Low-gravity sex has been on our minds for quite some time due to the fascination we have with the sensation of free-falling and its effect on us. While some of us might snicker at the idea of astronauts doing it up there, the fact of the matter is that such an activity is very important for a species to begin with. It paves the way to new fields that can unlock secrets about us as a race just by questioning how living in outer space and on Mars has an effect on humanity and the future colonists that might be born outside of Earth. Another reason for our large fascination with low-gravity sex is the rarity of it. No one that we know of, at least not officially, has ever had sex in space.
The topic of sex and procreation in lower- and micro-gravity and giving birth to a child has become an important topic in life sciences. Being able to successfully live in those conditions and give birth to healthy babies that will become second-generation colonists capable of carrying the torch is the most essential task of going out and venturing into the final frontier.
The study of procreation in space seems like a controversial and at often times a hushed down and embarrassing topic for NASA to discuss because the results would probably be released to the public right away. There’s always this case of “professionalism” or “trust” between the space riders and the agency giving them support back from Earth. According to NASA, no sex study has ever been conducted in space by the agency.
But, an interesting thing happened in a 1992 space mission. Astronaut Mark Lee and Astronaut Jan Davis became the first married couple to fly together on a space mission. Obviously, the first thing of everyone’s mind was if they’ve done it or not. The official version is that they didn’t, but I mean, come on, look at their smiles in that picture. There has been, however, sex studies done on animals, including frogs and mice. NASA is cool with animal fornication, it seems, cause you know, “less awkward” science!
The thing, though, is if we are even bothering to colonize Mars, we are going to end up having sex. That’s just gonna happen, whether NASA throws a fit or not. Might as well study it and gather data to see if it’ll have any effect on humanity as it ventures in the cosmo or not.
There are risks involved. For instance, it’s generally a bad idea for astronauts (or should we call whole droves of them just space colonists?) future colonists to try getting pregnant en route to Mars, since radiation would really affect the pregnancy, most likely sterilizing the fetus.
The data we have for this is from the five different species we artificially inseminated, where the best indicator for issues in space sex are worrying, such as the issue of radiation. The best way to imagine how bad radiation is to us is to imagine a big bowling ball rolling down 9 pins and destroying them. Really fast subatomic particles can modify the structure of our DNA and really mess us up along with any future children, which is why it’s generally really bad to try and get pregnant along the way to Mars. This poses a general problem along the way through explorations further into space, such as mining the Asteroid Belt for resources, where space colonists will be exposed to more radiation and are living under the effect of much lower gravity.
Back on Earth, we have our atmosphere, which protects us from nearly all of radiation that can otherwise kill us, but when you’re out in space, the best you can hope for is technology that has progressed enough for material that can absorb the majority of radiation that can otherwise kill you on your journey.
To be honest with you, I don’t foresee spaceflight pregnancies happening in any case purely because most space colonists would do better in prolonged stasis en route the trip. Maybe stay awake a bit after takeoff and before landing for routine tasks and to acquaint oneselves with the team and society. When you’re transporting a hundred plus people, having them in statis also helps alleviate boredom.
But, even so, we must assume that people would do it on route, since space colonists might be less careful than agency-trained astronauts. At the very least, we would hope that they know what they’re doing. I often wonder if NASA or others would approve a mission to test different “mechanics” in the International Space Station with volunteer scientists. Probably best not to advertise such a mission, but undoubtedly the results of it would prove critical for our Journey to Mars. When it comes to two individuals attempting to have sex in a microgravity environment, a third dolphin would come into play here in the form of Sir Isaac Newton along with his Third Law of Motion.
Using Newton’s Third Law, we can see the issues with the action and opposing reaction of two humans having intercourse with each other in microgravity. For one thing, there’s a huge problem with stability since there’s no center of gravity for when having intercourse, and you and your partner will just end up bumping to every corner of the room, which can be dangerous. The solution is to have something to harness the two bodies steady and in place.
