Both NASA, as well as the ESA (European Space Agency) and the Russian space agency, insist that no human has had sexual relations in space.

And that’s probably true: very few men would resist bragging about being the first to masturbate in space. And it is that until now almost 90% of those who have traveled into space have been men.

The few experiments that have been done on space sex have focused on non-human animals. And they were not very successful: geckos were sent aboard a Russian satellite and a failure in the heating system caused the death of the four females and the only male. One of the few known and successful cases was that of medaka fish or Japanese rice fish that were sent into space and reproduced successfully.

But human sexuality… nothing yet

“We need to know more about sexuality in space if we are serious about long-duration spaceflight,” Paul Root Wolpe, who was a bioethics adviser for 15 years at NASA, explained in an interview. If we look at sexual health as a core component of health, it’s important to understand the conditions we’re putting people in when they go into space.”

Sex and masturbation are related to physical and mental health. And that doesn’t change in space. For example, ejaculation is known to be essential for men to avoid the risk of bacteria building up in the prostate, and orgasms have been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as improve sleep quality, thereby probably help during a high-pressure space mission.

But… how is sex different in space? Beyond the stress of being on a constantly monitored ship, there are “environmental” factors that will still be there even when sex is authorized or promoted in space. The weightlessness experienced by astronauts in space causes hormonal changes, such as a decrease in estrogen. Low estrogen levels have been linked to decreased sexual desire. 

Unfortunately, most of what we know about hormones in space comes only from tests on men, since only 11.5% of those who have gone beyond our planetary borders have been women. And they have chosen to take contraceptives previously to avoid menstruation. This makes it difficult to separate the hormonal changes caused by the pill from those that weightlessness might cause.

Another factor could also be our internal clock, which is completely altered, at least for the first few weeks, when we go around the planet every 90 minutes, as happens on the International Space Station, or the concept of night and day changes radically.

For all this we wanted to talk to Simon Dubé, doctor of psychology, specializing in human sexuality and erobotics, the study of erotic interaction and coevolution between humans and machines. His work also explores spatial sexology. As if this were not enough, he is a representative of the International Academy for Sexual Research and general co-chairman of the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots.Simón Dubé, expert in spatial sexologySimón Dubé, expert in spatial sexology.

When we spoke to Dubé, the first question was clear: Why is research on sex in space so scarce? And why is it so important?

“The limited research on human intimacy and sexuality in space – Dubé assures us – is probably due to inherent sexual taboos and the conservatism of some national space agencies and private companies, together with the opinions of their patrons who may not want to have nothing to do with sex. It is to be hoped, however, that this will change as we recognize the importance of considering the erotic realities of human existence in order to facilitate a safe, pleasurable, and long-term successful journey to the final frontier.”

Undoubtedly sex is a fundamental human activity, regardless of the reproductive purpose and in this context, what can we learn from sex in space?

“We can learn to reproduce off-Earth and establish new worlds,” Dubé says. We can learn to build a meaningful and enjoyable life in dangerous environments where cooperation and support are paramount. We can learn to adapt and develop systems, training, and protocols that allow for the healthy expression of human eroticism within the new conditions of spacecraft, stations, and settlements. We can also learn to develop a sex-positive ethic that can be used to improve the well-being of space dwellers, but also those still living on our home planet.

It is true that sex and reproduction are important, related but distinct components of human sexuality. It is essential to note that human sexuality is not just about reproduction or having sex. Humans engage in sexual activities for a wide range of reasons beyond producing offspring, including, but not limited to, fun, pleasure, expression of affection or closeness, as well as building or maintaining casual or long-term relationships. term. It is therefore crucial to investigate how to reproduce safely outside of Earth’s atmosphere, but equally, if not more, important to explore how to facilitate sex (solo and with a partner) in space, along with its myriad benefits. for human health and well-being”. 

Now…, technology has made it possible to develop smart, connected and anatomically more stimulating toys. So how can sex toys change the science of sex in space?

“Sex toys – explains Dubé, who is a consultant for the specialized company We Vibe – represent a practical solution to allow astronauts and future space dwellers to access sexual pleasure in space in a safe and hygienic way, with and without a partner, along with its benefits for human health and toys in spaceSex toys in space.

Bearing in mind that, as space travel becomes more frequent due to the entry of private companies, there will be a greater possibility of research in this sector. With this in mind, should we start a new field of science on this topic? Why and what would be the necessary knowledge gained from this?

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