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No, this is not not about courtship displays or dominance figths. (even thought I know that that is also part of mating) This is more of "What their genitalia would look like" and how they would "do it".

Think on your typical smaug-sized, extra armored, four-limbed, fire breathing dragon (let's ignore the fact the their fligth would be impossible.).

The females are slightly bigger than the males, and due to their spikey spiky backs, I think mounting (like birds) or intertweening (like most lizards) would result in castration. So... Nope.

Now here goes my especulation (feel free to prove me wrong, and give me a more "correct" anatomy. This is the point of this question...hehehe...)

Like reptiles and birds, dragons have cloacae, and due to the "agressive" mating behavior dragons seem to portray in fiction, I belive their genitals would be similar to those of ducks (corkscrew-shaped, the male's in one direction, the females in the opposite one.)

As I studied dinos for this matter, I found that Stegossaurus had sort of a away around this: The female would lie down on her side, but I don't think that would work too well on winged beings (the female would have to squish one of her wings for it to work, and expose the soft, vulnerable plating on it's belly), and besides, a dragon's tail is about 2 thirds of it's body, so it would just get on the away.

If dragons do it like the T-rex, then also, their tail would get in the way (and I belive that the female would not be able to raise her tail hight enougth, nor crouch properly (the wings would get on the way), and I doubt that a many tons male dragon will be able to main precise equilibrium wilhe standing on his hind legs to get it done.

In my opinion, the less-troublesome position would be if they faced away from each other (think moths and butterflies), but still, their long, heavy spiky tail seem to get on the way.

So, is there a much more accurate method of dragon sex than the ones above? (cuz, honestly, I think none of those would work ) How?

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    $\begingroup$ What kind of hard science do you expect here? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Apr 14 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ given that porcupine and huge crocodiles also mount, you are worried about nothing. organisms just evolve a slightly longer penis. A lot of animals have prehensile penises. Also if your females are larger aggression will not be an issue. $\endgroup$ – John Apr 14 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ Who says they have to physically inseminate? Take a look at fish, octopuses, and so on. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Apr 14 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ i try to google how thorny devil mating, though i dont know the genitalia or the mating process really look like, but seems like its not a problem to have spiky back while mating for them. here the image maybe it can help. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Apr 14 at 18:55
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Have a look at Whales reproducing

Whales are awkward shapes. However they have found a way: extremely long penises.

enter image description here

These penises are 4m long, and weigh up to one tonne.

They need this not just because of awkwardness, but their huge size means their momentum and velocity are commensurately large and ponderous, they cannot be precise, yet the copulation must last long enough for reliable travel of semen to the recipient.

Your dragons would encounter similar problems because of their scale. Copulation could then occur in a variety of positions, not limited to just a single configuration.

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they have wings, why not use them? they both fly in the air so there is no need to worry about anything getting crushed. And this means only good fliers can reproduce so natural selection is taken care of. it seems kinda obvious. also welcome to worldbuilding SE!

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  • $\begingroup$ Really nice, though I'd think this would be better in courtship, as mating in mid-air would take a lot of energy out of these creatures, which is especially bad for the female, which will need all the energy she can to ensure proper reproduction. If we see that T-rex reproduction would exhaust the land - dwelling female, imagine a flying one which spent a good time doing it above the clouds? $\endgroup$ – ProjectApex Apr 14 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ @ProjectApex true, but these are dragons we are talking about, it wouldnt be to far fetched to assume they have large stamia. $\endgroup$ – Topcode Apr 14 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ true enough, though I still wonder how they'd avoid hitting each other with their wings (Imagine just be trying to pass your genes and being slapped in the face), but it truly would be majestic to watch if they figured these problems out. $\endgroup$ – ProjectApex Apr 14 at 17:48
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how about belly to belly?

I'm assuming your dragons are more like whyverns (2 wings working as limbs, hind limbs). In this situation, let's take a look at bat reproduction, even if your dragons lack the "classic" mammalian genitalia. You'll see many species stick their bellies together, doing their breeding. Your dragons could try something similar in giant cave galleries if they had strong tails and hind limbs, using them to support themselves while keeping their bellies close to one another. That way, not only they'd have their underside protected by the mate, their cloacas would be close enough, I assume, to do the deed. This can be also done if, being smaller, the male lays belly up and lets the female conduct the process, in a sign of submission and trust, vital in case they're monogamous and take care of their young like t-rexes and raptor birds like the harpy eagle. At the end she could help him up if he couldn't turn around on his own, solving the problem and cementing the trust in the partner, as she could just leave him to die or kill him herself. While your aggressive females might indicate the males would need to be like ducks, a similar behavior was seen in t-rexes, and the male's only choice was to please the female or get eaten by her, so it's not too crazy to believe your dragons could show similar, if not greater submission In males (notice that with this process you could change your dragon reproductive structures to resemble more that of snakes, with the male cloaca being longer and extending outwards to do the connection, as there'd be less resistance from the female)

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Perhaps they might have their genitalia on their tail, like turtles do, allowing them to mate while simply standing with their tails intertwined

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