The Science of Orgasms: What Happens in Your Body?

The Science of Orgasms: What Happens in Your Body?

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You don’t need us to tell you how great orgasms are. You’re having fun in the bedroom, and then, oh, oh, oh…you orgasm into an entirely new dimension. The experience can be magical, satisfying, and transformative. But, surprisingly few of us understand what actually happens to our bodies when we reach the big ‘O’.

Of course, it’s not compulsory to understand the science before you can enjoy an orgasm but, with 20% of women and 2% of men reporting that they rarely or never orgasm, increased understanding can only be a good thing. After all, if you know what happens during orgasm, then you can more easily let go and find ways to get yourself there.

Before we start, it should go without saying that not everybody climaxes every time they have sex, and that’s okay, too. Orgasm certainly shouldn’t be treated as any kind of sexual ‘end goal’. That said, when we do get there, orgasms do a whole load of cool stuff to our bodies. Keep on reading to find out what they are.

The Four Stages of Orgasm: What’s Happening in Your Body?

In 1966, sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson coined the ‘sexual response cycle’. At each stage in this four-step cycle, something very different happens to our bodies, and each process leads us towards the feeling of release that we get from an orgasm.

Of course, the sexual response cycle doesn’t apply to everyone, with some individuals never feeling excitement, while others may orgasm multiple times. Broadly speaking, though, the cycle does at least allow us to understand the basic bodily processes of an orgasm as follows:

1. Excitement

During foreplay, your body will typically enter a period of excitement when your heart will beat faster, your breathing will get heavier, and your skin will redden. Your genitals will also likely start to harden. Though it might be less obvious, your muscles may also begin to tense during this stage.

2. Plateau

Next comes the plateau, where your breathing and heart rate continue to rise, and even your blood pressure may spike. During this stage, the vagina will typically swell, while the testicles will pull upwards ready for release.

3. Orgasm

Orgasm is the traditional ‘peak’ of sexual excitement, and is characterized by intense muscle contractions within the vagina and uterus for women, and within the penis and anal sphincter for males. Many men will ejaculate at this stage when the muscles at the base of the penis tighten.

4. Resolution

During resolution, your body returns to its normal state as your breathing clams, your muscles relax, and your genitals return to their normal size.

But What About Your Brain?

The Science of Orgasms: What Happens in Your Body?

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Scientists like Beverley Whipple have also used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and PET scans to understand brain chemistry during orgasm, and it seems like orgasms literally take over brain function. This is because there’s a whole lot going on mentally, but a few key things that scientists believe happen in the brain when we orgasm, include –

  • The shutting down of logic: The lateral orbitofrontal cortex is typically responsible for logic, reasoning, and judgment, but it becomes less active during orgasm. Scientists believe that this is so we can experience less anxiety and fear before we release.
  • An overload of brain activity: While logic might go on vacation during orgasm, there’s a whole load of brain activity when we ride the ‘O’ train, especially in motor areas such as the thalamus (which processes touch), and the substantia nigra (which produces dopamine).
  • A whole load of hormones: Orgasm is typically accompanied by the release of various hormones, including dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones are responsible for the satisfied post-orgasm glow and serve a more practical purpose of helping to strengthen social connections and boost happiness.

Enjoy Orgasm More Often With Cupid Boutique Sex Shop, Toronto

Orgasms do some pretty cool stuff to our bodies and brains and, while they aren’t essential for a great sex life, studies do show that frequent orgasms provide some undeniable benefits to our relationships, our bodies, and even our mental health.

Whether you’ve struggled to achieve orgasm in the past, or would simply like to get there more often, sex toys that allow you to customize and take control of your pleasure can be the best way to make it happen. Whether you want to explore pleasure, or enjoy our couple’s collection, our sex toys, Toronto, here at Cupid Boutique could get your heart racing, your brain firing, and your sex life soaring in no time.