Flashback Friday: Foot orgasm syndrome. Yup, it’s a thing.

By Seriously Science | July 1, 2016 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/mickeysucks

Photo: flickr/mickeysucks

We don’t even need to write an intro here, as this gem of a paper did it better than we ever could: “In general, people are attracted to nice legs and feet. The foot is an erotic symbol, variably appreciated by different people [1]. Erotic thoughts and feelings about feet may become intentionally accentuated by fashion and the wearing of shoes with high heels, providing a position of the foot that resembles its position during (female) orgasm when feet and toes may automatically go into plantar flexion resulting in arching of the foot and curling of the toes [1, 2]. … In society, special attention is paid to the physical relation between foot and pleasant or even sexual feelings by different forms of foot massage. Currently, the association of feet with sexual attraction and eroticism has been explained in terms of psychology and sociology [1]. However, an underlying neurobiological theory of a possible foot–genital relationship has so far not been formulated.” You’re welcome.

Foot Orgasm Syndrome: A Case Report in a Woman.

“INTRODUCTION: Spontaneous orgasm triggered from inside the foot has so far not been reported in medical literature.

AIMS: The study aims to report orgasmic feelings in the left foot of a woman.

METHODS: A woman presented with complaints of undesired orgasmic sensations originating in her left foot. In-depth interview, physical examination, sensory testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI-scan), electromyography (EMG), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and blockade of the left S1 dorsal root ganglion were performed.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcomes are description of this clinical syndrome, results of TENS application, and S1 dorsal root ganglion blockade.

RESULTS: Subtle attenuation of sensory amplitudes of the left suralis, and the left medial and lateral plantar nerve tracts was found at EMG. MRI-scan disclosed no foot abnormalities. TENS at the left metatarso-phalangeal joint-III of the left foot elicited an instant orgasmic sensation that radiated from plantar toward the vagina. TENS applied to the left side of the vagina elicited an orgasm that radiated to the left foot. Diagnostic blockade of the left S1 dorsal root ganglion with 0.8 mL bupivacaine 0.25 mg attenuated the frequency and intensity of orgasmic sensation in the left foot with 50% and 80%, respectively. Additional therapeutic blockade of the same ganglion with 0.8 mL bupivacaine 0.50 mg combined with pulsed radiofrequency treatment resulted in a complete disappearance of the foot-induced orgasmic sensations.

CONCLUSION: Foot orgasm syndrome (FOS) is descibed in a woman. Blockade of the left S1 dorsal root ganglion alleviated FOS. It is hypothesized that FOS, occurring 1.5 years after an intensive care emergency, was caused by partial nerve regeneration (axonotmesis), after which afferent (C-fiber) information from a small reinnervated skin area of the left foot and afferent somatic and autonomous (visceral) information from the vagina on at least S1 spinal level is misinterpreted by the brain as being solely information originating from the vagina.”

Bonus quote from the full text:

“Compared with a vaginally/clitorally induced orgasm, this left foot-induced orgasm had the following characteristics: (i) the spontaneously induced foot orgasms occurred in the absence of any sexual desire or sexual arousal; (ii) the vaginally/clitorally induced foot orgasms occurred during sexual desire and sexual arousal; (iii) the occurrence of (spontaneous) foot orgasm is very sudden without any preorgasmic built up or latency time as compared with a normal orgasm experience; (iv) the duration is extremely short, around 5–6 seconds, with a rather abrupt end, uncharacteristic for female orgasm in general; (v) the foot-induced orgasm is perceived unilaterally in the body; (vi) the orgasmic sensations are mainly felt in the left foot, back under the knee and vagina; (vii) there is a daily frequency of about five to six times a day; (viii) although we have not checked or examined it, Mrs A. reported that the foot-induced orgasms are often accompanied by vaginal lubrication and loss of urine.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: A foot needs a nipple like a fish needs a bicycle.
NCBI ROFL: Sex differences in relative foot length and perceived attractiveness of female feet.
NCBI ROFL: Sexualization of the female foot as a response to sexually transmitted epidemics: a preliminary study.


Pinecones close when it rains. Here’s how they do it!

By Seriously Science | June 30, 2016 6:00 am

As shown in the movie below, pinecones close when wet, and open again when they dry. But pinecone scales are made up of dead cells, which means their movements must be a mechanical response to getting wet. These scientists used a variety of imaging techniques, including X-ray tomography, to figure out how pinecones open and close in response to water. They found that pinecones direct water that lands on the outside “bract” scales towards the inner scales which respond and cause the cone to close before the whole pinecone gets soaked. This ensures the pinecones release seeds on dry days, giving the next generation the best shot at a wide dispersal. Treegonometree in action!

