The orgasm is a wonder of the body that deserves celebration, and thankfully, we have that very opportunity coming up soon. On July 31, the country can indeed rejoice in National Orgasm Day! To honor this fine event, it's time to learn some facts about orgasms, and the benefits and mysteries these physical explosions entail.
Interestingly, while orgasms are a natural function of the body, you nevertheless have to learn to have them, sexologist Dr. Carol Queen PhD, of Good Vibrations, who is also the curator of the Antique Vibrator Museum, tells Bustle. "Your orgasmic ability now might change over time, with more experience."
Queen also points out that what she calls "blended orgasms" are often suggested by sex therapists, which means you don't just have to focus on the genitals to get there.
"These involve adding two erotic areas together, like stimulating the clitoris and the nipples at the same time," Queen says. Sounds fun, right?
So go forth and figure out for yourself what it is your body and mind are asking for when it comes to, you know, coming. Below some experts share some unusual and enlightening facts about orgasms that will make you an expert on the subject yourself.
Although each orgasm is a world of sensational possibility for each person, generally, what is happening in the body is a similar physical response no matter who you are — but there is a difference in orgasm length between people with penises and vulvas.
People with vulvas may have orgasms that are twice as long as orgasms by people with penises, clinical psychologist Daniel Sher, who is a consultant for the Between Us Clinic an online sex-therapy program for men and couples, tells Bustle. On average, people with penises may reach orgasm twice as quickly as people with vulvas, Sher says.
First and foremost, your pleasure and your orgasm is about what you like. But the style of motion on your genitals can definitely shift how they happen.
Particularly during penetrative intercourse, something called the coital alignment technique (CAT) has been shown to provide greater clitoral stimulation, psychologist and sex therapist Dr. Janet Brito, of Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health, tells Bustle.
"The rocking up and down motion, versus the in and out motion of intercourse, provides pressure on the clitoris, thus increasing the chance of orgasm," Brito says. Give it a shot and see if it works for you!
It is also worth noting that sex does not have to be all about reaching orgasm. Although it is often touted as the best part of a sexual experience, as corny as it may sound, think of sex as a journey, not a destination. For some people, it's really difficult to reach orgasm, and that is totally normal.
"Orgasm is not mandatory for a sexually satisfying interaction," Brito says. Sex is a form of communication, and experimenting with what you like while you do it is one of the most fruitful elements of all.
Have you ever noticed that after a sex session you're exhausted, or after masturbating, you are finally able to rest your weary mind and drift off into the land of slumber?
"Sometimes having orgasms is nature’s way of getting to sleep," Brito says. "Orgasms lower cortisol levels and boost estrogen levels, thus enhancing R.E.M., giving folks a very deep sleep."
And it's true, there have been studies to back this up — research published in Frontiers In Public Health showed that "promoting safe sexual activity before bed may offer a novel behavioral strategy for promoting sleep."
So if you're having trouble getting shut eye, give rubbing one out or having some partnered sex a try! You might be surprised at just how much it relaxes you and promotes a restful night.
"Clitoral hoods vary in size," Brito says. And this can impact what you need to do for yourself in order to orgasm. "If you have a thicker hood, try applying more pressure to increase pleasure, either manually or with a toy."
Orgasm is also beneficial to improve your sexual awareness, and a way to know what your sexual desires, wants, and needs are, Brito says. So the process of knowing how it happens for you can increase your own comfort about your sexuality, get you in touch with your erotic self, and increase body awareness.
This might be the most exciting and interesting news of all! Orgasms are really good for you on every level, down to the mechanisms in your body that keep you healthy and free of all that ails. Could orgasms basically be the cure for the common cold?
Well, they definitely might help, at least — they're good for your immune system.
"Research shows that orgasms can boost the immune system," Sher says. This is because they release a chemical called DHEA, and this not only promotes bone health and tissue repair, but helps to keep your immune system in balance.
"Orgasm is a massive brain event," psychiatrist Pooja Lakshmin MD, who specializes in women’s mental health and is also a clinical assistant professor at George Washington University School of Medicine, tells Bustle.
"Researchers have put [people] in fMRI machines and looked at their brain activity leading up to and during orgasm, and found a series of brain regions become reliably activated during this process," Lakshmin says. "Specifically, areas of the sensory cortex (which process touch), the limbic system (involved in memory and processing emotions), the hypothalamus and the prefrontal cortex (involved in complex problem solving), all become activated."
This is really interesting news, Lakshmin says, because it shows us that orgasm itself is a brain-wide event and not circumscribed to one specific region of the brain.
According to a 2011 study by Debby Herbenick, many people with vulvas reported experiencing sexual pleasure during certain physical activities. And yes, some people were even able to orgasm, Morse says.
"This type of climax can be linked to uterine and pelvic floor contractions," Morse says. "During certain exercises, most of which directly involve core work, these areas are stimulated and can sometimes lead to a climax."
Exactly how this happens is still up for debate, Morse says, as there are many factors involved in the process, like the person’s anatomy, their core strength, how long they work out, and what workouts they are doing.
"However, the one exercise that was found to be most frequently associated with these 'coregasms' was the abdominal workout known as the 'Captain’s Chair,'" Morse says.
Who's en route to the gym already?
Holy moly, if you suffer from migraines, you might want to try for an orgasm before you reach for those painkillers.
"If you're a [person with a vulva] who has migraines, it's also good to know that one study showed that an orgasm provided complete migraine relief [for some sufferers]," Brighton says. Indeed, research coming from University of Munster in Germany showed that an orgasm helped relieve migraines in a whopping 60% of sufferers.
So there you have it, my friends. Orgasms are a gift from the natural world, so go ahead and enjoy. Happy Orgasm Day!