Applied Orbital Mechanics (‘Cause “Space Sex” in Headlines Is Cheating)
A couple of days ago, David Warmflash, an astrobiologist and physician, sent me a link to his latest work, a quickie through issues surrounding space tourism. The 15-page work, available for free through Amazon Kindle, touches briefly on the one subject that will never get old: sex in space.
The feasibility of weightless intercourse has been questioned on the basis of Newton’s 3rd Law, but various interventions have been suggested. Surely, the advent of orbital hotels will inspire new tactics, bringing the Mile High Club to new heights. The first space hotels will fly in low Earth orbit (LEO), like the International Space Station (ISS), whose altitude ranges from 278 to 460 kilometers. Taking the average of these altitudes gives us the “369 km High Club.” Perfect.
Warmflash doesn’t go into detail about what it’s like to grapple with Newton’s third law of motion (to every action there is always opposed an equal reaction, etc.) during space sex, but fortunately for all of us curious and hopeful space sex tourists, we have the experience of Michael Behar, who took on this question in 2006 alongside his wife, Ashley.
Writing for Outside, Behar details how a fascination with sex in space led him to Zero Gravity Corporation, which uses a modified Boeing 727 to create some 20 thirty-second periods of weightlessness during the course of a non-orbital flight. He and his wife headed to Florida for their initiation into the “100 Mile Club” and there they encountered a group of Mensa members, who were also keen to feel the rush of weightlessness — if not the sexperience aboard “G-Force One.” Behar recounts:
G-Force One is climbing again for round two when I find Ashley amid a tangled heap of Mensa bodies. I grab her hand, ready to get down to business as the craft settles into its second apex. Unfortunately, our first kiss in zero gravity is a bust. It lasts only a split second a grinding of noses, lips, and teeth before I bounce off her like a slo-mo Super Ball thrown against a brick wall. During weightlessness, even a small amount of force triggers a ricochet effect: I somersault into the rear cabin while she cartwheels toward the cockpit.
[…] In this condition, sex would probably be mind-blowing that is, if I could get within groping distance of my wife. G-Force One rises into another parabola, but before I can get to Ashley, a chubby Mensa dude with a knotty beard rams into my knees and sends me barreling like a bowling ball into a cluster of other passengers. I score a strike. Globs of water and M&Ms are dancing through the cabin. G-Force One climbs again, and this time Ashley throws her legs around my waist, clasping them tightly behind my back. Firmly entwined, I pull her head toward me, ramming my lips into hers like an overeager teenager. Technically, we kiss. But it’s not pretty.
Thirty seconds isn’t enough to do much else, obviously, especially with a planeload of gawking onlookers. But our quest is not in vain. On the next parabola, we manage to hang on a bit longer, embracing face to face in an askew missionary position before spinning vertically and crashing feetfirst into the ceiling. We persist, lurching and slinging ourselves into various positions that fall somewhere between “clumsy tantric” and “drunken Twister.” Sex in space, where a gentle hip thrust could launch Ashley into an uncontrolled death spiral, is going to require the aerial agility of a dragonfly.
Munkey Barz suddenly make a whole lot more sense. Also the HÃ¶vding. But personally, I’m astonished that NASAsutra.com is still available. Clearly, we’re lagging.
Header image is a still from The Red Shoe Diaries’ “Weightless.”