Doctor, I read so much about orgasm. I do not experience anything like in the novels and movies. Is something wrong with me? Can you describe it for me?” Sania asked.
Trying to describe orgasm is like trying to describe God. Neither can be described. They have to be experienced.
Orgasm (from Greek orgasmos meaning excitement/ swelling/ sexual climax) is the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual excitement during the sexual response cycle, resulting in rhythmic muscular (vaginal in women and penile in men) contractions characterised by sexual pleasure. Experienced by men and women, orgasms are controlled by the autonomic nervous system and are often associated with other involuntary actions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of the body, a general euphoric sensation and, frequently, body movements. The period after orgasm (known as the refractory period) is often a relaxing experience, attributed to the release of neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin as well as endorphins.
Orgasms can be achieved by a variety of activities, including vaginal, anal or oral sex, non-penetrative sex or masturbation. Orgasm may also be achieved by the use of a sex toy or an erotic electro-stimulation.
In women, the most common way to achieve orgasm is by physical stimulation of the clitoris; general statistics indicate that 70–80 per cent of women require direct clitoral stimulation (consistent manual, oral or other concentrated friction against the external parts of the clitoris) to achieve orgasm. "Orgasms vary in intensity, and women vary in the frequency of their orgasms and the amount of stimulation necessary to trigger an orgasm," states Mayo Clinic. Clitoral orgasms are easier to achieve because the clitoris has more than 8,000 sensory nerve endings; an equal number is present in the human penis.
Discussions on female orgasm are complicated by orgasms in women typically being divided into two categories: clitoral and vaginal. This distinction began with Sigmund Freud, who postulated the concept of "vaginal orgasm" as separate from clitoral orgasm. In 1905, Freud stated that clitoral orgasms are purely an adolescent phenomenon and that upon reaching puberty, the proper response of mature women is a change-over to vaginal orgasms, without any clitoral stimulation.The consequences of this theory were damaging. Many women felt inadequate when they could not achieve orgasm via vaginal intercourse alone, as Freud's theory made penile-vaginal intercourse the central component to women's sexual satisfaction.
Kinsey found that most of the women he surveyed could not have vaginal orgasms. He criticised Freud and viewed the clitoris as the centre of sexual response and the vagina as "relatively unimportant" for sexual satisfaction. It is realised that there is only one type of orgasm and it has two components—clitoral and vaginal.
Masters and Johnson found that men took about four minutes to reach orgasm with their partners. While women took about 10-20 minutes in the same situation, when they masturbated they reached orgasm in 4 minutes.
They cite research concluding that women reach orgasm about 25 per cent of the time with intercourse, compared with 81 per cent of the time during oral sex.Most surveys reveal that 75 per cent of men have reported having orgasm during intercourse. But less than 30 per cent of the women had orgasm through intercourse. Women reach orgasm more reliably from masturbation than from coitus. The length of a man’s orgasm has been estimated at 10-15 seconds on an average. A woman’s orgasms have been estimated to last approximately 20 seconds.
The same changes in brain activity were observed in both sexes in which the brain regions associated with behavioural control, fear and anxiety shut down. While stroking the clitoris, the parts of the female brain responsible for processing fear and behavioural control start to relax. This reaches a peak at orgasm when the female brain's emotion centres are effectively closed down to produce an almost trance-like state.