What goes in a woman's brain during arousal

What goes in a woman's brain during arousal

The big O

Using a scan, an international team, led by Rutgers University, has also found that the orgasm affects up to 30 different parts of the brain including those responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction and memory.

The scientists hope to be able to map what typically happens inside a woman’s brain when she has an orgasm — this could enable them to pinpoint what is going wrong among those with problems of sexual dysfunction or low libido.

They also want to build up a similar picture for men so they can compare how the sensation affects the male and female brains, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported. Evidence suggests women experience longer orgasms than men, and can have several in quick succession.

For their research, the scientists asked eight women to stimulate themselves while lying under a blanket inside an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner often used to detect brain tumours.

Most women took less than five minutes to reach an orgasm although some took as long as 20. During that time, the MRI scanner took images of their brain every two seconds to show which parts became active during the orgasm.

The scientists found that two minutes before the orgasm, the brain’s reward centres become active, the areas usually activated when eating food and drink. Immediately before they reached the peak, other areas of the brain became affected such as the sensory cortex, which receives ‘touch’ messages from parts of the body and the thalamus, which relays signals to other parts of the body.

Once the orgasm has started other parts of the brain are activated such as those responsible for emotion — the cingulate cortex and the insula. The final part of the brain to be activated is the hypothalamus, the ‘control’ part which regulates temperature, hunger, thirst and tiredness.

Prof Barry Komisaruk, who led the team, said:  the evidence suggested that women tend to have longer orgasms and can experience several in rapid succession. A woman’s orgasm last an average of 10-15 seconds, while a man’s is thought to last for just six seconds.


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