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08 February 2011

Extraterrestrial sex

If you’re making whoopee in outer space, does the earth still move?

Since the beginning of the Space Age, many a man has pondered a question that hasn’t received nearly enough consideration in sci-fi books and films (although James bond famously shagged Dr Holly Goodhead in the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle in Moonraker): what would sex in space be like?

Sex that’s out-of-this-world

  • Since there is much less convection to carry away the participants’ body heat and people tend to sweat more in microgravity, sexual trysts would be even more hot and sticky than they are on earth – not necessarily a bad thing!
  • Reduced blood pressure is likely to cause a reduction in the normal, earth-bound size of a man’s erect penis – definitely a potential show-stopper.
  • Having to deal with free-floating blobs of assorted bodily fluids will make things a little messier than normal.
  • Space sickness, which afflicts most humans in space.
  • In the absence of significant gravity, two people may actually find it rather difficult to remain, erm… bonded. According to Newton, for every action there’s an equal but opposite reaction and so all the thrusting and shoving involved in lovemaking will tend to physical repel the two, no matter how strong their emotional attraction.
  • Oral contraceptives may not be very effective in space where drugs are not as readily absorbed as on earth. It’s strictly condom territory and putting one of those on in microgravity could add an extra level of difficulty.

  • Various studies, involving fish and rodents in microgravity, have shown that foetal development, particularly that of bones, the brain and the immune system, during pregnancy can be detrimentally affected. While these may not be particularly serious to start with, the effects may become amplified in successive generations born in space, creating a serious problem for extended space voyages.
  • Space travel has been shown to affect the reproductive system of mice, causing shrinking ovaries and testes, hormonal imbalances, a dying-off of egg-producing cells and diminished sperm counts.

 
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