vrijdag 4 oktober 2013

The Female Orgasm Explained

The Female Orgasm Explained

The sexual revolution of the ’70s has allowed women to claim their right to pleasure and to better know their body. However, 30 years later, the female orgasm remains mysterious to a lot of people – both men and women.
Most of us can recall that scene in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” and Meg Ryan is moaning and groaning having an alleged orgasm. In the movie she is obviously faking it. The movie endeavors to show that women have the ability to confuse or mislead their men into believing that they are actually having and orgasm.
Unfortunately for men, no matter how much they scream or moan, they cannot fake an orgasm – as well, let’s face it, a masculine orgasm is rather messy.
During the 1970′s the sexual revolution enabled women the ability to lay claim to a right of pleasure in the bedroom; for the first time in public society, women were able to better understand their own bodies and discover what it actually is that enables/causes the orgasm. However, we are now 40 years since that revolution and for many men the onset and occurrence of feminine orgasm remains a total mystery.

The Internal Clitoris

The internal erect clitoris

The scientific name for the external “little button” or “bulb” is glans. Not to be confused with glands, glans simply refers to a small circular mass. This little structure contains approximately 8,000 sensory nerve fibers; more than anywhere else in the human body and nearly twice the amount found on the head of a penis! The fact is, though, that most of the clitoris is subterranean, consisting of two corpora cavernosa (corpus cavernosum when referring to the structure as a whole), two crura (crus when referring to the structure as a whole), and the clitoral vestibules or bulbs.
The glans is connected to the body or shaft of the internal clitoris, which is made up of two corpora cavernosa. When erect, the corpora cavernosa encompass the vagina on either side, as if they were wrapping around it giving it a big hug!

The corpus cavernosum also extends further, bifurcating again to form the two crura. These two legs extend up to 9cm, pointing toward the thighs when at rest, and stretching back toward the spine when erect. To picture them at rest, imagine the crura as a wishbone, coming together at the body of the clitoris where they attach to the pubic symphysis.

Near each of the crura on either side of the vaginal opening are the clitoral vestibules. These are internally under the labia majora. When they become engorged with blood they actually cuff the vaginal opening causing the vulva to expand outward. Get these puppies excited, and you’ve got a hungrier, tighter-feeling vaginal opening in which to explore!
We now understand how the erectile tissue of the clitoris engorges and surrounds the vagina – a complete breakthrough that explains how what we once considered to be a vaginal orgasm is actually an internal clitoral orgasm.

 "During orgasm, it has been found by scientists who put electrodes in the brain that a woman’s brain completely shuts down. No-mind is a highly prized spiritual state because it takes us beyond past or future, into the present moment. When a woman is moving into orgasmic ecstasy, she can easily use this state to access what is known as Mahamudra, meaning ‘the great gesture which arises out of the orgasm with the universe.’ A woman’s orgasm can be so powerful and full bodied that it can propel her into Samadhi (universal consciousness). Having known her capacity for ecstasy, she then wants to bless the whole world. She becomes a devotee of life."


