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What Happens In Your Brain When You Orgasm

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How Do Orgasms Affect The Brain Study Investigates

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When it comes to the human orgasm, research has primarily focused on how this intense feeling of sexual pleasure has evolved. In a new study, one researcher has delved into a relatively understudied area of human climax: how orgasms affect the brain.

Described as a powerful, pleasurable release of accumulated sexual tension, the orgasm is perceived as the epitome of sexual pleasure for both men and women.

During orgasm, an individual may experience a rise in blood pressure, an increased heart rate, heavy breathing, and rhythmic muscular contractions.

But while the signs and sensations of an orgasm might be clear, the underlying mechanisms of this sexual response particularly its neurophysiological effects remain uncertain.

Study author Adam Safron, Ph.D., of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, notes that the majority of research relating to the orgasm has focused on its evolutionary functions.

A study reported by Medical News Today earlier this year did just that researchers suggested that the female orgasm once played a role in ovulation.

For this latest study recently reported in the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology Safron set out to gain a better understanding of how the human orgasm affects the brain.

Orgasms Can Lead To Oxytocin Overload In The Brain

The first thing that comes to mind are fireworks, board certified sex therapist and licensed psychotherapist, Gabriela Galvan de Antillon MS, LMHC tells Bustle. At the point of orgasm, the hypothalamus is hit with surges of oxytocin. Sometimes, its so much more oxytocin than your brain thinks it can handle. So in the cases of super intense orgasms, some people may feel an almost euphoric or out of body experience.

It feels so good to have it in your brain that you know you want to go at it again as soon as possible, Galvan de Antillon says.

Having An Orgasm Stimulates Your Brain In The Same Way As Doing Drugs Or Listening To Your Favorite Music

Flickr/Alexander Mueller

Surprisingly, the brain doesn’t differentiate much between sex and other pleasurable experiences. The parts of your brain that make you feel good after indulging in dessert or winning at poker are the same areas that light up during orgasm.

“Sex is experienced as pleasurable and this is because the reward pathways in our brains are activated during and leading up to orgasm. These are the very same networks that are activated in response to drug use, alcohol consumption, gambling, listening to your favorite song or enjoying a delicious meal,” said Sher.

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What Goes On In A Woman’s Brain When She Has An Orgasm It’s Complicated

Woman

What is happening in a womans brain when she is having an orgasm? Is brain activity during an orgasm different from the period of intense sexual arousal that immediately precedes orgasm? Does it make a difference whether the woman masturbates or is stimulated by a partner? A study carried out by a team at Rutgers University Newark and published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine used fMRI to provide answers to these and other questions about how sexual arousal and orgasm plays out in a womans brain.

fMRI scanner

How the study was carried out

The data that mapped brain activity to levels of sexual arousal culminating in orgasm were gathered in an environment that few would consider conducive to erotic activity. Functional magnetic imagining scanners are always noisy and usually cold. In addition, the womens heads were held in a position that allowed very little movement when they were inside the scanner because motion disrupts the scan. The contraption that held the head in place included a throat collar and a full-head thermoplastic mesh mask with holes cut out for the eyes, nose and mouth that was molded to each womans head.

Woman

What the study found

The time it took the women to reach orgasm after stimulation began ranged from 87 to 829 seconds . Their orgasms lasted from 10 to 59 seconds and their recovery periods lasted from 23 to 89 seconds.

A couple

Woman

You Might Have Shaky Legs

This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Orgasm

Some women report leg shaking after they have an orgasm. During climax, tension builds around our muscles, and not just those in the genital area. When sex is over and the tension is released, some cramping, shaking or contractions can occur. If this happens to you, try drinking water and eating something with potassium, like a banana, avocado or yogurt.

Know what your normal is, and if your legs do shake, be sure to hydrate, OB/GYN Jessica Williams told ShareCare.com. And have fun!

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Here’s What Happens To Your Body And Brain When You Orgasm

Though you don’t need to have an orgasm to find sex pleasurable, it’s definitely a great bonus.

In order to figure out what’s going on our brains when we climax, researchers use fMRI Machines or a PET scans. These devices can measure the blood flow and neuron activity in the brain.

1. The logical part of your brain basically shuts down during sex.

There’s a reason why people tend to feel bolder and less inhibited during sex the part of your brain in charge of your logical reasoning skills temporarily goes on vacation.

“The lateral orbitofrontal cortex becomes less active during sex. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for reason, decision making, and value judgments. The deactivation of this part of the brain is also associated with decreases in fear and anxiety,” clinical psychologist Daniel Sher told INSIDER.

This shutdown of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex actually makes sense, as fear and anxiety can interrupt arousal and lead to problems like performance anxiety.

