No, NASA did not warn against masturbating in space

Last week, an article in News.com.au (republished by the New York Post) that made the rounds on social media stated that NASA had warned astronauts against masturbating in space. From the News.com.au article:

Late night TV host Conan O’Brien waded into the uncomfortable topic while interviewing a NASA engineer, asking him if he had ever sent porn to the International Space Station.

“No, none of that,” the scientist, Smythe, said.

“Does porn work in zero gravity? It goes everywhere,” Conan probed.

“Three female astronauts can be impregnated by the same man on the same session … it finds its way,” the scientist continued.

Smythe’s last name is Mulikan and he is a mechanical engineer who contracts for NASA. But as Snopes points out, Mulikan didn’t make the comment about impregnating astronauts. Rather, that was a joke made by comedian Matt Gourley who was also part of the conversation.

So, can you masturbate in space? From Snopes:

NASA has been relatively mum on this subject. As far as we can tell, while there may be some logistical problems to having sex with someone in space, and while a lack of gravity does have an impact on blood flow, masturbation in space is likely safe and possible. In fact, in astronaut Michael Collin’s 1989 book “Liftoff,” he writes that one medical adviser encouraged masturbation in space in order to prevent prostate problems.

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