:::: UPDATE :::: Medtronic spokesperson Justin Ihle got in touch with us Monday morning and said his company never had any involvement in the orgasm machine testing. Ihle said he had no idea where the New Scientist's information came from. We talked to one of the New Scientist digital editor Flora Graham on Tuesday, and she stood by the original report, maintaining the bit about Medtronic testing the orgasm machine came from Dr. Meloy himself.
Original post -- A remote-controlled orgasm machine developed by a North Carolina surgeon named Stuart Meloy
will be tested later this year by Fridley-based Medtronic, according to a report in the New Scientist.
The device uses electrodes along the spinal cord and a signal generator installed under the buttocks to trigger orgasm. It's designed for women who have orgasm dysfunction, but Meloy says there's no reason it shouldn't work for men as well.
"Some women confuse what's called sympathetic arousal, like increased heart rate, clammy hands, nerves and so on, with fear," Jim Pfaus, a sexual behavior researcher at Concordia University in Montreal, told New Scientist. "That makes them want to get out of the situation."
The orgasm machine addresses that problem by making climaxing less psychologically daunting.
But getting one installed inside you isn't all fun and games.
The surgery "is as invasive as a pacemaker, so this is only for extreme cases," Meloy told New Scientist, adding that patients must remain awake during it so they can tell the surgeon when the electrode placement hits the spot.
But "if you've got a couple who've been together for a while and it's just not happening any more, maybe they'll get through it a bit easier with this," he continued.
We left messages with Medtronic's public relations staff both Friday and this morning in hopes of learning more about how they'll test the device, but they hadn't been returned as this is published. We'll update if we hear back. (See update at top of this post.)