Sex on the brain: Orgasms unlock altered consciousness
In the holy name of science, a reporter goes into a fMRI machine to masturbate to help researchers ”tease apart the mechanisms underlying sexual arousal. In doing so, not only have they discovered that there is more than one route to orgasm, but they may also have revealed a novel type of consciousness - an understanding of which could lead to new treatments for pain” since orgasm is a strong analgesic experience.
Eyeballing the prefrontal cortex, the researchers are hopeful this may shed light on thoughts can control pain through top-down pain relief methods.
This kind of research is incredibly useful,” says Heiman. “Orgasm is tied into the brain’s reward system and likely other important systems as well. There is much we can learn about the brain, about sensation, about how pleasure works and probably much more from this one physical response.” Via
Image above: how the “…reporter’s brain looks like at the moment of orgasm. The scan is a sagittal section, essentially a profile shot, that shows one moment in time in different “slices” through the brain…” like a composite. The warmer the colors, the more blood flow present indicating activation in that area of the brain over 30 areas here…you can see that orgasm is nearly an entire brain event.
ALSO? People were able to “control pain by watching real-time activity of a brain area called the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and then mentally adjusting it”, Stanford University researchers say. This resembles Eagleman’s prefrontal gym.
The journal articles: here, here, here.