What is “space sexology” and why experts seek space missions to address the desire of humans outside of Earth

Houston, we have a problem!

Love and sex must happen in space if we hope to travel long distances and become an interplanetary species. But space organizations are not thinking about it.

National space agencies and private sector companies such as NASA and SpaceX aim to colonize Mars and send humans into space for long-term missions, but they have yet to address the challenges. intimate and sexual needs of astronauts or future inhabitants outside the Earth.

This situation must change if we hope to establish new worlds and continue our expansion into the cosmos. We will have to learn to reproduce safely and to build pleasant intimate lives in space.

However, to be successful, we also need these organizations to adopt a new perspective on space exploration: one that views humans as beings with needs and wants.

As researchers exploring the psychology of human sexuality and studying the psychosocial aspects of human factors in space, we believe that it is about time space programs embrace a new discipline: space sexology, the comprehensive scientific study of extraterrestrial intimacy and sexuality.

The last and intimate frontier

Love and sex are fundamental to human life.

Illustration couple embracing
(Photo: Getty Images)

Despite this, national and private space organizations are moving forward with long-term missions to the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon, and Mars without any concrete research and plans to address human eroticism in space.

It’s one thing to land rovers on another planet or launching billionaires into orbit, and another is sending humans to live in space for long periods of time.

In practice, rocket science can take us to outer space, but it will be human relationships that determine whether we survive and prosper as a space civilization.

In that sense, we believe that limiting privacy in space could jeopardize the mental and sexual health of astronauts, along with crew performance and mission success.

On the other hand, allowing space eroticism could help humans adapt to space life and improve the well-being of future space inhabitants.

After all, space is still a harsh environment, and life aboard spaceships, stations, or settlements poses significant challenges to human intimacy.

These include radiation exposure, gravitational changes, social isolation, and the stress of living in remote and confined habitats.

In the near future, life in space may also limit access to intimate partners, restrict privacy, and increase tensions between crew members in dangerous conditions where cooperation is essential.

Illustration of an astronaut with a heart.
(Photo: Getty Images)

However, to date space shows have almost completely omitted the topic of sex in space.

The few studies that are related to this topic focus mainly on the impacts of radiation and microgravity or hypergravity on animal reproduction (rodents, amphibians and insects).

Pleasure and taboo

But human sexuality goes beyond reproduction. It includes complex psychological, emotional and relational dynamics.

Love and sex are also sought for fun and pleasure. As such, space exploration requires the courage to address the intimate needs of humans honestly and holistically.

Abstinence is not a viable option. Conversely, facilitating masturbation or partner sex could help astronauts relax, sleep, and ease pain.

It could also help them build and maintain romantic or sexual relationships and adjust to space life.

Importantly, addressing the sexological issues of human life in space could also help combat sexism, discrimination and sexual violence or harassment, which unfortunately continue to be present in the scientific and military realms, two pillars of space programs.

Due to taboos and conservative sexual viewsSome organizations may choose to ignore the realities of spatial intimacy and sexuality.

Woman in space
(Photo: Getty Images)

They may also think that this is not a problem or that there are more pressing matters to attend to.

But this attitude lacks foresight, as producing quality science takes time and resources, and sexual health, including pleasure, is increasingly recognized as a human right.

This means that space agencies and private companies can be responsible for the sexual and reproductive well-being of those they lead into space.

Thus, space organizations that submit to their conservative backers will likely pay the price for their inaction in a very public and media-fueled way when disaster strikes.

The burden can particularly fall on organizations that haven’t even tried to address human eroticism in space, or when the world learns that they knowingly failed to conduct the proper research or take the necessary precautions that scientists have been calling for. for more than 30 years.

Intimacy beyond Earth

To move forward, space organizations must stop avoiding sexual themes and fully recognize the importance of love, sex, and intimate relationships in human life.

Motel sign in a red sky.
(Photo: Getty Images)

Consequently, we encourage them to develop spatial sexology as a scientific field and a research program– One that aims not only to study sex in space, but also to design systems, habitats, and training programs that allow intimacy to take place beyond our home planet, Earth.

Furthermore, we believe that given its expertise and Canada’s socio-political climate, the Canadian Space Agency is ideally positioned to become a world leader in space sexology.

We have what it takes to pave the way for an ethical and enjoyable space journey, as we continue to boldly go where no one has gone before.

* This article from The Conversation is signed by Simon Dubé, PhD Candidate, Psychology of Human Sexuality, Erobotics & Space Sexology, Concordia University; Dave Anctil, researcher affiliated with the International Observatory on the Social Impacts of Artificial and Digital Intelligence (OBVIA), Université Laval; Judith Lapierre, Professor, Faculty of Nursing Sciences, Université Laval; Lisa Giaccari, research assistant, Concordia Vision Laboratory, Concordia University; Maria Santaguida, candidate for a Doctorate in Psychology, Concordia University.

You can read the article in English here.

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