[box type=”warning”] I think I’m required either by law or by Puritan moral standards to inform you that today’s post contains one or more of the following:
- frank discussion about human sexuality
- frank discussion about orgasms
- unconventional tips for reducing anxiety and increasing intimacy with your partner
- a direct slam on the writing team of the AMC show The Walking Dead
There are, however, no swear words in this post. I’m not sure why. It just turned out that way.[/box]
Today’s post is going to be fun. Orgasm is amazing. I guarantee you don’t have enough of it in your lives.
First off, get your mind out of the gutter.
Okay, now put it back in.
Okay, seriously, get it out. In Western society, we have a preconceived notion of what ‘orgasm’ is. It’s the climax that happens (or doesn’t happen) shortly before the end of sex, right? It’s the ultimate end goal. If it doesn’t happen, we’re irritated, or even angry. We blame our partner, or the stress in our lives, or sometimes even blame ourselves.
This post is going to be a little bit about the ‘normal’ conception of what orgasms are and the benefits to both our emotional and physical wellbeing, but the ultimate goal of today’s post is to introduce you to another definition of the word. You may have noticed that my grammar seems a bit wonky. Doesn’t she mean ‘orgasms?’ you’re thinking. Shouldn’t it be ‘orgasms are amazing?’
Well, yes they are but I don’t make grammatical errors. I don’t believe it’s in my programming. Mistakes with punctuation, sure, but grammar? Never.
To make things easier, stop thinking of orgasm as a “thing,” and start thinking of it as a feeling.
Orgasm isn’t always sexual. Think about that delicious feeling, that tingle that happens when you first become aroused. Have you ever felt it at other times? I had, but I never connected the two. I didn’t even have a word for it. The best I could come up with was “goosebumps,” or “the hair on my arms is standing up.” It’s not necessarily a sexual feeling, but it is exhilarating and it makes us feel good.
We can feel it during a powerful song, when we’re caught up in dance, or when we make a stunning revelation. Some of us feel it after sprinting, watching a powerful movie, or when we make a spiritual connection with someone or something. We’ve all felt it. It’s time to acknowledge it for what it is, and to bring more of it into our daily lives.
What is Orgasm?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume the majority of you know what an orgasm is. I’m also assuming you’ve probably experienced a few (at least, I hope so) and are open to the idea of having more, like, all the time. When we climax, there’s a powerful release of pleasure hormones, including oxytocin, the “cuddle” hormone, which creates feelings of bonding and the desire to do what you just did, again and again. Oxytocin mainly gets released during times we need to bond in order to ensure the survival of our species: childbirth, breastfeeding, and of course, sex. Interestingly enough, oxytocin is only produced in larger amounts in men if they have an orgasm with someone they love; otherwise, men mostly get a surge of dopamine when they climax. Dopamine is the pleasure hormone, not the bonding hormone. This difference explains why some women fall in love after sex (especially really good sex), while the majority of men don’t.
There are ways to produce oxytocin other than sex and having a baby. Danger, getting away with something, or almost getting caught–in other words, something thrilling–releases oxytocin, as does sunshine, cuddling, hugging, laughter, and being trusted. Certain types of music, singing, dancing, and exercise can also release the hormone, as does helping someone, or showing compassion. Even certain foods (for me, it’s lobster) can produce oxytocin. Just because you’re not flat on your back doesn’t mean you’re not having an orgasm–it’s just a matter of thinking of orgasmic energy differently.
Anxiety and Orgasm
When we’re anxious, stressed, or feel out of control, our sex drive is pretty much the first thing to go. Most of us have experienced it during certain times in our lives. If you’re experiencing acute stress, trauma, or even chronic stress, it makes a lot of biological sense that your body would not want to produce a baby at that time. It’s even normal for women under tremendous physical or emotional stress to stop having their periods or to become infertile altogether. Nature was pretty smart when it wired that bit into us–having a baby during the apocalypse would not be evolutionarily advantageous. (This is a main point of contention for me with the show The Walking Dead. Sure, like Lori is going to be able to get pregnant during the height of the zombie apocalypse. If you can’t sleep for fear of being torn apart, are watching the world implode around you, and have seen 37 people die in the last 24 minutes, you’re not going to want to get naked in a flimsy tent. I’m sorry, it’s just not happening. Another point of contention with that show is when Glenn and Maggie want to get it on and he risks his life going into town to get condoms. An unnecessary waste of time (and like four other people’s lives), in my opinion. Perhaps Geoffrey Miller and Tucker Max would be able to chime in on this one. Or Shirley MacLean can correct me on the timeline/details of her favorite show.)
One reason we lose our sex drive or the inability to orgasm during times of stress may be because of the vagus nerve, which can become over activated and inflamed. When our breathing becomes shallow, our fight-or-flight response is triggered. This creates inflammation of the vagus nerve, which in turn makes our breathing shallow and triggers fight-or-flight–a vicious circle. Since it’s responsible for digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and the stimulation of oxytocin production, if the vagus nerve is inflamed, you’re not going to be feeling very good. In fact, you may faint, throw up, get dizzy, or downright depressed. You’re certainly not going to want to hop into bed with someone.
