The fifth in a series of the most unusual questions ever sent to the Playboy Advisor (est. September 1960). Last week he tackled sex in the woods, the G-spot and penis strength. In this edition the Advisor answers questions about interstellar sex, the mile-high club, and an odd use for insect repellant.
Q: Has anyone ever had sex in outer space? What were the results?—G.S., Austin, Texas
Advisor: Sex in space—the final frontier. NASA says no one has become a member of the 250-mile-high club on an American mission. The Russians are another matter. There has been speculation—but no proof—that sex occurred after an adventurous female cosmonaut joined the two-man crew of a Soviet space station in 1982. We're skeptical, but that might be our patriotism showing. Space agencies in both countries have shied away from the topic, yet it's becoming relevant now that missions can last months (a manned trip to Mars would take six months each way). Weightless sex would be a challenge—without restraints, a couple would drift apart as they pushed against each other. On the upside, as Arthur C. Clarke once observed in Playboy, "The absence of gravity would certainly make the more acrobatic performances outlined in the Kama Sutra less likely to invoke the urgent services of a chiropractor." Gene Meyers of Space Island Group, which hopes to build a space hotel sometime sooner than later, says he expects the crew sent to build the $15 billion structure will be the first humans to copulate in space. The hotel itself will include "zero-gravity romance rooms, each with a window" and "the walls will be padded and elastic cords and harnesses will hang from the ceiling."
Q: What about masturbation? In its literature about the space shuttle, NASA points out that "the bathroom on the orbiter is a private room where the curtain is drawn, with a normal-looking toilet, a light over the right shoulder to read by and the hatch window to look down at earth." The toilet includes a flex tube that uses airflow to pull urine (or come) into a receptacle. Unfortunately, NASA doesn't provide specifics on the force of this airflow, or suction created by this tube—or how closely it fits the penis.—R.B., Miami Beach, Florida
Advisor: It is difficult to believe that at least a few astronauts haven't yanked their emergency cords in-flight. Over breakfast, the cosmonauts aboard Mir would reportedly ask each other, "Dognal devushku?" ("Did you catch up with the girl?") And a former NASA flight surgeon reported "anecdotal evidence" that arousal and ejaculation can occur in zero gravity.
Q: Do you qualify for the mile-high club if you have sex on Mount Everest?—B.W., Portland, Oregon
Advisor: We'd give you credit, but you might piss off the Sherpas—and the mountain. The Buddhist guides don't take kindly to anyone "making sauce" on Chomolungma, as they believe it insults and angers the mountain (same with killing animals, getting drunk and burning trash). One photographer caught during a private moment with his girlfriend told National Geographic Adventure that a Sherpa warned, "The weather is bad, and I think you are adding to it. No taki-taki on the mountain." But at least one summiteer says the raunchy Sherpas are half kidding and themselves sometimes hook up with Western women during expeditions. In 2004 a professor of international relations at New Zealand's Victoria University of Wellington received a $1,400 grant from the school to organize a rally at the Everest base camp as an exercise in building a global social movement. He hopes to show support for Sherpa efforts to counter the "most spiritually erosive effects of mountain tourism," including sex.
Q: Have you heard of the mile-low club? To qualify, you ride the Eurostar through the "Chunnel of Love" between Britain and France and do it in the roomy washrooms during the 20 minutes or so that the train is in the tunnel.—C.V., London, U.K.
Advisor: Sounds like quite a ride, but you're far short of a mile. The Eurostar reaches a depth of 377 feet below sea level about 11 minutes after it enters the tunnel. You'll need at least 14 more trips to reach a cumulative mile, which might be fun but can't be considered an official qualifier. To join the mile-low club, figure out a way to claim two of the three seats on a deep-sea research submersible.
Q: Some of the Witwatersrand Reef gold mines around Johannesburg offer tours that take you down a mile or farther below ground. You just need to figure out a way to lose the rest of the group. That's what might be called going down with someone.—J.B., San Antonio, Texas
Advisor: Traveling a mile below the surface doesn't qualify. You have to be a mile below sea level. By that account, the Witwatersrand mines extend a third of a mile down. However, it can be done. The Western Deep Levels mine southwest of Johannesburg reaches a depth of 2.5 miles, allowing miners to descend at least a mile below sea level. Peter Bunkell of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa points out that "conditions for love-making at that depth, though not prohibitive, would be far from ideal." For starters, he says, "It is very, very hot."
