There's no debating it:
orgasms are amazing. While they shouldn't necessarily be the main goal of sex (and you have nothing to be ashamed about if you've never had one), they sure can be one hell of a perk. They're not just great because of how they feel, but they're fascinating, how they actually work, from the release of oxytocin aka the "bonding hormone" to having to your body being more attune to having orgasms. Orgasms may even help you ward off a cold. As amazing as these things are, you probably aren't even aware that some of these things are going on when you're in the moment of pure bliss.
In addition to all the positives of having an orgasm, what's also interesting is the effect that orgasms have on the physical body — your vagina, heart, etc. — as well as the brain. For starters, decision-making goes out the window during an orgasm — not that you need it in that instant anyway. But that's just one example of what orgasms can do to the body.
Here are nine more that are bound to make you look at orgasms in a whole new way, according to an expert.
1 Your Body Swells
Although you probably won't notice the swelling of your body, because, well, you're busy focusing on having sex. From your breasts to your vulva, specific body parts increase in size when you have an orgasm.
"The penis isn’t the only body part that expands when sexually excited," Dr. Laura Deitsch, aka Dr. Shameless,
Vibrant’s resident sexologist and licensed clinical professional counselor with a doctorate in human sexuality, tells Bustle. " Breasts can also get larger, up to 25 percent to be exact! The vulva also becomes engorged, due to the amount of blood that rushes to the pelvic area too! The vagina is also enlarged in order to make room for a penis (if so inclined), a sex toy, or anything else that gives its owner pleasure." 2 You Have A Higher Tolerance For Pain
"Not only do the hormones released during orgasm act as an analgesic or a natural painkiller," says Dr. Deitsch, "the contractions in the uterus and increased blood flow can reduce menstrual cramping for women."
This natural painkiller not only increases your body's tolerance for pain, but it helps ease the pain you already have. That's why
having sex on your period or masturbating at that time of the month can be a great alternative to ibuprofen. 3 Your Heart Rate Speeds Up
Ever wonder what's going on to your blood pressure during an orgasm?
"Having an orgasm is like reaching the finish line after an intense sprint — your pulse is at its peak, your blood pressure rises, and your breathing rate is off the charts," says Dr. Deitsch. "OK — maybe it’s not quite like going for a run, but when someone engages in sexual activity (by themselves or with others), they’re performing mild aerobic activity. That’s why people tend to develop that out of breath, flushed look when they climax giving them that sought-after post-[sex] glow."
4 You Feel Happy All Over
Not only do you feel mentally happy during an orgasm, but it's a full-body happy experience that spreads out all over. It's in this happiness that you're likely to feel more cuddly, too.
"During and after orgasm, the body releases lots of hormones including
oxytocin, the feel-good hormone," says Dr. Deitsch. "Oxytocin can make you feel closer to your partner, more relaxed, and happier overall." 5 You're Strengthening Muscles
Not only does your pulse speed up, giving your body the aerobic activity that your heart needs to stay healthy, but other parts of the body get some muscle work too.
"During orgasm the muscles in the vagina, anus, and uterus contract and then release, producing those waves of pleasure that feel so great," says Dr. Deitsch. "Increased blood flow to the genitals during orgasm also maintains the integrity of the smooth muscle that lines the vagina, rectum, and connective tissue between the penile shaft and scrotum. There are huge benefits to keeping the genital vasculature pumping on a regular basis."
6 You'll Be Able To Breathe Better
Have you ever had an orgasm when you've had a stuffy nose? If not, try it and see what happens. "Orgasms can be effective at opening blocked nasal passages," says Dr. Deitsch, "and can alleviate some allergy and congestion symptoms."
Not to mention, orgasms feel way better than taking decongestion medicine.
7 Your Body Is Overcome By Bliss
"It’s not just the hormone release that can make us blissful," says Dr. Deitsch. "The regions in the brain that monitor anxiety and fear — the amygdala and hippocampus — function at a lower capacity during orgasm and allow women to experience pleasure without inhibition."
And, when your inhibitions go out the window, it really is easier to relax and easier to orgasm — again and again.
8 Your Body Will Become More Attuned To Having Orgasms
Amazingly, the more we have them, the easier orgasms become to achieve. "While I'm loathe to suggest that if you don't use it, you'll lose it, the opposite does have merit," says Dr. Deitsch. "The more your body experiences orgasm, the more likely, and some say easier, it will be to orgasm again."
9 Your Brain Pauses
Hopefully you weren't hoping on multitasking mid-orgasm. "Although just for a moment, a pause in function of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex creates that
out-of-body sensation sometimes experienced during orgasm," marriage and family therapist, Shadeen Francis, MFT, tells Bustle. "This may look like a spasm, a tic, a limpness, or just a sense of being overcome by your orgasm."
Not that you needed another reason to orgasm, but these nine intriguing things just might inspire you — if only to see if you can notice these changes in your body.