Waking Up is Hard to Do: Rare Disorder Causes Weeks of Sleep

Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome

For those who have never experienced persistent sexual arousal syndrome, or PSAS, its symptoms may seem more like a godsend or a dirty joke than a debilitating condition.

However, for the women who experience PSAS -- which causes them to live perpetually at the brink of orgasm -- the condition is a nightmarish curse. And up until 2001, it was a curse that didn't even have a name.

"I thought I was alone in this," Heather Dearmon, a 34-year-old South Carolina woman who experiences PSAS, told ABC News' "Primetime." "And this is after seeing every kind of doctor imaginable -- gynecologist, psychologist, psychiatrist -- you know, everything. And none had ever heard of anything."

Relief from the condition is often as elusive as sympathy. The sensations, which are not brought about by fantasies or other sexual thoughts, are often only partially relieved through orgasm. For some women, even sex does not help quell their arousal, and on occasion can even make the sensations worse.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a professor of surgery at U.C. San Diego and the head of the Sexual Health Program at Alvarado Hospital, studies the condition and says understanding of it is spare, even within the medical community.

"Every lecture I give on this, there's always smirks in the audience: 'Oh, I wish my wife was like this.' These are professional physicians," Goldstein said. "And I said, 'No, no, you're, you don't really want this. You do not want your wife to have this, please.'"

Indeed, the mortifying nature of PSAS leads Goldstein to believe that perhaps thousands of women suffer from the condition without seeking a doctor's help.

"To me this is a sickness," Dearmon said. "This is not, it's not something we've chosen. ... I would rather never have another orgasm in my life for the rest of my life than to have this problem."

The Man Who Never Gets Cold

Wim Hof, 49, of the Netherlands, possesses such a strong resistance to cold that scientists remain baffled as to how he endures many of the tests to which he exposes his body.

The Guinness world record holder has immersed himself, nearly naked, in ice for one hour and 12 minutes.

In January 1999, he traveled 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle to run a half marathon in his bare feet. Three years later, dressed only in a swimsuit, he dived under the ice at the North Pole and earned a Guinness world record for the longest distance swimming under the ice: 80 meters, almost twice the length of an Olympic-size pool.

Hof earned more recent renown for scaling Mount Everest in his shorts.

Hof told ABC News' "20/20" that his ability to withstand cold temperatures was something he discovered more than two decades ago.

"I had a stroll like this in the park with somebody, and I saw the ice and I thought, 'What would happen if I go in there?' I was really attracted to it. I went in, got rid of my clothes. Thirty seconds I was in," Hof said. "Tremendous good feeling when I came out. And since then, I repeated it every day."

Dr. Ken Kamler, author of "Surviving the Extremes," has treated dozens of people who tried to climb Mount Everest and nearly died from the frigid temperatures. When he heard that Hof had ascended the mountain wearing shorts, he became intrigued and began to study the Dutchman. He believes that Hof's ability lies in the wiring of his brain.

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