Deep breathing, and oxytocin release, can actually reduce inflammation in the vagus nerve, so if you’re stressed out and have lost your sex drive, perhaps the best thing for you is a yoga session, in the sunshine, perched precariously on the side of a cliff, followed by orgasmic meditation and three pounds of Maritime lobster.
Different types of orgasms
We’re all aware that men and women experience orgasm differently, but I had never had it explained to me before–especially not by a man–until last year.
I’ll tell you fellas, there is NO better pick up line on earth than, “I’m a female orgasm expert.” Now, being able to actually explain a female orgasm to a woman after you say that is somewhat mandatory. They’re probably going to want you to prove to them that you’re a female orgasm expert, and if you’re not, well, I would hate to be you. If you’re not sure what the difference between the types of orgasms is, take a look at the graphic to the left. There is a huge difference. This is one of the reasons some men don’t “understand” women, if you catch my drift. A woman experiences many peaks and valleys before she climaxes and needs you to slow down occasionally, change pressure, or change your movement slightly in order to climax. Men tend to barge forward, full steam ahead, because that is how they climax and they may not understand the difference. Ladies, you are welcome.
What you may not be aware of is that men and women can experience both types of orgasms. A masculine orgasm is also referred to as climax. It’s sharp, brief, and over way too soon. A feminine orgasm is all over the place. It builds and diminishes, peaks and dips, and can go on for ages. There may or may not be a climax, but it generally feels good the entire time. With training and practice, you can experience both types of orgasms. The trick is being relaxed and rested, having a lot of time on your hands, and finding a partner that can help you along.
The third type of orgasm is the one I referred to above–that tingly feeling that you may have described as “goosebumps.” It’s not a climax–it’s orgasmic energy. Accepting it for what it is, and finding more ways for your body to produce oxytocin other than having sex, can ensure that you’re ‘turned on’ at all times.
Orgasmic Meditation (OM)
Last fall I was introduced to something called orgasmic meditation, or OM for short. Thinking of orgasm as energy rocked my world. Harnessing that power and releasing it at will was intoxicating. I finally began to notice and appreciate orgasmic energy in my life for what it was. I had become turned on, a term used in the OM community to describe someone who is turned on to the power of orgasmic energy.
Initially, I thought the payoff far outweighed any potential “spiritual growth” I would have to endure, as my coach explained that most people experience intense emotions when they begin to OM. Orgasms? Lots of them everyday? And I get to write this one off as “meditation” time? Seriously?
I’ve never been very good at traditional meditation. With nothing to concentrate on, just a blanket statement to ’empty your mind’, my thoughts would wander and I found it incredibly difficult to stay focused. With OM, you most definitely have something to concentrate on. There is no end goal, and often not even a climax with OM; all you have to do is lie there and concentrate on the sensation. Easy enough.
I’ll admit, at the beginning my motives may not have been pure. But OM changed my life. It became a signal of rest, release, and stillness in an otherwise chaotic day. It empowered and energized me, made me happy. It was an insane way to create intimacy with a partner. I found that I was able to contain the energy that built up, and to pour it into other endeavors that weren’t related to sex in any way.
A word of caution: practicing orgasmic meditation can bring a lot of emotions to the surface just like any other type of therapy. You need to be prepared for that. OM is not about getting girls into bed, or having casual flings. Your partner may experience “emotional dumping” and guess what–you’re the target. Make sure your intentions are noble if you want to get into this.
Just like meditation and yoga, OM is something that needs to be practiced. Daily. You need to have a partner, and that partner should be trained properly. Again, OM isn’t about getting someone into bed, although the intimacy it creates certainly can lead to that… a lot of that.
I had a ton of questions for my coach including “why can’t I just do this myself,” “why does the session need to be limited to fifteen minutes,” and “what exactly are YOU getting out of this?” He was able to answer of my questions to my… ummmm…satisfaction. If someone asks you to OM but isn’t able to explain the procedure, doesn’t give you coaching before and after, or if you have any red flags about their intentions, be wary.
If you’re interested in learning more about OM, or training to become an OM coach, click here. Otherwise, the founder of OneTaste, Nicole Daedone, has a fantastic book called Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm that explains orgasm, OM, and exactly how to do it. It also discusses male OMing–yes, it exists. No, I’ve never tried it–the differences between masculine and feminine orgasm, and tips for people who may or may not believe in (or can’t find) the G-spot. Slow Sex should be enough to get you going with a partner that you trust.
So, when I say that I need more Orgasm in my life, it doesn’t mean that I’m out on the road hopping into bed with anyone I think can give me one. Or two. Or more. It means that I’m looking for ways to decrease stress and anxiety naturally, and to feel exhilarated about life: to find joy in music, a release in dance, to build energy by bonding with others, and to feel connected to what’s going on around me. To be more positive, and to find ways to appreciate the orgasmic energy that is everywhere, but that just needs to be noticed and accepted.