The human body is an incredibly complex machine — so complex that many of its mysteries have yet to be solved. Advances in modern medicine and research have translated into a much more nuanced understanding of the way our bodies work — yet the female orgasm (and female sexual pleasure in general) continues to be almost impossible for scientists and lay humans alike to figure out.
In this context, a new invention that claims to deliver an orgasm at the touch of a button, wherever, whenever, has the potential to be kind of a big deal. The device in question is slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes and is meant to be implanted in a woman's buttock. When activated via remote control, the machine sends electrical pulses to electrodes placed on the spinal cord. Patients are conscious while the electrodes are implanted so they can give feedback on which nerves are associated with sexual pleasure. The design has been under patent for several years, and clinical trials are set to begin next year.
Yes, the procedure is definitely invasive, and no, it's obviously not for everyone. Still, as Time notes, for the 10% to 15% of women who are unable to reach orgasm, this new treatment definitely has some potential.
That said, it's important to approach this kind of quick-fix solution with a bit of context and a whole lot of skepticism. For her 2011 documentary, Orgasm Inc., filmmaker Liz Canner investigated the extent to which the device had actually delivered on its promise. She contacted the machine's inventor, who failed to provide any women who had experienced any success from the treatment.
More importantly though, conversations about female sexual dysfunction need to take into account the fact that for women, sexual pleasure is an enormously complex interplay of hormones and anatomy that is not fully understood by science. As a result, many women believe certain things about their bodies (and about orgasms in particular) that are simply not true — which understandably leads to frustration and confusion. For example, as many as 70% of women need clitoral stimulation in order to climax, meaning that penetrative intercourse alone is often not enough to take you over the edge. This, of course, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your body. It's just a function of figuring out which buttons to push.