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Scientists Explain Why Tourists Should Be Banned From Having Sex In Space

SEX IN SPACE! Now that I have your attention, please don't do it.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

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Two cartoon astronauts, making out.

The Spiderman kiss is far easier in space. Image credit: studiostoks/shutterstock.com

A new paper has explored the potential dangers of people having sex in space, suggesting that it may soon be necessary to have space tourists agree not to have sex whilst they are up there.

Right now, space tourism is the reserve of the super-wealthy, and there is little opportunity for having a little zero-g intercourse unless you don't mind doing it in very close proximity to Jeff Bezos and Captain Kirk. However, that might not be the case forever – and the new paper argues that as flights become longer,  the chances of space sex occurring increases.

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"It is unrealistic to assume that all space tourism participants will abstain from sexual activities while exposed to microgravity and increased levels of ionising radiation during spaceflight," the team write in their report. "This raises the possibility of uncontrolled human conception in space, which poses a significant risk to the emerging space tourism sector." 

The main problem, which they say has been overlooked by the industry so far, is the effect it could have were somebody to conceive while outside of our planet's protective atmosphere.

"Our knowledge of the effects of these space environments on the early stage of human reproduction and the long-term consequence to human offspring is in its infancy," the team writes. "The possible detrimental outcomes include those of a biological nature – e.g. developmental abnormalities in human offspring, and those of a societal and commercial nature – e.g. litigation, reputational damage, and financial loss".

The team suggests that problems could linger post-flight, with effects of radiation on sperm potentially lasting up to three months.

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In terms of mitigation, the team suggests that participants should be counselled as to the risks pre-flights, and asked to sign a legal waiver stating that "the participants are solely liable for the consequences if they do conceive during or shortly after space flight". Additionally, contraception should be used, though they note that an "obvious concern is the lack of any studies or validation of the efficacy of human contraceptive approaches within a space environment."

The paper was published on Zenodo ahead of the Space Tourism Conference 2023.


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