Humans are sexual beings, but though the human urge to merge is rooted in our biological imperative to procreate, nowadays we do it, well, mostly just for fun. And if the aliens we encounter aren’t made of gaseous clouds or bacterial sludge, and provided they have a reasonably similar physiology to ours, it seems pretty safe to assume that they’re probably just like us: total tramps.
So what are our intrepid future space explorers to do once they get that itch? Self pleasure only goes so far, and on those long, cold, lonely space nights, a willing bedmate, whether skinned or scaled or carapaced, sure does beat another game of Guitar Hero in the mess hall with the guys. And who knows? Maybe aliens would actually make betterlovers. Better than that cute chick at Alpha Centauri with the bondage closet in her quarters, you ask?
It’s possible. Let’s find out how…
Alien bodies will most likely be much different than ours. After all, they’ve evolved on planets wholly unlike Earth–different atmosphere, different gravity. But does physical incompatibility really pose that much of a hurdle? New bodies can make for some exciting new physical configurations. And whereas even our most ambitious human conjoinings generally dissolve into your basic “insert tab A into slot B” arrangement, human-alien encounters could conceivably include not only a slot B but a C, D, E and F as well. And what about those extra tabs? You know, there’s a reason anime tentacle sex is so popular.
Then there are alien pheromones. Or, as we like to call them, intergalactic beer goggles. Thanks to these nifty chemicals, aliens, no matter how grotesque, will be able to send us humans over the moon with just one sniff. And conversely, our strange human smells might send aliens over…well, some other planetoid, anyway.
Of course, you’ll still want to use protection. Just because our sperm and ova don’t play nice together doesn’t mean we’re immune to Martian STDs. So be safe and remember to double bag that bad boy, okay? ‘Cause herpes is bad enough. Do you really want to go down in history as Patient Zero in the upcoming intergalactic sexual pandemic?
One zillion percent of sex is in your head (note: fact checker still AWOL on this one), but if your alien boyfriend comes from a planet of telepaths, well now, that really is a whole new world. And while a lover who doesn’t have to be shown where to put his antennae is a pretty exotic thing in and of itself, the point here really is this: who wouldn’t want to live in a future where love means never having to say you’re horny?
Of course, outside the bedroom, telepathy isn’t really the best marital aid. Get ready to have all your innermost thoughts made as public as a Facebook post as he discovers 1, how many men you’ve slept with, 2, how you really feel about his mother, and worst of all, 3, that, despite what you’ve been telling him, size really does matter.
Even when you’re talking about antennae.
THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT ISSUE
Ask any woman who’s lusted after her roommate’s boyfriend—or any man who was inappropriately aroused by a prepubescent Christina Ricci in The Addams Family—taboo relationships are hot.
So what could be hotter than dating someone from the wrong side of the Van Allen belt?
Of course, it is human nature to despise The Other, but what if the aliens were just as intolerant? Who knows what kind of laws you could run into on Zerg 3?
Imagine it: Xxerxe invites you home for Christmas, but before you can even sit down to dinner, you’re arrested for breaking some obscure Zergian miscegenation law. You become the center of an interplanetary media circus as Zerg’s FOX affiliate posits that sex with humans just might be bestiality. Lawyers from both sides take to the airwaves to argue the case. You’re a cause célèbre in three systems. Then, shock! Victory! Barriers are broken across the universe. You’re the 25th century Lovings, heroes to interspecies couples everywhere.
But you know what? None of it matters, ‘cause at the end of the day, he’s still not going to marry you. Not because you’re human, but because his mother thinks you’re a publicity whore.
THE MORALS QUESTION
Despite the fact that sexual politics have come a long way in the last hundred years, sex without the benefit of clergy is still considered taboo by most of our world’s religions. And over the centuries, they certainly have come up with many clever ways to, oh, how can we say this…take the sweet out of the lowdown?
But what about those alien religions? Do they have some ultra-wacky, do-it-through-a-sheet rituals as well, or have their social mores produced a whole different sort of sexual dog and pony show?
For instance, maybe instead of censuring sex, they celebrate it. Oh, imagine the shock when, after receiving our first off-planet wedding invitation, we discover their marriage rites involve elaborate public consummation ceremonies between the couple, the bridal party, the officiants, and, in some more orthodox sects, the entire congregation.
And you thought the chicken dance was embarrassing.
THE GENDER BENDER
On planet earth, we have a multitude of races, but our genders are limited to male and female. Aliens species, on the other hand, could have a much more colorful array. They could have both genders, three or more genders, or perhaps even no gender at all.
And what about a switch hit gender? How fun would that be? Like some futuristic Orlando, you could spend a few decades as a man then, presto chango, you’re a woman. (And won’t that teach you to leave the seat down.)
Of course, on the practical side, an alien lover with no preconceptions or prejudices about sexual orientation would certainly make the gender fluid humans among us a lot more comfortable. Imagine an alien utopia without judgment on who you sleep with, what genitals you possess, or what gender you choose to identify with. That could be the next alien society we encounter. Or maybe it’s just Friday night in San Francisco.
But best of all, confused humans experimenting on the down-low can now convincinglypass off an encounter with a gender-unspecific alien with a shrug and the time-honored disclaimer “What? I thought it was a chick!”
Sure it’s fun to speculate about human-alien pairings, but until we experience first contact with an evolved, carbon-based life form, this particular final frontier will forever remain an unchecked box on the interstellar Purity Test.
Which is kind of a pity, because obviously aliens would make great lovers: they’re adventurous and exotic and different. But then again, so are humans. And although we don’t have antennae or mandibles or tentacles for caressing all those hard-to-reach places, what humans lack in appendages, we certainly make up for in raw imagination.
Which, when you think about it, is all we really need to convince our brand new alien friends to become…our brand new alien friends with benefits.