Till now, we have no dataset of what sex in space would be like. However, according Dr. Kris Lehnhardt, chief flight surgeon for Mars Desert Research Station, says it will be a bit bumpy because of physics. You are going to need an anchor since there’s lesser gavity on route, but generally on Mars, with 40% gravity, it should be much easier than say if you were on the Moon.
Pornhub has made an Indiegogo campaign before for their planned first microgravity porno, which didn’t reach it’s goal. It would have been interesting if there was a collaboration with the porn industry in the future to conduct those studies. On the one hand, you get two paid actors to have sex and have the porn company tape it and do their thing. But on the other hand, a private space company can ask for measuring data among other things in return for helping get the porno company up there. We can then study the effects of microgravity on those pornography actors. If you’re feeling weirded out right now by the idea of NASA/SpaceX collaborating with Pornhub, then I can’t blame you. It sounds crazy, but seems like a non-zero sum game for both parties.
Weirdly though, and perhaps understandably, is how federal agents still consider sex to be a taboo study to conduct. If they’re not serious about it, then it’s up to SpaceX or some other private space company to gather that data. With SpaceX, even if they don’t discuss it, there’s still an expectation from their proposed colonization steps that they know what to expect when it comes to sex on Mars. This will make the future of their colonization efforts less costly because at least we’ll know what to expect in that aspect and prepare for it accordingly.
There are some technologies out there to help aid in low-gravity sex. I wonder if the alternative would be to invent simulated environment “sex” or “procreating” rooms that would aid couples in having kids and preparing for lower-gravity effects. There are advantages to simulated 1G environments designed on a larger scale. Furthermore, this can be an alternative to those who don’t want the adventurousness of lower gravity sex.
The artificial gravity rooms would actually be more expensive to make since you had to maintain them and at the same time we need to be self-sufficient. Artificial gravity rooms might prove challenging to build on Mars, but they're less impossible to build on a spacecraft orbiting Mars. But for a certain period of time, they might prove worth it for several reasons. One of the reasons would be to compare children grown in those artificial gravity or “procreating” rooms and how they differ from those who are conceived and born in regular Martian gravity. This type of data at the very least would give science a lot of insights into how microgravity affects colonists and their offsprings and what that means for the future of our species.
What there’s no doubt about with the questions and discoveries that we would make in that regard, is that if we miraculously made it to that point, then we would be advanced enough to come up with solutions that we can’t visualize at the time being but will help us in the long run. Such are the wonders of science in the way it evolves our technological limit.
We know that astronauts will lose muscle mass for prolonged periods of time in lower gravity, and that there’ll be effects on their bone mass as well. We also know that in the case of female mice, some of them stopped ovulating altogether while others lost corpus luteum, an important hormone that forms in the ovary during pregnancy.
To complement this data further is a super old Soviet experiment in space trying to impregnate rat couples and study the effect (not to judge, but why not go with mice?) of microgravity on them. They allowed them to interact and mate. None of the rats produced babies, though two rats got pregnant. This was all due to miscarriages, which shows troubling signs that is best reserved to a future post.
The takeaway I want to leave you with is that we must advocate for the study of space sex for science. A government agency might never sanction it, but it would be a great private space company sponsored experiment. Maybe SpaceX can sanction it on it’s way to Mars between a few couples and a couple of doctors studying them. We can only speculate at this point, but the data given back from such studies can only help us predict the future more clearly.
Part V of The Martian Sex Journal
From the perspective of the dreamers of Mars, if we can’t even colonize the Red Planet, then this whole experiment is jeopardized. If humans can’t inhabit the cosmos, then we are literally stuck to Earth and its problems and warfare.
Part IV of The Martian Sex Journal
This is where the irony of living on Mars with the dreams of terraforming it lies in the eyes of this tourist Martian visiting and experiencing Earth for the first time. The Martian’s forefathers left this very planet to settle and colonize Mars and terraform it be like Earth, even though they left Earth because they didn’t want to live there to begin with.
Part III of The Martian Sex Journal
To a baby growing up, this is a shocking new way of viewing the world, especially when the people raising the baby use Earth as a reference point. Everything is sacred, everything is sustainable, everyone working towards a common goal.
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