causing thrills, heartache and downright confusion. But until recently, exactly what happens in the brain during sex was something of a mystery to scientists. Now, however, American researchers have uncovered what goes on in a woman"s head during an orgasm. The scientists from Rutgers University, New Jersey, used scans to monitor women"s brains during orgasm and found that different brain parts are activated when various parts of her body are aroused.
They found that up to 30 different parts of the brain are activated, including those responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction and memory. The scientists found that two minutes before orgasm the brain"s reward centres become active. These are the areas usually activated when eating food and drink. Immediately before they reached the peak, other areas of the brain became affected such as the sensory cortex, which receives "touch" messages from parts of the body.
The final part of the brain to be activated is the hypothalamus, the "control" part which regulates temperature, hunger, thirst and tiredness. The scientists also discovered that sexual arousal numbs the female nervous system to such an extent that a woman doesn"t feel as much pain ― only pleasure. The team now hopes to map what happens in a man"s brain during orgasm. But what else is happening inside our heads when we slip between the sheets? Here we ask the experts to reveal how sex alters our brain.
Men, on the other hand, instead of getting a surge of bonding hormone receive a surge of simple pleasure. "The problem is that when a man has an orgasm, the main hormone released is dopamine ― the pleasure hormone. And this surge can be addictive," says Dr Ghosh. That"s why so many more men tend to suffer from sex addiction.
A lot of sexual health research focuses on what"s happening physically. But experts say that for many people ― especially women ― the mind plays a key role in achieving orgasm. While male brains tend to focus on the physical stimulation involved in sexual contact, the key to female arousal seems to be deep relaxation and a lack of anxiety.