Cornell graduate student Michael Smith recently published a paper based on self-experimentation he’d performed. His paper includes this note:
“Cornell University’s Human Research Protection Program does not have a policy regarding researcher self-experimentation, so this research was not subject to review from their offices. The methods do not conflict with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, revised in 1983. The author was the only person stung, was aware of all associated risks therein, gave his consent, and is aware that these results will be made public.”
So, what exactly was Smith testing on himself? He was working to determine where on the body is the most painful place to be stung by a bee. He caused bees to sting him over and over again, then rated the pain. If it sounds hellish, well, that’s the life of a grad student. To really get a sense of the torture, here’s a map of locations where stings were administered:
Men may be surprised to learn that a sting on the penis is not nearly the most painful you can suffer. According to Smith:
“It’s painful, and there’s definitely no crossing of wires of pleasure and pain down there,” he says. “But if you’re stung in the nose and penis, you’re going to want more stings to the penis over the nose, if you’re forced to choose.”
Ouch all over.