Sexually aroused by farts? You’re not alone.

By Seriously Science | August 16, 2018 6:00 am

Photo: flickr/wackyvorion

[Note from the authors of “Seriously, Science?”: After nine years with Discover, we’ve been informed that this will be our last month blogging on this platform. Despite being (usually) objective scientists, we have a sentimental streak, and we have spent the last few days reminiscing about the crazy, and often funny, science we have highlighted. Therefore, we have assembled a month-long feast of our favorite science papers. Enjoy!]

The saying goes “to each his own,” and that definitely holds true for fetishes. This paper describes a person with “eproctophilia”, which is the term for when someone is sexually aroused by flatulence. The first half of the article is included below. Warning–it’s a bit of a wild ride!

Eproctophilia in a Young Adult Male

“Olfactophilia (also known as osmolagnia, osphresiolagnia, and ozolagnia) is a paraphilia where an individual derives sexual pleasure from smells and odors (Aggrawal, 2009). Given the large body of research on olfaction, it is not surprising that, in some cases, there should be an association with sexual behavior. As Bieber (1959) noted, smell is a powerful sexual stimulus. Furthermore, the erotic focus is most likely to relate to body odors of a sexual partner, including genital odors.
One subtype of olfactophilia is eproctophilia. This is a paraphilia in which people are sexually aroused by flatulence (Aggrawal, 2009). Therefore, eproctophiles are said to spend an abnormal amount of time thinking about farting and flatulence and have recurring intense sexual urges and fantasies involving farting and flatulence (Griffiths, 2012a). To date, there has been no academic or clinical research into eproctophilia. Therefore, the following account presents a brief case study of an eproctophile and given a pseudonym (Brad). Brad gave full consent for his case to be written up on the understanding that he could not be identified and that he was guaranteed full anonymity and confidentiality. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: blog business

Physicists finally explain why your earphones are always tangled.

By Seriously Science | August 14, 2018 6:00 am
Photo: Flickr/Steven Guzzardi

Photo: Flickr/Steven Guzzardi

[Note from the authors of “Seriously, Science?”: After nine years with Discover, we’ve been informed that this will be our last month blogging on this platform. Despite being (usually) objective scientists, we have a sentimental streak, and we have spent the last few days reminiscing about the crazy, and often funny, science we have highlighted. Therefore, we have assembled a month-long feast of our favorite science papers. Enjoy!]

There are few day-to-day events that send me into a rage as quickly as a pair of tangled earphones. As soon as I put them down, they somehow thread themselves into an unholy mess. And don’t even think about putting them into your pocket or bag. So how do headphones (and other stringy objects) get so knotted in such a short time? To find out, these physicists started by tumbling strings of different stiffness in a box. They found that “complex knots often form within seconds” (so it’s not just my imagination!), and that stiffer strings are less likely to get knotted up. They then used these data and computer simulations to explain how the knots are likely formed (see figure below); basically, when jostled, the strings tend to form coils, and then the loose end weaves through the other strands, much like braiding or weaving. And voila! Tangled headphones to make your day just that much angrier.

Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string.

“It is well known that a jostled string tends to become knotted; yet the factors governing the “spontaneous” formation of various knots are unclear. We performed experiments in which a string was tumbled inside a box and found that complex knots often form within seconds. We used mathematical knot theory to analyze the knots. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: blog business

Study proves “old person smell” is real.

By Seriously Science | August 9, 2018 7:24 pm
Photo: flickr/artisrams

Photo: flickr/artisrams

[Note from the authors of “Seriously, Science?”: After nine years with Discover, we’ve been informed that this will be our last month blogging on this platform. Despite being (usually) objective scientists, we have a sentimental streak, and we have spent the last few days reminiscing about the crazy, and often funny, science we have highlighted. Therefore, we have assembled a month-long feast of our favorite science papers. Enjoy!]