From Greek kleitoris, "divine, famous, goddess-like." 1 Greek myth
personified the phallus as Priapus and the clitoris as an Amazon queen
named Kleite, ancestral mother of the Kleitae, a tribe of warrior
women who founded a city in Italy.2 In Corinth, Kleite was a princess
"whom Artemis made grow tall and strong," an allegory of her
erection.3 Or, again, she was a nymph who loved the phallus of the sun
god and always followed his motion with her "head" -a transparently
sexual metaphor.4 In a bowdlerized version of the story she was
transformed into a sunflower, turning to follow the motion of the sun
across the sky.
Pausanias said the Arcadian city of Clitor was sacred to Artemis, or
to Demeter, and stood at the genital shrine of the earth, the
headwaters of the Styx (or Alph).5 The meaning of this geographical
myth is made clear by the primitive belief that the Styx represented
Mother Earth's menstrual blood, source and solvent of all things. In
this place, too, the orgiastic priestesses of Artemis were "soothed" out
of their frenzies; therefore the local omphalos must have signified the
Goddess's clitoris instead of her navel.
Later patriarchal society managed to ignore the clitoris. Since the
Christian church taught that women should not experience sexual
pleasure but should only endure intercourse for the sake of procreation,
growing girls and boys alike were kept ignorant of female sexuality,
insofar as possible.6 Even physicians came to believe that no clitoris
would be found on a virtuous woman.
From medieval times onward, virtuous women rarely showed
themselves naked to any man, even a husband; so it was perhaps not
surprising that men should remain ignorant of the female anatomy they
clumsily fumbled with in the dark. Pious married couples wore the
chemise cagoule, a voluminous nightgown with a small hole in front, to
allow impregnation with a minimum of body contact.7
At a witch trial in 1593, the investigating gaoler (a married man)
apparently discovered a clitoris for the first time, and identified it as a
devil' s teat, sure proof of the witch's guilt. It was "a little lump of flesh,
in manner sticking out as if it had been a teat, to the length of half an
inch," which the gaoler, "perceiving at the first sight thereof, meant not
to disclose, because it was adjoining to so secret a place which was not
decent to be seen; yet in the end, not willing to c~mceal so strange a
matter," he showed it to various bystanders.8 The bystanders had
never seen anything like it either. The witch was convicted.
European society certainly knew all about the penis, and never
ceased to worship it, even in Christian times.
Yet the clitoris was forgotten:
Almost from the very beginning of our lives, we are all taught that the
primary male sex organ is the penis, and the primary female sex organ
is the vagina. These organs are supposed to define the sexes, to be the
difference between boys and girls .... This is a lie . . . . Woman's
sexual pleasure is often left out of these definitions. If people considered
that the purpose of the female sex organs is to bring pleasure to
women, then female sex would be defined by, and focused on, a different
organ. Everyone would be taught from infan~y that, as the primary
male sex organ is the penis, so the primary female sex organ is the clitoris. 9
Medical authorities in the 19th century seemed anxious to
prevent women from discovering their own sexuality. Girls who learned
to develop orgasmic capacity by masturbation, just as boys learned it,
were regarded as medical problems. Often they were "treated" or
"corrected" by amputation or cautery of the clitoris, or "miniature
chastity belts, sewing the vaginal lips together to put the clitoris out of
reach, and even castration by surgical removal of the ovaries. But
there are no references in the medical literature to surgical removal of
testicles or amputation of the penis to stop masturbation (in boys)." 10
In the United States, the last recorded clitoridectomy for curing
masturbation was performed in 1948-on a five-year-old girl. 11
The Catholic church's definition of masturbation as "a grave
moral disorder" in 1976 may have incorporated fears of the effect of
masturbation on female orgasmic capacity, now well known to evolve
through masturbatory experience the same as that of a male. 12 Less
than a century ago, in the Victorian era, priests and doctors realized that
"the total repression of woman's sexuality was crucial to ensure her
subjugation." Leading authorities like Dr. Isaac Brown Baker performed
many clitoridectomies to cure women's nervousness, hysteria,
catalepsy, insanity, female dementia, and other catchwords for symptoms
of sexual frustration.
From Barbara Walker's Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

The clitoris, the beautiful stranger

I’ll Have What She’s Thinking

SCIENCE has looked into some strange things over the centuries — reports of gargantuan sea monsters, purported images of Jesus, sightings of alien spaceships and so on. When I first heard of spontaneous orgasm, while researching a book on yoga, including its libidinal cousin, tantra, I figured it was more allegory than reality and in any event would prove beyond the reach of even the boldest investigators.

