What Happens in the Brain When You Orgasm?

Report in the Daily Mail this week about what happens in the brain when a woman has an orgasm. Researchers at Rutgers University, New Jersey attached eight women to an MRI scanner to see which parts of the brain activate during orgasm. They found that it triggers up to 30 parts including areas responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction, and memory.

The aim of this and similar studies is to give researchers an idea about what’s happening in the brain when a man or woman has ‘sexual dysfunction‘ – a medical – and controversial – term for low libido, lack of orgasm and arousal, and erectile dysfunction.

The scanner took images at two-second intervals to show what happens during orgasm. Prior to climax, the reward centre activates. At orgasm, the sensory cortex and thalamus, and during orgasm, the cingulate cortex and Insula – areas linked to our emotions. The hypothalamus, nucleus accubens, and caudate nucleus are also stimulated. In other words, during orgasm, a woman’s brain lights up like a Christmas tree.

Researchers also found that arousal and orgasm block pain signals in the brain, so we can tolerate pain to a greater degree. This is the principle behind the Orgasmic Birth movement, which explains that childbirth can actually be pleasurable and orgasmic if we connect with our bodies. I can’t say it happened to me but I love the idea and the DVD is fascinating to watch.

Rutgers University, New Jersey

Orgasmic Birth Movement

Beautiful Agony – facettes de la petite mort

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