Ever pondered the science behind orgasms (or wondered how they boost your health or change with age)? Probably not — especially when you're smack-dab in the middle of one.
But as it turns out, there are plenty of interesting things to know about sex's crowning glory. For example, were you aware that some people can think themselves into having an orgasm — or that men have G-spots, too?
The sexual climax has been mystifying people for thousands of years (including your high-school boyfriend) — and that's why we've gathered some of the most fascinating facts about orgasms out there. Take a peek!
Women Climax Prematurely, Too
You hear a lot of about premature ejaculation — the tendency for a man to ejaculate with little sexual stimulation, usually just after sex begins (or even prior to getting started). Doctors estimate that about 20 to 30 percent of men will prematurely ejaculate at some point in their lives.
But it's not just guys who peak too soon. A recent survey of Portuguese women between the ages of 18 and 45 found that about 40 percent of participants occasionally orgasm before they intend to — and about 3 percent of them do so chronically.
While premature orgasm is certainly a problem for some females (and they should feel comfortable speaking about it with their doctors, says study researcher Serafim Carvalho, MD), a much more widespread issue for women is the inability to reach orgasm.
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Not All Orgasms Are Earth Shattering
If you think you're doing something wrong because each and every one of your orgasms isn't scream-worthy , think again.
"Some orgasms are sweet and gentle, some are big — but in fact, they are all pleasurable," says Betty Dodson, PhD, a sex educator in private practice in New York City and the best-selling author of Sex for One and Orgasms for Two. But if you feel like your climaxes aren't up to par, Dodson advocates scheduling some "alone time" to learn about what arouses you, as well as your range of orgasmic responses (then you can share this information with your partner!).
Are High Heels Orgasmic?
Shoe designer Christian Louboutin made quite a splash when he told British newspaper The Sunday Times that high heels and orgasms have a lot in common. "What is sexual in a high heel is the arch of the foot, because it is exactly the position of a woman's foot when she orgasms," he said. "So putting your foot in a heel, you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation."
Is that true? We're not so sure. But we do know that those oh-so sexy stilettos can bring on a whole lot of pain — and according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), they are more likely to cause bunions.
Want To Orgasm? Get Your Head In The Game
Your sky-high electric bill, that big meeting at work, last night's episode of "The Kardashians" — are you constantly thinking about everything but sex when you're having sex?
Join the club — research reported in the journal Sexologies points out that many women have difficulty reaching orgasm because of their wandering, distracting thoughts mid-romp. And oftentimes, those thoughts are negative, according to the study's 191 participants (troubling thoughts included sexual dysfunction, body image issues, even sexual abuse).
If your mind keeps wandering during sex, you may want to make a conscious effort to keep your mind on the prize.
Guys Have G-Spots, Too
For women, the G-spot is a hard-to-find (or some say mythical) place inside the vagina that can set off earth-shattering orgasms. But do men have similar orgasmic potential?
According to Dr. Niederberger, the anatomical equivalent on the male is the frenulum, a collection of highly sensitized nerves just under the head of the penis. Whether G-spots really exist is still up for debate, but Niederberger says it's important to remember that both men and women can have toe-curlingly-satisfying sex lives without one.
Fast And Stealthy Wins The Race
Not all sperm are created equal. In fact, take any given sample sperm that get released during the male orgasm, and you'll find some that are dead or immobile and others that are relatively speedy (they get even speedier in response to chemical signals from a woman's vagina and egg).
"Sperm should move at 30 micrometers per second or more," says urologist Craig Niederberger, MD, FACS, head of the department of urology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Also, they should generally move forward, rather than simply bouncing around in one spot.
The Hands-Free Orgasm Is Real
"A few folks can literally 'think' off," says Dodson. (Supposedly, that list includes Lady Gaga — as she once told New York Magazine "You know, sense memory is a powerful thing. I can give myself an orgasm just by thinking about it.")
