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If This Scientist Didn’t Publicly Expose His Erect Penis 30 Years Ago, We Wouldn’t Have Viagra

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Before the introduction of Viagra in 1998, men suffering from erectile dysfunction had little recourse beyond willpower and witchcraft. 30 years ago, scientist Giles Brindley set out to help them. With his dick. Via Mad Scientist Blog, here’s how it went down.

Sir Brindley – yup, he was knighted for his contributions to bioengineering – dropped trou at the 1983 gathering of the American Urological Association in Las Vegas. Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, unless you’re an esteemed professor who publicly exposes himself in front of hundreds of his peers.

Brindley began his lecture by showing his audience photographs of his own erection, which, as any student of PowerPoint knows, is always an effective opener. He explained that he’d injected a muscle relaxant directly into the shaft of his penis, a revolutionary treatment for impotence. This is when things got weird. Well, weirder.

See, Brindley – then nearly 60 – had shot up again, in his hotel room earlier that day. He ditched his pants to reveal “a long, thin, clearly erect penis,” then attempted the urology conference equivalent of a stage drive.

Pants at his knees, Brindley shuffled awkwardly toward the first row of horrified urologists. The future of male sexual therapy flopped between his legs, joggling to and fro with each step. Women began to scream.

In a paper published in 1986, Brindley reported the results of injecting more than a dozen different drugs into his penis, one of which resulted in a 44-hour erection (the urologist presumably had to call his doctor 11 times). His advances – and his in-the-name-of-science public indecency – have been directly credited with inspiring Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that produces Viagra.

Brindley also invented a new type of bassoon, the perfect instrument for a professional erection enthusiast.

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