Once relegated to the imagination (and science fiction), outer space has become increasingly accessible to human beings (just ask SNL star Pete Davidson, who is now officially set to fly to space with Blue Origin on March 23). With this in mind — and considering that sex is both an important part of the human condition and a key element in reproduction — the question begs to be asked: should we be studying sex in space?
According to a team of Canadian academics, the answer is yes: it’s time to start exploring the study of sex in space, or “space sexology.”
Should we study how sex works in space?
In an article published last year in The Journal of Sex Research, the group of five researchers propose that — as humans take on more space missions and expansion — it is time to embrace the discipline of space sexology, which they define as “the scientific study of extraterrestrial intimacy and sexuality.”
While it does appear that space agencies like NASA may be warming up to the idea of space sexology, it also appears to be a low priority in comparison with the other hazards of human spaceflight. In an article on the subject published in Mic, for example, a NASA representative is quoted as saying, “We are primarily concerned with ensuring crew members’ health and safety in space for long periods of time.”
Navigating the dynamics of how people can have sex in space is critically important — and could actually be key to human survival and wellbeing.
As the researchers explain, up until now, there has been limited openness to research into issues of sex and human life in space. However, the researchers assert that humans being in space (whether that means long-term space travel or settlement) could affect a variety of factors related to sexual needs and all that comes with them. Things like sexual and reproductive function for astronauts, questions of privacy and intimacy, hygiene protocols and even conflict and sexual violence are all topics that will need to be considered if space exploration continues and expands in the future.
Put simply, as the researchers further unpack in this related article in The Conversation, navigating the dynamics of how people can have sex in space is critically important — and could actually be key to human survival and wellbeing.
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