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Sex in Space?
September 22, 2006 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever had sex in space?

I am wondering if sex has occured in space, or at least some variety of microgravity. I have Googled around looking for something conclusive and haven't found anything.
posted by blueplasticfish to Human Relations (41 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
alone perhaps. some stay quite long up there.
posted by krautland at 12:23 PM on September 22, 2006


First google hit on 'sex space'.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:23 PM on September 22, 2006


There has been one married couple in space. I doubt if they did any offical "experiments" but am sure they would have tried it unofficially.
posted by JJ86 at 12:25 PM on September 22, 2006


Here is the Straight Dope.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 12:25 PM on September 22, 2006


In this article:

G. Harry Stine, “The Alternate View: The Three Dolphin Club,” Analog 110(April 1990):106-108.

the author mentions that he has knowledge of people having sex in space (IIRC). So if you trust G. Harry Stine's judgement, the answer is yes.

Or were you looking for something more conclusive, like a YouTube video?
posted by mikepop at 12:27 PM on September 22, 2006


G.Harry Stine believed in gyroscopic inertia-less drive too, so no, I don't trust him
posted by A189Nut at 12:39 PM on September 22, 2006


Has there been any experimentation on how embryos (human or otherwise) develop in microgravity? Sex in space would be unwise unless we're sure that any pregnancies would proceed normally.
posted by randomstriker at 12:55 PM on September 22, 2006


Officially, no one has had (or should have) sex in space, and no one is talking unofficially, so you will have trouble getting a good answer to this question, but unless you are restricting this to heterosex (for which there hasn't been as much opportunity), I'm sure at least a couple of cosmonauts have tried it. Some of them stayed up there a long time. This guy was up (and I mean up, especially in zero gravity) for 438 days. I bet he tried to jump anyone who came through the airlock. (Visitor: "Comrade! How nice to see you." Polyakov: "Call me Valeriy! Say, did you remember to bring the, uh, ...nosecone polish?")

Even if it hasn't happened yet, with space tourists going up regularly now, it is bound to happen soon. What are they going to do, turn the thing around and land at a different airport?
posted by pracowity at 1:24 PM on September 22, 2006


The humorously titled 'Uranus Experiment: Part 2' comes close to what you're after.
posted by punilux at 1:29 PM on September 22, 2006


Back in the stone ages of the Internet, I had a seriously wacky web site with some buddies from the San Fran radio world (The Alex Bennett show), called "The Surfing Monkey". It was quite the destination in those wild and innocent days. My pal Chuck Farnham had dug up this document, which was posted on our site and got us into some hot water. You can decide for yourself whether it's genuine or not.
posted by dbiedny at 1:47 PM on September 22, 2006


That's the self-same document Uncle Cecil dismisses rather offhandedly as an obvious hoax, coming from a site with other "absolutely true" things like a transcript of cabin communication from the Challenger and a picture of Kurt Cobain's bloody head.
posted by briank at 1:56 PM on September 22, 2006


CoEvolution Quarterly had a really porny story about sex in space called The Day they Tested the Rec Room [written by this guy] that I read when I was younger. IIRC it was one of the reasons they went to having two versions of the magazine.
posted by jessamyn at 2:02 PM on September 22, 2006


Ah, what the hell...

A very good friend of mine worked on the Space Shuttle about 12 years ago, when he toiled for a Very Large Government Contractor. They tried to compartmentalize everyone's jobs, so no one knew what the other was doing, but he did chat with the oldster NASA engineers over lunch. His answer? Yes. (And officially.) As you can imagine, it was cumbersome and unromantic -- though apparently, also hilarious.

But then again, this is total hearsay, and he could've been yanking my chain. So take it with a whole shaker of salt.
posted by turducken at 2:06 PM on September 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


That article linked by Cecil and dbiedny is obviously fake. No one could submit a technical report that switches to first person halfway through!
posted by muddgirl at 2:13 PM on September 22, 2006


Has there been any experimentation on how embryos (human or otherwise) develop in microgravity? Sex in space would be unwise unless we're sure that any pregnancies would proceed normally.

Huh? What, are you expecting an alien baby to pop out?

And sex in space sounds VERY wise. Not all sex is geared towards pregnancy. I think it would be very fun in zero gravity.
posted by agregoli at 2:49 PM on September 22, 2006


>I think it would be very fun in zero gravity.

On the contrary, I think it would be rather difficult and frustrating. When you have two objects thrusting together in zero gravity, they will be propelled apart.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:33 PM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


a couple tried it ... there's even video on this site, but it didn't work out too well ... (warning - fish porn)
posted by pyramid termite at 3:46 PM on September 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


When you have two objects thrusting together in zero gravity, they will be propelled apart.

