Sexuality plays a role in both physical and psychological health. As soon as we understand what sex is, we’re taught to believe that a climax is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, the desired result of a sexual peak…cums easier for some than others.
Laying in bed just before midnight on a Saturday, I pondered how to spend the remainder of my night. Netflix and chill was what I decided on, but it wasn’t the kind I had in mind. In fact, if I had it my way, I could bypass the Netflix altogether and just get down to business, but alas, there I was, alone. So I stumbled upon a fascinating documentary called Explained that peaked my interest.
In the episode of the Netflix docuseries, Explained: The Female Orgasm, the narrator introduces us to a study by Sigmund Freud (1905) that claims women who climaxed from clitoral stimulation likely suffered from psychological disorders that he likened to neurosis and hysteria. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is where the idea of women being called crazy actually stemmed from. As a result of their sexual arousal, some women endured genital mutilation (FGM), an act that is still practiced in some countries today.
The show went on to discuss the decades-long debate of the female anatomy and erogenous zones. For years, scholars were at odds on the origin of the female orgasm with some arguing that the culmination resulted as a vaginal orgasm while others proclaim it stemmed from the clitoris. In 1998, a study by Helen O’Connell, Hutson, Anderson, and Plenter settled the score with claims that the clitoris is “intimately related to the perineal urethra and more extensive than typical diagrams indicate,” ipso facto: all orgasms derive from clitoral stimulation, not (simply) vaginal. But did we really need a team of scientists to tell us that? Apparently so, especially since most women don’t even know where their clitoris actually is. And girl, if you don’t know where it is, how the hell are you gonna tell your man how to please you?
An unsettling study in a research publication found that 95% of straight men reported regular orgasm during sex compared to 65% of straight women (Archives of sexual behavior, 2017). Even more disturbing was a 2010 report in the Journal of Sex Research claimed that 50% of women reported faking an orgasm. While, I’m not proud to admit it, I am in that number. Or least, I have been…(read, Have You Seen Your Clitoris?)
Brain scans have revealed brain activity during sex show an increase in oxygen and nutrients and may offer insights on why men and women climax differently, (Barry Komisaruk, 2017). For example, why can men only climax once while women are able to have multiple orgasm? As it turns out, the male and female brains work in much the same way during sex. However, upon climax, the male brain experiences a refractory period causing them to no longer respond to genital stimulation. Women, on the other hand, do not experience this and are therefore more receptive to pleasure. Also interesting is the association between pain and pleasure. While researchers don’t fully understand this connection, brain scans have discovered two areas of the brain, known as the insula and the anterior cingulate cortex that are activated by orgasm have also been recognized as being highly active during injuries.
Conversations around the clitoris will likely continue, as well as debates on where orgasm come from. One thing that is not up for debate, however, is the fact that sex is an enjoyable journey and we all want to cum along for the ride.
Featured image Dainis Graveris
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