We’re always on the look-out for free podcasts to fill the interminable gaps between new episodes of This American Life and RadioLab, and one of our new favorites is the Stuff You Should Know podcast from HowStuffWorks.com. The hosts, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, are funny and smart and just the right amount of nerdy, and their meandering conversations cover everything from how Alcatraz works to how silly putty works. If you’re used to the tightly edited style of, say, This American Life, their loosey-goosey style will take a bit of getting used to. But unlike those high-budget shows, this one is updated every few days.
So anyway, we were thrilled to hear the recent episode, “What happens in the brain during an orgasm.” Imagine sitting next to two guys at a bar — two incredibly well read, sweet, dorkily funny guys –and listening to them discuss orgasms for 38 minutes. That’s kind of what this podcast is like. This time around, they had us from the intro, when they explain why they decided to go ahead with the episode despite having a lot of younger listeners: because in the past they’ve covered numerous gory topics, from cannibalism to Jack the Ripper to shrunken heads, and they didn’t want to fall into the puritanical trap of assuming that violence gets a pass where sexuality does not.
Suffice it to say, we learned a lot, and you will too. Like, for example, how cool it is that the vagus nerve, which is involved in orgasm, bypasses the spinal cord. As researchers (including G-spot goddess Dr. Beverly Whipple) have recently discovered, this means that paraplegics can still climax.