Advancing sexology, one article at a time.

#spacesexology #erobotics #sextech #alcoholresearch #sexscience

  • #MeToo in Space

    A new dawn of space exploration is upon us. NASA aims to land the first woman and person of colour on the moon by the end of 2025, and send a crew on a year-and-a-half long mission to Mars in the 2030s. To ensure a safe and pleasurable journey to the final frontier, national agencies such as NASA and private companies such as SpaceX must address both the technical and human factors associated with working and living in space. Yet, the realities of sexuality and intimacy in space are mostly omitted. How will people be able to live for prolonged periods of time in the isolated, confined and extreme conditions of spacecrafts and other planets? How will people navigate falling in love, having sex and beginning and ending relationships under such conditions? How will people deal with the stress, limited choice of intimate partners and issues related to consent? And how will sexual harassment or assault be prevented or addressed? On Oct. 15, 2017, #MeToo ushered in a global movement against sexual harassment and assault. As researchers exploring human factors in space and space sexology — the study of intimacy and sexuality away from Earth — we argue that it is time to plan for the future of #MeToo in space.

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  • The Case for Space Sexology

    Space poses significant challenges for human intimacy and sexuality. Life in space habitats during long-term travel, exploration, or settlement may: detrimentally impact the sexual and reproductive functions of astronauts, restrict privacy and access to intimate partners, impose hygiene protocols and abstinence policies, and heighten risks of interpersonal conflicts and sexual violence. Together, this may jeopardize the health and well-being of space inhabitants, crew performance, and mission success. Yet, little attention has been given to the sexological issues of human life in space. This situation is untenable considering our upcoming space missions and expansion. It is time for space organizations to embrace a new discipline, space sexology: the scientific study of extraterrestrial intimacy and sexuality.

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  • Erobots as Research Tools

    Sexology faces several ethical and methodological challenges. One of them is that sex researchers must rely on proxy methods to safely study fundamental aspects of human sexuality – in laboratories and natural environments. However, laboratory studies often lack ecological validity, whereas studies conducted in natural environments make it difficult for researchers to control experimental conditions or use sophisticated equipment. Together, this puts into question some of the empirical foundations of contemporary sexology. To address this problem, the present article proposes that sex researchers could leverage the potential of emerging technology, like erobots – or artificial erotic agents, such virtual partners, erotic chatbots, and sex robots – to help overcome some of the current ethical and methodological challenges of sexology.

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  • Perceived Stigma and Erotic Technology

    The intersection of technology and sexuality in sex toys and erobots – artificial erotic agents (e.g. sex robots) – may generate stigma with their use. However, despite the growing prevalence of technology in human sexuality, researchers have yet to examine this stigma. Hence, this study provides the first quantitative evidence of perceived stigma related to erotic technology use (PSETU) and its association with people’s willingness to engage with erotic technologies.

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Maria Santaguida is a graduate researcher and educator, specializing in the science of human sexuality.

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