Woody Allen was a prescient man. Dr. Stuart Meloy has created a device that seems to help women with sexual problems regain their ability to have an orgasm:
The experimental implant — now trademarked by Meloy as the Orgasmatron after the orgasm-inducing cylinder in Woody Allen’s 1973 movie “Sleeper” — rests on the skin just above the belt line. Two electrodes snake into the space between the vertebrae and the spinal cord. A video-game-like remote control allows women (or their partners) to turn electrical pulses on and off and fiddle with timing and intensity.
Electrodes in the right place (determined partly by trial and error) seem to interact with various nerve networks, Meloy says, including nerves from the pelvis that enter the spinal highway near the tailbone. Stimulating those nerves shoots pleasure signals straight up to the part of the brain that processes information coming from the genitalia.
Women who have used the device say they feel as if their clitoris and vagina are actually being stimulated, to quite realistic effect. (“One woman asked me, ‘Would it be considered adultery if I gave the remote control to someone other than my husband?’ ” Meloy says.)
Some volunteers also report fleeting episodes of clenched foot muscles, Meloy says, probably a result of electrical pulses leaving the spine and stimulating nearby motor nerves. (He wonders if the phenomenon might somehow be related to a common orgasm description: “My toes curled.”)
Couldn’t the clenched feet also be due to the fact that the sensory map for the genitalia are located right next to the map of the toes in the somatosensory cortex? (I always assumed, probably in error, that this is why people have foot fetishes: some nerves in their somatosensory cortex got tangled.)