Monday, September 05, 2005

Your Brain On Orgasm

A break from the mismanagement of Katrina's aftermath: Researchers scanning women's brain activity during orgasm share some interesting findings.

For example, by studying paralyzed women who can still experience orgasm, they discovered that for women, the vagus nerve appears to be quite important, and therefore may be a promising target for drugs. This nerve — which is outside the spinal cord — carries information to areas of the brain that control mood.

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The scans reveal something else about women — during orgasms, the pain centers in their brains shut down, and pleasure centers — the same ones that become active when people ingest cocaine — light up.

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Among other results, Holstege found that the part of the brain thought to control fear and anxiety — the amygdala — deactivated during orgasm for both women and men.

He acknowledged that his data for men is a little suspect — however — because they don't orgasm long enough to take a proper brain scan.

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