We’ve read about it in science fiction, but now it’s true: a scientist has patented a machine that delivers an orgasm to a woman at the push of a button. Stuart Meloy, a surgeon in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, got the idea for the device while performing a routine pain relief operation on a woman’s spine. “We implant electrodes into the spine and use electrical pulses to modify the pain signals passing along the nerves,” he explains. The patient remains conscious during the operation, to help the surgeon find the best position for the electrodes.

Meloy’s breakthrough came when he failed to hit the spot he was aiming for, causing the woman to exclaim, “You’re going to have to teach my husband to do that!”

Meloy says stimulating wires could connect to a signal generator smaller than a pack of cigarettes that would be implanted under the skin of one of the patient’s buttocks. “Then you’d have a hand-held remote control to trigger it,” he says. “But it’s as invasive as a pacemaker, so this is only for extreme cases.” The device will be programmed to limit its use. “But whether it’s once a day, four times a week-who am I to say?”

He has yet to test the device on men, but says there’s no reason it shouldn’t work the same way.

Clinical trials will begin later this year with Medtronic, a company based in Minneapolis. Anyone know how we can volunteer?

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