Sex in Space: Time to Talk About It?



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By Simon Dubé, Concordia University; Dave Anctil, Laval University; Judith Lapierre, Laval University; Lisa Giaccari, Concordia University, and Maria Santaguida, Concordia University

Houston we have a problem! Love and sex in space must exist if we hope to travel long distances and become an interplanetary species, but space organizations are not ready.

National agencies and private space companies – such as NASA and SpaceX – aim to colonize Mars and send humans to space on long-term missions, but they have yet to meet the intimate and sexual needs of the people. astronauts or future inhabitants of space.

This situation is untenable and must change if we hope to establish new worlds and continue to expand into the cosmos. We will have to learn how to safely reproduce and build pleasurable intimate lives in space. To be successful, however, we also need space organizations to take a new perspective on space exploration: one that sees humans as whole beings with needs and wants.

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As researchers exploring the psychology of human sexuality and studying the psychosocial aspects of human factors in space, we propose that it is high time that space programs embraced a new discipline: spatial sexology, the comprehensive scientific study of extraterrestrial intimacy and sexuality.

Official NASA portraits of a man in a spacesuit, a woman in a flight suit.
Mark Lee and Jan Davis were the first (so far last) married couple to fly into space together, aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-47) in 1992. Here is their story, and more. Image via NASA.

Sex in space, the last frontier

Love and sex are at the heart of human life. Despite this, national and private space organizations are moving forward with long-term missions to the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon and Mars without any concrete research and without plans to combat human eroticism in the world. space. It’s one thing to land rovers on another planet or to launch billionaires into orbit. It is quite another to send humans to live in space for long periods of time.

In practice, rocket science can take us into space, but it will be human relationships that will determine whether we survive and prosper as a space civilization. In this regard, we argue that limiting privacy in space could compromise the mental and sexual health of astronauts, as well as crew performance and mission success. On the other hand, enabling space erotica could help humans adapt to space life and improve the well-being of future space inhabitants.

After all, space remains a hostile environment, and life aboard spacecraft, stations, or colonies poses significant challenges to human privacy. These include radiation exposure, gravitational changes, social isolation, and the stress of living in remote and confined habitats. In the near future, life in space could also limit access to intimate partners, restrict privacy and increase tensions between crew members in dangerous conditions where cooperation is essential.

To date, however, space programs have almost completely omitted the subject of sex in space. The few studies that relate to this subject mainly focus on the impacts of radiation and micro- or hyper-gravity on animal reproduction (rodents, amphibians and insects).

Pleasure and taboo

But human sexuality is not limited to reproduction. It includes complex psychological, emotional and relational dynamics. Love and sex are also sought after for fun and pleasure. As such, space exploration requires the courage to meet the intimate needs of humans in an honest and holistic way.

Abstinence is not a viable option. On the contrary, facilitating masturbation or partnered sex might actually help astronauts relax, sleep, and relieve pain. It could also help them establish and maintain romantic or sexual relationships and adjust to space life.

Importantly, addressing the sexological issues of human life in space could also help tackle sexism, discrimination and sexual violence or harassment, which unfortunately are still ubiquitous in science and the military, two pillars of the programs. space.

Due to taboos and conservative sexual views, some organizations may choose to ignore the realities of spatial intimacy and sexuality. They may also feel that this is not a problem or that there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed. But this attitude lacks forethought, because producing good science takes time and resources, and sexual health – including pleasure – is increasingly recognized as a human right.

Increasingly, this means that space agencies and private companies can be held accountable for the sexual and reproductive well-being of those they take to space.

So space organizations that submit to their conservative backers will likely pay the price for their inaction in a very public and media-fueled way in the event of a disaster. The hammer can fall especially hard on organizations that haven’t even tried to tackle human erotica in space, or when the world learns that they have knowingly failed to conduct the proper research and take the necessary precautions. that scientists have been asking for more than 30 years.

Intimacy Beyond Earth

To move forward, space organizations must stop avoiding sexual matters and fully recognize the importance of love, sex and intimate relationships in human life.

As a result, we encourage them to develop spatial sexology as a scientific field and research program: a field that aims not only to study sex in space, but also to design systems, habitats and training programs. that allow intimacy to unfold beyond our home planet, Earth.

We further propose that, given its expertise and Canada’s socio-political climate, the Canadian Space Agency is ideally positioned to become a world leader in space sexology. We have what it takes to pave the way for ethical and enjoyable space travel, as we boldly continue to go where no one has gone before.The conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Cartoon showing a scantily clad man and woman, and a rocket.
Image via the Simpleshow Foundation’s video on sex in space.

Bottom line: Sex in space may be a taboo subject that few talk about, but it will be necessary for the survival of the human race.



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