Whether you’re with a partner or enjoying a little time by yourself, orgasms are a pretty great perk of the human body. Add to that the fact that us ladies can enjoy that moment of bliss multiple times in quick succession, and it’s easy to see how extraordinary the female orgasm is. But that’s not all that’s amazing about the climax, there’s a lot to an orgasm than just feeling good – check out 10 of the most interesting facts about female orgasms below.
1. Orgasms shut down a part of your brain.
During arousal and orgasm, there’s a lot going on in your body, especially within the brain. During climax, the area behind your left eye, called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, actually shuts down. This area is responsible for reason and behavior control – which is probably why you can’t focus on anything else when you climax!
2. The average orgasm is 20 seconds long.
During those 20 seconds, the muscles in your uterus, vagina, anus and pelvis rhythmically contract about every 0.08 seconds. The strength of your orgasm is tied to the strength of your pelvic floor, you can increase the intensity of your orgasms by exercising those muscles. A smart pelvic floor exerciser can ensure you get the most out of every squeeze (and therefore every orgasm!).
3. Orgasms can replace your painkillers.
When you orgasm, your body releases oxytocin, the feel-good chemical that floods your body with feelings of relaxation, peace and happiness. This sensation can temporarily alleviate pain, from a headache and premenstrual cramps to arthritis.
4. Orgasms make both women and men feel more talkative.
According to researchers at the University of Connecticut, the release of oxytocin also increases your sense of bonding and makes you want to share with your partner – also known as pillow talk.
5. Orgasms increase your sense of smell.
Orgasms also cause your body to release the hormone prolactin, which stimulates the brain to produce more neurons in the smell center, or olfactory bulb. Interestingly, pregnant women also have higher levels of prolactin – which explains their heightened sense of smell.
6. Doctors used to prescribe orgasms for fertility.
In the early 1900s, many gynecologists believed in the sperm retention, or “up suck”, theory. This theory stated that when a woman had an orgasm, the contractions in her vagina helped move the sperm closer to the egg and thereby increase the odds of conceiving.
7. Some women orgasm during childbirth.
According to a 2013 study by French psychologist Thierry Postel into over 206,000 midwife-assisted births, 0.3 percent of mothers experienced orgasms during labor. Furthermore, researchers believe that this is likely an underestimate, because women who have experienced pleasure alongside the pain are likely too ashamed to admit it.
8. Orgasms can come from places other than your genitals
There are recorded cases of women achieving orgasm when brushing their teeth, stroking their eyebrows, or even just by thinking about it. Some paraplegics also report being able to achieve orgasm when the area directly above their injury is stimulated and some amputees have described feeling an orgasm in a phantom limb.
9. Not everyone orgasms the same way.
As much as 80% of women struggle to orgasm from intercourse alone. Because the clitoris is the most sensitive part of a women’s anatomy, most women need clitoral stimulation alongside intercourse to achieve orgasm. Other women never orgasm during intercourse but do with oral and/or manual stimulation.
10. Orgasms have their very own day.
Mark your calendars: 8th August is International Female Orgasm Day. Established by Brazilian Arimateio Dantas, the day seeks to raise awareness of female sexuality and to encourage women to be more open about discussing their sex lives.