Journey of water in pine cones

“Pine cones fold their scales when it rains to prevent seeds from short-distance dispersal. Given that the scales of pine cones consist of nothing but dead cells, this folding motion is evidently related to structural changes. In this study, the structural characteristics of pine cones are studied on micro-/macro-scale using various imaging instruments. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: rated G, Sex & Mating

Flashback Friday: Tired of procrastination? Try pre-crastination!

By Seriously Science | June 24, 2016 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/nromagna

Photo: flickr/nromagna

While we like to think we’re pretty rational beings, we end up doing irrational things all the time. From believing in superstitions to spending too much on eBay, our quirky brains often lead us to suboptimal results. In this study, researchers asked participants to do a seemingly simple thing: pick up either of two buckets, one of which was closer to them than the other, and carry it to a designated end point. They expected the students to pick the bucket that was closer to the finish line since it would require less physical effort to carry to the end. Surprisingly, however, most people picked the closest bucket, even though they had to carry it for a longer distance. After talking to the participants, the scientists realized they were witnessing a phenomenon they term “pre-crastination”: “our participants said that they chose the closer bucket to get the task done sooner. Apparently, hastening completion of the subgoal of grabbing a bucket made completion of the main goal seem closer at hand.” Pre-crastination also pops up in other contexts – for example, if you are driving a route that has a long stretch and a short turn, many people will choose to do the short turn before the long stretch, rather than saving the short turn till the end. Can you think of examples of pre-crastination in your own life? If so, please share them in the comments!

Pre-Crastination: Hastening Subgoal Completion at the Expense of Extra Physical Effort.

“In this article, we describe a phenomenon we discovered while conducting experiments on walking and reaching. We asked university students to pick up either of two buckets, one to the left of an alley and one to the right, and to carry the selected bucket to the alley’s end. In most trials, one of the buckets was closer to the end point. We emphasized choosing the easier task, expecting participants to prefer the bucket that would be carried a shorter distance. Read More

Study finds that male fiddler crabs are a**holes.

By Seriously Science | June 21, 2016 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/Bernard DUPONT

Photo: flickr/Bernard DUPONT

The males of many animal species will “coerce” females into mating by force. But according to this study, male fiddler crabs take it a step further. They lure females into their burrows, allow the ladies to enter first…and then block their escape. As the researchers in this study (delicately) put it, “upon entry 79% females that enter will become trapped and almost all of these females (90%) produce a clutch of eggs. Our observations suggest that males are able to gain fertilisations from females that may not have remained in the burrow by trapping them and coercing them to mate.” Are male fiddler crabs the Ramsay Boltons of the animal world, or is there a more despicable animal rapist out there? Tell us in the comments below!

Ladies First: Coerced Mating in a Fiddler Crab

“In some species males increase their reproductive success by forcing females to copulate with them, usually by grasping the female or pinning her to the ground to prevent her from escaping. Here we report an example of males coercing copulation by trapping a female in a confined space. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, Sex & Mating

Flashback Friday: Apparently, brown bears like oral sex, too!

By Seriously Science | June 17, 2016 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/spisharam

Photo: flickr/spisharam

It seems that everyone (and every animal) is getting on the kinky bandwagon. First it was whales having a ménage à trois, then it was cunnilingus in bats, and now we have fellating bears. This article reports the behaviors of two healthy male bears that were raised together at a sanctuary for brown bears in Kuterevo, Croatia. The authors speculate that the oral sex started as a nursing behavior, and the bears kept doing it because, well, it felt good. Can you blame them? See below for photos of the bears in action [NSFBW].

Fellatio in captive brown bears: Evidence of long-term effects of suckling deprivation?

“Sexually stimulating behaviors that are not linked to reproduction are rare among non-human (especially non-primate) mammals. Such behaviors may have a function in the hierarchy of social species. Read More

How to grow baby chicks using plastic wrap instead of an eggshell.

By Seriously Science | June 16, 2016 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/Alex Starr

Photo: flickr/Alex Starr

What’s cooler than watching a chick hatch out of an egg? Watching the embryo develop under clear plastic, of course! These Japanese scientists report a method to do just that, using plastic wrap in place of an eggshell (and some other equipment to make sure conditions were just right for hatching). Check out the video below for a great explanation… and hilarious reaction shots!

A Novel Shell-less Culture System for Chick Embryos Using a Plastic Film as Culture Vessels

“The development of shell-less culture methods for bird embryos with high hatchability would be useful for the efficient generation of transgenic chickens, embryo manipulations, tissue engineering, and basic studies in regenerative medicine. To date, studies of culture methods for bird embryos include the whole embryo culture using narrow windowed eggshells, surrogate eggshells, and an artificial vessel using a gas-permeable membrane. However, there are no reports achieving high hatchability of >50% using completely artificial vessels. To establish a simple method for culturing chick embryos with high hatchability, we examined various culture conditions, including methods for calcium supplementation and oxygen aeration. In the embryo cultures where the embryos were transferred to the culture vessel after 55-56 h incubation, more than 90% of embryos survived until day 17 when a polymethylpentene film was used as a culture vessel with calcium lactate and distilled water supplementations. The aeration of pure oxygen to the surviving embryos from day 17 yielded a hatchability of 57.1% (8out of 14). Thus, we successfully achieved a high hatchability with this method in chicken embryo culture using an artificial vessel.”

