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Week 11-What exactly is an orgasm?

November 7, 2008

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An orgasm, or sexual climax, is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. It is accompanied by quick cycles of muscle contraction (in consistent 0.8 second intervals) in the lower pelvic muscles surrounding the primary sexual organs.

Explosive bursts of 156 mph nerve impulses, lasting 3-10 seconds, pulsate through the body. This amounts to about 12 minutes per year.  Many scientists believe the pleasure derived from this physical response is biology’s way of ensuring reproduction of the species.

Men’s orgasms are essential for reproduction, whereas women’s…just are.  Some research, though,  has shown that an orgasm increases the likelihood of conception. Women tend to reach orgasm more easily when they are ovulating, which offers more evidence that it is tied to increased fertility.

Oxytocin, or the “love hormone”, plays a key role in during sexual activity for both men and women, inducing feelings of warmth, satisfaction, and sexual arousal. 

Read this for a closer look at the science and history of the orgasm.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Education Department carefully selects all weekly questions. All questions are actual inquiries made to PPNNE by college-aged students.  

Should you have a question you would like to see included, please send an email to goddess@ppnne.org


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