Hell, no, I’m not deleting a super-cool idea! I know a lot of my friends are writers and that is an awesome idea for a species.
It also reminded me of a thing I encountered in a sci fi novel, where there were these large warlike lizard people, some of whom had Very Very Visible Genitals. And it was a topic of some discussion that, biologically, those were ovipositors, but insofar as they had working communication and translation, the ones who had them identified as “male”. Not sure what I think of that.
Yeah, that’s always a pet peeve of mine in scifi. Why go with just male and female like humans when you can have a variety? A third (breeder) gender like I designed, or maybe the monogendered thing like asari… Maybe even design a species where they’re all hermaphroditic until they come of age, and they choose what they want! But nooo, people gotta be unoriginal with their alien sexytimes.
There is one reason to consider doing that, though: If it’s not the topic of your story, it can be pretty distracting and complicated, without adding a ton of value for the reader. Default-to-familiarity is not a bad idea, necessarily.
one of my favorite things about homestuck is the trolls’ reproductive cycle. apparently, from what canon tells us, ‘genetic material’ (sperm? fertilized proto-eggs? something else?) from a mated pair — gender unimportant, which suggests gender is not linked to sex in trolls — is collected by drones, all the contributions mixed together into an ‘incestuous slurry’, and the slury given to a ‘mother grub’, who then lays a bazillion eggs.
so what are we looking at here — all of the mobile, fully sentient form we call trolls are reproductively male, and are contributing sperm, with the mother grub being the only fertile female, and the drones perhaps sterile females? that sounds simplest, and a bit like some insect species on earth do it. but it’s stated that the emotional bond between the two trolls contributing material has a definite effect on the fertility of the mixture, and (i forget if it’s stated outright or just heavily implied) all trolls have both a ‘bulge’ and a ‘nook’, so that sounds like they’re hermaphroditic, and mating actually causes a change in the state of the genetic material. which makes me wonder if they’re both supplying eggs and sperm, kinda like snails do, and the mother grub simply incubates the fertilized eggs.
i could go on for pages. i never get bored of thinking about xenojunk. but anyway, what i’m trying to say is, hussie didn’t just make his aliens be humans-in-costumes. he gave them some truly weird biology, and made their society reflect this.
sollux very specifically references his nook right in his intro sequence, and since he’s also got male pronouns, to me that really blows the whole ‘boy trolls have gray penises and girl trolls have gray vaginas’ right out of the water. at the very least it’d be the other way around.