In the recent long Wired article on the science of female arousal, I learned for the first time of ladies who can “think off” or achieve orgasm without any external stimulation:

Getting good images of the aroused female brain is easy. It’s orgasm that’s the problem. In the doughnut, the slightest head movement ruins the scan. Even if a test subject holds her head perfectly still while masturbating, the parts of the brain responsible for motor control are switched on, muddying the picture. “You’ll see vaginal sensory input to the brain,” Komisaruk says, “but you’ll also get motor activity of the arms and hands, as well as sensory input from them.” To get clean data, he needed to find someone able to achieve orgasm without touching herself.

Vicky – not her real name – is one of these women. A California college student, she can climax by “thinking off.” She contacted Komisaruk after hearing about his work from one of his other test subjects at a party.

“It’s amusing to tell people that I jack off in an fMRI for science,” says Vicky, quickly adding that the process is more like work than sex. A typical day of research begins with Vicky lying on the fMRI machine’s bed; Komisaruk and his team strap down her head. Then she’s fed into the doughnut and the machine begins taking pictures, a process Vicky describes as “loud and clunky.” She stimulates herself by contracting her vaginal muscles rhythmically and controlling her breathing for 26 minutes.

Vicky and the imaging team worked out a hand signal she can flash when she starts to orgasm. “Basically, my head was strapped to a board in an extremely loud machine, and I had to let them know when I was about to come, so they could mark it on the computer,” she laughs. “Whoo – so sexy!”

“We got excellent data from her,” says Komisaruk, who adds that Vicky is one of 12 women in his study who can “think off.” “Because there is no distraction related to movements and sensory input from arms and hands,” he explains, “it illuminates the brain activity involved in producing the orgasm.”

If guys could routinely do this, we’d never have clean underwear.