If humans are to spend long periods of time in space – on missions to Mars or other distant planets – then for their physical and mental health they will need to engage in some sort of sexual activity.
Over 500 people have been to the space, although the exact figure will vary depending on how you define where the space begins.
That number is expected to rise sharply as we enter a new era of commercial spaceflight, with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and Tesla mogul Elon Musk both accepting offers for sub-orbital rides.
However, the exact number of people who have had sexual activity in space remains unknown.
Pierre Kohler, a respected French science writer, claimed in his book The Final Mission: Mir, The Human Adventure that a couple had already had sex in orbit as early as 1996.
He wrote: âThe issue of sex in space is serious.
âThe experiments carried out so far concern missions planned for married couples on the future International Space Station, Mir’s successor.
“Scientists need to know to what extent sex is possible without gravity.”
According to Kohler, NASA launched a secret project named STS-XX to explore what sex positions might be possible in microgravity.
Scientists used computer models to determine how a couple could successfully have sex when every movement could spin them through the space capsule. Various different positions have been considered.
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âTwo guinea pigs then tested them under real weightlessness conditions,â Kohler wrote.
“The results were videotaped but are considered so sensitive that even NASA only received a censored version.”
However, Kohler’s account has been dismissed by NASA, which insists that no such experiment has ever taken place.
The Russian space agency has also denied similar allegations.
Valery Bogomolov, deputy director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems, told reporters: “Cosmonauts are of course humans, but this has not been a problem throughout the history of spaceflight.”
There are significant barriers to spatial sex. Much of basic human plumbing relies on normal Earth’s gravity to function properly.
Male astronauts might find it difficult to maintain a minor erection. Physicist and astronomer John Millis, PhD, told BuzzFeed male arousal would be “difficult in space, although it may still be technically possible,” adding that similar issues could affect female astronauts.
âVaginal moisture could be a problem, as sweat and tears, which are like fluid, will tend to accumulate at the site of the secretion in the absence of gravity.
“It wouldn’t necessarily prevent the excitement, but I imagine it would be uncomfortable or unpleasant,” he added.
Astronauts have also reported a drop in testosterone production during missions, leading to low libido, and heart function tends to weaken, making any kind of vigorous exercise – like sex – more difficult. .
There’s also the question of what might happen if a baby were conceived in space, outside of Earth’s natural radiation shield, cosmic radiation could produce horrific – and possibly fatal – mutations.
“If you look at the list of organs susceptible to radiation damage, the gonads, ovaries, and testes are always in the top two or three,” says Joseph Tash, a professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who has conducted numerous research studies on the subject of animal reproduction in space.
John Mills added, âIf intercourse was successful, it is virtually certain that the resulting fetus would not survive the pregnancy. “
Finally, NASA also has strict rules against married couples who go into space together.
The only couple recorded to have circumvented this rule are Mark Lee and Jan Davis, who got together during astronaut training and were assigned to a Spacelab science mission in September 1992.
If they could find a private moment aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor, they kept it to themselves.