NASA Ponders Etiquette of Sex in Space

The USA’s prestigious space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, loves to talk about nuts and bolts, engineering, space exploration and the life humans may discover “out there.” The space agency is even willing to discuss shuttle toilets and the hurdles that had to be overcome of dealing with human waste in space. Heck, that’s all rocket science.

But ask any of the NASA hierarchy about one of the most human of all things—sexuality in space—and, red-faced, they will quickly change the topic.

For decades the media and public have been curious about sex in space. Some Hollywood films have addressed the subject, but usually as a comedic episode or satire.

Back in February of 2000 the UK Guardian believed it had a worldwide scoop on space sex. It ran to press with a story about a French researcher that claimed the Russians and Americans had “sex in space for separate research programs.”

They quoted Pierre Kohler, “a respected French scientific writer,” who wowed the British paper and its wide-eyed readers with such juicy tidbits as “The issue of sex in space is a serious one. The experiments carried out so far relate to missions planned for married couples on the future International Space Station, the successor to Mir. Scientists need to know how far sexual relations are possible without gravity.”

The Guardian loved it, especially when Kohler went on to cite a secret NASA report about a shuttle mission experiment codenamed STS-XX. The mission presumably tested all sexual positions possible in space. Supposedly NASA had an endless line of volunteers for the mission.

It’s dangerous work, but hey, someone has to do it.

The Frenchman continued with titillating innuendos such as “Two guinea pigs then tested them [twenty computer-picked positions] in real zero-gravity conditions. The results were videotaped but are considered so sensitive that even Nasa was only given a censored version.”

Much to the newspaper’s embarrassment—and readers’ disappointment—the entire story was a fabrication.

Don’t ask, don’t tell in space

Like the U.S. Penatgon’s longstanding “Don’t ask’ don’t tell” policy concerning gays in the military, NASA has a similar policy about sex in the astronaut corps. It’s something just not discussed and not encouraged to be talked about or considered in public forums.

During 2006, NASA physician Jim Logan opened the door a crack when he did make a few comments about sex in space.

During an interview with MSNBC, Logan said, “The fantasy might be vastly superior to the reality.” The doctor did, however, go on to admit that studying sex and other biological functions in space will be crucial in the long run—especially for long-term missions such as extended space flights, missions to Mars and Lunar colonies.

Pressed for more details, Logan hastily backed off declaring that he was not representing NASA’s official views.

Of course, that begs the question, What are NASA’s official views?

In 2010 the Journal of Cosmology published a special report on a Mars Mission. The report focused in on all the aspects, including sex during long space missions. It makes interesting reading, and truly takes sex to a level out of this world.

In Chapter six of the report, Dr. Rhawn Joseph from the Brain Research Laboratory in California writes about sex on Mars.

Interviewed about sex on Mars by FoxNews, Joseph said, “Human beings are sexual,” Joseph told “They think about it a lot. So if you’re on a trip to Mars, it’s going to be dark out, you’ll be in a long period of isolation, and there’s not going to be a lot to do. There’s a definite possibility that it could happen.”

When the news organization attempted to get information from NASA, they were informed that the agency doesn’t take a position on sex in space (no pun intended) and directed to the “Astronaut Code of Professional Responsibility.”

When Fox pressed them fo an answer beyond the code, Michael Finneran, a spokesman for NASA Langley Research Center issued a terse statement: “Since it’s not a NASA publication, and NASA is not currently engaged in any initiatives to colonize Mars, and NASA’s not conducting any research on sex or reproduction in space or on Mars, we are unable to provide a comment on the matter,” Finneran told them.

As the years draw closer to the likelihood of longer space missions, male and female astronauts will most likely draw closer too.

Meanwhile NASA continues to ponder the issue of human sexuality and sexual ettiquette in space—like a 13-year old boy with sweating hands working up the courage to ask the girl next door on a date.