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10 Bizarre Medical Conditions

        Health | Rare Diseases

Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome
A nightmare, not a fantasy
A nightmare, not a fantasy

While persistent sexual arousal syndrome sounds like a schoolboy's fantasy, this bizarre medical condition is more of a nightmare to the women who have it.

These spontaneous, unwelcome bouts of female sexual arousal -- with genitals that experience seemingly endless sensations of tingling, pulsing and throbbing -- is only at times lessened by orgasm, and orgasms are just as likely to make the ongoing sensation worse.

The sensation can last for hours, and begin again just moments after seemingly having gone away. Women with this condition may have orgasms as often as every 30 seconds, and these cycles may last for hours on end. The constant heightened stimulation of the clitoris becomes painful.

PSAS and its symptoms exist independent of sexual interest or desire. It's not nymphomania, an excessive desire for sex. Researchers aren't sure what causes it or how to make it stop. The women with the disorder describe it as torturous, and must spend their nights unable to sleep and their days avoiding contact with anything -- a slightly vibrating car seat, for instance -- that might trigger the symptoms. Masturbation offers no lasting relief. Since constantly trying to relieve the sensation negates any type of normal day-to-day life, most women with PSAS wait it out as long as they can before trying to relieve the sensation, and many also try to avoid sexual or affectionate contact with others altogether.