Well, you'd have to be holding onto each other! And wouldn't the opposing actions cancel each other out?

I think it would be great, since the eternal side-by-side problem involving weight on the lower arm would be eliminated.
posted by Rash at 4:28 PM on September 22, 2006


Agregoli, the concern would be that the fertilized egg might be more likely to implant incorrectly, resulting in a fallopian tube pregnancy or some other mishap.

Personally, I don't see the point of having space sex unless it can be performed on a pegasus to the strains of "I Feel Love," but maybe NASA's looking into it.
posted by melissa may at 6:40 PM on September 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Ah, Chuck Farnham's Weird World, I remember it well. I think I had linked to it from my "home page" (remember those?)

I've always accepted the report in dbiedny's link to be real. And all of the prognosticating above (i.e. thrust recoil, holding on, etc.) is well covered in the report.

Of course NASA will deny it, and of course they would have been stupid to not take advantage of the scientific opportunity in 1992, and I believe they did.
posted by intermod at 8:32 PM on September 22, 2006


Whoops, wrong URL. dbiedny's link.
posted by intermod at 8:33 PM on September 22, 2006


Agregoli, the concern would be that the fertilized egg might be more likely to implant incorrectly, resulting in a fallopian tube pregnancy or some other mishap.

Not only that, but a human fetus, even if it did implant in the uterus correctly, almost certainly needs gravity to develop properly. It might not matter much in the first trimester, but a pregnant woman probably shouldn't be up there past then, unless she doesn't care if her fetus turns out to have stunted bone growth and lack of muscle tissue. And with the increased radiation in space, there'd be a greater risk for birth defects. In short: flipper babies.

On the other hand, at least her feet wouldn't swell so badly in microgravity...

This is all kinda interesting and funny, but if we're ever going to go to Mars and other planets someday, sex and reproduction in space are very real problems. Current technology could mean a two-year trip to Mars; somebody on that crew's going to be screwing his or her crewmate(s), or else they'll all have a nasty case of cabin fever. Unless NASA or another space travel group (such as one of the fledgling commercial ventures) grows up and deals with the issue openly as a real matter of astronaut health and well-being, things could get outright dangerous for a female crewmember or female space tourist... Not to mention the group psychological issues that go along with sex within a crew in a confined environment, like jealousy, perceptions of favoritism, and the effect on morale.

Worst case? The horror of trying to give birth in zero-g with no gravity to help you...
posted by Asparagirl at 9:43 PM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Also, I don't believe it is known yet (even though it's frickin' 2006!) what effect prolonged microgravity has on hormonal birth control methods. It may make them ineffective. And some hormonal birth control methods, such as Depo-Provera or progesterin pills, cause bone loss even here on Earth, a negative trend that might get dangerously exascerbated in bone-destroying microgravity. And obviously some barrier methods of birth control wouldn't work as effectively in space.

So you can see why this is an issue...you simply can't ask about "sex in space" without confronting the possiblity for "reproduction in space" and "potentially debilitating pregnancy in space".

Unless you're asking about gay or lesbian couples in space...

Which reminds me, why is everyone in this thread assuming that the only potential "sex in space" incidents happened when both men and women were on one of the many space station or shuttle missions? Male astronauts and cosmonauts have been spending months or years in space together since the 1970's! I don't care if they were nominally heterosexual back on Earth; you think they just played cards together that whole time?
posted by Asparagirl at 9:56 PM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


There are two issues here, no? 1) sex in space, and 2) sex in zero gravity.

Has anyone had sex in space? Probably not. Does anybody really care? Sex in zero gravity is the interesting bit, and nobody needs NASA for that. Rides on vomit comets are available commercially and I'd be surprised if you couldn't buy some experimental documentation at your friendly neighborhood adult video store.
posted by rlk at 7:45 AM on September 23, 2006


Yeah, I rlk is right on. I just saw a TV commercial for Girls Gone Wild on a vomit comet last week. Can't find the link right now, but I'm sure zero-g porn is out there.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:27 PM on September 23, 2006


FWIW, I once heard Clay Jenkinson say on his radio show that he was friends with some astronauts and he "knew for a fact" it had happened.
posted by 4ster at 8:17 PM on September 23, 2006


I had a friend who worked with NASA, and he had this conversation with them at some sort of official place (I actually think he has a paper out on it). The main issue was birth control and pregnancy, with concerns about the effects on the embryo of radiation on re-entry being the biggest issue. He said that hearing officials in the space industry seriously debate enacting a "anal sex only" rule to be one of the most surreal moments of his life.
posted by occhiblu at 10:15 AM on September 26, 2006 [38 favorites]


The humorously titled 'Uranus Experiment: Part 2' comes close to what you're after.
posted by punilux


I've seen this video (it may have been 'Part 1'...I wasn't keeping track). Shot in 20-second increments due to the length of time the 'vomit comet' replicates zero G, they producers succeed in simulating what I expect it would be like having heterosexual intercourse in space.

