Oh, Yes! 7 Sexy Facts About the Female Orgasm

THE FEMALE ORGASM has fascinated and baffled men and women for eons. Science has looked into the subject with immense interest over the past centuries. Today, thanks mostly to new technology, researchers are coming closer to explaining some of its more stubborn mysteries.

To decipher the secrets of female sexual bliss, scientists and doctors are exploring the organ where all the magic happens. They’re examining the central nervous system: the network of electrical impulses careening purposefully through a woman’s brain and spinal cord.

They are also beginning to look beyond anatomy to investigate both the psychological factors that come into play and the evolutionary origins of the female climax.  

The female orgasm has fascinated and baffled men and women for eons.
The female orgasm has fascinated and baffled men and women for eons.

What Happens When a Woman Orgasms?

“When women climax, there are changes throughout the whole body, a head-to-toe kind of experience,” says Dr. Michael Ingber, a urologist and physician at the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey.

Despite decades of scientific progress, however, it remains frustratingly obvious that the womanly orgasm is still a mystery to many men. And it’s fair to say that countless women around the world could use a little more education on the subject, as well.

So, what happens, exactly, when a woman reaches that pinnacle of sexual pleasure?  How does she arrive at this trembling, heaving stage of carnal nirvana?  

Here are seven amazing facts to help you appreciate the wonders of that perfect moment. 

1. Multiple orgasms allowed prehistoric women more control over their sexuality.

Psychologist Christopher Ryan, who wrote Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Dawn of Modern Sexuality, says prehistoric societies probably allowed women more control over their sexuality.

Ryan suggests our female ancestors were “extraordinarily promiscuous” because of their ability to have multiple orgasms. So much so that our equally promiscuous male ancestors usually had to wait their turn as the best-looking women in the tribe took on one man after another.

Why was this part of our heredity? Humans have a very low rate of conception. Men, with very rare exception, are incapable of multiple orgasms. Even men who have very short ‘recovery periods’ between erections and orgasms, have contributed the bulk of their available mature sperm in the first orgasm. Conversely, an ovulating woman continues to ovulate whether she has 1, 2 or 10 orgasms.

Hence, the Darwinian drive to procreate would have been more successful if multi-orgasmic women just kept having sex with as many viable men as possible.

Some experts say our female ancestors may have been "extraordinarily promiscuous" because of their ability to have multiple orgasms.
Some experts say our female ancestors may have been “extraordinarily promiscuous” because of their ability to have multiple orgasms.

2. Women can climax using several sensory pathways.

Researchers have mapped the exact locations in the brain’s sensory cortex that correspond to the vagina, cervix, and female nipples. With brain-scanning imagery, they have also proven that stimulating different parts of the female body lights up distinct parts of the brain, exciting women in different ways.

This means a woman can achieve climax through several sensory pathways, although the “clitoral” orgasm is the most common, says Ingber.  

“I think that clitoral stimulation [produces] probably the closest analog to male orgasm, where you get erectile tissue, there is release, and after release, it is uncomfortable to continue,” says Dr. Steven Goldstein of New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

That said, some women can experience orgasm through vaginal stimulation or the stimulation of the breasts and other parts of the body. Some are even able to climax just by looking at sexual imagery, without the aid of touching. 

Women can achieve climax through several sensory pathways.
Women can achieve climax through several sensory pathways.

3. The female orgasm requires intense arousal and varying types of physical encouragement.

In the 1960s, sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson found that it took women about 10 to 20 minutes of sex to reach orgasm.  Men typically need just four minutes or less.

“There’s a wide range,” says Dr. Lauren Streicher, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University. “We know that this has to do with how aroused someone is in advance, and how intense the stimulation is.”

Why women tend to need more intense sexual arousal and varying types of stimulation isn’t clear. But it’s a good enough reason for a woman to find a partner who is determined to help her reach orgasm when her brain and body are ready.

