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The Science of Sexual Pleasure

I wanted to shout from the hilltops upon the publication of a recent article in the Scientific American on the neurological roots of sexual pleasure. Among the myriad insights in the article were these gems:

  • Women are aroused by visual images just like men are
  • Sexual arousal is complicated and inextricably linked with the mind (like my momma always said, the most important sexual organ is your brain)
  • Women's brains go blank at the moment of clitoral orgasm--notably the emotion regions--while men experience heightened activity in the part of the brain governing reward circuitry
  • Vaginal/"deep" orgasms may result in stimulation of the limbic system, which deals with emotion (my personal theory is this has something to do with childbirth)
As readers may be aware, I have always vigilantly disagreed with the widespread assertion that women cannot be aroused by visual images. How incredibly condescending it is to presume that women can't become sexually excited in the absence of emotional outpourings and piles of chocolate. Women's imaginations are, believe it or not, able to extrapolate suggestive imagery into erotic ideas. Their bodies are capable of a physical response, even without a bouquet of roses and soft lighting. Viva pornography!

It is true that this article deals almost exclusively with heterosexual biologically-identified "women" and makes huge generalizations within this group. Nonetheless, it embodies a major step forward out of regressive pseudo-scientific ideas that have hindered female sexual development (e.g., women's genitalia is essentially an inverted penis, women do not possess a sexuality, orgasm is female hysteria, and so on).

In any event, check out the article--it's a worthwhile read.


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