Now, the performers were anchored, in some scenes, either using their own hands/feet or off-camera by production assistants, so there wasn't much reckless floating going on. Also, since it was a Private production (a huge European adult video company), semi-elaborate sets and lighting/makeup were used.

Most disturbing image: the inevitable climax shot in zero gravity.
posted by NationalKato at 11:51 AM on September 26, 2006


A very good friend of mine worked at Lockheed on the International Space Station project. She got to meet a number of astronauts as a result, including a husband-and-wife pair who had been up in the shuttle together. They were asked if they had sex when they were up in space and the answer was "Of course! Who wouldn't?"
posted by ooga_booga at 4:17 PM on September 26, 2006 [2 favorites]


The document is a fake. The shuttle mission is XXX'd out, but in the original, the mission cited had only men aboard.

I'd suspect that there has been zero sex in space up to this point. These people are ultra-serious, with nothing left to chance. Eventually it will happen.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:27 AM on September 27, 2006


ooga_booga writes "They were asked if they had sex when they were up in space and the answer was 'Of course! Who wouldn't?'"

What else are you going to answer when someone asks you such a pointed and rude question.
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 AM on September 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


Mr. Shepard, Big Al as he was known in the astronaut corps, had been the first American in space, an instant national hero. "Dripping with arrogant self-confidence," in Mr. Chaikin's words, he smuggled a jury-rigged golf club and a collection of balls onto his flight. Mugging for the camera, he hit golf balls around the lunar surface, turning a purported scientific mission into a circus. (The story is also told in "Moon Shot," without comment or apology.)
posted by felix at 12:37 PM on September 27, 2006


Is this what I have to do to get my name in the history books? Guess I'll start saving up for my Super Space-Fuck Adventure.

RE: Asparagirls concerns, Pubmed has a number of papers exploring what effect microgravity has on animal reproduction using two methods called 'tail-suspension' and 'horizontal clinostat device'.
posted by dgaicun at 1:47 PM on September 27, 2006


Soon -- surgery in space: Surgeons perform zero-gravity operation.
posted by ericb at 2:45 PM on September 27, 2006


felix - why did you post that link. Was it for this line "the climax of Apollo 11"?
posted by tellurian at 5:27 PM on September 27, 2006


In a London Times article from 2001, Stine was quoted about his knowledge of flotation tank experiments. Also, there are pregnancy kits on the ISS just in case. And some more recent "serious" discussion from, well, New Scientist (so maybe not).

Personally, I'd guess "no", but I can't rule it out completely. The lack of privacy is a big issue, and crews that train together for months become like family. It might get handled the way a lot of families handle such things -- everybody looks the other way. On ISS and Shuttle, though, there's so much monitoring and time-blocking.

I said once about the shuttle, "think of your parents and their friends in a minivan for a week". What Asparagirl said, and what occhiblu said. Obviously it's been a joke for a long time but there are also people who know it will be an issue eventually and we should anticipate.

Short of sex, I've wondered how often Shuttle missions have gone wrong, or when the first space tourist interpersonal "disaster" will be. You figure a lot of that is weeded out during training, but ...
posted by dhartung at 7:52 AM on September 28, 2006


felix - why did you post that link.

Presumably to refute Ironmouth's statement that, "These people are ultra-serious, with nothing left to chance."
posted by Chrysostom at 12:54 PM on September 28, 2006


The cowboy aspect was a lot more visible when they were all fighter jocks.

But I think you have to figure even today they're all thrill-seekers.
posted by dhartung at 4:50 AM on September 30, 2006


Isn't this what the Holo Deck was designed for?
posted by craniac at 8:09 PM on October 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


Dude, I would LOVE a Holo Deck... As for Sex in Space, maybe not, but you can bet your sweet bipy that sex in 0 (or micro) G has been done.
posted by TrueVox at 11:17 AM on November 9, 2006


Update.
posted by ND¢ at 7:23 AM on February 8, 2007


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