Several recent news articles stating that male astronauts shouldn't masturbate in space proved to be hoaxes.
Several news websites reported in July 2022 that a NASA expert advised astronauts against masturbating in orbit because it might impregnate several women.
The New York Post carried an article with the headline "Astronauts shouldn't masturbate in zero gravity, NASA scientist says." The Daily Star carried an article titled "Astronauts warned not to masturbate in space as one session can impregnate three women."
It turns out that the headlines are false. According to Snopes, NASA astronauts were not given a warning. In a recent episode of "Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend," a comedian shared a joke that inspired these articles.
On July 21, a podcast episode titled "Space Porn" was released. In addition to co-hosts Sona Movsesian and Matt Gourley and presenter Conan, the show featured mechanical engineer Smythe Mulikan, who works for a NASA contractor in Houston, Texas.
Conan asked Mulikan what kind of objects could be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) during the program. During their discussion of the wackiest things that could be sent into space, co-host Movsesian asked him if he had ever sent porn into orbit.
Mulikan responded, "No. Nothing of that."
The inquisitive hosts, however, did not seem satisfied, making jokes about space masturbation and pornography. A comedian rather than a NASA scientist, Gourley joked that three female astronauts could become pregnant simultaneously if one astronaut masturbated in space.
The brief exchange was as follows: -
CONAN: "Were someone to be watching space porn on the space station, how does that work?"
GOURLEY: "Three female astronauts can be impregnated by the same man from the same session."
CONAN: "Because the semen flies around?"
GOURLEY: "Uh-huh. And finds its way."
MOVESIAN: "And the women are all naked?"
GOURLEY: "Well it’s space porn."
No active participation was made by Muliken, who is not an official NASA employee.
As a result, the NY Post misquoted this passage when it reported on this exchange, claiming that the scientist had warned about numerous pregnant women.
The "scientist" was really comedian Gourley.
Neither NASA nor a NASA scientist has published a strong statement against space masturbation. These articles are inspired by a comedian's joke. If they had been appropriately named, they might have appeared under titles such as "Comedian Makes Joke About Porn". There is, however, a possibility that the title won't get as many clicks.
Is it even possible to masturbate in space?
NASA has largely remained silent on this issue. Despite the possibility of some logistical issues with having sex with someone in space as well as the fact that the absence of gravity does affect blood flow, masturbation in space appears to be safe and possible. As astronaut Michael Collin claims in his 1989 book "Liftoff," one medical advisor promoted space masturbation to avoid prostate problems.
"Before the Skylab flights, various medical concerns were expressed, including the possibility of the celibate crew getting infected prostate glands that could lead to urinary tract problems. One doctor advised regular masturbation, advice Joe ignored."
Based on an investigation by Vice in 2020, Russia's space service may have gone above and beyond the call of duty. According to Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, his country offered to send an inflatable sex doll and "colourful" movies for the 14-month flight. The doll was allegedly turned down by Polyakov.
NASA has not advised astronauts against masturbation due to concern for mass impregnations despite some unanswered questions about sex and masturbation in space.
It is interesting to note, however, that NASA has conducted experiments on intercourse between animals and humans in space in the past. Without mechanical assistance, only a few select "positions" are possible. The "Missionary Position", for example, is one that is definitely not possible in zero-G.
QUESTION: What positions do you think are most effective in zero gravity?
Let us know in the comments and keep thrusting Australia into the deep unknown…