It’s a common stereotype that old people have a … unique … smell. According to this study, it’s a stereotype for a reason. The researchers first had young participants smell the body odors (collected as described below) of young, middle-aged, and old people.  They then asked the participants to rate the odors and tested how well they were able to distinguish between them. Somewhat surprisingly, the participants rated the old-age odors as “less intense and less unpleasant” than the young- and middle-age body odors; however, the participants also had an easier time specifically identifying the old-person odors compared to the other two categories. The authors provide a potential explanation for these results: “In everyday life, the old age odor is experienced in the context of an old individual being present. Odor valence ratings are highly dependent in which on the context they are experienced. A recent study demonstrated that the label assigned to an odor is a very important predictor of the rated pleasantness in that a label can turn an unlabeled neutral odor into an odor perceived as very negative. Thus, it is likely that the body odors originating from the old individuals would have been rated as more negative if participants were aware of their true origin.” 

The smell of age: perception and discrimination of body odors of different ages.

“Our natural body odor goes through several stages of age-dependent changes in chemical composition as we grow older. Similar changes have been reported for several animal species and are thought to facilitate age discrimination of an individual based on body odors, alone. We sought to determine whether humans are able to discriminate between body odor of humans of different ages. Body odors were sampled from three distinct age groups: Young (20-30 years old), Middle-age (45-55), and Old-age (75-95) individuals. Perceptual ratings and age discrimination performance were assessed in 41 young participants. There were significant differences in ratings of both intensity and pleasantness, where body odors from the Old-age group were rated as less intense and less unpleasant than body odors originating from Young and Middle-age donors. Participants were able to discriminate between age categories, with body odor from Old-age donors mediating the effect also after removing variance explained by intensity differences. Similarly, participants were able to correctly assign age labels to body odors originating from Old-age donors but not to body odors originating from other age groups. This experiment suggests that, akin to other animals, humans are able to discriminate age based on body odor alone and that this effect is mediated mainly by body odors emitted by individuals of old age.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: Children smelling man-sweat… for science!
NCBI ROFL: I’m a lumberjack, and I’m OK, I smell like pine and get chicks all day!
NCBI ROFL: Women can identify men with gonorrhea by their smell.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: blog business

The end is nigh! Let’s relive our most viral moments: That’s one miraculous conception.

By Seriously Science | August 6, 2018 6:00 am

[Note from the authors of “Seriously, Science?”: After nine years with Discover, we’ve been informed that this will be our last month blogging on this platform. Despite being (usually) objective scientists, we have a sentimental streak, and we have spent the last few days reminiscing about the crazy, and often funny, science we have highlighted. Therefore, we hereby begin a month-long feast of our favorite science papers, starting with the first paper we ever blogged about here at Discover (with a title that was loved and hated by our readers): “That’s one miraculous conception.”]

How can a woman without a vagina become pregnant? By getting stabbed in the abdomen after performing oral sex, setting free the sperm from her stomach, of course. This incredible case report was published more than 20 years ago (and similar stories have been circulating since well before then), but we think it’s worth revisiting. Read to the end to hear how cattle were involved!

Oral conception. Impregnation via the proximal gastrointestinal tract in a patient with an aplastic distal vagina. Case report.

“Case report:
The patient was a 15-year-old girl employed in a local bar. She was admitted to hospital after a knife fight involving her, a former lover and a new boyfriend. Who stabbed whom was not quite clear but all three participants in the small war were admitted with knife injuries.

The girl had some minor lacerations of the left hand and a single stab-wound in the upper abdomen. Under general anaesthesia, laparotomy was performed through an upper midline abdominal incision to reveal two holes in the stomach. These two wounds had resulted from the single stab-wound through the abdominal wall. The two defects were repaired in two layers. The stomach was noted empty at the time of surgery and no gastric contents were seen in the abdomen. Nevertheless, the abdominal cavity was lavaged with normal saline before closure. The condition of the patient improved rapidly following routine postoperative care and she was discharged home after 10 days.

Precisely 278 days later the patient was admitted again to hospital with acute, intermittent abdominal pain. Abdominal examination revealed a term pregnancy with a cephalic fetal presentation. The uterus was contracting regularly and the fetal heart was heard. Inspection of the vulva showed no vagina, only a shallow skin dimple was present below the external urethral meatus and between the labia minora. An emergency lower segment caesarean section was performed under spinal anaesthesia and a live male infant weighing 2800 g was born…

…While closing the abdominal wall, curiosity could not be contained any longer and the patient was interviewed with the help of a sympathetic nursing sister. The whole story did not become completely clear during that day but, with some subsequent inquiries, the whole saga emerged.

