It might sound like something straight out of the back pages of an adult magazine or a subsection of fetish culture, but there are people walking around out there who experience orgasm when their head or foot is stimulated – and their disorders are classified as medical conditions.
In the strange case of the woman with the foot orgasms, the sensation begins in her foot, travelling up her leg to her vagina and occurs spontaneously, with no sexual stimulation or thought preceding it. Researchers theorize that the phenomenon is due to a neurological “mix-up” that may have occurred when the patient was previously in a coma brought on by sepsis. The woman’s condition was unwanted and uncomfortable but luckily the condition has a treatment – a process of anesthetizing the nerves in the foot – and now, a name: “foot orgasm syndrome.”
But what of the people whose affliction begins at the opposite end of the body? Apparently, there’s a name for that too, and it’s Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (or ASMR for short). It doesn’t happen just through head stimulation; it’s the same condition used to classify sexual response from any seemingly benign sensory stimulation, like the crinkling sound that is made when opening a bag of chips. And unlike the poor woman who just wanted her foot orgasms to go away, those with ASMR often watch trigger videos and put themselves directly into situations where there condition can be um, stimulated.
Don’t let the online ASMR forums, chat rooms and Facebook groups fool you: it may seem difficult to categorize this as a real syndrome and not just a kinky obsession, but even if you happen to be the unsuspecting barber whose charge just got a charge from your buzzing clippers, don’t judge. A Dartmouth researcher is studying the ASMR community closely, in hopes that the power of ASMR can be harnessed to treat ailments like depression, insomnia or PTSD. That sufferers of ASMR are also likely sufferers of depression, insomnia or PTSD is probably something that should also be studied.
But hey, if there is hope to be found in the buzzing of a barber’s clippers or the crinkling of a chip bag, and if that hope also offers a corporeal release, well then, study on.
Gives a whole new meaning to the term sexual healing, doesn’t it?