A 55-year-old woman in the Netherlands came to her doctor complaining of orgasms in her foot. Strange as it may sound, she became the first known case of a real condition known as “foot orgasm syndrome.” These orgasms are spontaneous and not triggered by any sexual actions or thoughts. An orgasmic sensation that began in her left foot would travel up her left leg to her vagina, resulting in an orgasm similar to the kind experienced during sex.
The sensations began after the woman underwent treatment for sepsis in the intensive care unit, including time in a coma. After awaking from the coma, she noticed the tingling that began in the foot was not natural to have coming from that area of her body. She was seen by Dr. Waldinger, a neuropsychiatrist from Utrecht University, who performed MRI scans on her brain.
The MRI scans showed no brain abnormalities and more tests were performed. Dr. Waldinger discovered that her brain was not differentiating between the sensations that come from her left foot and those that come from her vagina. Other tests also revealed the differences between the nerves in her right foot and her left foot, which helped explain why the sensations were only coming from the left side. Since the nerves of the feet and the nerves of the vagina enter the spinal at almost the same level, Dr. Waldinger and his colleagues theorized that the brain was treating nerve information from the foot as signals for sexual arousal.
This case study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, describes the procedures performed. Given that this was the only documented case, treatment options were experimental. They tried an anesthetic in the spine as a diagnostic blockade of the nerve sensations. Based on the results of that anesthetic, they gave her a therapeutic blockade combined with a pulsed radiofrequency treatment. Together, these therapies successfully prevented any orgasmic sensations beginning in the foot.
While this is the only known case of foot orgasms, it is not the only case of orgasms without sex or spontaneous orgasms. A condition known as persistent sexual arousal syndrome results in spontaneous orgasms without stimulation, even to the point of physical pain. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that orgasms could arise unintentionally during vigorous physical exercise. Another study found that as many as 40 percent of women had experienced sexual pleasure or an orgasm while working out.