Rutgers University researchers have discovered that sexual arousal numbs the female nervous system to such an extent that she doesn’t feel as much pain—only pleasure.
Orgasm affects up to 30 different parts of the brain including those responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction and memory, found researchers.
The researchers asked eight women to stimulate themselves while lying under a blanket inside a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, a tunnel-like machine often used to detect brain tumours.
Most women took less than five minutes to reach an orgasm although some took as long as 20.
During that time, the MRI scanner took images of their brain every two seconds to show which parts became active during the orgasm.
The scientists found that two minutes before the orgasm, the brain’s reward centres become active, the areas usually activated when eating food and drink.
Immediately before they reached the peak, other areas of the brain became affected such as the sensory cortex, which receives ‘touch’ messages from parts of the body and the thalamus, which relays signals to other parts of the body.
Once the orgasm has started other parts of the brain are activated such as those responsible for emotion.
The final part of the brain to be activated is the hypothalamus, the ‘control’ part of the brain, which regulates temperature, hunger, thirst and tiredness.
At the same time another area responsible for pleasure is activated - the nucleus accumbens - as well as the caudate nucleus, which is responsible for memory.
“In women, orgasm produces a very extensive response across the brain and body,” the Daily Mail quoted Barry Komisaruk of Rutgers University as saying.
“Some women raised their hands several times each session, often just a few seconds apart.
“So the evidence is that women tend to have longer orgasms and can experience several in rapid succession,” said Komisaruk.
A woman’s orgasm last an average of 10-15 seconds, whilst a man’s is thought to last for just six seconds.