The patient was well aware of the fact that she had no vagina and she had started oral experiments after disappointing attempts at conventional intercourse. Just before she was stabbed in the abdomen she had practised fellatio with her new boyfriend and was caught in the act by her former lover. The fight with knives ensued. She had never had a period and there was no trace of lochia after the caesarean section. She had been worried about the increase in her abdominal size but could not believe she was pregnant although it had crossed her mind more often as her girth increased and as people around her suggested that she was pregnant. She did recall several episodes of lower abdominal pain during the previous year. The young mother, her family, and the likely father adapted themselves rapidly to the new situation and some cattle changed hands to prove that there were no hard feelings.

A plausible explanation for this pregnancy is that spermatozoa gained access to the reproductive organs via the injured gastrointestinal tract. It is known that spermatozoa do not survive long in an environment with a low pH (Jeffcoate1975), but it is also known that saliva has a high pH and that a starved person does not produce acid under normal circumstances (Bernards & Bouman 1976). It is likely that the patient became pregnant with her first or nearly first ovulation otherwise one would expect that inspissated blood in the uterus and salpinges would have made fertilization difficult. The fact that the son resembled the father excludes an even more miraculous conception.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: [Insert oral sex joke here].
NCBI ROFL: Does semen have antidepressant properties?
NCBI ROFL: Cunnilingus increases duration of copulation in the Indian flying fox.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: blog business

Flashback Friday: Scientists finally optimize “brain freeze”.

By Seriously Science | July 27, 2018 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/m01229

Image: Flickr/m01229

As we’ve discussed before, ice-cream headache (a.k.a. “brain freeze”) is a real phenomenon, and scientists are actively studying it. But before they can understand in detail the physiological events surrounding brain freeze, they must first have a robust way of inducing it. Here, scientists compared two different methods of inducing ice-cream headaches: pressing an ice cube to the roof of one’s mouth vs. chugging ice water. It turns out that the ice water gave volunteers more, and worse, headaches that they described as “stabbing pain.” Something to (literally) keep in mind the next time you chug a Slurpee.

Experimental provocation of ‘ice-cream headache’ by ice cubes and ice water.

“BACKGROUND: There are various studies on experimentally provoked ‘ice-cream headache’ or ‘headache attributed to ingestion or inhalation of a cold stimulus’ (HICS) using different provocation protocols. The aim of this study was to compare two provocation protocols. Read More


Stronger men have weaker sperm.

By Seriously Science | July 25, 2018 6:57 am
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a fan of muscley men, listen up: those guns might come at the cost of a man’s fertility. In this study (published in the journal Animal Behavior, because we ain’t nothin’ but mammals), the researchers report that physical strength in men, while seen as attractive by women, is also associated with “lower ejaculate quality.” Boxer shorts, anyone?

Perceived physical strength in men is attractive to women but may come at a cost to ejaculate quality

“Studies of sexual selection acting on physical strength in humans have focused mostly on its role in premating male–male competition. Recent theoretical frameworks suggest that male strength could be subject to trade-offs with postmating sperm competitiveness. Here, we examined whether male strength is linked to ejaculate quality. We also asked whether strength is attractive to women and affects male self-reported mating success. Read More

Flashback Friday: Woman gives herself a C-section and saves her baby.

By Seriously Science | July 20, 2018 6:00 am
Patient breastfeeding baby while recovering in hospital.

Patient breastfeeding baby while recovering in hospital.

If you had to give yourself a C-section to save your unborn baby, could you do it? Having given birth to my own child, I’m not sure I could. But this woman did it. She had no other choice: she lost a previous baby during protracted labor, and she lived in a small village eight hours drive from the nearest hospital. In the abstract and detailed case report below, doctors tell her (harrowing) story. And they tell it for a good reason: “This case, which would not have occurred if prenatal and delivery care had been available, should make health providers aware that the basic reproductive needs of women are not met.” Truth.

Self-inflicted cesarean section with maternal and fetal survival.

