What do orgasm and fainting have in common?

For decades, neuroscientists have been trying to explain why achieving orgasm causes such pleasant sensations in the body in both men and women, and what is the mechanism of this.

Orgasm is the result of rhythmic sexual stimulation. Rhythmic sexual movements send nerve impulses with a certain frequency to certain areas of the brain, often overloading them, which coincides with the climax of orgasm. In terms of brain activity, this condition strongly resembles a seizure.

During a seizure, there is an excess of neural activity in the brain — too much stimulation leads to an overload of the pathways of nerve impulses, which can cover the entire brain. Synchronized brain signals are the key to conscious thinking and unconscious control of body functions. Interrupting or disrupting their frequency with too fast or powerful signals leads to seizures and loss of consciousness.

Rhythmic sexual stimuli similarly affect brain activity. Sexual stimulation increases neural activity, and if the stimulation is strong enough, the received neural signals almost uncontrollably spread through large parts of the brain, increasing their sensitivity to extremes. Almost all signal paths in these regions are temporarily overloaded. This is the threshold of orgasm for the brain. After reaching orgasm and ejaculation, brain activity returns to normal.

These two facts raise the question: “Why does one type of hyperactivity of the neural pathways lead to pleasure, and the other to seizures?” “

Seizures affect random areas of the brain that may temporarily not receive or transmit other impulses, they practically “turn off”. Depending on the strength of the stimulus, this leads to a loss of musculoskeletal control, a drop in blood pressure and breathing, loss of consciousness, and often loss of memory for a period of time before a seizure.

However, during orgasm, areas of the brain directly related to the neurochemical dopamine of pleasure are stimulated. This temporarily suppresses the activity of the centers responsible for processing emotions such as fear and anxiety, with a force and effect similar to taking cocaine. The elimination of these sensations and the relaxation experienced by the body under the influence of dopamine are the main reason for the intense pleasure of achieving orgasm.


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