The system is comprised of a neurostimulator implanted under the skin of the buttocks and electrodes that thread into certain nerves in the spinal cord. The device is trigged with a hand-held remote control.
North Carolina surgeon Dr. Stuart Meloy developed the system after unintentionally triggering an intense response in a female patient undergoing surgery to implant a neurostimulator for an unrelated condition. He decided to explore the potential for a orgasm-spurring system and has been working on the technology for more nearly 15 years now, having landed a patent in 2001.
Clinical trials are slated to begin later this year, according to New Scientist. The studies will be conducted in women, but the technology should work the same way in men, Meloy told reporters.
Medtronic did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Meloy believes his technology is the 1st to recognize the potential of implanted nerve stimulation to produce orgasms, according to his patent filings, but it does happen on accident from time to time. Meloy described a situation in which a patient’s spinal cord stimulator, intended for relief of hip pain, became dislodged over time, causing the patient to "experience genital stimulation rather than pain relief."
"The patient vocalized intense genital stimulation without discomfort," patent documents report.
Meloy in 2006 published data from a small clinical trial, implanting 11 women with neurostimulators designed to spur orgasm. Ten of the 11 women reported improvement in sexual health, describing "greater frequency in sexual activity, increased lubrication, and overall satisfaction," according to the findings. Once the implants were removed all women returned to their previous "anorgasmic" status.