A few readers have expressed doubt about the orgasm-inducing mushroom I mentioned yesterday. It was in reference to an article titled, "Spontaneous Female Orgasms Triggered by the Smell of a Newly Found Tropical Dictyophora Desv. Species," which appeared in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms (Vol 3. p. 162, 2001)
Here's a link to the PDF of the article. The article, written by John C. Holliday and Noah Soule of Next Laboratories and Aloha Medicinals in Hawaii says:
…there are significant sexual arousal characteristics present in the fetid odor of this unique mushroom. Indeed, nearly half of the female test subjects experienced spontaneous orgasms while smelling this mushroom.
None of our readers have, as far as I know, sniffed the mushroom, but they do know their way around Snopes, and they have kindly provided a link to the site's page, which says the mushroom's orgasmic power is UNPROVEN:
Our research did not turn up any other scientific studies about this orgasm-inducing and unnamed Dictyophora species, and the one extant study is itself a bit flimsy. Halliday and Soule conducted a "smell test" in 2001 involving 16 women and 20 men. Six women reportedly experienced spontaneous (but not "earth-shattering") orgasms while smelling the fungus, and the other 10 (who received smaller doses) experienced an increase in heart rate. What caused the spontaneous orgasms? Halliday speculated that the fetid odor of the mushrooms may have had "hormonelike compounds present" that had some "similarity to human neurotransmitters released during sexual encounters."
While Halliday's study is certainly intriguing, it's somewhat short of representing a rigorous scientific standard: it's a single, decade-old study that was conducted with a very small sample group and published in a minor journal, one which has not since been replicated or vetted by other researchers in the scientific community.
I have left a message with Dr. John Holliday at Aloha Medicinals, and am looking forward to finding out more about his research.