Oh, oh, it's magic. Yes, we're talking about orgasms, those physiological fireworks that erupt at the heights of sexual ectasy. But orgasms are also like snowflakes -- each one is a little bit different for different people. Test your knowhow of the Big O with this blizzard of facts about how the ultimate pleasurable sensation works in the human body.
After 12 years of studying orgasmic experiences among 694 men and women, William H. Masters and Virginia Johnson published "Human Sexual Response" in 1966.
In their 1966 book “Human Sexual Response,” Masters and Johnson divided the sexual response cycle into four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution.
Since the body knows that sex isn't an opportune time to think about how we look, it flips off the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, a mechanism located behind the left eye that promotes self-evaluation.
In male brains, activity in the aggression-inducing amygdala slows during coitus.
During an orgasm, the central nervous system fully engages, directing messages of escalating enjoyment along the pelvic, pudendal and hypogastric nerve endings in the genital regions back to the brain’s reward system and vice versa.
Male sexual physiology involves a post-orgasmic resting period, or refractory period, rather than the potential for multiple orgasms.
In the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior conducted by Indiana University, 64 percent of women reported being “very satisfied” with how often they achieve orgasm.
Lesbians indeed report greater orgasmic frequency. Alfred Kinsey’s early surveys found that nearly 68 percent of lesbian partners report climaxing 90 to 100 percent of the time, versus 40 percent of heterosexual married women.
Only a minority of women successfully climax during sexual flings. According to that survey, only 19 percent of heterosexual women reach an orgasm during one-night stands.
The "rule of thumb" refers to clitoral-vaginal distance and correlates to women's orgasmic frequency from vaginal intercourse. It was first posited by Princess Marie Bonaparte in 1924.
Byproduct proponents maintain that clitoral and penile tissues are borne of the same embryological stuff, developing into one or the other once biological sex traits set in. In that way, the female clitoris is comparable to the male penis.
On average, female orgasms last between 13 to 51 seconds, while men max out at 10 to 30 seconds.
According to zoologist Robin Baker, who popularized the long-held theory with his 1996 book “Sperm Wars,” uterine contractions along with oxytocin released during orgasm suction potent semen upward into the vaginal canal.
Kinsey didn't think many women could muster multiples, estimating that only 14 percent of American women were capable of repeated O's. A 1991 study upped that percentage to 41.
Precisely the opposite is true. According to data from the Kinsey Institute, integrating clitoral stimulation, as opposed to exclusively vaginal penetration, raises a woman's chances of climaxing to roughly 90 percent.
Recruiting a couple hundred male volunteers to his Indiana University laboratory in the late 1940s, Alfred Kinsey placed sheets on the floor and asked the men to masturbate, notating how far their seminal fluid traveled. The long-distance winner’s semen traversed almost 8 feet (2.4 meters).
Premature ejaculation is more common that you might think. A 2005 global survey calculated a 30 percent prevalence rate among sexually active men.
Propelled by a handful of pelvic contractions, ejaculate moves through the urethra at a swift 28 miles per hour (45 kilometers per hour), on average. It then slows down drastically during its narrow escape, and once inside the vagina, the typical 1 to 2 teaspoons of ejaculate eases to a veritable crawl, clocking in at 0.0011 miles per hour (.0018 kilometers per hour).
Alternately known as the female prostate, Skene’s glands are located in tissue surrounding the urethra, which has been thought to produce an ejaculate-like substance during orgasm.
A study from the University of Kansas found that about 20 percent of men in the sample population had pretended to have an orgasm at some point.