Sex Toy Company TENGA To Launch A Rocket – And Masturbation Aids – To Space

The TENGA Rocket that will be launched over the next few weeks. Image Courtesy of TENGA

TENGA, a Japanese company that makes masturbation aids, is about to make space history in quite an unusual way. It will be the first adult company to send a sex toy to space as well as trying to retrieve part of the payload – something that could be a first for a non-US private company.

The mission was partially crowdfunded on the website Campfire, raising ¥1,833,680 (16,642.13 US dollars). The project is in collaboration with Interstellar Technologies (IST), a civilian spaceflight company that aims to make space more accessible by lowering the costs to get material in orbit. The launch is expected to happen between July and August from Hokkaido Spaceport, depending on weather conditions.

The mission will be launched using IST’s own MOMO rocket that is designed to deliver payloads to an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 miles) – that’s the arbitrary altitude where space is conventionally assumed to begin.  

The TENGA Rocket Project has three objectives. The first is to deliver 1,000 messages from supporters to space. Then it will release a TENGA Robo action figure along with partner Egg Dog in space. They will eventually come back to Earth, where TENGA will attempt to retrieve them. Finally, the company designed a special version of its TENGA Cup to accumulate data regarding the conditions in space.

The TENGA Rocket that will be launched over the next few weeks. Image Credit: TENGA with permission
The TENGA Robo and its partner Egg dog will be the "passengers". on the TENGA rocket. Image Courtesy of TENGA

The company has quite an ambitious goal: It wants to be the first one to create a masturbation product that can be used in space. The potential device might be equipped with a vacuum system that can remove lubricant and semen from the device – similar, in a way, to the space toilet's ability to remove and store solid excrements before they are disposed of back on Earth.  

“The TENGA Rocket will carry messages from our fans and supporters of the project to space; messages of 'love' and 'freedom' from people around the world, regardless of country, religion, age, gender or sexuality,” TENGA President Koichi Matsumoto told IFLScience.

“On top of this, since the company was founded, I’ve firmly believed that there will eventually be a huge need for TENGA in space. Sexuality and its needs are always a part of us, and so I want to take this opportunity, through my chance encounter with [IST founder] Mr. Horie, as our first step into space-product development. Some day perhaps, we’ll be able to create something that the likes of NASA will want to incorporate into their endeavors in space.” 

Space and sex have an interesting and complex relationship. There’s been very little discussion of sexual health in space from western space agencies – and this is concerning. It is important to recognize that sexual health is just a part of human health, and if people are expected to spend longer and longer times beyond Earth, ignoring sexual health is not just absurd, it’s dangerous.

IFLScience spoke with Dr Eleanor Armstrong and Akvile Terminaite, respectively the researcher and designer of EXO-MOAN Studio. They highlight that attempts to bridge the cosmic gap between sex and space are not that unheard of. For example, there have been Soviet space masturbation aids, as well as the experimental 2suit, to help people having sex in space.

“This new crowdfunding venture fits within a longer history of crowdfunding for sex in space – for example, Pornhub, in 2015, lead an (unsuccessful) Indiegogo campaign to make a porn tape in space. While state space agencies might not be keen to sponsor ’sex’ content, maybe public crowdfunding that supports private space missions (and perhaps departs from the billionaire space race) like this one might be a way to get this on the agenda,” the two experts told IFLScience.

“We’re really struck that this is a fleshlight – or a sex toy for penises – when so much of the sex-tech industry here on Earth is focused on the vibrators for vaginas and clitorises. This might be because space is so often thought of as being ‘masculine’, militarised (mapped onto cis-men with penises) – so it would be interesting if this was the first successful sex toy specifically designed for space,” Terminaite and Dr Armstrong told IFLScience.

It will be interesting to see if and how this mission changes the relationship between sex and space. We might soon confirm if the sky, for sex toys, is indeed the limit.

 


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