2. Multiple spatially remote parts of your brain are involved in having an orgasm.

Medical imaging tests suggest there are multiple spatially remote brain regions that are involved in sexual response.

“Researchers have found that genital sensory cortex, motor areas, hypothalamus, thalamus, and substantia nigra all light up during the big O,” cognitive psychologist Kayt Sukel explained to INSIDER.

3. When you orgasm, your brain releases a surge of dopamine.

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Your Brain Releases Vasopressin

Although some research suggests changes in vasopressin post-orgasm might make women experience sexual activity as more of an emotional connection, vasopressin changes are more significant in men, according to Prause. Given that vasopressin promotes sleepiness, this may reflect the gender differencessometimes the butt of jokesas men rolling over and snoozing immediately after sex, she says. There may be a biological basis for that.

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Masturbation Can Improve Body Positivity

Learning to appreciate and understand the beauty of your body is a very powerful thing, especially as many people struggle to love what they see reflected in the mirror. Realising that we can make ourselves feel good can help us accept, appreciate and love the amazing body that we have been given, consequently helping us to be kinder to our minds and bodies. Next time youd like to masturbate, take care to notice how amazingly your body responds to every touch, and connect with all it can achieve itll help to form a mind-body connection youre sure to love.

Things That Happen To Your Brain When You Orgasm Every Day

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A ton of really awesome things happen when you orgasm. From chemicals that are immediately released into your brain to the long term effects of those toe-curling sensations, orgasms are definitely something to be incorporate into your everyday. If you achieve relaxation, happiness, coziness, and less stress from just one orgasm, imagine the things that happen to your brain when you orgasm every day.

Sex educator and psychologist Laura Berman told Everyday Health that, during an orgasm, your brain is flooded with information from your psyche and from the nerves in your genital region. The millions of nerve endings located in and near your sex organs are what help to make you feel so good. When those nerve endings are stimulated successfully, your nerves send messages to your brain. Coincidentally, it the same part of your brain that activates when you eat something delicious. Now just imagine how delightful your brain would feel if you activated that part of your brain every single day.

If there’s one surefire way to improve your day to day experience, according to the following seven things that happen to your brain when your orgasm, I think it’s safe to say that having an orgasm a day will certainly help keep the blues, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and forgetfulness away.

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Multiple Spatially Remote Parts Of Your Brain Are Involved In Having An Orgasm

Medical imaging tests suggest there are multiple spatially remote brain regions that are involved in sexual response.

“Researchers have found that genital sensory cortex, motor areas, hypothalamus, thalamus, and substantia nigra all light up during the big O,” cognitive psychologist Kayt Sukel explained to INSIDER.

The thalamus helps integrate information about touch, movement, and any sexual memories or fantasies that someone might call upon to help them reach orgasm. Meanwhile, the hypothalamus is busy producing oxytocin and may help coordinate arousal.

“Motor areas are also involved because the body is moving during the act, and the genital sensory cortex is registering touches to the body’s nether regions,” Sukel added.

After An Orgasm The Brain Releases Hormones That Can Make You Feel Happy And Sleepy

Once an orgasm has occurred, your brain tends to slow down. But it doesn’t go off-duty entirely.

“In both men and women, the orgasm signals the parasympathetic nervous system to start down-regulating the body. The prefrontal cortex, which was previously activated leading up to orgasm, also becomes down-regulated and this is linked to increased levels of oxytocin to facilitate attachment,” explained Sher.

Sukel added that the brain also churns out serotonin after an orgasm. This hormone is known to promote good mood and relaxation. In some people, serotonin can also lead to drowsiness and the desire to curl up for a nap.

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Sex May Lead To Better Sleep

Studies have shown that sexual intercourse can also improve sleep. After an orgasm, the body also releases higher levels of a hormone called play a key role in sleep.

Researchers from Central Queensland University in Australia also hypothesized that the release of oxytocin during sex may act as a sedative, leading to a better nights sleep.

In the case of men, ejaculation has been found to reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is a brain region known to benefit particularly from a good nights sleep.

In sleep, the prefrontal cortex exhibits the slowest brainwave activity compared with other brain regions, which supports the proper execution of cognitive functions during the daytime.

Researchers say that sex may lead to better cognitive functioning in older age, protecting people from memory loss and other cognitive impairments. Studies have shown that older men who are sexually active have increased levels of general cognitive function.

For women, being sexually active later in life appears to sustain memory recall, specifically. These effects may be due to the action of hormones such as testosterone and oxytocin, which are influenced by intercourse.

So, next time youre about to slip between the sheets with that special someone, just know that this moment of passion will spark a whole neural firework show, releasing a special hormonal cocktail that will, at its best, charge a whole set of biological batteries.

