Cancer and Sexual Health

Part of the series Current Clinical Urology pp 35-49


Physiology of Orgasm

  • Roy J. LevinAffiliated withSexual Physiology Laboratory, Porterbrook Clinic

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The human orgasm, although tantalizingly short, is perhaps the greatest bodily pleasure that most men and women can experience without recourse to drugs. It is a complex of subjective mental with physical body changes. Its pleasure can never be recalled exactly which is perhaps one of the reasons for desiring its repetition. It dissolves body boundaries and thus unites lovers in a unique manner. In men, because it normally routinely accompanies ejaculation, it has simply been regarded as the drive reward for attempting procreation, and in evolutionary terms, as a spur to distribute their genes as widely as possible. In women, however, because it is far less easily induced, especially by coital penile thrusting alone, its putative biological purpose(s) have been subjected to extensive discussion. This has resulted in the unresolved dichotomy of whether it is an evolutionary adaptation or just a by-product. Unfortunately, the arguments from the various protagonists have become more philosophical rather than physiologically based, have produced more heat than light, and will not be repeated.


Orgasm Cortex Cerebellum Pelvic musculature Contraction Oxytocin