Popular astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has recently revealed how sex in space works, and his explanation might be surprising to some.
The science communicator had been promoting StarTalk, a late-night talk show which he has been hosting on National Geographic Channel since April.
As part of these marketing efforts, he had been posting videos on YouTube answering queries from viewers. When one curious fan left him a comment asking him to detail the way astronauts can indulge in sexual intercourse, Tyson promptly proceeded to dispel the mystery surrounding this taboo topic.
As the science communicator explained, the weightlessness experienced in a spacecraft, due to negligible gravitational pull, would challenge everything that people think they know about sex.
According to him, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that straps and belts would have to be employed.
This doesn’t mean that Tyson recommends that participants should take a page out of the Fifty Shades of Grey book and combine bondage with eroticism. It’s simply because otherwise there would be no possibility of staying close together.
While under the effect of micro-gravity, people feel excessively light, and they can easily move while employing the lest amount of effort. As a result, motions have to be executed very slowly and carefully, since just a small push causes the individual to float aimlessly through the space ship.
The only manner in which partners could combat the effects of zero gravity and be able to have sex would be by tying themselves together somehow. This would allow them to remain connected until the end of their love-making, instead of gliding farther away, and bouncing off each other as they move.
Another issue which should be taken into account is the fact that in a weightless environment there is little friction, since gravitational forces are significantly diminished. Consequently, ordinary movements might not have the same effect as they do on Earth.
It’s the first time that sex in space has been addressed publicly by a pop scientist, after representatives of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have been shying away from discussing this intriguing and controversial topic.
After all, rules of conduct for astronauts on the International Space Station prevent them from developing physical intimacy resulting in sexual activity, since that would mean breaching “professional standards”.
On the other hand, since the long-term aim of space programs is to colonize other planets, and to travel to far-off worlds which can’t be reached in a human lifespan, reproduction will eventually have to take place.
However, even if such practices would become deregulated in the future, a study published in 2011 in the Journal of Cosmology has shown that pregnancies in space would be extremely difficult and hazardous.
According to radiation biophysicist Tore Straume, a female fetus conceived in such conditions would be almost instantly sterilized due to radiation, so the colonization of Mars and other planets would be greatly hampered.
Moreover, charged particles would alter the development of the fertilized embryo, and cause other health issues, such as mental retardation, physical deformities and malignant tumors.
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