Does Smelling This Mushroom Cause Females to Orgasm?

Does smelling this mushroom cause females to orgasm?

In October last year we linked to a story about a mycological mystery, titled "This mushroom that looks like a penis gives women spontaneous orgasms". It had taken a long time to hit the internet - it was based on a short mention of the alleged effect in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms in 2001 - but once it got here, it went viral.

But while plenty of websites were more than happy to reap the hits from the sensationally titled piece, without looking much deeper, one intrepid researcher decided to go in search of the fabled fungi. Christie Wilcox, on her 'Science Sushi' blog at Discover magazine, describes how she tracked the mushroom down, and answers the big question: what was her reaction when she smelt it?

For a moment, we both stood in silence, staring at the phallic fungus. Then he turned to me. “OK, so… I guess you should sniff it,” he said. I nodded. Slowly, I dropped to my knees. I closed my eyes and took a breath. I placed my hands in the soft mulch on either side of the fungus, and let the air out of my lungs. Then, I pushed my face next to its orange stalk and breathed in as deeply as I could.

My physiological reaction was immediate and strong. In less than a heartbeat I was on my feet, staggering backwards, gagging.

“Are you OK?” Jake asked, concerned, as he rushed to my side. The taste was in my mouth. It was in my throat. This disgusting, foul, rottenness—there are no words that adequately describe the vile stench. Tears formed in my eyes. I nearly vomited. Though I had read about how bad stinkhorns smell, I really wasn’t expecting something that… awful.

It was, hands down, the worst smell that’s ever violated my nostrils.

Beyond the quest to smell the mushroom, and her reaction, there's plenty else of interest in the article. Most notably, how the short mention ended up in the journal in 2001 in the first place, and the background of the researchers involved. One of those, John Holliday, responded to questions about the paper rather weirdly:

...Holliday wasn’t eager to talk. “I hear so much crap about this. I saw some stuff written online last year. ‘This was never meant to be believed, it’s just a big hoax.’… Somebody sent me a link yesterday, it’s some lady I don’t even know, I have never heard of her or talked to her, and she is claiming that she talked to me and I told her that it was not legitimate… I don’t want to get myself or the company involved in any discussions of this, because it is too important for a whole bunch of reasons. Commercial reasons, scientific reasons. Reputational reasons. I am a pretty much a world renowned scientist…. When things like that come out that says this is a hoax, a lot of people that believe that. I don’t need that. I spend a lot of years getting to the point where I am. That is why I don’t really want to see anything about this.”

According to Holliday, he also is under a strict confidentiality agreement and therefore cannot discuss the study conducted in any way. He also implied that the research has continued since 2001, and that the pharmaceutical company he was working for (which he wouldn’t name but said was one of “the big ones”) was near to marketing the discovery. “If I was to say something like ‘We are about to release a blockbuster drug,’ and you go buy stock in this company, then you and I are both guilty of insider trading.”

There's also some fascinating discussion about how mushrooms can mimic both the shape of a penis, and also the smell ("the compound spermine...was so named because it was first discovered in 1677 in human semen—and it has been detected in odorous fungi") - and therefore whether any excitement or even orgasms in women might be via association with those factors. But Wilcox finds it an unlikely hypothesis.

Nevertheless, science is all about sample size (pardon the pun), so while Christie Wilcox was not impressed with the mushroom, further testing on more subjects may be required to get to the bottom of this one.

Link: Expedition Ecstasy: Sniffing Out The Truth About Hawai‘i’s Orgasm-Inducing Mushroom

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KGB's picture
Member since:
3 May 2004
Last activity:
1 week 2 days

I started to comment on this article a few days ago and then had second thoughts. Later on, thought - what the hell:
Whilst I can't comment on it's orgasmic qualities on the human female this pic did bring to mind an unusual incident which happened to me over 25 years ago.
I was in a relationship with a lady. She had, at some period but not while we were together, given tea leaf readings. It wasn't something we really discussed that much though I became aware over the years during numererous incidents whilst we were together that she appeared to have a kind of "sixth sense".
Mid-week during a holiday period I suggested that we go for a drive and a walk in a forest that I had recently heard about which was around 50 miles away. I had never been there before and neither had she. Getting there we parked the car and I picked out a path which we followed for a while, after I would guess 45 minutes or so she took my arm and insisted we walk well off the path and through a still forested but much less travelled area. After another 10 minutes or so of general rambling around in no specific direction as far as I could tell (I've thought of this event a number of times over the years and I can swear that there is no way on this earth that she knew of this spot beforehand) she said here we are, or something similar, which struck me as an odd thing to say at the time, and, lo and behold we came across a host on these smelly beasties which I had seen before in other woods etc but not very often and not in this quantity. Modesty forbids me from finishing the story - I'll leave that to your imagination...

emlong's picture
Member since:
18 September 2007
Last activity:
12 hours 46 min

So, is that the kind of woman you run from or hold on to?

LastLoup's picture
Member since:
6 April 2010
Last activity:
11 hours 2 sec

I just need to let the five year old in me out here and say that the mushroom looks like a dong wearing a fish net condom. That is all.

...I forgot how I got here but everyone seems to be heading off in that direction. I hope someone brought food. I have a feeling this is going to be a long journey................

RicoYung's picture
Member since:
1 June 2004
Last activity:
14 weeks 5 days

It could be similar to the smell of skunk, I myself like the smell of skunk odor if it has been dispersed, like a dead skunk on the road I really like that smell (but not the idea of a small creature being trammeled by a vehicle:() However if you have ever been sprayed, or close to something that has been sprayed by a skunk it is unbearable. The same may be true for this mushroom..The girl in the video stuck her nose right up to it..Yuck! But KGB and his lady friend found them in an open area and I will assume that she did not stick her nose up in them, so the smell was dispersed and not full strength. If my assumption is wrong then back to the drawing board :D
Oh and BTW KGB...I really liked that story, glad you posted :)

"We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." (Albert Einstein)

LastLoup's picture
Member since:
6 April 2010
Last activity:
11 hours 2 sec

The smell of skunk makes me hungry. I also like to eat onions raw so....

...I forgot how I got here but everyone seems to be heading off in that direction. I hope someone brought food. I have a feeling this is going to be a long journey................