Perfume brands always seem to be trying to find a scent that inspires sexual arousal. These brands may kick themselves when they realize scientists in Hawaii found a mushroom that does just that over 10 years ago.
And the hilariously ironic part about this miraculous mushroom is that it’s shaped like a giant penis. Back in 2001, John Holliday of Next Laboratories in Kula, Hawaii, and Noah Soule of Aloha Medicinals published a study in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms about the still unnamed mushroom’s strange aphrodisiac powers.
They conducted a limited experiment on 16 female and 20 male volunteers, where they recorded their differing responses to the mushroom’s scent. While all the men said the mushroom smelled disgusting, when the women smelled it, half of them had spontaneous orgasms. I’d say that’s a much more potent aphrodisiac than a bucket of oysters!
Both sexes agreed the mushrooms have an incredibly pungent smell, but for some inexplicable reason, the sexual response was triggered only in women. According to Holliday and Soule, “Hormone-like compounds present […] may have some similarity to human neurotransmitters released during sexual encounters.”
The mushroom was originally found growing on lava deposits and has been around for 600 to 10,000 years. It’s part of the Dictyophora genus of mushrooms, which are also called “veiled ladies” because of their net-looking heads. They are growers (pun intended), meaning they can achieve great stature in under an hour. A mushroom can reach about 10 inches in height, with a cap of about 1.6 inches wide.
These mushrooms have always been thought to have magic powers. In Mexico, they were eaten during ancient divinatory ceremonies, and New Guinea considered them sacred because of their phallic shape. The Chinese have used them for medicinal purposes since the 7th century. They are thought to cure neurological, gastric, respiratory and various inflammatory-based diseases. However, despite all this, the “veiled lady” is still a relatively unexplored genus of fungus.
The intense smell is thought to be caused by the mushroom’s reproduction process. In Nigeria, hunters are said to be attracted to it because it legitimately smells like a dead animal. However, that is the same smell that induces these extreme sexual responses in women. So perhaps Paul Rudd’s character in Anchorman wasn’t totally off when he sprayed himself with his terrible-smelling Sex Panther perfume.
All things considered, while it may sound awesome, it might not be the wisest thing to create a perfume from a mushroom that induces women to instantaneously climax. Aside from the fact that it could cause major traffic accidents, there’s no guarantee that women will connect their spontaneous orgasm with the mushroom scent wearer. It may simply be like a sudden, sexual sneeze — we don’t know why it happened, but after it’s over, we won’t look for the culprit; we’ll just go back to what we were doing.
However, that said, it might be nice to have a secret stash of them for a lonely Thursday night.