Well, I was wrong. It turns out science has tiptoed around the subject for more than a century and of late has made considerable progress in determining not only the neurophysiological basis of the phenomenon but also its prevalence. Men are mentioned occasionally. But sex researchers have found that the novel type of autoerotism shows up mainly in women.
Ground zero for the research is Rutgers University, where scientists have repeatedly had female volunteers put their heads into giant machines and focus their attention on erotic fantasies — the scans reveal that the pleasure centers of their brains light up in ways indistinguishable from everyday orgasms. The lab atmosphere is no-nonsense, with plenty of lights and white coats and computer monitors.
Subjects often thrash about so forcefully that obtaining clear images of their brains can be difficult.
“Head movement is a huge issue,” Nan Wise, a doctoral candidate at Rutgers who helps run the project, said in an interview. “It’s hard to get a decent signal.”
She said a volunteer’s moving her head more than two millimeters — less than a 10th of an inch — can make for a bad day in the lab.
It is easy to dismiss this as a new kind of narcissism in search of scientific respectability, a kinky pleasure coming out of the shadows. Many YouTube videos now purport to show people using controlled breathing and erotic introspection to achieve what they describe as “thinking off” and “energy orgasms.”
But the research is also illuminating a plausible neurological basis for the long intermingling of sexuality and mysticism and, in particular, the teachings of tantra, which arose in medieval India as a path to spiritual ecstasy. Perhaps most important, it illustrates how little we really know of human physiology. Scientists have long debated the purpose of the female orgasm, which plays no direct role in procreation. The emerging reality of spontaneous orgasm seems to do nothing but deepen the mystery.
The investigations began more than a century ago as physicians described what some called psychic coitus.
On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, at the Metropolitan Dispensary and Hospital for Women and Children, the chief physician, T. J. McGillicuddy, issued a warning in “Functional Disorders of the Nervous System in Women,” published in 1896. He said “involuntary orgasms” from erotic thoughts could lower a woman’s vital energies and “cause melancholia and mental weakness.”
As a cure, he recommended hard mattresses and cold sponge baths.
The stigma associated with spontaneous orgasm fell away as sex investigators began to see autoerotism as a normal part of human experience.
Havelock Ellis, the pioneering British physician, described the contemplative state in his landmark six-volume study of sexual behavior, published between 1897 and 1910. He said that concentrating on sexual images, among other stimuli, could lead to “spontaneous orgasm in either sex, even in perfectly normal persons.”
Surveys revealed that the phenomenon, while rare, nonetheless seemed to occur with some regularity. In 1948, Alfred C. Kinsey of Indiana University and his colleagues published “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.” That groundbreaking study looked at thousands of cases but noted only two in which men “could reach climax by deliberate concentration of thought on erotic situations.”
But the team’s follow-up report on women, published in 1953, surveyed 2,727 women, and the researchers found that 2 percent of the interviewees — 54 women — reported an ability to reach orgasm by “fantasy alone.”
The finding was significant in that it challenged a common stereotype — that men achieve orgasm more readily than women. Now science was suggesting that, at least for some women, all it took was a vivid imagination.
William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson achieved fame for their rigorous study of all kinds of sexual practices, as dramatized in the new Showtime series “Masters of Sex.” But the scientists, in their 1966 book, “Human Sexual Response,” noted rather wistfully that they could find no subjects “who could fantasy to orgasm.”
Still, the pace of the science intensified as women got involved. In the late 1970s, Gina Ogden was working on her doctorate at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco when a woman demonstrated the orgasmic state for a small group of sexologists-in-training. Fascinated, she took up the topic for her doctoral research and dissertation.
In 1980 she mentioned her research while giving a talk at a conference on women’s issues and was astonished when half the audience came up afterward to volunteer. “There was a stampede,” Dr. Ogden recalled. Of the 50 women she interviewed, 32 — or 64 percent — reported that they could reach orgasm by imagination alone.
Dr. Ogden later teamed up with Barry R. Komisaruk, a biologist on the Newark campus of Rutgers, who specializes in orgasm research. They studied 10 women who, despite the laboratory setting, reached sexual climax not only by stimulating themselves manually but also by indulging in erotic imagery.
The scientists found that both states resulted in significant rises in blood pressure, heart rate and tolerance for pain — a signature of orgasm. The findings, the team wrote in a 1992 paper, called for “a reassessment of the nature of orgasm.”
The idea began to go public. A 1996 book, “Sexational Secrets,” described a workshop on spontaneous orgasm and featured a how-to guide.
At Rutgers, Dr. Komisaruk expanded his research to brain scans. In 2003, the first images confirmed the earlier study. Pleasure centers lit up more or less identically whether the women reached sexual highs by hand stimulation or by erotic thoughts.
Dr. Komisaruk had difficulty finding enough volunteers for a thorough study until he met Ms. Wise, the Rutgers doctoral student. A sex therapist, she turned out to have the right contacts as well as her own autoerotic skills. “It’s the least sexy thing in the world,” she said of having her brain scanned. “But I do it for science.” By early 2010, Ms. Wise and Dr. Komisaruk had succeeded in scanning a dozen volunteers.
Late that year, at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, the world’s largest group for brain research, the Rutgers team presented a surprise finding that suggested that the scientists were zeroing in on the phenomenon’s origins.
Women who simply thought about the stimulation of their breasts and genitals, the scans revealed, lit up the brain’s corresponding sensory areas.
“That’s not the traditional view of the sensory cortex,” Ms. Wise said recently, alluding to how sense organs are usually seen as responsible for the cortical responses.
Dr. Ogden, from her home in Cambridge, Mass., praised the research as likely to expand the accepted definition of female sexuality.
“Sex research for a long time shortchanged women by asking the wrong questions, or asking very limited questions,” she said. “If we just notice what’s around — notice what people are doing and saying and feeling — we can do a better job.”
William J. Broad is a science reporter for The New York Times and the author of “The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards.”


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