Orgasms: can't live without them ... can't live without them, am I right? Well, plenty of people do live without out them, but I know that most of us prefer not to. Still, considering how orgasms such a universal experience, many of us are surprisingly lacking when it come to knowing interesting trivia and facts about them.
Luckily for me, I am the recipient of some very NSFW mail at my work, and was recently bequeathed a copy of author Anura Guruge's Orgasms: 101 Facts and Trivia. In preparation for this week's episode on orgasms for Bustle’s new sex and relationships podcast, I Want It That Way, I read through all 101 facts so that you don't have to. What I learned, I can't unlearn. Not that I want to. Here are the 19 craziest / coolest / most useful facts I found — right in time for National Orgasm Day.
1. In the time it takes to read this sentence, an estimated 250,000 people worldwide will have an orgasm. (Something to think about the next time you're waiting for the bus.)
2. The average refractory period for a man is 30 minutes. For 18-year-old men, the average is 15 minutes, while for 70-year-old men, it can go up to 20 hours.
3. A 2011 survey found that for 66 percent of women, screaming and moaning loudly during sex (known as female copulatory vocalization) is not a sign of actual ecstasy, but rather is employed as a method of getting the guy to come sooner.
4. The "winner" of Denmark's 2009 Masturbate-a-thon was a woman who came 226 times in one day. (The male record that day was a mere eight orgasms.)
5. According to data from a 2007/08 Durex survey, Russia and Thailand have the largest orgasm gap (the statistical disparity between how often men and women are orgasming). They are followed closely behind by us losers in the good old U-S-of-A, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Poland. The countries with the smallest gaps? China, Mexico, Singapore, and Nigeria (the overall winner, with only a four percent gap). Granted, as Guruge explains, it should be noted that a small gap "could also be caused by a drop in the number of men able to experience regular orgasms." So it's hard to say whether we should all move to Nigeria.
6. Some mothers experience "lactational arousal" or even low-intensity orgasms while breastfeeding. The phenomenon has less to do with nipple stimulation than it does with the spike in oxytocin and prolactin — two hormones known to facilitate arousal and orgasm — which are triggered by breastfeeding.
7. If you want to raise your libido and increase your number of orgasms, you might want to try a diet that boosts your dopamine and testosterone production. That means supplements like zinc, magnesium, calcium, Omega-3, and — you guessed it — chocolate.
8. Yes, women also get "wet dreams." Thirty-five percent of women report having had an orgasm in their sleep, and five percent of women claim it's actually how they had their first Big O.
9. Female orgasms are natural painkillers. A woman's pain tolerance may increase by 75 percent or more following an orgasm. It all has to do with the oxytocin and endorphins that get released.
10. While men may lose their ability to orgasm as they age, women finally get their revenge for a lifetime of institutionalized sexism. A 2012 study found that nearly half of all women aged 80 and older still orgasmed most of the time they engaged in sexy-time activity. Wahoo!
11. Fourteen days into your menstrual cycle — aka ovulation — is well-known as your horniest time of the month. But did you know that the increase in estradiol to your system on that day also makes your clitoris swell by as much as 20 percent?
12. The average male orgasm lasts between five and 22 seconds, with 30 seconds considered the uppermost limit. By contrast, 18-20 seconds is the average orgasm duration for a woman. Once again, suck it dudes. (No, literally, you can go ahead and suck it.)
13. Orgasms may boost our immune systems, due to the increase in white blood cells and endorphins they produce.
14. Regular orgasms also appear to help you live longer. A study conducted over 10 years of 918 men aged 45-59 found that those with a high frequency of orgasm had an astounding 50 percent lower mortality risk than men with a low frequency of orgasm. (Though it could be a chicken-or-the-orgasm situation.)
15. Each year, an estimated 500-1000 people (mostly men under age 25) die while attempting erotic asphyxiation — aka cutting off oxygen flow to enhance an orgasm.
16. Wearing socks during sex appears to increase your chances of orgasm, especially if you're a woman. In 2005, a Dutch study of (only) 13 heterosexual couples found that when not wearing socks, only 50 percent of women orgasmed. With socks? A whopping 80 percent came. Because warmth.
17. Orgasms are an effective hiccup cure because of how they interact with "the vagus nerve and signal 'leakage' that occurs between various body reflex functions." Beats getting someone to scare you or trying to hold your breath, right?
18. Ever feel like worrying is getting in the way of your orgasm? Well, it is. A study of brain activity in couples found that "at the moment of orgasm, women do not have any emotional feelings," which is a somewhat judgmental way of saying that in order to orgasm, the brain essentially must go quiet.
19. It's estimated that the average man produces 14 gallons of semen over the course of his lifetime. At one teaspoon per ejaculation, that's an average of only 215 orgasms per year over a 50-year period.
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Images: Fatimeh Nadimi/Flickr; Giphy