The Science of Cumming

 

Vox.com released an article, a few months ago in their Science and Health section, titled “This is What Your Brain Looks Like During and Orgasm”.  At length, the articles touches on a few issues, namely that our understanding of what orgasms are and how they manifest is backed by almost no scientific research or testing.  However, a study that has lasted over several decades, run by a neuro scientist named Barry Komisaruk and the legendary sex researcher Beverly Whipple has changed this.  By placing subjects into fMRI machines (and even occasionally PET scans), researchers have been able to map out the regions of the brain that are activated during and after climax.

As it turns out, most of the brain becomes highly active during orgasm, in both men and women, including those generally believed to be unrelated to the areas we associate with pleasure and gratification.  The limbic system (memory and emotions), hypothalimus (unconsicous body control) and the prefrontal cortex (judgement and problem solving) all showed hightened levels of activity on the scans during testing.

What is most interesting to us in the kinky scene is the correlation that these studies showed between the insult and anterior cingulate cortex which are known to be involved with pain.  The article sates:

Earlier experiments conducted by Whipple and Komisaruk suggested that orgasms and sexual stimulation as a whole might cause people’s pain tolerance to increase.

The pair determined this with a machine that squeezed a person’s finger with steadily increasing force until it hurt. When women were asked to masturbate, their pain tolerance went up by nearly 50 percent. Whipple and Komisaruk also tested various sorts of distractions as controls, and determined it wasn’t simply that the masturbation distracted the women, but that it actually affected their perception of the pain….

All this is somewhat surprising given that the researchers’ fMRI scans have found heightened activity in a pair of brain regions (the insula and anterior cingulate cortex) that are known to be involved in pain. But Komisaruk suspects the scans might actually be showing inhibitory activity in these areas — that is, neurons firing as part of networks that block perception of pain, rather than transmit it.”

Basically, for the first time, there is actual scientific evidence which shows a link between pleasure and pain.  While other studies have suggested that the tendency towards S&M is most likely genetic, the study conducted by Komisaruk and Whipple has taken a step further into understanding the role those genes play in our sexuality and survival. 

 

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