US doctors are casting around for female volunteers to test an "Orgasmatron," an implanted device that will trigger instant ecstasy, the weekly British magazine New Scientist reports in tomorrow's issue.
The innovation was accidentally discovered two years ago, when a surgeon conducted a routine pain-relief operation on a woman.
The procedure entails inserting two electrodes into the spine and applying tiny pulses of electricity. Patients are conscious throughout the operation so that they can say when they feel less pain.
In this case, the woman had a spontaneous orgasm, and that prompted the surgeon, pain specialist Stuart Meloy, to take the idea further.
He found that it worked so well for women who had chronic sex problems that he patented it as a possible treatment for female sexual dysfunction.
He has now received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to test a US$13,000 orgasm-giving device about the size of a heart pacemaker.
In the first stage of the trial, wires connected to a battery pack are inserted through the skin and into the woman's spinal cord, a procedure that Meloy says is no riskier than having an epidural.
In the second stage, a self-contained device will be implanted beneath the skin and can be switched on and off with a remote control.
So far only one woman has completed the first stage of the trial, and another is about to be signed up. Eight more are needed.
"I thought people would be beating my door down to be part of the trial," a disappointed Meloy told New Scientist.
"But so far I am struggling to find people," he said.