Your Brain On Orgasm

by Mark Gottlieb  Sep 5, 2013

Ever wonder what actually happens to your brain during an OM? Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a OneTaste Coaching Program graduate doing research with some of the world’s foremost experts on female orgasm at Rutger’s University, agreed to share her fascinating research with Orgasm Daily.

“This week at Rutgers,” Dr. Pooja said, “we ran a subject on the MRI looking at self-stimulated orgasm and partnered orgasm with clitoral stroking.” MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a technology for non-invasively creating pictures of the soft tissue of the human body. It is named for its use of a large magnet and a specific radio frequency pulse to generate a signal from the brain that produces an image. Magnetic Resonance Imaging can be used to study both brain anatomy and neural function. Because it does not make use of ionizing radiation, it is safe enough to use repeatedly on volunteers and patients.

Dr. Pooja’s research in seeing which areas of the brain are activate during orgasm helps her and other scientists determine where brain activity is taking place in response to different kinds of sexual stimuli and gives us a better understanding of the scope of female orgasm.

Dr. Pooja’s team’s research protocol this week included investigating the differences between thinking about genital stimulation versus light touch or tapping of the genitals. Dr. Pooja reports that previous data supports that when one just thinks about genital stimulation, the genitosomatosensory cortex (a special area of the cerebral cortex of the brain receiving sensations from the body’s genitals) is activated. Dr. Pooja and her research team of Dr. Barry Kamisaruk (lead researcher), Nan Wise and Eleni Frangos (doctoral candidates), Dr. Kachina Allen and Wendy Birbano, are looking at this phenomena in depth. This research could help clarify our understanding of the role of fantasizing during sex.

photoDr. Pooja and her research team are also looking at the differences between imaging non-erotic stimuli versus stimuli that have the subject think about “speculum” (an instrument for exposing the opening of the vagina to facilitate investigation of its interior), versus thinking about “dildo” (an artificial penis used for sexual pleasure). This will enable them to determine the difference in brain activation based on sexual and nonsexual imagery.

Dr. Pooja reports that the data analysis for her research will take a while, so no results are in at this writing. All of us at OneTaste who have had the opportunity to know Dr. Pooja personally are so proud of her courage, determination and ability to leave in the third year of her residency program in psychiatry at Stanford University to undertake ground breaking research with some of the world’s foremost experts in female orgasm at Rutgers University, and in doing so, launch OM into the limelight of scientific study.