Brotherly love

Joined at the torso, these two brothers had no problem in the bedroom.

Published January 10, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Jan. 10, 2000

The original Siamese twins expired on Jan. 17, 1874, after 63 years of being joined together from their nipples to their navels. Despite their inconvenient handicap, Eng and Chang Bunker from East Thailand managed to enjoy all the sexual pleasures of ordinary, separated people.

The fused boys were nearly slain at birth by King Rama II, who regarded them as an omen of evil. When they were 18 years old, their impoverished mother sold the torso-tied duo to a British merchant for $3,000. Robert Hunter and his American partner, Capt. Coffin, displayed the linked lads to incredulous audiences throughout Europe and the United States.

Chang and Eng established their independence at age 21, but they maintained their lucrative stage careers. The superbly coordinated couple dazzled fans with their excellent English and their ability to gracefully waltz, run, row boats, swim, perform gymnastics and play badminton together. Oddly enough, the meshed males diverged wildly on taste: Chang favored spicy Asian chow and excessive alcohol, while Eng was a vegetarian teetotaler.

The wonder bros eventually became American citizens, after they settled on prosperous farmland in North Carolina. They simultaneously fell in love with and courted two sisters, Sallie and Adelaide Yates, whom they married in 1843.

How does one make love with a flesh-attached twin? Do both halves get equal hard-ons? Bizarre Magazine claims that "the two had separate nervous systems ... so there's no reason to think that the non-participating twin would have experienced a significant level of arousal during sex."

What sexual positions were possible? Bizarre believes that missionary style and a Yates gal-on-top were both "perfectly practical," but doggie style and spoons were anatomically out. Would one sibling watch while the other performed? Tsk, tsk! Blankets were apparently draped between them, "so one could make love without the other seeing exactly what was going on."

The Siamese studs certainly managed to screw successfully: Eng fathered 11 children, and Chang added 10. (All were "normal" except two deaf children.) A survey conducted in 1953 traced over 1,000 descendants to this plucky, proliferating pair, including a U.S. Air Force major general.

By Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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