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Rocket Troubles: Intergalactic Challenges in Space Travel and Sexual Well-Being

Graphic of astronaut in space

In the quest for the final frontier, researchers believe male astronauts may face an unexpected challenge. According to a recent NASA funded study by researchers at Florida State University and Wake Forest University of Medicine, penis-owning astronauts may face permanent erectile dysfunction as a result of space exposure.

The study found that prolonged exposure to the many hazards of space, such as galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) and microgravity, can result in serious damage to the tissues that make up male sex organs. Focused on adult male rats subjected to simulated space conditions, the study revealed a long-term impairment of neurovascular erectile function. The findings are raising concerns about the sexual health of male astronauts upon their return to earth.

So how does this happen? Well, the unique radiation in space, GCR,  triggers severe biological damage, negatively impacting the vascular endothelium, which is crucial for achieving erections. The research even suggests that sexual function in male astronauts may be impaired for an extended period of time following their earthly return.

@itvnews Research shows this surprising side effect of travelling in deep space #itvnews #erectiledisfuction #space ♬ original sound - itvnews

Although this may seem like a cosmic disaster for those looking to go space, there is a glimmer of hope. Antioxidant treatments for erectile tissue could potentially mitigate these effects. As we anticipate an increasing amount of missions to outer space in the coming years, this study emphasizes the overall health risks associated with deep space exploration and the actions taken to mitigate them.


Vigliarolo, B. (2023, November 23). Long-term space missions may make liftoff harder for male astronauts. Retrieved December 20, 2023, from https://www.theregister.com/2023/11/23/space_exposure_erectile_dysfunction/

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