Have you ever wondered the role of the brain during orgasms? You probably know sex improves relationships, but have you ever wondered what role orgasms play in your relationship? When a couple is enjoying each other, kisses, touching – the focus is on the senses and pleasure. It all feels very physical but the brain actually plays a pretty big role.
I’ve heard people argue that there isn’t enough blood to be in both places, the brain and the genitals, as the same time. However, research in men and women have found that the brain plays an important role during sexual intercourse and orgasms, much more than one may expect. The nervous system translates sensations to the brain which is in charge of processing them. As the most complex part of the body, the brain not only decides if such sensations are pleasurable, but also influences feelings and emotions related to attachment and love.
How can orgasms improve your relationship?
There are several nervous systems in charge of carrying the sensations from the genitals to the brain during an orgasm. In women, these nerves are located in the uterus, cervix, vagina, clitoris and rectum. In men, they are found in the prostate, scrotum, penis and rectum. Once this information reaches the brain, parts of the brain are activated and hormones that function as neurotransmitters are produced. Not surprisingly, these areas and related processes are also in charge of bonding, faithfulness, love, and relaxation.
While you are focused on the sexual satisfaction of an orgasm, your brain is producing Oxytocin. This hormone is also called “the love hormone” because of it’s powerful influence in bonding. Oxytocin is also released when you cuddle with your loved one and during social interactions where you feel connected to someone. Oxytocin is also present when you enjoy a new and exciting activity together. This is why people feel so bonded when they are dating – because everything is new and exciting!
According to research, this same hormone -Oxytocin, also helps men in monogamous relationships to keep their distance with other women. This minimizes the opportunity to establish contact during social interactions, limits men sending signals of interest. It promotes monogamy and loyalty.
The nucleus accumbens of your brain also becomes activated during sexual intercourse and orgasm. This region releases dopamine, a hormone associated with pleasurable and rewarding feelings. Dopamine is often called the “feel-good hormone.” An article by Harvard Medical School, describes the association between this region with feelings of romantic love. Researchers noticed that area of the brain would be activated after people saw a picture of a loved one. How do you feel when you see a picture of your partner or recall a good time you shared?
Another part of the brain involved in orgasms is the amygdala. This part of the brain is in charge of feelings like anger, fear and aggressive responses. The survival instincts such as the flight or fight response are also located in the amygdala. This means the more active the amygdala is, the more intense the anger, fear or aggression would be. By contrast, during an orgasm the activity of the amygdala decreases and the person feels calmer and relaxed. Who knew orgasms could be so powerful?
Despite the fact that we know satisfying sex is needed to have a healthy relationship, it’s often one of the first things we neglect when life gets busy. If you’re struggling to shut off your mind or put things down to spend intimate time with your lover, check out my previous blog on scheduling sex.
Have you ever scheduled sex? What was your experience like?