“The pleasure of living and the pleasure of the orgasm are identical. Extreme orgasm anxiety forms the basis of the general fear of life.” -Wilhelm Reich
Orgasms are the most intimate human expression of life force available to us, and whether you are among the lucky ones who know it as the physical height of your erotic experience or are among the many who are looking for the gate in, it is a currency that affects us all. The term “orgasm” is derived from the Greek word orga, which means explosion. Not surprisingly, most people describe their orgasm within this metaphor- as a burst of pleasure, bliss, emotional and/or physical release.
What many people don’t know is that the moment of orgasm generates a kind of neurological burst in the brain. By generating such a complete release, the brain center that controls anxiety and fear is switched off. Several studies of the brain’s process during orgasm demonstrate that when a woman reaches orgasm, much of her brain goes silent. Brain regions responsible for everything from her sense of self-control, moral reasoning and judgment all get turned down in the moments of intense arousal. Fear and anxiety are literally incompatible with arousal.
These studies offer useful tips for cultivating an orgasmic life. As with many other virtues of love, like forgiveness and compassion, orgasms cannot be forced. Surrendering to the experience, like an opening of the heart you couldn’t previously access is how orgasms find the space to move through you. Practicing the art of receiving by actively letting go and listening internally is the ground work for the internal shifts that open the door to orgasmic readiness. Interestingly, we rarely think about forgiveness and compassion as a physical sensation. Yet if you were to pay attention to the physical feelings of these profoundly intimate connections- they always have a visceral component.
In just the opposite way we often reduce our thinking about orgasmic experience to just physical sensations. This may explain why 25-40% of women, depending on the study, struggle to reach orgasm some or all of the time. In addition, the immense range of intensity, location and arousing stimulus in creating orgasm also creates confusion for many women in even identifying what their orgasm feels like. This stems from the common preoccupation of achieving orgasm that women frequently misjudge their experience- some don’t recognize climax when it happens and others who’ve never had a biological response claim to have had one.
Learning about your erotic self and experimenting with your capacity for pleasure is a great way to cultivate an orgasmic life. We all come equipped with the tools for orgasm and for most of us, cultivating space for it in our life is usually about making more room to live more deeply and freely in our own bodies. Becoming curious about and creating conversations about your sexual life seems like stating the obvious but can be a potent opening to an exploration that many people never find because of the shame or fear they feel about the topic. The good news is that even small amounts of success create more success. The more orgasms you have, the more you are likely to have in the future. It seems an oxymoron to have to let go to move forward but within the mystery of sexual satisfaction that is the riddle we all have to work with. Keep in mind too, that like most other parts of life, when you take your eye off the prize and get really involved in the process, we are blessed to find that our desires come naturally as part of the journey.