“An unusual case of self-inflicted cesarean section with maternal and child survival is presented. No similar event was found in an Internet literature search. Because of a lack of medical assistance and a history of fetal death in utero, a 40-year-old multiparous woman unable to deliver herself alone vaginally sliced her abdomen and uterus and delivered her child. Read More


Flashback Friday: The funniest stand-up comedians are more likely to die young.

By Seriously Science | July 13, 2018 6:00 am
Photo: Wikimedia/John J. Kruzel

Photo: Wikimedia/John J. Kruzel

From Lenny Bruce to Robin Williams, many great comedians have suffered untimely deaths. But is this actually a hazard of the job? In this study, the authors investigated whether stand-up comedians were more likely to die young compared to comedic or dramatic actors, as well as whether funnier stand-up comedians were more prone to death than less funny comics. The answer to both questions was, unfortunately, yes. Talk about killing it onstage! (Clearly I’ll be living for a long time.)

Is the last “man” standing in comedy the least funny? A retrospective cohort study of elite stand-up comedians versus other entertainers


This study aimed to confirm, in a large, diverse cohort of elite Stand-up Comedians and other entertainers, that there is an inverse association between comedic ability and longevity.


This retrospective cohort study included 200 Stand-up Comedians (13% women), 113 Comedy Actors (17.5% women), and 184 Dramatic Actors (29.3% women) listed in the top 200 in each category in a popular online ranking website. Longevity within each group was examined adjusting for life expectancy by year of birth and within-group ranking score.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: holy correlation batman!

Flashback Friday: Scientists analyzed orgasms in the 50 most-viewed videos on PornHub. Here’s what they found.

By Seriously Science | July 6, 2018 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/Colby Stopa

Photo: flickr/Colby Stopa

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that watching pornography can give unrealistic expectations of what sex is really like. But how skewed is this representation? These heroic scientists took it upon themselves to find out. To do so, they watched the top 50 most-viewed videos on PornHub, and recorded “the frequency of male and female orgasm, orgasm-inducing sex acts (and whether activity inducing female orgasms included some form of clitoral stimulation), and auditory (verbal, vocal) and visual (bodily) indicators of orgasm.” They found that 78% of men but only 18.3% of women were shown reaching orgasm in popular porn videos, and thus concluded that “representations of male and female orgasm in mainstream pornography may serve to perpetuate unrealistic beliefs and expectations in relation to female orgasm and male sexual performance.” Ya think?

Consuming Ecstasy: Representations of Male and Female Orgasm in Mainstream Pornography.

“Social representations, which appear in a variety of media, can influence the way sexual experiences are perceived and understood. While pornography is not the only medium in which orgasm is portrayed, it is the most explicit, and it is widespread and easily accessible. As such, pornography is an ideal medium for examining representations of male and female orgasm. PornHub’s 50 most viewed videos of all time were viewed and coded for the frequency of male and female orgasm, orgasm-inducing sex acts (and whether activity inducing female orgasms included some form of clitoral stimulation), and auditory (verbal, vocal) and visual (bodily) indicators of orgasm.  Read More

Study finds that “Thank you” might be more meaningful than you think.

By Seriously Science | July 3, 2018 6:00 am

Telling people how we really feel can be… well, tricky. Even when it comes to writing a simple thank you note: “What if it’s too much? Will they think I’m weird? Is it going to be awkward?” If only there were a surefire way to know how it was going to turn out! Well, this study is getting as close as we are likely to get. Here, scientists tracked how senders and receivers felt about thank you letters, and the results suggest that you should get your pen out: “Expressers significantly underestimated how surprised recipients would be about why expressers were grateful, overestimated how awkward recipients would feel, and underestimated how positive recipients would feel.” So, that’s one interpersonal interaction simplified. The only question left is whether we should send a thank you note to the authors for this?

Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation.

“Expressing gratitude improves well-being for both expressers and recipients, but we suggest that an egocentric bias may lead expressers to systematically undervalue its positive impact on recipients in a way that could keep people from expressing gratitude more often in everyday life. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: domo arigato, rated G, told you so

Seriously, Science?

Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
Follow us on Twitter: @srslyscience.
Send us paper suggestions: srslyscience[at]

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