Pleasure: The Physiology of Orgasm
What exactly is the physiology of the female orgasm? What happens to
the body when it is climaxing? Essentially, the heartbeat quickens causing
a rush of blood to the surface of the skin, more specifically to the genital
area, and a series of muscle contractions makes up that pleasurable orgasm!
Writers at seekwellness.com
describe the physiology of orgasm in the female in four distinct
The first stage is excitement. It occurs when the body
undergoes changes similar to those caused by stress (stress in this case
being a positive thing!). The heart and respiration rates quicken and
blood pressure goes up. The clitoris swells, and the vagina begins to
lubricate itself. The body also experiences vasoconstriction (narrowing
of the blood vessels) which, when coupled with an increasing heart rate,
causes the skin to flush. Breasts may swell and the nipples can become
hard and erect. The entire excitement process can happen within a matter
of seconds from the onset of sexual stimulation.
The second stage is called the plateau. As the body continues
to experience the aforementioned changes, further stimulation will cause
the inner lips of the vagina (the labia minora) to darken due to the increased
blood flow to the genital area. By the end of this stage, the pulse and
respiration rates will have peaked, pushing the body into the third stage.
The third stage is the actual orgasm when the clitoris
retracts under the clitoral hood, and the vagina tightens and lengthens.
Vaginal and anal muscles spasm rhythmically, causing “wavelike contractions
that move from the top of the uterus to the cervix” . Other changes
related to the female orgasm include muscle contractions throughout the
body, more notably in the neck, pelvis, arms and legs.
The fourth and final stage of the physiology of orgasm is often
referred to as the resolution stage. The excess blood will drain
from the genital area and the clitoris becomes once again its normal size.
The body returns to its previous, non-stimulated state.