Most of us are all too familiar with that intense sensation that washes over us when we reach our orgasm. Some of us shudder, some of us go taut, some of us bite on our lips to keep silent, and some of us just let it all out with loud moans. No matter how we release, it’s clear that something is happening within our bodies to make us feel oh so good.
But what is that something? Well, reader, it’s biology.
Simply put, whenever your body is being stimulated, so is your mind. This happens regardless of whether you’re masturbating, or having some fun with your partner(s). As we’re caught in a constant flurry of pleasurable sensations, your body releases chemicals and hormones that are connected with your brain’s pleasure reward centre.
What are these hormones, you might ask? Well, we’ve got you covered with this list of love and pleasure hormones that are hard at work to make you feel every single sensation while you’re at the height of your climax. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a scientist for this, you just need a healthy interest in orgasms, which I’m sure all of us have.
You might have heard of this one before. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that’s more commonly referred to as our “happiness” hormone. It’s really crucial for some of our bodily functions, like movement, memory and motivation, so it’s usual to have an increase of this when you’re eating your favourite food, listening to your favourite song or picking up a fun new hobby. It’s no surprise then that this is linked to pleasure and reward, as well as your desire for sexual activity (aka: when you’re horny!) and for penis-owners, your erection.
It’s also released when you reach your orgasm, so we have our happiness hormone to thank for making us feel so ecstatic when we hit our big O, and subsequently, when we continue chasing for more…
Next up, it’s the “love” hormone! Oxytocin is linked to many behavioural and physiological effects. For starters, it’s known as the love hormone because your oxytocin levels increase when you engage in a wide range of activities that involve deep feelings of affection and love, such as hugging, kissing, and orgasm. These are also ways we strengthen our bonds with our loved ones. Interestingly, females generally have higher levels of oxytocin than males, which is perhaps why this hormone is also linked to childbirth and breastfeeding. One way to trigger the release of oxytocin is through stimulating the nipples, so whether or not kids are on the table for you, we say it’s good news for vulva-owners! Who can say no to more foreplay, and intense orgasms?
We’re quite sure you’ve heard of this one. Serotonin is another chemical that’s associated with happiness, satisfaction, and optimism. All of which to say that it is involved in sexual desire and pleasure. When you climax, your brain releases serotonin, which is known to regulate your mood and make you feel more relaxed. This could be why some of us feel so sleepy and cuddly right after sex. Petition to call this the cuddle hormone, anyone?
Is it just us, or does the word ‘endorphin’ remind you of a dolphin. Well, given that a dolphin also squirts… Right. Anyway, endorphins are feel-good hormones that, simply put, take away the pain to make you feel your best. For those of us who enjoy running, it’s released when you enter your runner’s high. No worries, you don’t have to torture yourself on a marathon to get your dose of endorphins. Endorphins are naturally released during sex and orgasm, and studies have shown that this is why people are generally in a better mood after sex. The afterglow you feel from the endorphins can even last you up to 48 hours after sex!
You know that adrenaline rush you get when you do something exciting or engage in rigorous physical activity? Yes, that’s what an orgasm is and yes, you’ll also experience an adrenaline rush leading up to it. Blood flow to your muscles increases and your heart starts to pump faster and faster, it’s part of why we feel such intense feelings when we climax, and why our muscles can sometimes tense up. When you’ve ridden out the high, it’s also common for us to feel light-headed and a little woozy. Give yourself some time to calm down and regulate your heartbeat – practice some deep breathing if you’re alone, or just dial things down and cuddle with your partner(s).
We’re sure there’s plenty more chemicals and processes hard at work in our brain when we orgasm but we’ll leave the science to the neuroscientists to discover. Meanwhile, we’ll continue doing what we do best… staying hard at work in exploring our sexuality and pleasure.
If you’re interested in learning more about orgasms and why we’re such loud and proud advocates, we’ve got you covered, from some essential facts you need to know about orgasms to all its wonderful benefits. And if you need a little hand to reach that elusive big O, we know just the right toys you can try. With your newfound knowledge and tools, we’re sure you’ll have no problem reaching your new high