Secrets of the female orgasm


Daile Pepper

November 9, 2010 – 2:04PM

MRI scans show a woman's brain lights up like a Christmas tree during an orgasm.MRI scans show a woman’s brain lights up like a Christmas tree during an orgasm.

Scientists have observed for the first time what goes on inside a woman’s brain during orgasm, and it is as complicated as many men suspected.

Neuroscientists in New Jersey have used MRI scanners to discover that 30 different parts of a woman’s brain fire up during orgasm and the pleasure is so great it can stop the lucky lady from feeling pain. This is due to parts of her nervous system shutting down, making the woman less aware of pain sensations.

Volunteers brought themselves to orgasm inside an MRI machine, which scanned the brain during the process. For some this took 20 minutes, while most achieved their goal in under five.

Brain areas responsible for emotion, touch, satisfaction and memory are involved.

Perth based clinical psychologist and sex therapist Danielle Hannington said she was not surprised by the findings.

She said female sexuality was incredibly complex, with at least one in seven women unable to climax.

“For women to orgasm it’s like we need a series of catalysts to get us over the mountain,” she said.

“There are a lot of women who experience difficulty with orgasm. It doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy sex, though.”

Orgasm always involved the mind, and having an orgasm did not necessarily mean a woman was enjoying sex, she said.

“For us as women it’s not the goal of orgasm, it’s the goal of pleasure or a connection.”

The notion that orgasm could stifle pain was not new, with orgasm during child birth something that researchers were interested in.

There are hopes the research may lead to developments in treatment of libido problems and sexual dysfunction.

The researchers have said they plan to move on to men in a follow-up study.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha