Every once in a while, the universe demands that you drop everything and perform an act of selfless heroism. On Thursday, Vanity Fair reporter Kurt Eichenwald accidentally tweeted tentacle porn from his professional account … and then made it worse with a long, tortured explanation. He offered up to his 344,000 amused followers that he and his children had been trying to explain tentacle porn, which is a subsection of Japanese comic porn (or hentai), to his wife, who didn’t believe it even existed.

Oh, and it gets even worse; Eichenwald admitted that before this incident, he had thought all tentacle porn was simply called manga. For those in the dark, while all Japanese tentacle comics are hentai, and all hentai is manga, not all manga is hentai. Similarly, while hentai depicts more than one person (or creature) in a sexual situation, there’s also ecchi, which is just sexual imagery of anime-style women by themselves. Got it?

Eichenwald, and others like him, can easily find tentacle porn that’s curated for their needs, whether they’re intellectually curious or looking to get off to images of tentacle monsters pleasuring human women. One thing we don’t do at Inverse is kink-shame, so here’s your handy guide to the writhing, animated alien phalluses of the internet.

But First, Some Consent

It’s a long-standing misconception that all “tentacle porn” depicts rape, because early examples of hentai often made anime female characters into screaming victims. Japanese women in live action porn (both Japanese-made and Western) are often depicted as unhappy with what’s happening on screen, and their reactions to sexual advances range from neutral (it’s common to see Japanese porn performers texting while having sex) to outright traumatic. Though, again, we don’t kink-shame, but we can’t condone porn that simulates rape in any way. You can find tentacle porn which depicts aliens forcefully raping women (in Japanese, that’s called shokushu goukan), but if that’s what you’re into, you should probably talk to a professional.

As far as searching for exclusively consensual tentacle porn, that’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. The subreddit r/consentacles collects animations and comics depicting women enjoying sex (or sometimes being convinced, though not coerced) with tentacle creatures. Many of the popular tentacle porn comics are satirical, and they reference Japanese-style porn in which women are simply used for men’s pleasure. By turning the ubiquitous, silent Japanese male porn star into a wordless creature made of penises, tentacle porn makes the sexual aggressor, rather than the “victim,” look silly. That means you can enjoy images of women and tentacle creatures while getting off on how subversive and playful it all is.

One comic, Let’s Get Along With the Tentacles!, created by a Japanese manga artist, was posted online and earned widespread acclaim. Set in a science fiction world, the comic presupposes that tentacle monsters have landed on our planet and are trying to integrate themselves into human culture. It reads like bubbly tentacle monster propaganda, and laid over images of women enjoying being penetrated and impregnated by the creatures offers up messages of human and tentacle monster team building. The artist puts herself in the comic and explains that one tentacle monster drew some diagrams upon landing, asking her to let it impregnate her in exchange for protection and household duties.

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A friendly tentacle monster draws out what it would like to arrange with a human woman.

Those who regularly enjoy tentacle porn may eventually branch out into the alien impregnation fetish. Some tentacle porn fans are excited by the idea of having sex with an an alien who trusts you enough to keep its young inside your womb — kind of like a benevolent xenomorph whose alien young don’t burst out of your sternum when they’re ready to hatch. In fantasies like this, tentacle creatures and human women give birth to tiny tentacle monsters, which recognize the human woman as their mother.

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The same comic presupposes that alien impregnation would become a topic of discussion among women.

Where the Hell Did All This Come From?

Tentacle erotica isn’t new, though it’s earned a huge following online. In the early 1800s, when feudal Japan was developing new technologies for mass-producing and printing art, Hokusai Katsushika (you probably know him from The Great Wave off Kanagawa began experimenting with depictions of Japanese demons and Japanese women having erotic fantasies. Among these many fantasy paintings, called shunga, was The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, which depicted a naked woman being lovingly fucked by two octopi.

original hentai dream of the fisherman's wife
Everybody seems equally curious about this situation.

Tentacle porn in fine art had a contentious relationship with the Japanese government for a century, especially when Western colonizers began visiting and establishing trade routes. In the late 1980s, manga artist Toshio Maeda started popularizing the image of tentacle rape in his comics, telling the press that it was his way of getting around Japan’s strict censorship laws, which didn’t allow him to draw explicit sex scenes in his comics. That’s part of why some alien tentacles, even in modern web comics, just look like really long penises, with coronas and glans (the mushroom shaped head).

Tentacle porn expanded into Western cinema around this period, specifically in B-movie horror flicks. Roger Corman included the first instance of tentacle rape in American film in 1970’s The Dunwich Horror, an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story. In 1981, Sam Raimi depicted a female character in The Evil Dead as being raped by a tree’s branches, recalling a long history of sentient phalluses invading women’s bodies.

It’s probably worth mentioning that male creators in film and Japanese comic art created tentacle rape imagery for centuries, though it’s mostly female creators who have mainstreamed the concept of consensual sex between women and tentacle monsters.

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What a satisfied couple.

What If I Want This in Real Life?

First of all, cool, man. No judgment here. Surprisingly, there’s something for everyone in tentacle porn. Perhaps the most popular fetish among women is being physically dominated by a partner, and r/consentacles just imagines a world where women amicably allow tentacle creatures to live with them, exchanging constant sex for getting chores done quickly (or being protected from predatory men). As for straight guys, anyone who enjoys fantasizing about fetishes like the one in r/freeuse — which creates a fictional world in which all women are game to have sex all the time, with anyone, in any environment — can probably enjoy images of a woman surrendering herself to a creature’s advances. After all, most porn created for straight men doesn’t focus on the man having sex with a female porn star anyway, so you can easily swap a tentacle monster in and there really isn’t a huge difference.

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In consensual tentacle porn, the tentacle monster is usually affectionate toward the human host.

There are sex toys shaped like tentacles, which can “lay” harmless, gelatinous “eggs” inside your vagina to recreate the sensation of being filled up with an alien’s semen. The tool is called the Ovipositor, and it’s produced by fetish company Primal Hardwere as part of its science fiction line of sex toys.

In addition to sorting through indie comics and animations on r/consentacles, you can also check out the fantasy web comic Oglaf, set in a NSFW Middle-earth type environment, or peruse the fantasy sex toys at Bad Dragon, which offers hundreds of products for people who want to simulate having sex with fantastical creatures.


See also: A Guide to Finding Good, Free Porn on Reddit

Photos via Neko Arashi, Wikimedia Commons, Redminus, Nickelodeon