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals

Is it breast cancer… or tapeworm larvae?

By Seriously Science | June 14, 2016 6:00 am
Image: quick meme

Image: quick meme

We here at Seriously, Science? have a soft spot for disgusting medical case studies… and this one’s a doozy! It’s a story of a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer. But the plot twists when a biopsy revealed that it was not just a tumor… it was pork tapeworm larvae! The authors point out that this an excellent example of why diagnoses should always be followed up by confirmation by a pathologist. Because every bedtime story should have a moral.

Human cysticercosis of the breast mimicking breast cancer: a report of a case from Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

BACKGROUND: Human cystericosis is the infection caused by the larvae of pork tapeworm Taeniasolium. The infection commonly affects the muscle, the central nervous system and subcutaneous tissues. The involvement of the breast is unusual.

OBJECTIVE: To present a 54 years old postmenopausal woman, a petty trader and a Jehovah witness who presented with a painless lump in the right breast which was increasing in size. Read More

Flashback Friday: Physicists finally explain why your earphones are always tangled.

By Seriously Science | June 10, 2016 6:00 am
Photo: Flickr/Steven Guzzardi

Photo: Flickr/Steven Guzzardi

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

Electric eels jump out of the water to intensify their shock power.

By Seriously Science | June 9, 2016 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/ravas51

Image: Flickr/ravas51

Professor Kenneth Catania from Vanderbilt University has proven a 200 hundred year-old yarn about electric eels that had long been dismissed as fantasy. In the early 1800s, the Prussian natural historian Alexander von Humboldt traveled through South America, using his experiences there as foundation for the books that brought him fame. One episode that particularly caught the imaginations of his fans described electric eels jumping out of the water to electrocute horses. Since then, this behavior has not been documented, leading many scientists to doubt the historian’s account. Here, Dr. Catania shows that when threatened, electric eels do, in fact, leap out of the water to increase the power of their shock:

The behavior consists of an approach and leap out of the water during which the eel presses its chin against a threatening conductor while discharging high-voltage volleys. The effect is to short-circuit the electric organ through the threat, with increasing power diverted to the threat as the eel attains greater height during the leap.

Dr. Catania included a few shocking videos showing an electric eel leaping out of the water and electrocuting threats–in this case, a human arm and a crocodile head. Good thing they’re fake!

Leaping eels electrify threats, supporting Humboldt’s account of a battle with horses

“In March 1800, Alexander von Humboldt observed the extraordinary spectacle of native fisherman collecting electric eels (Electrophorus electricus) by “fishing with horses”. The strategy was to herd horses into a pool containing electric eels, provoking the eels to attack by pressing themselves against the horses while discharging. Once the eels were exhausted, they could be safely collected. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, told you so

Want women to perceive you as more masculine? Wear deodorant.

By Seriously Science | June 6, 2016 12:01 pm
Photo: flickr/Eric Chan

Photo: flickr/Eric Chan

In case you weren’t convinced that wearing deodorant is generally a good idea, here’s another reason to dab on the white stuff: it makes women perceive men as more masculine. In this study, the researchers asked women (and men) to rate the masculinity of men’s faces, and separately to rate the masculinity of their body odor with or without deodorant. Interestingly, the women’s masculinity ratings of the natural body odors tended to match the masculinity of that man’s face; however, deodorant destroyed this association, meaning that men with less masculine faces were still perceived as having a masculine body odor. Sniffing for more BO-related science? Check out the links below!

The impact of artificial fragrances on the assessment of mate quality cues in body odor

“Cultural practices may either enhance or interfere with evolved preferences as predicted by culture–gene coevolution theory. Here, we investigated the impact of artificial fragrances on the assessment of biologically relevant information in human body odor. To do this, we examined cross-sensory consistency (across faces and odors) in the perception of masculinity and femininity in men and women, and how consistency is influenced by the use of artificial fragrance. Independent sets of same and opposite-sex participants rated odor samples (with and without a fragrance, n = 239 raters), and photographs (n = 130) of 20 men and 20 women. In female, but not male raters, judgments of masculinity/femininity of non-fragranced odor and faces were correlated. However, the correlation between female ratings of male facial and odor masculinity was not evident when assessing a fragranced body odor. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Sex & Mating, smell you later

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]gmail.com.

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