Women require 10 to 20 minutes of continuous sexual stimulation to reach orgasm.
Women require 10 to 20 minutes of continuous sexual stimulation to reach orgasm. 

4. The female orgasm can last up to 2 minutes.

Researchers used to assume that female orgasms lasted about three to 15 seconds. They eventually found evidence indicating that a climax could go on for up to two minutes.

The journal Ceskoslovenska Psychiatrie has published data showing 40 percent of women typically experience orgasms that last 30 to 60 seconds, or even longer. Some 48 percent of these women said they usually experience long – rather than short – orgasms.

“Some people have very short orgasms, while others can last longer,” says Dr. Streicher. “There’s a wide variety of normal.”

The female climax can sometimes go on for 2 minutes.
The female climax can sometimes go on for 2 minutes.

5. A woman’s ability to orgasm is partly determined by genetics.

If you’re a woman, your DNA could be responsible for as much as 60 percent of your capacity to climax. That’s according to a 2005 study published by the journal, Biology Letters.

The researchers behind the study explain that a woman’s ability to reach orgasm during sexual intercourse depends – at least in part – on anatomical factors.

“If you look at the ability to orgasm during intercourse, we know that it correlates with the distance between the clitoris and the urethra,” says Dr. Streicher. “If your clitoris is less than 2.5 centimeters from the urethra, it’s more likely you will orgasm during intercourse.”

If your clitoris is less than 2.5 centimeters from the urethra, it’s more likely you will orgasm during intercourse.
If your clitoris is less than 2.5 centimeters from the urethra, it’s more likely you will orgasm during intercourse.

6. The female orgasm is a powerful pain-killer.

Because an orgasm shifts the chemistry of a woman’s brain, it can also increase her pain tolerance. Sixty percent of female migraine sufferers experience moderate or complete relief after an orgasm, according to research published by the International Headache Society.

Researchers have found that, in some cases, an orgasm can boost a woman’s ability to tolerate pain by as much as 75 percent.

They have also observed that an orgasm can improve women’s pain threshold by as much as 107 percent, effectively nullifying their capacity to detect some forms of pain. Scientists have linked the phenomenon to the endorphins and oxytocin that the female brain releases during orgasm.

Men, on the other hand, are wired differently. Their brains don’t release oxytocin when they orgasm. They thus experience a boost in pleasure, but they do not reap any pain-killing benefits.

Sixty percent of female migraine sufferers experience moderate or complete relief after an orgasm.
Sixty percent of female migraine sufferers experience moderate or complete relief after an orgasm.

7. Women in same-sex relationships are more likely to achieve orgasm.

In 2017, scientists from Chapman University and the Kinsey Institute undertook a study to investigate differences in orgasm frequency among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual men and women.

Only 65 percent of the heterosexual women who participated in the study said they are likely to orgasm during a sexual encounter with men. In comparison, some 86 percent of women in same-sex relationships said they usually or always achieve orgasm when they were intimate with their partners.

When asked why she thought women in same-sex relationships seemed more likely to orgasm, Dr. Streicher didn’t hesitate to share her opinion. She said the reason is probably biological.

Some 86 percent of women in same-sex relationships said they usually or always achieve orgasm while having sex with their partners.
Some 86 percent of women in same-sex relationships said they usually or always achieve orgasm while having sex with their partners.

Evolutionary scientists have never had difficulty explaining the male orgasm, closely linked as it is to reproduction. Men reach orgasm to perpetuate the species, and so the drive is primal, embedded in the male DNA. Our evolutionary past commands their bodies to spill seed.

But the same is not true for women, Streicher explains. Women can have sexual intercourse and contribute to the survival of the species without experiencing orgasm.

That’s why, unlike men, their bodies and brains are not necessarily programmed to achieve climax during intercourse.

“They’re not depending on intercourse to reproduce, and certainly a woman in a same-sex relationship is far more likely to know where her partner’s clitoris is and what to do with it than most men,” Dr. Streicher said.  “That’s just the reality.”


Photos Credits: Wallpaperflare

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