The word orgasm comes from the Greek word “ogasmos”, and it means excitement. The orgasm is an intense feeling of physical pleasure and satisfaction, which contains a release of accumulated erotic tension. The orgasm can be defined as the peak of sexual excitement or simply sexual climax.
It is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and usually associated with spontaneous actions, including muscular spasms in numerous areas of the body, a general ecstatic feeling, and often body movements and vocalizations. Physical sexual stimulation of the penis in males and of the clitoris in females results in orgasm.
There are two ways of sexual stimulation -masturbation and sex with a partner.
In this article, we have gathered valuable information about the female orgasm, how does it feel, female orgasmic disorders, and benefits of an orgasm for female health in general.
WHAT IS AN ORGASM FOR WOMEN AND HOW DOES IT FEEL LIKE?
The description of the physiological process of female orgasm in the genitals contains four precisely defined phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
EXCITEMENT – the first phase of an orgasm
Excitement or arousal is mediated by neurotransmitters and hormones. Due to physical or psychological stimulation, the blood vessels in woman genitals dilate. Vulva starts to swell, provoked by the high blood supply. At the same time, the liquid is passing through the vaginal walls making the vulva moisturized. Blood pressure and heart rate become increased and breathing changes. Usually, a woman’s neck and chest appear flushed due to blood vessel dilation. In a study by Kingsberg SA, Simon JA, Goldstein I under the title “The current outlook for testosterone in the management of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in postmenopausal women” it is noted that arousal is influenced by hypothalamic dopamine and androgens. A potent androgen under the name dihydrotestosterone derived from testosterone plays an important role in female orgasm. According to a study by Levine KB, Williams RE, Hartmann KE. under the title “Vulvovaginal atrophy is strongly associated with female sexual dysfunction among sexually active postmenopausal women” estrogens are not very much connected to the neurology of sex, but instead they play a major role in the regulation of female sexual anatomy.
PLATEAU – the second phase of an orgasm
During this phase, breasts increase for 25 percent in size, and nipples become swollen. The clitoris pulls back against the pubic bone, become extremely sensitive, and shrinks slightly. The tissues of the outer third of the vagina swell and the pubococcygeus muscle tighten.
ORGASM – the third phase
The female orgasm lasts between 13 and 51 seconds, which makes it longer lasting when compared to the male orgasm. Just before orgasm, the genital muscles are experiencing rhythmic contractions. Most women (unlike men) do not need a recovery period after orgasm, and they can experience the new orgasm if they are physically or psychologically stimulated. In a study by Meston CM and Frohlich PF under the title “Update on female sexual function” it is acknowledged that the appearance of an orgasm is connected to the neurotransmitter – serotonin. This neurotransmitter is responsible for the control over genital reflexes, sexual configuration, and libido.
Personally, orgasm for me feels like an explosion of happiness. The feeling in the head is amazing and it spreads through the whole body. My legs are not convulsing but I did lose consciousness for a brief moment. I was lying at the end of the mattress and my head was off the bed and tilted downwards. I believe that contributed to the rush of blood and the warm feeling. It only happened once this intense. But I believe there are different intensities and all of them feel might good!
RESOLUTION – the fourth phase of orgasm
During the last phase, the body slowly returns to its previous condition, with swelling reduction and the slowing of breathing, and heartbeats. This phase is characterized by a general feeling of well-being, enhanced intimacy, and frequently exhaustion. Women are often more sensitive to the adrenaline or stimulant effect, which is why sometimes after a strong orgasm, some women are feeling energized.
FEMALE OGRASMIC DISORDER
The complete lack or delay of orgasm following adequate stimulation is a medical condition known under the name female orgasmic disorder. This medical condition can occur due to physical and psychological reasons. Physical causes for this disorder are usually gynecological issues or the use of a certain medications (especially antidepressants).
Numerous antidepressants work to raise the dose of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps the patients to feel less depressed and anxious, but too much serotonin may inhibit a person’s sex drive and make it harder to experience the sexual pleasure it is noted in the study by Stryjer R, et al. under the title “Trazodone for the treatment of sexual dysfunction induced by serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a preliminary open-label study“. Among psychological reasons, we might state anxiety and depression.
ANORGASMIA – ORGASM PROBLEMS
Anorgasmia or delayed orgasm is the absence of having orgasms. There are four types of this condition: primary, secondary, situational and general anorgasmia. Primary anorgasmia is present in women who had never experienced an orgasm before. Secondary anorgasmia occurs when a woman who previously experienced orgasm no longer can. Situational anorgasmia is the most familiar type of orgasmic dysfunction. It occurs when you can only orgasm during specific conditions, for example – during oral sex or masturbation. General anorgasmia is an inability to reach orgasm under any circumstances, even when sexual stimulation is adequate and the woman is highly aroused.
BENEFITS OF AN ORGASM
In a study by Brody S. under the title “The relative health benefits of different sexual activities” it is noted that a wide range of psychological and physical benefits can occur during penile-vaginal intercourse. These health benefits have been listed in a study by Brody S and Weiss P under the title “Simultaneous penile-vaginal intercourse orgasm is associated with satisfaction (sexual, life, partnership, and mental health)” and some of them are: the satisfaction that comes from sexual activity, increased feeling of closeness and partnership, and stable mental health.
Different sexual activities such as masturbation and anal intercourse, do not appear to deliver the same benefits, and might even be dangerous to health according to a study by Brody S and Costa RM. under the title “Satisfaction (sexual, life, relationship, and mental health) is associated directly with penile-vaginal intercourse, but inversely with other sexual behavior frequencies“. In a study by Sari M van Anders et al. under the title “Associations among physiological and subjective sexual response, sexual desire, and salivary steroid hormones in healthy premenopausal women” it is concluded that orgasms can ensure skin health benefits due to estrogen appears to aid in the prevention of aging skin.
- The current outlook for testosterone in the management of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in postmenopausal women
- Vulvovaginal atrophy is strongly associated with female sexual dysfunction among sexually active postmenopausal women
- Update on female sexual function
- Trazodone for the treatment of sexual dysfunction induced by serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a preliminary open-label study
- The relative health benefits of different sexual activities
- Simultaneous penile-vaginal intercourse orgasm is associated with satisfaction (sexual, life, partnership, and mental health)
- Satisfaction (sexual, life, relationship, and mental health) is associated directly with penile-vaginal intercourse, but inversely with other sexual behavior frequencies