6 Weird Things That Happen To Your Body When You Orgasm (Yes, You Have A Very Good Excuse For Not Noticing Them)
If you're not aware of exactly what goes on inside your body while you have an orgasm, well, I don't blame you — isn't that why we have orgasms? To momentarily ignore ourselves, reality and the inevitable heat death of the universe, and just lean in to some pants partying? But just because we're not necessarily paying attention to our bodies while we orgasm, doesn't mean than our bodies are not doing a ton of totally impressive things when they launch us over the border into PleasureTown.
Though scientists and researchers have never quite come to a definitive conclusion as to why the female orgasm exists ("because it's rad, jerks!" is not, it turns out, an acceptable scientific explanation), there have at least been a number of in-depth studies of what goes on in the female body during sex and orgasm — beginning with those conducted by the actual masters of sex, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Masters and Johnson conducted research on the subject in the '50s and '60s, and found that human beings had four stages of sexual response — excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution — each of which included some important and very interesting involuntary bodily responses. But the involuntary responses related to orgasm might be the most interesting — after all, you knew having an orgasm was work, but did you know exactly what kind of work it involved? Well, you're about to.
Ready to appreciate your orgasms on a whole other, scientifically knowledgeable level? Then read on, you worldly scholar, you.
1. Your Vagina And Clitoris Fill With Blood
"Genital engorgement" is more than just the name of your death metal band — it's also one of the first things that happens to your body when you get aroused. And as your arousal increases, so does your engorgement — it's one of the things that helps your body achieve the tension in your pelvic muscles required to achieve an orgasm. Your junk stays wildly engorged until after you finish the New York Vagathon (a.k.a. have your orgasm).
2. Your Clitoris Retracts
Though your clitoris has been engorging and expanding like a boss throughout the arousal process, right before you orgasm, your clitoris will retract under your clitoral hood — often getting 50 percent shorten right before orgasm than it was moments earlier.
3. You Lose Your Breath
Insert cheesy "Take My Breath Away" joke here: when we orgasm, our breathing speeds up, and our blood pressure and heart rate rise, as well. This is why having an orgasm can leave you feeling like you just ran a marathon (and also why it's a bad idea to get a blood pressure reading taken immediately after you finish whacking it).
4. Your Uterus, Vagina And Anus All Contract At Once
Yes, even if you're way too uncoordinated to engage in any synchronized electric sliding at your cousin's bar mitzvah, you still can —and do — contract three of your sexual parts at once, every time you orgasm. Your orgasm is actually comprised of multiple contractions that are .8 seconds long — a short orgasm might be made up of five contractions, while a major one might include fifteen contractions.
5. Your Other Muscles Involuntarily Contract, Too
Of course, the involuntary muscle contractions don't end at your funky bunch — you might also experience involuntary contraction of other muscles, including those in your feet, legs, or face (hence the classic "have I suddenly become a rabid zombie or am I just having an orgasm?" face).
6. Your Capacity To Control Your Own Behavior Drops
If you've ever been distracted by some stress or worry while having sex, and then suddenly stopped caring about it (or anything else) as you had an orgasm, a 2005 study out of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands may explain why. The area of the brain which controls emotions like fear and anxiety, powers down during an orgasm — as does the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls our behavior. Study author Dr. Gert Holstege said that the orgasm creates a "lower level of functioning than normal" in those areas of the brain. So there's a real scientific reason that orgasms help you forget your troubles — and a real scientific reason that orgasms make you flail like a malfunctioning robot. A fair trade, if you ask me.
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Images: Columbia Pictures/ Castle Rock Entertainment, Giphy (6)