Q: It is my belief and unrepudiated claim that I and two Canadian women have shattered any previous depth record for human sex by having a ménage à trois at 2,660 feet—just over half a mile—below sea level in the Idabel, a tourist submersible that I built, own and pilot.—Karl Stanley, Stanley Submarines, Roatán, Honduras
Advisor: Bruce Jones, president of U.S. Submarines, who builds luxury subs for private clients, says a number of the few dozen people in the world who own two- or three-person submersibles have told him they've had sex while submerged but typically at no more than 1,000 feet. Because some small subs can dive to 20,000 feet and may soon be able to reach 36,000 feet, Jones suspects that within a few months two or three people will become charter members of the mile-low club, if they haven't already. However, until a wealthy submariner makes a public claim, Captain Stanley and his passengers appear to have bragging rights.
Q: Is it normal to get an erection in an airplane during descent and landing? This happens to me every time I fly.—D.B., San Diego, California
Advisor: This isn't unusual; any good vibration that tickles your balls, whether from a plane, train or automobile, can trigger arousal, and of the three, a plane looks most like a massive sex toy. To avoid embarrassment, lay your coat or newspaper across your lap and let everyone else get off first (the plane, that is). Some argue that adrenaline contributes to air arousal, which occurs in both men and women, but we suspect anticipation also plays a role as the earth rushes toward you. As in sex, anticipation plus vibration equals foreplay—with the ground.
Q: I'm writing in the hope that you can comment about my husband's sexual practices. I say they are grossly abnormal. He says he just likes "a little excitement." Please look at these examples of his style of "fun" and let me know what you think: We were staying in a hotel and our room was several doors from the stairwell we assumed was a fire escape. We took our clothes off in our room—then went carefully out into a public hallway, past several doors and into the stairwell, where we had sex. This was during the early evening.
Sometimes, we take our clothes off in a storage room or a vacant apartment at a new complex being built—then go carefully out, down the sidewalks, and up to the edge of the occupied area, where we have sex. This happens both day and night.
We go out the side of the building we live in and have sex. The area we are in is visible from the street across a vacant lot 10 yards wide. We are plainly in view of people looking in our direction from passing cars. This is in daylight.
We've done such things 500 times or so over a 10-year period. My husband is 35 years old and I am 32. We have been chased only three or four times and have been confronted three times, with only a lecture given. Sex in the privacy of our bedroom is possible. My husband just prefers the danger. (I hate it.) What do you say?—Mrs. T.W., Phoenix, Arizona
Advisor: If you've gotten away with this 500 times in 10 years, it strikes us that open-air sex is safer sex than sex in a bathtub. However, it's your perception of risk that makes the activity a problem. Tell your husband your feelings and see if you can compromise.
Q: My wife and I received an exercise ball as a gift, and we used it to stretch before working out. One day while I was screwing around on it, she and I started making out. Before long we were having sex as I sat on the ball. Has anyone tried this athletic position before? I recommend putting a towel on the ball to keep the rubber from sticking to your butt and her legs.—M.G., Chicago, Illinois
Advisor: Who doesn't like to play with their balls? We'd like to introduce your new guru, Wallace Rios [sexyballs.com.au], a personal trainer in Australia by way of Brazil, who a few years ago discovered for himself the joy of sexercise. "My apartment was empty except for my training equipment, and my girlfriend came over for a last goodbye as she was moving to Italy," Rios writes. "Since then I can't think of any other way to have sex." Inspired, he created a manual with more than 40 exercise-ball positions, including ones for threesomes, along with information about the muscles used and calories burned. "Just remember to select a correctly sized ball," he notes. Rios's plans include developing a ball with a vibrator attached or a lover's face superimposed on the rubber.
Q: Each summer, I drag a recliner into the woods near my house. When I feel horny, I sit in the chair in the nude and spray insect repellent everywhere on my body except my genitals. Is this normal?—G.B., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Advisor: Have you seen any other chairs out there?
If you have a question for the Playboy Advisor relating to food and drink, fashion and taste, or sex and dating, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The most interesting questions will appear in an upcoming issue of Playboy. And to read every Playboy Advisor ever, visit our complete archive at iPlayboy.com.