While there are many reasons, this article addresses the brain, anxiety and trauma and how they affect orgasm. Below is an excerpt from a study that jumped out at me and I will explain why.
“The circuit between the amygdala and the frontal cortex has been shown to be stronger in individuals with certain types of anxiety disorders. As people or animals are exposed to stress and get more anxious, these two brain areas glue together, and their activity grows stronger together,” said Sachin Patel, MD, PhD, the paper’s corresponding author and director of the Division of General Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The Frontal Cortex and Orgasm
The prefrontal cortex is in the frontal cortex and is involved in thinking and planning. Studies show that the prefrontal cortex needs to be “off” or at least quiet, when women orgasm. That means, no thinking. Thoughts such as, “Will I come? Is he getting bored? How long will it take? Am I feeling anything?”, stop arousal.
Amygdala Activity and Differences in Men’s and Women’s Orgasm
The “Amygdala” is a part of our brain that is related to anxiety disorders and is where trauma is stored. The “glued together” circuit between the frontal cortex and the amygdala needs to be unglued. This ungluing is especially important for women. Research shows that women’s amygdala activity INCREASES during orgasm while men’s amygdala activity “DECREASES” during orgasm (Wise et al., 2019). Women have to be relaxed so the amygdala does not trigger the connection to our thinking mind, our frontal cortex, and hijack our pleasure.
Neuroplasticity and Healing Orgasm
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to grow new neuropathways by developing new habits and changing thought patterns. Our brain has to be involved in our healing. This may be one reason why the practices of meditation and mindfulness have been shown to help women with desire, arousal and orgasm difficulties. Studies show cannabis is enjoyed more by women than men during sex (Gorzalka, et al, 2009), helps women orgasm (Lynn, et al., 2019) and decreases female sexual dysfunctions (Kasman, et al., 2020). That said, cannabis is a drug and like any drug, will not work for everyone.
When we change our sexual habits. we develop new neuropathways. When we catch ourselves thinking, we can return to the feelings so our thoughts quiet and we are feeling and enjoying the pleasure. If we can not switch off the thinking, speaking up is critical. Saying to our partner, “I need to stop to reconnect to the pleasurable feelings.” While this can be uncomfortable and difficult to speak up if we are not used to using our voice, it is essential to changing our sexual habits, developing new neuropathways and healing our orgasm.
Gorzalka, Boris & Hill, Matthew & Chang, Sabrina. (2009). Male–female differences in the effects of cannabinoids on sexual behavior and gonadal hormone function. Hormones and behavior. 58. 91-9. 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.08.009.
Herbers, K. (2020, January 15). Study sheds light on link between cannabis, anxiety and stress. Retrieved December 09, 2020, from https://news.vumc.org/2020/01/15/study-sheds-light-on-link-between-cannabis-anxiety-and-stress/
Kasman, A. M., Bhambhvani, H. P., Wilson-King, G., & Eisenberg, M. L. (2020). Assessment of the Association of Cannabis on Female Sexual Function With the Female Sexual Function Index. Sexual Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2020.06.009
Wise NJ, Frangos E, Komisaruk BR. Brain Activity Unique to Orgasm in Women: An fMRI Analysis. J Sex Med. 2017 Nov;14(11):1380-1391. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.08.014. Epub 2017 Oct 3. PMID: 28986148; PMCID: PMC5675825.