Don't think you can reach climax by harnessing your dirty thoughts? You can certainly enjoy making an attempt of it, says Dodson. And the visualization that could get you there might spice up your sex life, no matter what the outcome. Even if your thoughts alone aren't orgasmic, thinking about — and talking about — sex makes for sexier foreplay.
You Can 'Yogasm'
A recent revelation about yoga is bringing all new meaning to the phrase "downward facing dog." Some yoga fanatics are claiming that, mid-yoga-session, they have been known to experience a "yogasm" — an orgasm set off without any sort of stimulation or touching involved.
Though the concept has been around for a while, more and more yogis have been speaking out it about, bringing yoga-induced orgasms a whole lot of attention. Are they real? Absolutely, sexologist Jeffre TallTrees recently told The Daily Beast. "When women engage their PC [pubococcygeus] muscles, the tissue around the g-spot swells, which can lead to climax."
You Can 'Coregasm,' Too
Turns out, flat abs aren't the only thing you can achieve by hitting the gym. According to Men's Health, that extra set of crunches may also help women reach mind-blowing orgasms.
This phenomenon — known as the "coregasm" — sometimes occurs when women perform certain abdominal exercises, such as side crunches and single leg planks. These workouts cause tension in the legs and abdomen, and when combined with dopamine and endorphins released during exercise, experts say this can be all the stimulation that's needed. In addition, since these movements hit the inner thighs, women with strong abdominal muscles may inadvertently squeeze the pelvic muscles in the process.
One motion won't do the trick, but repeatedly contracting the muscles during ab training might. But fitness experts warn that you should never sacrifice good form in the pursuit of the big O during your workout.
Orgasms Can Relieve Pain
Should you ditch the painkillers for a romp in the hay or solo-style sex? "I recommend women masturbate to orgasm to relieve their monthly cramps," says Dodson.
There are several possible reasons climaxing kills pain. The chemical and muscular cascade involved in having an orgasm may be a pain reliever, she says — and chances are that distraction and profound relaxation also help. In any case, it can't hurt to try.
Orgasms May Actually Get Better With Age
Whether having an orgasm is qualitatively better at age 40 than age 20 is hard to say. However, chances are, you know your body better and are more comfortable with sex and your partner when you get older. "A young body may respond better to orgasm, but an aging body might have more appreciation for an orgasm," says Dodson. Take the time to learn about your changing orgasmic style.
Most Guys Are Seven-Minute Men
For many people, the length of time it takes to reach orgasm varies and depends on a number of different factors, including arousal, stress levels, tiredness, and relationship dynamics.
However, researchers have established that, for men, "from penetration to ejaculation, the average time is seven minutes," says Niederberger. The timeframe for women is considerably more variable — in fact, women's orgasms overall are less predictable: Some females may never achieve climax with vaginal intercourse, and some claim to have multiple orgasms.
Turns Out, The Female Orgasm Is Important
Your ninth-grade biology teacher probably told you this: For reproduction purposes, only the male orgasm is necessary.
While he certainly has a point (male ejaculation, which accompanies orgasm, helps improve the chances of the sperm making their way toward the woman's egg), Indiana University professor Elizabeth Lloyd has been studying the purpose of female climax for some time. Here's what she found: The female orgasm promotes "pair bonding," which means a couple is more likely to pursue parenting; it's a part of mate selection (a woman chooses her partner based on his ability to make her climax); and there is some belief that contractions during the female orgasm help draw sperm into the uterus.
So go ahead — have an orgasm tonight, for science's sake.
The Truth About Multiple Orgasms
Do some women orgasm, only to orgasm again (and then yet again)?
While it is certainly possible for individuals to have more than one orgasm in a sexual interlude, Dodson says to proceed with caution. "My concern with so-called 'multiple orgasms' is that I believe many women are actually counting the naturally occurring autonomic reflexes that can follow an orgasm," she says. Of course, these "aftershocks" can still be quite pleasurable.