Orgasms are one of those fabulous things in life we enjoy and take for granted, like iced coffee or Wikipedia. All three have become quotidian facets of college life, but several questions still surround the most exciting and fleeting of earthly pleasures. I spoke to Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh, co-author of “The Orgasm Answer Guide” and one of Harper’s Bazaar UK’s Best Love Doctors, with the hope of demystifying the human orgasm.
The Greeks, as always, come correct
The word orgasm originates from the Greek “orgasmos” which is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “to swell as with moisture, be excited or eager.”
Slow and steady wins the race
When it comes to an orgasm, verb choice is crucial. “If people talk about ‘having an orgasm,’” said Dr. Sara, “it’s as if they’re trying to reach a peak. If they don’t, they’re left disappointed. If they talk about ‘experiencing orgasm,’ then they will be more open to being present at that moment in time, fully interacting and enjoying all the sensations that comes with sex and orgasms instead of aiming for ‘the peak.’”
After all, it’s not about the destination; it’s the journey.
Girls, just like in fashion, have more options
Women can experience “vaginal,” “cervical” or “clitoral” orgasms. “Different women prefer different sites to be stimulated,” said Dr. Sara. “Some would like to combine them but eventually all of them would give women pleasure.”
Guys, invited to the party or not, will come either way
“In early 1980s, a researcher called Giles Brindley did a study with men where the artery responsible to bring the blood to the penis to cause erections was clamped so the penises were flaccid,” said Dr. Sara. “But the men could still experience orgasm and ejaculate.”
It’s a thin line between pain and pleasure
“The parts of the brain and spinal cord that control pain and orgasm overlap in at least two regions in the brain,” explained Dr. Sara. So is there a difference between the two? “Perhaps these two regions in the brain stimulate the same emotional expressions,” she hypothesized,” but separate the feelings of pain and pleasure.”
Orgasms may even relieve pain. “Especially, the stimulation of the G-area is reported to elevate the pain threshold,” she continued. “This effect has not been measured in men, although we have anecdotal evidence that men become insensitive to pain at the time of orgasm.”
An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away
Research has shown that masturbation and partnered sexual activity may have positive impacts on health such as improvements to longevity, immunity, reproductive health and pain management. Sexual activity could lessen the probability of cancer and heart disease and it has been noted that men who have a higher frequency of ejaculation (around eight a month) over many years are at lower risk for prostate cancer.
Still, you might want to hold back on the whipped cream
“An orgasm in itself might burn two or three calories, but a person can burn another fifty or so calories during physical activity that leads to orgasm,” said Dr. Sara. So I guess the bed isn’t an appropriate substitute for the elliptical after all.
And yes, when you RSVP to the party, it’s perfectly acceptable to come on your own
“It is not necessarily something that your partner has to give you, especially for women,” Dr. Sara said, debunking a common orgasm myth. “You don’t have to ‘have’ orgasms to feel happy with your sex life. It’s not something that men and women experience with the same intensity and not all orgasms are the same.”
For more information, feel free to contact Dr. Sara on her website sara-nasserzadeh.com and follow her on Twitter @Dr_Sara. She is an acclaimed social psychologist, psychosexual therapist and sexuality counselor who practices in Manhattan and travels across the globe to lecture and consult various organizations and media networks.
Photo: at www.workdont.blogspot.com
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