"Deadly 'iku iku byo' reaches a climax"
Growing numbers of Japanese women are afflicted with an illness that gives them orgasms virtually 24 hours a day. And with suggestions that it could be deadly, the women hardly know whether they're coming or going, according to Shukan Post (11/24).
"If a guy simply taps me on the shoulder, I just swoon. Even when I go to the toilet, my body reacts. I'm a little bit scared of myself," one woman sufferer tells Shukan Post.
Another adds: "When I got on the train one day, I could feel blood gushing toward a certain part of my body and it felt so good I almost let out a moan. It was sheer murder when everybody got pushed into the carriage."
Yet another woman has her say.
"Even the vibration of my mobile phone is enough to set me off," she says. "My friend said there's something called Iku Iku byo (Cum Cum Disease). I guess I've got that."
What may be afflicting these women, the best-selling weekly says, is an ailment called persistent sexual arousal syndrome (PSAS).
PSAS has been described as an affliction that brings about orgasm through the slightest of jolts regardless of whether they're aroused, or even thinking about sex. What's more, orgasms experienced by PSAS sufferers are not just momentary phenomena, instead affecting women over anywhere from a few days to a week, with one reported case seeing 300 orgasms in a single day.
Awareness in Japan of PSAS -- which was first documented by Dr. Sandra Leiblum in the United States five years ago -- is growing, especially in the blogsphere, where it is being called Iku Iku byo.
Hideo Yamanaka, a doctor at the Toranomon Hibiya Clinic in Tokyo says the disease can be debilitating.
"For women to orgasm, they need to have some sort of sexual stimulation. There are nerves around the female genitals which react to sexual stimulation. The body gradually builds up to a crescendo, that ascends to a climax," the doctor tells Shukan Post. "However, with this disease, women are mysteriously reaching climax without any external sexual stimulation at all. One possible cause that I can think of is an irregularity in the sensory nerves."
PSAS discover Leiblum says that the disease has a tendency to strike post-menopausal women in their 40s and 50s or those who've undergone hormonal treatment. But she adds that there have also been cases reported among women in their 30s, stressing that too little is known about the syndrome to pinpoint anything and adds that the nature of the ailment means that many sufferers may be too ashamed to report it.
PSAS numbers in the U.S. are high enough for support groups to have popped up, suggesting it won't be too long before Japan sees the same.
"Awareness levels are still too low," Jeannie Allen, the head of PSAS Support, tells Shukan Post. "I think there's a strong possibility that there are Japanese patients."
Manga artist Akira Narita, who says he has slept with over 1,000 different women, says he has come across some he believes may have had PSAS.
"There must have been about 15 who came without me doing a thing. We'd only need to stare in each other's eyes and they'd start wiggling about, gripping tightly onto whatever was around them and their bodies would start to shake. There were others who'd orgasm repeatedly just because I'd stroked their hands," the self-professed sexpert says. "I'd always thought of these women as types who got off in their minds, but I think perhaps they may have had PSAS."
PSAS is not sex addiction and, considering the constant orgasms can be draining, can often be a painful and demeaning experience. Many sufferers are driven to the verge of suicide, prompting medical experts to recommend anybody who suspects they have the ailment to seek a doctor's advice immediately.
"Anybody who has the slightest suspicion," physician Yamanaka tells Shukan Post, "should get to a gynecologist or neurologist straight away." (By Ryann Connell)