487: Numerical Sex Positions

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Numerical Sex Positions
We didn't even get to the continued fractions!
Title text: We didn't even get to the continued fractions!


Sex positions are positions that two people can have sexual intercourse in. Many of them are named, although only one generally accepted position is named after a number: the 69.

Cueball and Megan try to approximate the shapes of the numbers, which they are given by the narrator, as sex positions. They start with the classic 69, then represent the number 99 as "spooning" while standing and the number 71 as "doggy-style" sex over a table. They are then given ever more difficult numbers to attempt, first 34 (maybe referencing rule 34 of the internet) - Cueball exclaims Uh as he has no idea how to make a 3 (maybe he's supposed to curl up in a fetal position), although Megan does try (in vain) to form a 4. Then they are completely baffled by √8 (AKA 2√2 or ≈ 2.82842712475) (presumably one of them is to contort into a figure-eight shape while the other lies on top), and just stand there while the narrator asks Guys? - as in give it a try. And finally, Megan gives up and leaves at the suggestion ln(2π) (or ≈ 1.83787706641) to the frustration of the narrator, who exclaims Aww, c'mon.

The narrator is so frustrated, as we are told in the title text, because he did not even get to ask them to do a continued fraction (which likely would have involved many other people) as the ultimate challenge.

An additional line in xkcd: volume 0 suggests posing to form the definition of the gamma function.


[Caption above the panels]
a guide to
Narrator: 69
[Cueball and Megan perform a standing sixty-nine position i.e. mutual oral sex.]
Narrator: 99
[Cueball and Megan perform a standing spooning position.]
Narrator: 71
[Megan is bent over a table and Cueball takes her doggy-style.]
Narrator: 34
[Cueball looks at Megan, who is standing on one leg with her arms out.]
Cueball: Uh.
Narrator: √8
[Cueball and Megan are staring at each other.]
Narrator: Guys?
Narrator: ln(2π)
[Cueball just stands there while Megan is walking away.]
Narrator: Aww, c'mon...

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While I just did fix the Wiki link I don't think this "Fourth Wall" is relevant. The joke is just that Cueball is trying more different numbers by some mathematical calculations but Megan is visibly annoyed. At the title text Cueball is disappointed because they still have to work on more complicated numbers. I'm sure this joke is just mixing Sex and Math, not more.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:18, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

There are a couple of reasons I believe there is a fourth wall violation here. In the transcript, you can see that the "Uh" is from Cueball, but the "Guys" and "Aww, c'mon" are not--they are from the narrator. Also, that it says "guys" suggests that it's someone outside talking to both of them.Matchups (talk) 01:12, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Standard rules of comic chat-bubbles tend to apply to most of Randels comics. Words spoken by characted are referenced by a line extending from the head, thoughts are contained inside of bubbles, and narrator speech is contained "outside" of the panels inside it's own box. -- Para (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I don't know if I was the only one anticipating the possibility of Imaginary sex. Actually, there's arguably plenty of that already, possibly complementing all the Real sex that actually happens. 23:53, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

My take? The whole thing is being narrated. The numbers are the voice over, the characters hear the narrator, and have to act out the numbers. They have trouble with 34 (rule 34), the square root of 8 could be anal, and the last one? Read it out loud, in 2 pie. Lesbianism or threesome. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Just a reminder it is "LN", not "IN". 07:32, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't think that the characters in the first two panels are standing. I think they are viewed from above.
--Lou Crazy (talk) 14:17, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Agreed. I changed it. 21:22, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, someone seems to have changed it back. I also agree that the view is from above, it's fairly impossible to do a standing 69. -- The Cat Lady (talk) 15:02, 15 August 2021 (UTC)

The fifth panel (root of 8) is particuarly funny to Auusies, as here the word 'root' is slang for 'fuck'.