If you’ve ever been stuck with hiccups — the kind that just won’t go away no matter what you do — the cure may be closer than you think. All you need is an orgasm. This great TED talk by science author Mary Roach explains why, along with some other great orgasm-related facts.
Curing hiccups with an orgasm is just one of the ten different orgasm facts that Roach outlines in her talk, but it’s probably the most immediately applicable to your everyday life. The story goes like this: In 1999, a man with hiccups tried everything his friends suggested, all of the home remedies and fixes he could think of, and even saw his doctor about it, and nothing seemed to help. His case went on for days, until at some point, he had sex with his wife. Sure enough, afterwards, his hiccups went away.
He explained the situation to his doctor, who published a case report titled Sexual Intercourse as a Potential Treatment for Intractable Hiccups in the journal Canadian Family Physician. The report even goes out of its way to note that “unattached hiccupers can try masturbation”, so there’s hope for everyone.
As amusing as the story might be, there’s precedent for it. A prior study, published both in the Journals of Internal Medicine and perhaps more bemusedly in the Annals of Emergency Medicine titled Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage, came to a similar conclusion after studying the case of a 60 year old man with similarly persistent hiccups. (Side note, Dr. Francis Fensmire, the author of that paper, earned an Ig Nobel prize for his research. You can watch his hilarious acceptance speech here.)
Beyond that, Roach goes on to outline some other great orgasm-related facts, including the now-debunked notion that orgasm in women was at one time believed to be necessary — even prescribed — for fertility, and how other members of the animal kingdom benefit from their own orgasms. The full talk is about 17 minutes, but it’s well worth watching.
Mary Roach: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasm [TED (YouTube)]