For the December Outside feature story, "The Zero-G Spot," about exploring sex in space, Boulder, Colorado-based writer Michael Behar and his wife Ashley Kissinger took a ride in Zero Gravity Corporation's G-Force One to do a little "research." Since the modified Boeing 727-200 cargo aircraft achieves weightlessness by diving 10,000 feet at a time into zero-gravity parabolas, the couple was able to find out what it might take to do it where no man has done it before. Gordy Megroz caught up with the couple recently to get the dirt on the deed.
Outside: Is orbital bliss a purely novel pursuit, or is there a nobler reason to get it on in space? MB: Missions to space are just going to get longer and longer. They already have. And astronauts are going to have sex. You can't tell an astronaut that he needs to abstain for three years. How can you make it comfortable for these people? A big issue is the shear messiness of it. There's fluid all over and in order to keep a spacecraft cool, they have very powerful fans everwhere. If you have bodily fluids all over the cabin being sucked into intake fans that are on every wall, you're going to have a problem. Things are going to start shorting out. It's disgusting, but it's a serious engineering issue.
So exactly what does it takee to have sex in space? AK: Female leg strength. The only way we could get into the old missionary position, was for me to really wrap my legs around Michael and wrap them together because our bodies touching together creates a bounce-off, so I kind of had to keep my legs tight to keep us together.MB: And even if one person had her legs wrapped around the other person's waist, you're still going to separate from the waist up. So then you have to hold your arms together. And when you're in that position, you can't actually have sex because you can't really move.
Michael, this was your idea, right? MB: Yeah, well there was sort of a chain of events that happened. In the mid-nineties I saw this James Bond movie [Moonraker, in which there's a sex scene in space]. So I just started keeping a clip file. And I kept that file from 1996 until now.
Is that weird Ashley? AK: That he kept the clip file? No! I remember at one point Michael showing me some of his pending story ideas and I read that one and said 'Well that one's interesting.' And he said, oh yeah, I don't think that one's going anywhere. And he almost didn't pursue it. MB: One thing that made it happen, that made it a valid magazine story, was that there are current events that would make it possible. When I first looked at it, there was no Virgin Galactic, there was no Bigelow Space Hotel, and there was no way to get into space. There wasn't even the Soyez rocket possibility where you could pay $20 million. None of those existed. So now, if you have the money, you actually can get into space. And in a few more years, there's going to be a lot more access to it.
So this was just a ploy to spice up your sex life?(Both Laugh)AK: Oh, it doesn't need any spicing up. MB: Well now that I've experienced 30 seconds of weightlessness, I would love to actually try to have sex in space. Maybe in 20 years they'll have some way to get into orbit that's cheaper and it's safe.
Michael, you've been on a lot of crazy adventures for us, where does this one rank? MB: I think this was the most fun and unique. Once you get into zero gravity, it's pretty revolutionary. Unless you've experienced it, you can't imagine what it's like. It's definitely a once in a lifetime kind of thing.AK: It's really hard to wrap your head around unless you do it. When you're weightless and you get upside-down, you don't feel any blood rushing to your head like you would on earth. Your body feels exactly the same. So if you didn't have visual reference to tell you, oh, there's the top of the plane, there's the bottom of the plane, you wouldn't know up from down. MB: I think we were both incredibly surprised about how hard it was to just kiss or to get physically together.
Was it weird trying out various positions in front of the other people on the plane? MB: Yeah, well, everyone else up there was a MENSA member.Did you tell them what you were doing?MB: I told one woman and she just got so grossed out. AK: She did?MB: Yeah, she had on a funny hat and one of those fanny packs.. They had originally leased the whole plane, but they couldn't fill all the spots. They had two spots left open, so that's how we got on.
Sounds like a real turn-off. MB: Couldn't it have been the Playboy Bunny convention renting the plane? AK: Yeah, or Chippendales.