Spector published the results of a study in on the genetics of female orgasm which generated a range of critical commentaries. His review tackles a new book which aims to cover the latest research on orgasm from a number of perspectives, but also gives a glimpse into the neuroscience of orgasm itself. In my view, the best part of the book is the neurochemistry of the orgasm. Studies of paraplegic women clearly show the importance in female orgasm of multiple complex neural pathways such as the vagus nerve. Orgasms apparently alter pain perception and increase pain thresholds, and this link may explain bizarre reports of women having orgasms during childbirth. Link to info on the book from the publishers.
What is orgasm? A model of sexual trance and climax via rhythmic entrainment
The Science Of Pleasure: Part III- The Neurological Orgasm | Science
Orgasm is one of the most intense pleasures attainable to an organism, yet its underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. On the basis of existing literatures, this article introduces a novel mechanistic model of sexual stimulation and orgasm. In doing so, it characterizes the neurophenomenology of sexual trance and climax, describes parallels in dynamics between orgasms and seizures, speculates on possible evolutionary origins of sex differences in orgasmic responding, and proposes avenues for future experimentation. Here, a model is introduced wherein sexual stimulation induces entrainment of coupling mechanical and neuronal oscillatory systems, thus creating synchronized functional networks within which multiple positive feedback processes intersect synergistically to contribute to sexual experience. These processes generate states of deepening sensory absorption and trance, potentially culminating in climax if critical thresholds are surpassed. The centrality of rhythmic stimulation and its modulation by salience for surpassing these thresholds suggests ways in which differential orgasmic responding between individuals—or with different partners—may serve as a mechanism for ensuring adaptive mate choice. Because the production of rhythmic stimulation combines honest indicators of fitness with cues relating to potential for investment, differential orgasmic response may serve to influence the probability of continued sexual encounters with specific mates.
Postcoital Neurochemistry: The Blues and the Highs
The effect of orgasm on the development and shaping of partner preferences may involve a catalysis of the neurochemical mechanisms of bonding. Therefore, understanding such process is relevant for neuroscience and psychology. In humans, concentrations of arousing neurotransmitters and potential bonding neurotransmitters increase during orgasm in the cerebrospinal fluid and the bloodstream. Similarly, studies in animals indicate that those neurotransmitters noradrenaline, oxytocin, prolactin and others e. Some areas in the nervous system function as UCS-detection centers, which become activated during orgasm.
Overcome with a feeling of euphoria as a surge of blood rushes to the genitals, what exactly happens to the brain when you have an orgasm? The different nerves in the genitalia communicate with the brain about the sensation experienced. This can help explain why sensations can be perceived differently depending on what part of the body the person is being touched. A French study found women experience two different kinds of orgasms — clitoral and vaginal — that differ in blood flow and sensations. These orgasms also contain a different set of nerves.