Lowers Stress And Anxiety

This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Orgasm

Masturbation can be a great way of relieving stress and worries, as it causes a chemical release which combats your bodys stress response and leaves you feeling soothed, relaxed and at ease. This is all thanks to our cuddly friend, oxytocin. In addition to promoting positive self-esteem, oxytocin helps reduce the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for stress and anxiety. Surges of dopamine in the brain have also been known to cause a wave of euphoria which can help to improve your mood and put your stressors and worries on the back burner.

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Orgasms Might Also Shut Down Fear And Impulse Control

The PET scan experiments by the University of Groningen group also found significantly decreased activity in the amygdala, a brain region that’s crucial for our perception of fear, and the orbitofrontal cortex, an area involved in impulse control. Lead author Gert Holstege has interpreted this as evidence that at the moment of orgasm, perception of fear and ability to control impulses are both shut down entirely.

But there could be other explanations, especially since PET scans measure brain activity over the course of several minutes. “I think what they’re seeing is simply the arousal system shutting off after the orgasm,” says Kim Wallen, an Emory psychologist who’s conducted work on orgasms.

Brain On Sex: How The Brain Functions During An Orgasm

The moment your clothes come off, and youre in bed with your partner turning up the heat in between the sheets, your heart is racing, blood is pumping, and muscles are tensing up. As you and your partner strive to reach the big O an orgasm your body is filled with the intensity and tingling sensations of a promising sexual climax. Overcome with a feeling of euphoria as a surge of blood rushes to the genitals, what exactly happens to the brain when you have an orgasm?

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Helps Focus And Concentration

Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that promotes feelings of happiness and learning, and is often referred to as the motivation molecule. Dopamine plays an important role in your ability to feel motivated and concentrate, with a lack of dopamine leading to difficulties with focus and task-completion. When you masturbate and achieve orgasm, the surge of dopamine released during climax can be exactly what you need to gain a bit of mental clarity, while simultaneously boosting your focus and concentration. Giving yourself a helping hand is an excellent way to help yourself feel centred again.

When You Orgasm Your Brain Releases A Surge Of Dopamine

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During orgasm, your brain is working overtime to produce a slew of different hormones and neurochemicals. One of these is dopamine, a hormone that is responsible for feelings of pleasure, desire, and motivation.

As Sher explained, dopamine is formed in a part of the brain called the ventral segmental area and released into other parts such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex.

“Some refer to dopamine as a ‘pleasure’ chemical – though research has shown it offers us much more than just a good time. It’s really more of a learning chemical, helping to take notice of rewards like food and sex, and figure out how to get more of them,” said Sukel.

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Your Brain Gives Off Chemicals That Make You Less Sensitive To Pain During Sex

It’s not your imagination the body really is less sensitive to pain during sex.

“As the pituitary gland is activated, the release of endorphins, oxytocin, and vasopressin promote pain reduction, intimacy, and bonding,”Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., Astroglide’s resident sexologist told INSIDER.

This may help explain why things that might make us wince in a non-sexual situation, like smacking or hair-pulling, aren’t as painful during sex and can even be pleasurable.

What Goes On In Your Brain During An Orgasm

21 June, 2018

Your nervous system is an essential part of your body.

There are a lot of brain regions and structures that activate during the physical and sexual stimulation stages, and during climax. When they get bombarded with nerve sensations from the genital area they stimulate the brains reward circuits. And theyre also the reason you experience orgasms, along with everything that comes with it.

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What Happens In Your Brain During Orgasm

The term mind-blowing orgasm exists for a reason. When we orgasm, its not just a physical experience. Our brains are the supercomputers of our body, sending signals back and forth between various parts of the body, including the genitals. Also, sex can be very emotional, hence why sometimes we cry during or after.

While your body is being stimulated, your brain is as well. There is a constant flow of activity to and from your genitals and brain, including the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin.

Here’s what’s happening in your brain, stage by stage, from pre-arousal through to post-coital snuggling.

Oxytocin Is Released During Both Orgasm And Breastfeeding

This is what happens to your brain when you orgasm

Another hormone that the brain makes during orgasm is oxytocin. Secreted by the pituitary gland and released in the hypothalamus, this hormone makes us feel close to others and promotes affection.

“Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone because it’s also released during breastfeeding and is known to facilitate a sense of love and attachment,” said Sher.

Prolactin is also released during orgasm and is responsible for that feeling of satisfaction that accompanies orgasm. It’s also the main hormone responsible for milk production following pregnancy.

Of course, the release of oxytocin and prolactin during both sex and breastfeeding doesn’t mean a person experiences the same sensations in both situations. These hormones can play different roles in our bodies and are part of the brain’s way of strengthening our social connections.

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