The Human Body

Orgasm Stage

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Orgasm, or climax, is an intense and usually pleasurable sensation that occurs at the peak of sexual arousal and is followed by a drop in sexual tension. Not all sexual arousal leads to orgasm, and individuals require different conditions and different types and amounts of stimulation in order to have an orgasm. Orgasm consists of a series of rhythmic contractions in the genital region and pelvic organs. Breathing rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure increase dramatically during orgasm. General muscle contraction may lead to facial contortions and contractions of muscles in the extremities, back, and buttocks.

In men, orgasm occurs in two stages. First, the vas deferens, seminal vesicles, and prostate contract, sending seminal fluid to the bulb at the base of the urethra, and the man feels a sensation of ejaculatory inevitability—a feeling that ejaculation is just about to happen and cannot be stopped. Second, the urethral bulb and penis contract rhythmically, expelling the semen—a process called ejaculation. For most adult men, orgasm and ejaculation are closely linked, but some men experience orgasm separately from ejaculation.

In women, orgasm is characterized by a series of rhythmic muscular contractions of the orgasmic platform and uterus. These contractions can range in number and intensity. The sensation is very intense—more intense than the tingling or pleasure that accompany strong sexual arousal.