The human mind is a complex thing. It acts as the control center for everything we think, feel, and do. All sensations, phenomenons, and experiences both inside and out have to pass through the brain’s wiring, and that big “O” moment is no exception.
Read through the slides for a fascinating peek at your brain on sex.
8. Start Your Engines
Ever wonder what the first step is in your brain’s preparation for orgasm? You may think you know what’s going on in your head, but feeling “in the mood” is just part of the equation. Before that final release, your brain must first receive the signals from your limbic system that come from stimulation.
7. It Hurts So Good
Believe it or not, an orgasm isn’t all pleasure. As far as your mind can tell, it could also involve a lot of pain! During sex, the brain works extra hard to cancel out pain signals in the anterior cingulate cortex and the insular cortex. People who make particularly sour faces when finishing have this to thank.
6. An Uphill Grind
As many people likely know, an orgasm isn’t something that happens instantly. Getting to that point of ultimate satisfaction only comes once your body has become progressively more aroused until it finally releases. The brain controls this process in the cerebellum, which gradually increases your muscle tension until you’re over the edge.
Your brain’s work isn’t done! Check out the next slide to learn what crazy stuff happens next…
5. System Overload
It’s no surprise that the moment of orgasm can feel so overwhelming. Your pulse is racing, your muscles are twitching, and even your eyes dilate themselves. What’s up with your body’s wild reaction? It’s all thanks to the hypothalamus, a part of your brain which activates at the moment of orgasm, steps on the gas, and lets go of the steering wheel.
4. High On Love
Sex isn’t all physical pleasure. That rush of good feelings that comes at the apex of pleasure is as much in your mind as it is in your, ahem, naughty bits. That’s because having an orgasm provokes a flood of dopamine to your brain, the same addictive chemical that makes consuming sugary foods (or even certain drugs) feel exciting.
Want to know if that good feeling is destined to last? Keep reading to see if your brain has a trick for that too…
3. Dirty Minds
Scientists have spent a large amount of time studying the brains of volunteers in an fMRI scanner throughout the process of sexual self-pleasure. In these saucy studies, they were able to see how the mind as a whole responds to sex. They found that leading up the moment of orgasm, every single region of the brain lights up with activity. No wonder it feels so intense!
2. The Other Gender Gap
While there are many standard components that make up the feeling of finishing, all orgasms are not created equal. Scientists have found that men and women do experience a variety of differences in their reactions to getting busy. For example, men are more likely to experience a dramatic refractory period after orgasming which makes any continued stimulation suddenly feel unpleasant.
Why the dramatic reaction? Read on to learn exactly what the brain goes through in the heat of the moment.
1. Love On The Brain
Sex isn’t just for making babies and having fun. Studies have indicated that it may just help build longlasting bonds, too. After reaching the point of orgasm, humans can experience oxytocin surges up to five times their normal amount. Oxytocin, often known as the “love chemical,” has been shown to contribute to long-term bonding and feelings of affection.