Thanks to modern science, we know more about the female orgasm now than we ever did before. The fact that there’s apparently an orgasm button, right below the navel, is one example of need-to-know sex facts that we’ve learned about thanks to science. Psychological studies have also demonstrated that women with perceived sexist partners are less likely to orgasm during sex (to that, I give a resounding “duh,” but it’s also nice to have objective scientific confirmation of that fact). Now, science has one-upped itself in the Cool Sex Things department — neuroscientists at Rutgers University have actually filmed what a woman’s brain looks like when she’s orgasming.
As part of a study that included five women with spinal cord injuries (resulting in paralysis from the waist down) stimulating themselves to reach an orgasm while in an MRI, the Rutgers scientists recorded the neurological reactions of a orgasming woman using the brain-scan equipment. While it’s hard to imagine anyone successfully orgasming in a vaguely-claustrophobic MRI machine, somebody sure did it — and we’ve got the video to prove it. Rutgers shared their video of a woman’s brain activity while having an orgasm on YouTube. Check it out below.
I have no idea what exactly is going on within the brain here, but it sure is cool to see how an orgasm affects different parts of the brain in turn. It’s an important reminder that there’s so much about the way the brain functions that we still don’t know.
This study was a huge boon for orgasm research, particularly for patients suffering from paralysis. Neuroscientist Barry Komisaruk told Women’s Health Magazine that the patients’ reactions during the study were “very emotional,” and that some of the women cried after realizing that they were in fact experiencing an orgasm (understandably). Komisaruk noted that “it was a surprise to me and them because their doctors had told them after their injury that their sex life is over; they wouldn’t be able to feel genital sensations.” He also noted that the way the observed orgasms unfolded wasn’t as expected either: The orgasm traveled along a nerve into the pelvis (the vagus nerve), rather than going up the spinal cord.
To read more about Komisaruk’s groundbreaking orgasm research (which he says might be able to help people who are unable to experience orgasms), check out his Rutgers University page, including his writings, here.