sex and the galaxy

If Your Spouse Goes to Space, Can You Bang Other People?

Photo: Mary Evans/Courtesy Everett Collection

Monogamous relationships require protocol for all sorts of potential loopholes. Like the get-out-of-jail-free “Celeb Card,” for example — all future Mr. Allison P. Davises will know exactly what will happen should Cary Fukunaga make himself available to me. And here’s one more scenario to add to the mix: space. The final frontier of relationship issues. As we grapple with the scientific, ethical, and practical questions involved in space travel, we must also wonder: If your S.O. travels to space, do you get to fuck around or do you dutifully wait?

Civilian space travel is fast becoming viable, so this is a real and semi-urgent problem. (Just ask this man. His wife might take a one-way trip to a Mars colony in 2024. This guy needs help.) Wired has tackled the conundrum in their September “Mr. Know-It-All” column. A reader asks, “In the future, when astronauts are voyaging at close to the speed of light to other solar systems and gone for decades at a time, should their spouses have to wait for them?” Mr. Know-It-All’s answer: Cheat away, for these reasons.

1. Past evidence: In the heyday of space exploration, the combination of surviving the ultimate LDR and the new fame and hero worship that followed astronauts upon their return to Earth bred resentment. Says Wired: “Basically every one of those marriages ended in an ugly divorce with a nasty tell-all memoir. And those missions took only 12 days at most!”

2. May-to-December aging: Since your galaxy-hopping spouse will be “traveling at the speed of light,” their years-long trip will feel like mere days! And according to Wired, space travelers “will still be relatively young and fit and good-looking,” while the Earth-bound continue to age away at normal Earth speeds. Don’t waste your life.

3. They’re probably going to cheat, too: If you were in space and had the chance to have sex with an alien, wouldn’t you? (This reason was not Wired-endorsed.)

Enough said. The “Mars Card” can now be added to the list of accepted relationship get-out-of-jail-free cards.

If Your Spouse Goes to Space, Can You Cheat?