. It would be like the “prisoner’s dilemma,” but only with large corkscrew-like penises.

And eventually, you would have to come to terms with the fact that — if you continue to be a sexually-active banana-slug-like human being — at some point, your lover is going to eat your penis. There’s no two ways about it. It’s only a matter of time.

And after apophallation, you will be an aphallic banana-slug-like person for the rest of your life. And I’ll bet you that some of the non-apophallized banana-slug-like people will likely start to look down on and make fun of you. Because you would now be a sexual minority. They might even invent horrible stories about aphallic people like yourself — for instance, claiming that you all blatantly disregard basic sexual etiquette and purposely chew off all of your lovers’ penises, because now you have nothing left to lose. And while this is most definitely not true — it’s merely a stereotype — others spread these rumors and hold this against you.

Come to think of it, you will likely spend years struggling with self-acceptance, having internalized many of these same horrible aphalliphobic attitudes yourself. But over time, you will eventually learn to overcome them, thanks in part to all the other aphallic banana-slug-like people that you have since met at the support groups and community gatherings. And naturally, you become active in the aphallic rights movement, and you show up to all the demonstrations, where you will proudly chant: “We’re aphallic, we’re here, get used to it!” Even though this does not rhyme. Not at all.

You can learn more about 99 Erics via that link. And you can read excerpts from two other chapters — Posers and Ethical Slut vs. Confused Slut — right here on Medium!



Julia Serano

writes about gender, sexuality, social justice, & science. author of Whipping Girl, Excluded, 99 Erics, & her latest: SEXED UP! more at