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The Public Erection of G.S. Brindley

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research. It contains adult subject matter.

by Stephen Drew, Improbable Research staff

Giles Skey Brindley, MD, FRCP, FRCS, knows how to stand proud. At a 1983 Urodynamics Society lecture in Las Vegas, Dr. Brindley demonstrated—with panache—that he could inject drugs into his penis and thereby cause an erection.

Dr. Brindley had developed the first effective treatment for what was then loosely called “impotence” and today goes by the stiffer euphemism “erectile dysfunction.” His appearance in Las Vegas ensured that the discovery would not go unnoticed.

Two decades later, Laurence Klotz, a University of Toronto urologist, wrote a firsthand account of his experience at that meeting. Titled “How (Not) to Communicate New Scientific Information: A Memoir of the Famous Brindley Lecture,” it graces the November 2005 issue of the urological journal BJU International. Dr. Klotz reports:

[Dr. Brindley] indicated that, in his view, no normal person would find the experience of giving a lecture to a large audience to be eroticaliy stimulating or erection-inducing. He had, he said, therefore injected himself with papaverine in his hotel room before coming to give the lecture, and deliberately wore loose clothes to make it possible to exhibit the results.... He then summarily dropped his trousers and shorts, revealing a long, thin, clearly erect penis. There was not a sound in the room.

Everyone had stopped breathing. But the mere public showing of his erection from the podium was not sufficient. He paused, and seemed to ponder his next move. The sense of drama in the room was palpable. He then said, with gravity, “I’d like to give some of the audience the opportunity to confirm the degree of tumescence.” With his pants at his knees, he waddled down the stairs, approaching (to their horror) the urologists and their partners in the front row.

And so on.

Dr. Brindley’s activities range wide in science and medicine, and also in music. He invented a new variety of bassoon, and in 1973 brought to bear many of his diverse interests in a study in the journal Nature called “Speed of Sound in Bent Tubes and the Design of Wind Instruments.”

The self-injection erection experiment entered the medical literature in 1986, in the March issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology, in the form of Dr. Brindley’s treatise “Pilot Experiments on the Action of Drugs Injected into the Human Corpus Cavernosum Penis.” Dr. Brindley explains that:

Drugs were injected through a 0.5 millimeter x 16 millimeter needle into the right corpus cavernosum in the proximal third of the free penis. The penis was then massaged systematically to distributethe drug throughout both corpora cavernosa as follows…

There follows a 307-word description of the drugs and of the massage technique, which reads in part:

The penis was firmly pinched transversely at least six different places along its length.... The stiffness of the penis was assessed by attempting to bend it to right and to left with the fingers, applying forces of about 500 g wt in opposite directions to the glans and the middle of the shaft.

In Tables 1 and 2, ‘flexible 20’ means that this procedure caused it to bend through an angle 20 degrees, i.e. so the central axes of the proximal and distal ends intersected at an angle of 160 degrees from about the fortieth to the hundredth minute the penis was smaller than would have been expected for my thermal state.

The penis was then massaged systematically to distribute the drug....

The penis was firmly pinched transversely at least six different places along its length....

The stiffness of the penis was assessed by attempting to bend it to right and to left with the fingers, applying forces of about 500 g wt in opposite directions to the glans and the middle of the shaft. In Tables 1 and 2, ‘flexible 20’ means that this procedure caused it to bend through an angle 20 degrees, i.e. so the central axes of the proximal and distal ends intersected at an angle of 160 degrees from about the fortieth to the hundredth minute the penis was smaller than would have been expected for my thermal state.

The final word can be left to Dr. Klotz, who says: “Professor Brindley belongs in the pantheon of famous British eccentrics who have made spectacular contributions to science. The story of his lecture deserves a place in the urological history books.”

(Thanks to Jean Monahan and Geneva Robertson for bringing this to our attention)

References
“How (Not) to Communicate New Scientific Information: A Memoir of the Famous Brindley Lecture,” Laurence Klotz, BJU International, November 2005, Vol. 96 Issue 7, pp. 956-957.

“Speed of Sound in Bent Tubes and the Design of Wind Instruments,” Giles S. Brindley, Nature, vol. 246, December 21, 1973, pp. 479-80.

“The Logical Bassoon,” Giles S. Brindley, Galpin Society Journal, vol. 21, March 1968, pp. 152-61.

“Pilot Experiments on the Action of Drugs Injected into the Human Corpus Cavernosum Penis,” G.S. Brindley, British Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 87, no. 3, March 1986, pp. 495-500.

_____________________

The article above is from the May-June 2009 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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