Inter-sentient-species sex, word

Is there a word for sexual relationships between different sentient species?
Bestiallity doesn’t fit. I am thinking about the situations often portrayed in folklaw and sci-fi.
Is the word different for human-demon trysts (souch as produced Merlin), human-nonhuman trysts (such as produced Spock), and nonhuman-nonhuman (but of differing species) trysts?

Cheers, Bippy


Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle coined the term rishathra to describe this very thing in their “Ringworld” series. Great books, by the way.

I’d vote for this word: Impossible. Or at least Improbable.

I don’t think there is one but… xenophilia?

The Ringworld books were purely Niven’s, unless Pournelle was involved somehow in a later one. Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers were only Niven and I’m pretty sure Ringworld Throne was too, though I’ve attempted to blot most of that one from my memory so may be wrong there.

Been years since I read the books. I’d swear they were a collaboration between the two. Or am I thinking of a different book or series? I know they worked together on a number of works, including one of my all-time favorites, “The Mote in God’s Eye”.

The other thing about rishathra was that it was between members of the same genus, but different species. IIRC, on the ringworld, the genus Homo had speciated into hundreds of divisions besides the classic “sapiens”.

Aside from Niven’s term rishathra (and, yes, it was only Niven and, yes, only between variously mutated human varieties), I don’t know of a general term for it. Certainly enough has been written about it (Philip Jose Farmer’s stories collected as Strange Relations, for example).
On the whole, thogh, “impossible” seem to cover it. As Niven himself said in his essay “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”, sex between Superman and an Earth woman seems as likely as his mating with an ear of corn.

I’ve often seen it claimed that it is also as likely that I would be attracted to an ear of corn, as that an alien species would be attractive (or attracted) SF notwithstanding. I’m not sure about this, however. Not only is bestiality disturbingly common, but I can’t think of anything that looks much less like a sexy bitch (in the vetrinary sense) than my leg. Hasn’t always mattered, though.

Unconscious sexism: when it comes to her mating with an ear of corn, I’m sure it’s happened many times indeed!


Rishathra was used as a term to describe sex between hominid species in the Ringworld series, but elsewhere, Niven has used it in a broader sense; in one of his anthologies, there is an article called “Shall we indulge in rishathra?” wherein he describes the possibilities and complications of alien sex generally.
Part of the article is given over to a list of common responses to the question 'Shall we indulge in rishathra?", one such response is “No, you do not have sufficient openings” and is accompanied by a line drawing of an aroused, clearly non-hominid alien with multiple penes.

Thanks for the Niven info, good word for inter demi-human sex (coining the rpg phrase)

For the nay-sayers that said Impossible, do you therefore think bestiallity is impossible?

And is there a word for demon-human coupleing, as has been discribed in several old myths.
Btw Angel Human coupling produced the Nephilum, according to the Bible, does this have an esstablished name.

Considering all these forms can be considered consenting sexual, rather than mental illness. Maybe terms simillar to homosexual,heterosexual would be appropriate. Does anyone have the languuage skill to give the correct forms for demonsexual, and angelsexual?
Thanks, Bippy

I’m not sure that this would be the best “general use” terminology. The suffix “-philia” in sex has a strong asociation with fetishism disorders. If one were unable to reach sexual climax except by stimulus associated with the other sentient species, that would be a good example of a xeonphilia.

Well, I guess a xenophilic would be someone who was attracted (roughly) only to members of another species, while a xenophilic act would be a sex act between members of another species regardless of the preference (or exclusivity thereof) of any of the participants. Similar to the way we use homosexual vs. homosexual acts(/behavior/sex/whatever). I’m not a homosexual, but if I were to have sex with a man it would be undoubtedly homosexual sex, even if my orientation remained the same. Similarly, I’m not a xenosexual, as I am attracted to females of my own species, but were I to mate with a vulcan, it would be a xenophilic act.

Xenosexual would work too, but it’s a clunky word.

One more, although it suggests child-bearing and also has significant negative connotations: miscegnation.


I have seen miscegenation used in a futuristic vampire novel to refer to human/vampire mating.

I feel compelled to add that there is an adult comic book by Phil Foglio called XXXenophile where “xenophile” and “xenophilia” are used exactly as described by the OP.

Could you be thinking of Lucifers Hammer that was a collaboration of both IIRC.

In the collaborative Orion’s Arm Universe project,, the human race has speciated into millions of different clades, some of whom are capable of having sex with each other, and produce hybrids, while others have recreational, hedonistic sex, similar to rishathra in many ways…
there is no reason for human derived species to avoid sex with robots or specially designed Artificial lifeformsand vice versa

But does this mean that everything is wonderful and everyone is happy?
er - - no…