Many of the world’s great inventions started as an experiment gone wrong, from microwaves to PlayDough. Now there’s one more invention to join their ranks.
Scientists developed the “Vaginal Pressure Inducer” to stimulate discomfort in the hopes of understanding the relationship between sexual arousal and genital pain, as well seeing whether women can develop a tolerance to vaginal pressure and pain. However, the device actually ended up being pretty pleasurable, with women describing it as “stimulating” yet “a bit weird.”
As explained in their study published in Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, the device consists of a balloon that is inserted into the vagina and gradually filled with body temperature water thereby inducing pressure on the vaginal wall.
During their research, clinical psychologists from the Maastricht University in the Netherlands tested out the device on 42 healthy women with an average age of 24 years. They were asked to insert the device while scientists remotely control how much the balloon inflated. When the pressure started to feel unpleasant, the women pressed a button instructing the balloon to deflate.
During a series of tests, the woman also watched pornographic movies, as well numerous control films, including a “neutral film” and excerpts from non-sexual films, one of which was Forest Gump. The things you do for science, eh?
The women reported “significantly higher” levels of sexual arousal when watching the sexual films with the added pressure than without.
The women rated the experience on a 10-point scale, ranging from “unpleasant” to “pleasant.” Overall, they rated it a solid 7.2. Interviews with the women featured comments including “a bit weird”, “stimulating”, and“interesting.”
“Vaginal pressure may heighten subjective sexual arousal during high-arousal sexual films,” the study authors write, “which may implicate that vaginal pressure can potentiate sexual arousal in sexually functional women.”
Many women experience pain during or after sex with 30 percent of women, compared to 7 percent of men, reporting pain during vaginal intercourse. Clinically referred to as dyspareunia, this condition can be caused by a multitude of factors, both physical and psychological. The condition is also understandably associated with people’s emotion and psychological well-being due to the effect it can have on their personal life.
So, while this study may have had some unlikely results, it’s important science helps to develop a deeper understanding of pain during sex.