CHAPTER 8: ORGASM
The orgasm: a moment in time where sexual excitement climaxes with feelings of pleasure centered from the genitals. With males, orgasm is accompanied by an ejaculatory response, but that is only a basic description of orgasm. There is much more going on that most overlook. Below is a more in-depth review of what is happening for both biological males and females during orgasm.
Male Physical Reactions
- Penis hardens by more blood flowing into it.
- Skin becomes flushed with red color.
- Some people experience an internal sensation that orgasm is about to happen.
- Increased involuntary muscle movements and pelvic thrusts.
- During ejaculation, semen exits the body through the urethra and rhythmic contractions may be felt at the head of the penis, in the pelvic area, and near the anus. These contractions are how the semen gets propelled through the urethra and out the head of the penis.
- During orgasm and ejaculation the males release fluid around 28 miles per hour.
Female Physical Reactions
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure, and a large portion of blood is redirected towards the genitals.
- Prior to orgasm the vagina begins to secrete fluid to lubricate itself to make sex more comfortable.
- The clitoris, which is made up of over 8,000 individual nerve endings, swells and enlarges. As females get closer to climax the clitoris will pull back up under the clitoral hood (the sheath of skin that protects the clitoris).
- The inner labia also begins to swell and the outer lips separate – this is often accompanied by a darkening of color as more blood fills the tissue.
- During sexual activity tension will build up throughout the female body, when orgasm is climaxed the tension all becomes released at once, occasionally producing muscle spasms in different regions of the body.
- During orgasm muscle spasms will start, especially in the pelvis. This is a combination of the walls of your uterus, vagina, anus, and pelvic floor contracting, causing the waves of pleasure throughout the abdomen and the rest of the body.
- Orgasm climax can last from a few seconds to a full minute. The amount of contractions also varies, but the normal range is between 1 and 12 contractions lasting about 1 second a piece.
Other Bodily Reactions
Not all orgasm reactions are purely physical, throughout the brain, nerves, hormones and chemicals in the body many different reactions are happening. The below is a simplified version of what can happen in both biological males and/or females.
- Orgasm makes males high.
- The ventral tegmental area of the brain, which is packed with receptors for neurotransmitters associated with reward, is highly active on men during orgasm.
- Orgasm is commonly associated as the brain’s or cerebral’s response to ejaculation.
- Oxytocin and dopamine are released during orgasm.
- Orgasm relieves pain for approximately 10 minutes after climax.
- The less secure a woman feels in her relationship directly affects her ability to orgasm.
- Orgasm involves almost every body system even though it is mostly felt in the brain.
- Orgasms feel similar for both males and females, due to the penis and clitoris being homologous also known as originating from the same tissue.
- The spinal cord and brain are connected to the penis and clitoris by the same nerve route, which are called a pair of pudendal nerves.
- Body positions during vaginal intercourse can affect orgasm in women.
Orgasm & Culture
While many places today feel the topic of orgasm is a taboo subject, it in fact, has a large history where certain periods of time orgasm was considered a culturally acceptable piece of conversation. Below is list of orgasm related to culture old and current.
- People have been using sex toys to orgasm for several hundred years.
- Medieval writers called pre-ejaculate the “distillate of love”.
- May is National Masturbation Month.
- To encourage people to talk about masturbation in a positive way, the San Francisco Center for Sex and Culture holds a Masturbate-A-Thon each year.
- Clitoral Hood piercings don’t have any negative impact on orgasm and are slowly gaining even more popularity among females.
- Circumcision doesn’t negatively affect a man’s ability to achieve orgasm but foreskin does appear to lead to increased duration.
- Many reports suggests that roughly 15-20% of American women have never orgasmed.
- Sexual Health experts encourage using the term “experience” instead of “achieve” to describe having an orgasm because the word achieve can place pressure on the partner.
- The word “orgasm” is from the Greek word “Orgasmos” which is to swell with moisture, or be excited or eager.
Interesting Facts About Orgasm
- The average amount of ejaculate released during orgasm is 3.4 ML(milliliters); just barely less than a teaspoon.
- During foreplay and sex, most men can release a pre-ejaculate to help clear out the urethra and allow semen to later travel through unhindered.
- Seamen contains vitamins and minerals, only 1 - 5% of it is actual sperm.
- Kegel exercises have been known to strengthen the vaginal muscles and enhance the strength of orgasm in females.
- The spark or jolt up someone’s spine when they feel aroused is the pudendal nerve connecting from the clitoris or penis to the brain.
- The area of the brain that is stimulated when a drug addict does heroin is the same area of that brain that orgasms stimulate for men.
- Planned parenthood reports that 80% of females surveyed struggle to reach orgasm through vaginal intercourse and that 30% have trouble orgasming at all.
- People can achieve orgasm well past the age of 90 years old.
- Some women orgasm while in labor and childbirth.
- People who have had sex reassignment surgery can and do have stimulated orgasms.
- Some people look like they’re in pain during orgasm, this is due to orgasm stimulating the same region of the brain that is associated with pain.
- Women and men with spinal cord injuries can experience orgasm when a partner stimulates the hypersensitive skin around their injury.
- An erection isn’t necessarily needed for males to ejaculate.
- In Egyptian folklore the world was created by the god Atum during masturbation.
- A “blended” orgasm is an orgasm that occurs when two or three regions of the genital area have been stimulated. An example, for females the vagina is mainly connected to the pelvic nerves, and the clitoris to the pudendal nerves stimulating both at the same time can give a blended orgasm.