Orgasms are one of those experiences that almost all human beings – some people have serious difficulties in achieving it or never reach it, although it can be worked and solved – we feel at some point in our life (or in several) and that does not differentiate sex, gender, race or economic level.
And yet, it is possible that it is one of the bodily responses that we least understand or that we do not fully understand. Some people compare it to sneezing and the release it feels to do so. However, body responses and everything that happens in our body during orgasm, does not resemble anything else.
What are orgasms?
Basically, orgasm would be the culmination of sexual arousal – not necessarily the end of sexual intercourse – that leads us to release the tension accumulated during the phases of arousal and is accompanied by a feeling of intense pleasure.
In the case of men, orgasm is accompanied by ejaculation, expelling sperm, while in the case of women, fluids can be emitted from Bartholin’s glands and fluid from Skene’s glands. Some research has found that women suffer from uterine contractions that could have a reproductive function helping to retain sperm inside facilitating fertilization.
The excitement has several phases: it begins with desire, we move on to the excitement and the plateau, in each of which the level of excitation increases, also increasing the rhythm of our breathing, the heart rate, and blood pressure. Finally, the orgasm is reached, where this tension is released and the resolution phase is passed, returning our organism to the state it was in before the excitation phase.
In the case of men, they would go through the refractory period in which, for a certain time, they cannot have another orgasm. These different phases of the sexual response cycle do not have a specific time, but for each person – and in each different sexual relationship – they can take a different time.
What we do know is that, in fact, the sexual response phases form a cycle and, after orgasm and the resolution phase, one can return to the phase of desire and excitement, continuing with the cycle.
What happens in our body when we have an orgasm
We already know that orgasm is one of the last phases of the sexual response cycle, in which the tension accumulated during the previous phases is released, leading to the return to normality of our organism, in addition to fulfilling the reproductive function of the sexuality.
However, what exactly happens in our body during an orgasm? Why do we need the resolution phase to return to normal levels and recover? How many parts of our body are involved?
Of course, the sexual organs are one of the parts of our body that are affected by the presence of orgasms. In the case of women, the vagina enlarges slightly, lengthening and widening, and lubricates. In addition, uterine and vaginal contractions occur.
In the case of men, the rate of prostate and penile contractions increases. Also, of course, ejaculation occurs.
In women, just before orgasm the clitoris contracts up to 50% of its size and at the moment when orgasm is reached it becomes enlarged again, increasing its size. In addition, the breasts also swell a little and the nipples harden, which also occurs in men.
Our skin is not exempt from the effects of orgasms. In this case, it is due to the effect that the pumping of blood has on our dermis. By having an orgasm, the blood pressure increases and this can be seen directly on our skin as it becomes red. In some skins, it is, of course, more visible than in others, but if it happens to us it is completely normal.
Our pupils are great betrayers of our physical states if we know where to look and what to look for. In the case of orgasms, the pupils dilate. This is due to the activation suffered by the sympathetic nervous system. This is responsible, among other things, for controlling our most basic reactions and reflexes.
The heart is involved in anything we do and is affected by our activities, so it is not surprising that the arrival of the climax affects our heart rate. The heart rhythm can go up to 90-100 beats per minute, being able to reach even 130 beats per minute, although this happens. In women, it is possible to reach up to 170 beats per minute.
Blood pressure also increases although, surprisingly, when it increases the most it is during the plateau phase according to some research.
One of the parts of the body that, surprisingly, is affected by the presence of orgasms is the feet. Indeed, when our body releases the tension accumulated during the excitation cycle, the sensation can expand throughout the body, generating muscle spasms in the feet that, in some cases, can cause cramps.
In addition to the sexual organs, the brain is the big star during orgasms. We must bear in mind that, during sexual intercourse, countless nerve endings are involved and all of them send signals to our brain.
This causes some areas of our brain to activate and others, however, to deactivate. The tonsil, cerebellum, pituitary gland and nucleus accumbens are activated, releasing endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, in addition to influencing our control of emotions and muscle functions, among other things.
The reward circuits are activated, the reasoning and control capacity is reduced by inhibiting the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, which is completely turned off during orgasm, and the cortex is stimulated, among others.
In short, although it only lasts a few seconds, the arrival of orgasm is an important – and pleasant – alteration of our organism.