The Health Benefits of Orgasms

“Did you…you know,” Did I what? Climax, cum, finish, reach completion…dare I say orgasm? We have so many euphemisms for the word orgasm, but it shouldn’t be a dirty word. Experiencing pleasure (alone, or with partners) is a natural and wonderful part of being human.

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Breaking the Stigma

It is one of the ways we can connect deeply with our partners, but it is also a way to connect deeply with oneself. There is a taboo around speaking about self pleasure in the same way one might speak about partnered sex. Neither is more moral or better than the other. Having sex alone versus with a partner is simply different, but both are valuable. And while we often see orgasms portrayed in the media, what we rarely see is how they can change our bodies and minds for the better. Orgasms do not just feel amazing, they have a myriad of health benefits– both mental and physical.

What Happens?

An orgasm is the result of arousal and often stimulation of genitals and/or erogenous zones of the body. As one becomes more and more aroused, sexual tension builds up in the body. When an orgasm occurs, this is the sexual tension being released from the body. During release, one may find they experience repeated contractions of the genitals (1). One may feel mild to intense pleasure, and release fluids. Releasing fluids is not gender specific! Contractions in the vulva or at the base of the penis can cause anyone of any gender identity to emit fluids during orgasm. When you orgasm, your body releases the chemicals dopamine and oxytocin into your bloodstream. Dopamine is sometimes called the “feel good” neurotransmitter, and oxytocin the “cuddle hormone” (2)(3).  Your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure increase for a short time. After you orgasm, you may feel relaxed, or even tired (4).

The Physical

Long term effects of orgasms can include:

The Mental

The health benefits of orgasms extend all the way up from your genitals to your brain! One of the most commonly thought of benefits to orgasm is emotional connectedness with a partner. But you can experience mental health benefits from solo play, too! Orgasms can cause you to:

It's Personal

To make sure you know what is going down when you get down, check out CHEEX’s Guide to Orgasms! Just as everyone is different, every person’s orgasm is different too– and how they arrive there! Orgasms are like snowflakes. They are all different, even each one a person has! There are so many ways to be able to induce orgasm, with clitoral, anal, or penetrative vulvic stimulation. Some people can even achieve orgasm through nipple play. Usually, the best way to find out what works for you is with trial and error of different combinations! It may not seem like the most efficient way, but remember that sex is a journey, not a destination. Make sure you take in the sights on your way to the peak! The hard truth is, that there is no one way to have an orgasm. But that is also what makes them beautiful. Not sure where to start? Learn how to masturbate.

Change it Up

Sometimes, all you need to have an amazing orgasm is a new idea in your sex life. Or maybe a fantasy that you have been wanting to try out. It could be anything from a new sex act to a roleplay to just a different tongue movement. A little to the left, no not THAT far. You do not always have to move mountains to find something different that you really enjoy. Do not let us push you, because the biggest key in trying something new is consent. Do not do anything you are not comfortable with! But, if you are looking for something different to switch up your sexual routine, check out these CHEEX articles.

Or, go back to the basics! Sometimes, returning to something familiar can bring renewed vigor and enjoyment of the sexual experience. What is it they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Do not get down on yourself for returning to old favorites.

Feeling Stuck

Many people find that it takes them more time to feel close to orgasm. Many people find it hard to experience orgasm at all. It could be due to physicality, medication, stress or emotional issues, or so many other factors. An unfortunate number of people who experience this think that they are alone in this, or somehow doing something wrong in sex. If this is something you experience, it is in no way a sexual failing. We must meet our bodies where they are at, even though it can be frustrating, even though our bodies’ need change every day. As your bodily needs change daily, so do your sexual needs. Do not feel guilty or embarrassed if you need to change the way something happens during sex, either alone or with a partner. You would not be mad at the weather for changing, and your body is as much a force of nature as the wind or the rain. That sounds sappy, but a very intense orgasm can definitely feel like a lightning strike.

The Big O

Sure, the O can be big, but it is not as scary and bad as some can make them seem. In fact, it is the opposite! Orgasms can provide numerous and incredible benefits to both your body and your mind. People are realizing it, and the stigma is lessening. There is now even a National Orgasm Day! Wherever you choose to have your orgasms and whomever you have them with, you can feel confident that you are bettering your mental and physical health with every sesh.

Sources

(1) Orgasm: What is an orgasm, types of orgasms & health benefits. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22969-orgasm

(2)  Dopamine. (2009, August 12). Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dopamine

(3)  Can you kiss and hug your way to better health? (n.d.). https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2018/february/affection

(4)  Orgasm: What is an orgasm, types of orgasms & health benefits. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22969-orgasm

(5)  The influence of vasopressin deficiency and acute desmopressin administration on melatonin secretion in patients with central diabetes insipidus. (n.d.). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15053243/

(6)  Psychological stress and the human immune system: A meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/

(7)  Hambach A, Evers S, Summ O, Husstedt IW, Frese A. The impact of sexual activity on idiopathic headaches: An observational study. Cephalalgia. 2013;33(6):384-389. doi:10.1177/0333102413476374

(8) Haake P, Krueger TH, Goebel MU, Heberling KM, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man. Neuroimmunomodulation. 2004;11(5):293-8. doi: 10.1159/000079409. PMID: 15316239.

(9) Wise NJ, Frangos E, Komisaruk BR. Brain Activity Unique to Orgasm in Women: An fMRI Analysis. J Sex Med. 2017 Nov;14(11):1380-1391. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.08.014. Epub 2017 Oct 3. PMID: 28986148; PMCID: PMC5675825.

(10) R. Bou Khalil,
P-1456 – Neurobiologic correlates between sexual activity and women’s mood, European Psychiatry,Volume 27, Supplement 1,2012,Page 1, ISSN 0924-9338, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0924-9338(12)75623-7.
(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924933812756237)

(11) Weaver, R. (2011, November). The Mental Health Benefits of Sex. Her. https://www.empowher.com/mental-health/content/mental-health-benefits-sex

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