Study showing sex can clear nasal congestion wins Ig Nobel Prize

Unusual but scientific research that first makes people laugh and then makes them think is recognized annually at an alternative awards ceremony.

Orgasm during sex can help relieve congested nose. That is according to research conducted by a team of researchers at SLK Clinics in Germany.

The finding that suggests orgasm could be an alternative nasal decongestant won the medicine prize at the recently held Ig Nobel Prize awards ceremony.

Although not as prestigious or lucrative as the Nobel awards, the Ig Nobels recognize and celebrate the weird, funny but equally intriguing scientific research.

Orgasmic Nasal Decongestant

The research was inspired by suspicions based on ‘self-observation’ by lead researcher, Cem Bulut. To investigate this phenomenon, he recruited a group of co-workers who were more than happy to oblige.

Armed with the skills to use an airflow measuring device, the couples checked their nasal airflow before sex, just after sexual climax and at regular time points.

Data showed that sex was just as effective for relieving nasal blockage (at least for an hour) as common nasal decongestants on the market. Bulut attempts an explanation as to why this might be the case:

I think it’s a mixture of excitement, physical exercise, and hormonal changes that come with orgasm.
Sex is just as effective in relieving nasal congestion as commercial decongestants. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

He concedes the findings may not be holistic as he failed to get firm data from everyone.

I think some people couldn’t focus on the device.

Other awards

Other weirdly fascinating research recognized during the ceremony include the correlation between obesity in politicians and the level of corruption in the countries they serve.

This won the Economic prize although the researcher Pavlo Blavatskyy noted his findings do not imply that fat politicians are more corrupt than their slim counterparts.

The Physics awards went to research conducted to find out why pedestrians do not collide with each other all the time.

Inversely, the Kinetics Prize was won by a group of researchers for running experiments to find out why pedestrians do collide with each other some of the time.

This year’s ceremony was held online for the second consecutive time due to COVID-19.

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