Some women can think their way to orgasm

Some women can think their way to orgasm

A few years ago, researchers began working with brain imaging scanners to show what is actually happening in a woman's brain during orgasm.

"The pleasure centres of the brain associated with orgasm light up in women who think themselves to orgasm in exactly the same way as in women who orgasm through more conventional means," says Barry Komisaruk, who co-authored The Science Of Orgasm, reports the Daily Mail.

"The same centres don't light up when a woman mimics orgasm - only if it's the real thing."

Significantly, the women he examined may all have thought themselves into a state of bliss, but they all did it in different ways.

"Some women used a combination of breathing exercises and fantasy," he says. 'While others used their imagination and pelvic floor exercises."

"Some imagined erotic scenarios,' Komisaruk adds. "But others imagined very romantic scenes such as a lover whispering to them. Others pictured more abstract sensual experiences, such as walking along a beach or imagining waves of energy moving through their body."

Jill Morrison, a 40-year-old legal secretary, says: "I don't need to actually create a sexual fantasy in my mind - I just focus on wanting an orgasm, and my body responds." And, according to Jill, it wasn't just a one off either.

'Gradually, over the years, I have become much more adept at thinking myself to orgasm,' she explains.

What this tells us, says Prof Alan Riley, one of UK's leading sex experts, is that sexuality for women is more complicated and emotionally driven than experts had realised.

"There's been a lot of focus on the body and our physical responses," Riley says. "But for many people, and women in particular, the mind plays an even more important role."

This could be good news for the 40 percent of women who claim to have difficulty reaching orgasm.

Komisaruk regularly sees women with this problem - and others who have the opposite problem with intense feelings of sexual desire that don't go away even when they do have orgasms.

He asks these women to lie in MRI scanners and coaches them to use mental techniques such as counting or visualisation to increase or decrease excitement.

This kind of research is important, says Komisaruk, because although orgasm "is intensely pleasurable", understanding it better is about much more than just pleasure.

"The female orgasm is a remarkable phenomena that has been shown to double heart rates, reduce sensitivity to pain, increase blood flow to the brain and increase feelings of joy, happiness and love," he says.

'Understanding what happens in our brains when we orgasm, could help us to develop better anti-depressants and better pain management drugs as well as increasing sexual satisfaction.'

"There's still a lot about female sexuality that we don't fully understand," he admits. "But with the introduction of MRI scanners, we're learning a lot more."

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