An orgasm is considered the height of pleasure by most people, and is therefore one of the most desired experiences by humans in general.

Human orgasms usually result from physical sexual stimulation of the penis in males (typically accompanying ejaculation and thus contribute to male reproductive success), and the clitoris in females. Sexual stimulation can be by self-practice (masturbation) or with a sex partner (penetrative sex, non-penetrative sex, or other sexual activity). Mental and physical stimuli such as touch, and the internal fluctuation of hormones, can influence sexual arousal.

Orgasms by males are necessary in the reproductive process in order to deliver the sperm to the females, and are therefore even more sought after for those people seeking to reproduce.

Women's orgasms in intercourse are highly variable and are under little selective pressure as they are not a reproductive necessity. The female orgasm is a byproduct of shared early male ontogeny (the development of an individual organism), where male orgasm is an adaptation. Research has shifted to investigate and also support the sire-choice hypothesis, which proposes that female orgasm has been shaped by natural selection to function in the selection of high quality sires (male parents) for offspring.

The sexual orgasm has many benefits:

  • remove all the accumulated pressures and tensions leading to a feeling of great satisfaction after arriving to this point in sexual intercourse
  • reduce the risk of heart attack
  • relieves menstrual pain
  • boosts immunity
  • better sleep
  • reduce the appetite as well as the desire to smoke among smokers

Male Orgasm

In men, the most common way of achieving orgasm is by physical sexual stimulation of the penis. This is usually accompanied by ejaculation, but it is possible, though also rare, for men to orgasm without ejaculation (known as a "dry orgasm") or to ejaculate without reaching orgasm (which may be a case of delayed ejaculation, a nocturnal emission or a case of anorgasmic ejaculation). Men may also achieve orgasm by stimulation of the prostate.

Two-stage model

An orgasm is a two-stage process: first, glands and accessory organs connected to the testes contract; second, semen (containing sperm) is expelled through the urethra during ejaculation. After intercourse, the blood drains from the erectile tissue and the penis becomes flaccid.

Subsequent and multiple orgasms

In contrast to the two-stage model of male orgasm several orgasms can occur. Though it is rare for men to achieve multiple orgasms, some men are capable to consecutive orgasms, particularly without ejaculation.

Female Orgasm

The beginnings of sexual arousal in a woman's body is usually marked by vaginal lubrication, engorgement of the external genitals, and internal enlargement of the vagina. Further stimulation can lead to more vaginal wetness and further engorgement and swelling of the clitoris and the labia, along with increased redness or darkening of the skin in these areas. Further changes to the internal organs also occur including to the internal shape of the vagina and to the position of the uterus within the pelvis.

Other bodily changes include an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as flushing across the chest and upper body. If sexual stimulation continues, then sexual arousal may peak into orgasm, resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure.

Orgasm disorders

In addition to the biological need for orgasms, there are also social stigmas associated to both men and women regarding the female orgasm. Namely if a man cannot seem to bring a woman to climax, he is sometimes deemed a poor sexual partner, or “bad in bed”. Likewise, if a woman is unable to reach orgasm through standard sexual stimulation, she could be labeled as boring sexually, or a “bad lay” due to her lack of exuberance in the bedroom.

For many women and orgasm is not possible through standard intercourse, regardless of the position, without having additional stimulation presented to her clitoris. This can cause feelings of inadequacy in both herself, and her male partner. And of men to suffer from erectile dysfunction, or another sexual dysfunction that does not allow them to ejaculate or orgasm, it can be considered by themselves and others as a serious problem that lowers their status as men, and inhibits their confidence and ability to interact with others.

Lack of orgasm is the second most common complaint in women after low desire. 10% of women report never having an orgasm in their lifetimes.

Risk factors of orgasmic disorder can be:

  • psychological (such as stress and depression)
  • environmental (pressure due to societal norms and expectations, cultural factors, gender roles)
  • physiological (medication side effects, other health diagnoses, atrophy, weight issues)

There are several subtypes of female sexual arousal disorders. They may indicate onset: lifelong (since birth) or acquired. They may be based on context: they may occur in all situations (generalized) or be situation-specific (situational). For example, the disorder may occur with a spouse but not with a different partner.

Anorgasmia

Anorgasmia is a type of sexual dysfunction in which a person cannot achieve orgasm despite adequate stimulation. In males, it is most closely associated with delayed ejaculation. Anorgasmia can often cause sexual frustration. Anorgasmia is far more common in females (4.7 %) than in males and is especially rare in younger men. The problem is greater in women who are post-menopause.

Sexual anhedonia

Sexual anhedonia, also known as pleasure dissociative orgasmic disorder, is a condition in which an individual cannot feel pleasure from an orgasm. It is thought that people who suffer from this disorder, suffer from a dysfunction in the release of the chemical dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, the brain's primary reward center. This part of the brain is thought to play a role in pleasurable activities, including laughter, addiction, and music. Additionally, it is thought that depression, drug addiction, high levels of prolactin, low testosterone, and uses of certain medications might play a role in inhibiting dopamine. A spinal cord injury or chronic fatigue syndrome might also occasionally cause this disorder. Age may also be a cause of this disorder.

Many cases these problems can be overcome with drugs, therapy, attempting new sexual experiences and positions, or a combination of things. It is advertised by the Viagra Company that their drug has over a 75% success rate when dealing with the symptoms of erectile dysfunction which can in most cases directly alleviate the problem for men. And in many cases for women, engaging in a longer duration of foreplay before sex, in combination with sex toys and/or fantasies usually helps bring a woman to climax.

Find more about related issues

Sources

Female Sexual Response ―sourced from Boundless licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Anorgasmia ―sourced from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Orgasm ―sourced from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
10 Benefits of Sexual Orgasm for Women ―by Elnadeem licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Orgasm Disorders ―sourced from Wikispaces licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Female sexual arousal disorder ―sourced from World Heritage Encyclopedia licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Male Reproductive Anatomy ―sourced from Boundless licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Orgasm ―by McDade licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Sexual anhedonia ―sourced from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
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