Study: The female brain on sex (video)

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Ranging from dark red to light yellow, the colors represent the amount of oxygen being used by each section of the brain. During arousal, neural circuits of pleasure, pain, reward, emotion, and muscle control are all activated. During climax, brain function peaks in the reward area of the brain, the nucleus accumbens. This area is also activated, though to a less degree, by such substances as cocaine, nicotine, caffeine and chocolate. During orgasm, the hypothalamus also releases oxytocin into the brain and spinal cord. Oxytocin, which is known as the cuddle hormone, promotes feelings of empathy and pair bonding among other things.

This video was recently presented at the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC. Researchers hope this study will help us understand why some individuals have difficulty achieving an orgasm and how these mental blocks can be circumvented. This would be particularly helpful for patients who have lost sexual function due to spinal-cord injuries or as a side effect of surgery, as well as the twenty-five percent of women in the U.S. alone who have difficulty climaxing. Scientists also aim to understand what exactly an orgasm does to our brain in order to better understand the process of pleasure.

Read more at the The Wall Street Journal

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Plenty of Internet videos claim to show you what a female orgasm looks like, but none really get inside a woman's head in attempt to understand why she is climaxing, at least until now. Nan Wise, a 54-year-old sex therapist and PhD student, volunteered to pleasure herself while a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner took pictures of her brain's activity every two seconds across 80 different regions. Lead by Professor Barry Komisaruk, these images were edited together by a team at Rutgers to create an animated video that looks more psychedelic than scientific.

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