Sex in Space

Regina Lynn in Wired:

[T]he space agency [NASA] is almost 50 years old, and while it likes to think it’s a leader in exploring new frontiers, it has yet to shake off the fetters of its childhood when it comes to sex, romance and relationships.

Yet it is starting to talk more publicly about the special considerations associated with long space flights, such as how to deal with illness and even death when you can’t just turn around and come home. And sex is on the list for future discussions.

In the past, NASA has not been comfortable talking about sexuality, says science journalist Laura Woodmansee, who encountered resistance while researching her book Sex in Space.

“It’s almost as if (retired astronauts) agreed not to talk about sex when they left (NASA),” she says. “And the current ones worry about their jobs and how it would make them look.”

Yet as humans begin to spend more time in space and to travel further from Earth, space agencies will need to factor sex into their equations.

“We will have to address crew compatibility, sexuality issues, whether there is a necessity for sexual activity,” says David Steitz, NASA senior public affairs officer.

He had the grace to laugh when I interrupted with a “Hell, yeah!”