Guillermo Del Toro’s Shape of Water winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards is historic for a number of reasons: it’s one of the few horror films to win Best Picture, and it’s Del Toro’s first Oscar.
It’s also probably one of the only Oscar-nominated films to include a sex scene between a human being and a sea creature.
The underwater sex scene inspired a slew of memes about the mechanics of an interspecies romance with marine life. Someone even made a Shape of Water dildo, so fans can have their very own model of the fish-man’s junk.
Del Toro isn’t the first person to imagine an aquatic pairing with a human. Here are a few of history’s fictional and real instances of romances with fish and sea creatures.
This aquatic love story, much like Shape of Water, also takes place in a lab.
In the 1960’s, neuroscientist John Lilly spearheaded a NASA-funded experiment to teach dolphins to speak through their blowholes. His research assistant, Margaret Howe Lovatt, quickly bonded with a dolphin named Peter. By the fifth week of the experiment, Peter began showing signs of sexual attraction to Margaret, and according to the Telegraph, she “decided to administer relief herself” because his advances were so aggressive.
In other words, she regularly gave Peter the dolphin handjobs. In the name of science, of course.
The laboratory vet said, “This dolphin was, well, madly in love with her.”
Lilly’s experiment fell apart as his tests became more and more bizarre. He injected his dolphin subjects with LSD in an attempt to “open their minds,” but NASA pulled funding after failing to see results. Peter was moved to an aquarium in Miami, but separated from his human love, he voluntarily stopped breathing and died by suicide.
Peter and Margaret’s story was featured in a surprisingly unsensational BBC documentary called The Girl Who Talked To Dolphins.