Written by Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MS, MD, FACOG, Chief Medical Officer
Who knew? The benefits of orgasm are far reaching and extend well beyond just feeling good. Let’s dive a little deeper into the science and physiology behind these benefits.
The Pleasure Hormone
Dopamine is a potent neurotransmitter produced in the brain. Orgasm is associated with a rush of dopamine, the ultimate pleasure and reward chemical in our brains.
The Love Hormone
Oxytocin, often referred to as the “love and cuddle hormone” is not only released during breastfeeding, but also with orgasm. This hormone is released by the pituitary gland in the brain and promotes bonding and intimacy.
Orgasm Enhances Blood Flow
During the sexual response, the genitals become engorged with blood. Fun fact, the clitoris is actually erectile tissue, and similar to the penis, becomes engorged, firmer and more sensitive during stimulation and arousal. The clitoris is not just a small dime sized organ hidden beneath the clitoral hood, but it also has crura, or legs, that extend well into labia or the lips of the vulva. It has more than 8,000 nerve endings in a small surface area, making it super sensitive and really quite amazing since its sole physiologic responsibility is for pleasure.
Many find orgasm to be relaxing; so much so, many will often drift off to sleep after sexual activity with or without a partner. Some report a more restful night’s sleep after orgasm. Many women self-pleasure to relax and fall asleep peacefully. Orgasm also releases oxytocin and plays a role in regulating cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Endorphins or “feel good chemicals” are also secreted with orgasm and provide a general sense of well-being.
Orgasm Optimizes Vaginal Lubrication
Let’s not forget the vagina, which is incredibly responsive to estrogen and self-lubricates during arousal and stimulation. This lubrication is a direct result of healthy blood flow. In some cases, such as during menopause for example, estrogen levels decrease and genital blood flow is impaired leading to the potential for discomfort during sex, or the inability to achieve orgasm. Ristela®, a non-hormonal dietary supplement designed to enhance sexual satisfaction, works by increasing blood flow to the genitals during the sexual response.* Ristela® has been clinically shown to enhance orgasm potential and sexual satisfaction in women.* Additionally, a recent experience trial suggests that Ristela® may help improve sexual response in those women with diminished orgasm due to antidepressant use.*
The Ultimate Kegel Exercise!
During orgasm, muscles of the pelvic floor contract over and over. This is akin to strength training for these important muscles and may help over time to keep organs, including the bladder, supported to help maintain continence.
Better Than a Pain Reliever
Orgasm has long been known to help relieve menstrual cramps. In fact, many who ask about engaging in sexual play during their menses are encouraged to go for it… pleasure and cramp relief!
It seems like women truly are the ultimate multitaskers indeed; one orgasm simultaneously accomplishes strength training, stress reduction, a good night’s sleep and sheer pleasure.