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17.5.11


Scientists have discovered the female orgasm leads to an altered state of conciousness that could help the minority of women who can not climax.

Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands unwittingly stumbled across the results after they examined the brain scans of women taken while they orgasmed.


The team noticed that an area of the brain, known as the orbitofrontal cortex or OFC, switched off when the women climaxed.
It is estimated that one in four women in the U.S.  has had difficulty achieving orgasm in the past year, while between five and 10 per cent of women suffer from anorgasmia and can not climax at all.
Speaking to New Scientist magazine, researcher Janniko Georgiadis said the OFC may be the basis for 'sexual control', and that by 'letting go' women can induce orgasm.
He said: 'I don't think orgasm turns off consciousness but it changes it.
'When you ask people how they perceive their orgasm, they describe a feeling of a loss of control.'

'I'm not sure if this altered state is necessary to achieve more pleasure or is just some side effect.'
To create the scans, Dutch researchers strapped the women into an MRI scanner and then allowed their partners to pleasure them to orgasm, all the while taking snapshots of their brain activity.


It is hoped that by comparing the brain scans of women having an orgasm with those who cannot, scientists will be able to 'coach' those with an orgasmia into truly 'letting go'.
Kenneth Casey at the University of Michigan explained that people who suffer from chronic pain conditions can be coached to relieve some of their symptoms by altering how they thought.
 
Experiments proved that when people watched real-time video of their rostral anterior cingulate cortex - the site of their 'pain' - they were able to reduce their symptoms by mentally adjusting it and watching the results on screen.Mr Casey said: 'The placebo effect is an easy example of practical top-down control.
'You believe you are taking a pill that will help and somehow it does.

'In my experience, simply telling a patient that the pain they are experiencing is not harmful has an analgesic effect.'

It is hoped that by allowing women with anorgasmia to watch their brain activity in real time, they to will be able to 'train' their brain to copy the same activity of women who can experience orgasm.
Barry Komisaruk from Rutgers University in Newark also conducted experiments into the female orgasm.
He added: 'Orgasm is a special case of consciousness.
'If we can look at different ways of inducing orgasm, we may better understand how we can use top-down processing to control what we physically feel.'

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