Physiological Pleasure: The Physiology of Orgasm

What exactly is the physiology of the female orgasm? What happens to the body when it is climaxing? Essentially, the heartbeat quickens causing a rush of blood to the surface of the skin, more specifically to the genital area, and a series of muscle contractions makes up that pleasurable orgasm!
Writers at describe the physiology of orgasm in the female in four distinct stages.

Stage 1
Physiology of OrgasmThe first stage is excitement. It occurs when the body undergoes changes similar to those caused by stress (stress in this case being a positive thing!). The heart and respiration rates quicken and blood pressure goes up. The clitoris swells, and the vagina begins to lubricate itself. The body also experiences vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) which, when coupled with an increasing heart rate, causes the skin to flush. Breasts may swell and the nipples can become hard and erect. The entire excitement process can happen within a matter of seconds from the onset of sexual stimulation.

Stage 2
The second stage is called the plateau. As the body continues to experience the aforementioned changes, further stimulation will cause the inner lips of the vagina (the labia minora) to darken due to the increased blood flow to the genital area. By the end of this stage, the pulse and respiration rates will have peaked, pushing the body into the third stage.

Stage 3
The third stage is the actual orgasm when the clitoris retracts under the clitoral hood, and the vagina tightens and lengthens. Vaginal and anal muscles spasm rhythmically, causing “wavelike contractions that move from the top of the uterus to the cervix” . Other changes related to the female orgasm include muscle contractions throughout the body, more notably in the neck, pelvis, arms and legs.

Stage 4
The fourth and final stage of the physiology of orgasm is often referred to as the resolution stage. The excess blood will drain from the genital area and the clitoris becomes once again its normal size. The body returns to its previous, non-stimulated state.

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