Article Thumbnail

The Science of Pleasure

A weeklong series with our friends at Futurism about boning, the brain and everything between

Millions. Possibly billions. 

That’s how many people are having sex, in some form, as we speak. Whether it’s over text, FaceTime, a webcam or in person, nearly all of us are in the throes of intimacy, either with another person or ourselves. If we’re not, we’re probably planning to be. Of course we are. It feels good.

But despite the fact that sex is a basic instinct and a near-universal experience, we know remarkably little about it. For example, why are people so afraid of it? Why do we rely on pills and devices to get us there? How does the brain process pleasure, and how can we tap into its workings to feel even better?

To answer these questions, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Futurism, oracles of all things science, technology and medicine. Given that there’s two of us, we’ll be looking at pleasure from two different angles — MEL will focus on its past and present, while Futurism will guide you into its, well, future. 

To start, we’ll take a look at who killed the Orgasmatron, a mysterious, sci-fi-like spinal insert accidentally invented by a North Carolina anesthesiologist that made women cum at the drop of a hat. Next, we’ll catch up with writer Jake Hall, who we deployed to Barcelona to experience the pleasure-enhancing potential of VR body-swapping, a new technology that allows you to inhabit someone else’s virtual bod for minutes to hours at a time. Meanwhile, we’ll investigate the dick-enhancing potential of CRISPR, find out where in our brains spank banks live and learn about why people are so utterly terrified of erotic hypnosis, a pleasure method that often involves zero touch at all. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering whether you can go back in time through a wormhole and fuck yourself — and whether that counts as cheating — we’ve got that covered, too. This is the Science of Pleasure, after all. You need to know these things. — Isabelle Kohn, Senior Editor