Scientists discover the two pathways to women’s pleasure

Scientists discover the two pathways to women’s pleasure

By Chris Brooke
UPDATED: 08:48 GMT, 16 May 2011

It’s a mystery to many men and a source of frustration to many women.

Now a study of the brain is helping scientists to unlock the secrets of the female orgasm.

By using scanners to observe which parts of a woman’s brain become active when they are aroused, researchers have discovered there are at least two ‘pathways to pleasure’.

One of them activates when a woman is alone and fantasising with the help of imagination.  The other kicks into action when she is being physically stimulated by a lover.

The findings, revealed in the New Scientist, have come from two research studies. A U.S. study of solo female volunteers, led by Dr Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers University in New Jersey, analysed MRI scans of women reaching  climax to investigate the role  of imagination and ‘top-down  control’ in triggering a physiological response.

It found heightened activity in more than 30 parts of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, an area which controls functions such as decision-making, controlling urges and imagination.

In contrast, when Janniko Georgiadis and colleagues at the University of Groningen in Holland performed similar experiments observing women being stimulated by a partner, they found that the same brain region ‘switched off’ during orgasm.

This suggests that an orgasm is achieved with a partner when the woman ‘lets go’ and reaches an ‘altered state of consciousness’.

An inability to do this may prevent women from reaching climax.

Mr Georgiadis said: ‘I don’t think orgasm turns off consciousness  but it changes it. When you ask people how they perceive their orgasm, they describe a feeling of a loss of control.’

The studies together indicate women’s brains have alternative pathways for experiencing sexual pleasure according to whether they are alone or with a lover.

Mr Georgiadis added: ‘It is possible there is a difference between someone trying to mentalise sexual stimulation as opposed to receiving it from a partner.’

Scientists believe that further study of the orgasm – and the role of the prefrontal cortex – could help women who have difficulty reaching climax.

And Dr Komisaruk hopes more research will offer a valuable insight into how we might use thought to control other physical sensations, such as pain.

Attempts have been made to carry out similar studies on men, but have been hampered by technical problems. Male orgasms are much shorter and few women will be surprised to discover that men use their brain less during sex.


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3 Comments to “Scientists discover the two pathways to women’s pleasure”

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  2. Rajesh says:

    What’s consider an atvrtctiae female body has changed with the times.In times when most women were thin because most women were poor, plump women were considered atvrtctiae, because it showed that they came from a family with money. And the woman with (healthy) curves was considered atvrtctiae for a long time. Look at the women who were famous in the 50s.Then in the ’60s when Twiggy popped on the scene; a skinny boyish figure became the desired ideal. But you know why that probably was??? It probably was because most of the clothing designers were gay men! So of course they would prefer boyishly-figured women. (Though there is a small percentage of gay men who are enamored of boobs amusingly enough)Overall, it seems like most guys prefer females who are slim yet curvy. I’m sure you know what I mean by that.When I was growing up (’80s) the ideal woman was thin with big boobs, small butt, and long legs -the classic Barbie Doll figure. I was the opposite. I had a medium-sized body with small boobs and a big butt and ample thighs. I seriously thought about getting a boob job and liposuction to attain the Barbie ideal. But then Jennifer Lopez bless her(!) made my ( her) type body desirable. And I thought, I’m not going to change my body to make some guy who prefers the Barbie figure like me! I’m just gonna stay the way I am and meet guys who prefer my type of body .There are men who prefer BBW and guys who prefer skinny ones and everything in-between so there’s a guy out there somewhere who prefers the type that you are.Don’t change yourself! Find the person who prefers YOUR type of figure.Lastly another contributing factor to society’s pressure to look a certain way is just simply money. If you are made to feel bad about yourself, then someone or some company can make money (billions) from you buying their products or services. Don’t watch music videos and don’t read women’s magazines(!!!) -They will just make you feel bad about yourself and convince you to spend money to make yourself look a certain way. You are beautiful unique just the way you are!

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