Have you ever fancied the idea of a bit of underwater nookie?
Sex UnderwaterIt seemed like such a good idea at the time!
Photo: John Bantin
French astronomer Pierre Kohler recently wrote a book called The Final Mission, which claimed that scientists used elastic belts and inflatable tubes to test 10 sexual positions on a space shuttle mission in 1996. NASA instantly rubbished the claims and Kohler had to admit that his sources were unreliable. But that didnt stop a media frenzy.
The refusal of the world's press to let the issue drop shows an underlying fascination with the possibilities of zero gravity sex. But while few women have made it into space, there are plenty of dive girls experiencing weightlessness on a regular basis. We carried out some confidential research with women divers who were prepared to share their underwater sexual experiences
What's the attraction?
Maxine I think people have a strong association between water and sex. The feeling of being in water can be very sensual and liberating. You only have to look at Madonna rolling around in the waves in her video for Cherish, or the classic passionate snog-in-the-surf in '50s movie From Here to Eternity. Water is sexy!
Patty Bodies underwater look really great - nothing sags, your breasts look fantastic. Movement is more elegant and your hair goes all floaty and mermaid-like. I love diving so much, and it makes me feel sexy - so I thought... why not?
Jess Brooke Shields, Blue Lagoon. She looked so free romping around in the water. That's what inspired me, anyway. I think the boyfriend was more turned on by the idea of doing it with all that equipment on...
Water might be sexy, but in scuba gear? Are you serious?
Jess I can't say scuba equipment is a turn-on for me, but I think there are quite a few blokes out there who like the idea of tight neoprene and heavy gear. It's a fetish, but I think it's more of a fantasy thing - like voyeurism.
So what are the pitfalls to avoid?
Patty You need warm, calm seas and privacy. And plan the shag like you'd plan the dive - agree what's going to happen beforehand. It's hard to sort out misunderstandings under water
It felt a bit unsafe because I couldn't move too far from him. I think I would have preferred to take a pony cylinder. We literally went in, did it, and came out again. I don't regret doing it, but I prefer sex in swimming pools where you're in standing depth or you can hold onto the side. That way you get the advantages of weightlessness but avoid the equipment problems.
So is sex underwater one of those 'Seemed like a good idea, but...' experiences?
Maxine I think a lot of people who are turned on by the idea get confused between naked scuba and underwater sex. Lots of people fancy diving naked because it feels so free. But to me, underwater sex is better on the surface, without the scuba kit.
Would you try it in UK waters?
Patty Absolutely no way.
Water temperature can ruin the best intentions We've had conflicting information about the possibility and desirability of love in a cold climate. While some blokes reckon theyre hard enough to cope with the cold, blue lips and goosebumps are not an attractive look. We recommend a minimum water temperature of 25 degrees C.
While youre getting intimate with your partner, everything and anything thats in the seawater will also be getting intimate with you. Stinging organisms, sand particles, bacteria, pollutants If youre resting on the seabed, beware corals, spiky sea urchins, stone and scorpion fish. You could end up with injuries in some interesting places And have you ever tried getting and keeping - a condom on underwater?!
Clash of equipment
Less is more. Unless you have a particular fetish for heavy gear, scuba equipment just gets in the way. Take the minimum, and wear something you can get on and off easily. Bikini or two piece swimsuit is ideal, but a full wetsuit with a zip at the back is going to give you hell. Drysuit? You're having a laugh.
Being weightless is all well and good, but there are times when one of you may need to get a grip on something solid. Grabbing hold of coral is a no-no and even landing on a sandy bottom can be hazardous
Blokes can be crap at communicating at the best of times, and now you're in a situation where you're relying on him understanding hand signals that definitely aren't in the manual. At a minimum, make sure your partner knows the difference between distress and excitement. Thrashing could be ambivalent. If you feel you're in danger, we recommend that a punch or twist to the groin area won't be mistaken.
You cant close the door in the ocean, its all public space. If you're at a dive site, theres likely to be other divers around. If you get carried away, you could look up to find that youve attracted the attention of a guided dive group complete with cameras. If you think this simply adds to the thrill, good luck to you. You may be less amused when those pictures appear on websites around the globe
Sex in a weightless environment got an unexpectedly high profile recently when NASA admitted to sending pregnancy-testing kits into space with women astronauts working on the International Space Station. Journalists quickly caught on to the idea that if the kits were needed on a space station, that must mean the astronauts were having sex. NASA reactions ranged from coy denial to humour: "Of course people have had sex in space!" said one spokesman "Some of the positions in the Kama Sutra are only possible in a weightless environment..."