Sex in Space, Laura S Woodmansee, CG Publishing Inc (www.apogeebooks.com), 2006, 136pp, £9.95, US$17.95, CDN$19.95 ISBN 1-894959-44-2 [softback]
This has to be the book title all popularisers of space would have loved to pitch to a publisher, if they’d dared, but it was Laura Woodmansee – author of “Women Astronauts” and “Women in Space” – who beat them to it. The anonymous cover reveals little of what lies within, but the label “Warning: contains explicit content that may be unsuitable for young readers” offers more of an insight.
According to its publicity, “Sex in Space balances the giggle factor with the more serious scientific questions that arise when we think about the possibilities of sex and reproduction in space”. At the dawn of the age of space tourism (or should that be the Age of Aquarius?), and with the promise of hotels in space, it seems inevitable that people should begin to consider the more private ‘leisure pursuits’ of what the book calls the “100-Mile High” club.
But once we get over the “giggle factor”, the innuendo and the double entendre, there is some serious stuff to consider, such as whether it will be possible to procreate in space, what effects space radiation will have on a growing foetus, the psychological factors involved in long-duration spaceflight and their effects on sex drive. This book covers all this and more.
It would have been easy for the author to sanitise the book to avoid criticism from the prudish and religious sectors of society, but the warning on the cover is apposite. Chapter 2, entitled ‘How to Make Love in Space’, introduces “Barbarella and Buck”, two manikins which the author poses for a series of ‘positional photographs’. Although the dolls are, shall we say, ‘genitally challenged’, the photos and their captions are clear and concise: for example, “Buck mounts a tethered Barbarella”, “the classic ‘69’ position in space” and “the basic position with help from the third dolphin” (a weird reference to assistance from a third person). You’ll have to read the book to get the joke!
There is also discussion of whether anyone has ever “done it in space”, as chapter1 puts it, and plenty of speculation regarding, among other things, the first affair in space. There is even the story of a proposal to shoot a “porno movie” on the Mir space station, for which it seems the stars undertook cosmonaut training; it was cancelled because the production company failed to raise the required financing. And there is a spoof NASA document on a sex-in-space experiment, which recommends that “married couples considering maintaining their marital relations during a space mission be provided with an elastic belt…”.
There is much of interest in this book and it should be required reading for all broad-minded individuals with interests in space exploration, space tourism and, let’s face it, the future of mankind in space. In a commercial world of potential space applications, I particularly like the author’s notion that “Sex in space is the ‘Killer App’ of the space tourism business”. Could Virgin Galactic be due for a name change?