Charlotte Hannah
February 05, 2013

Climax Facts: 5 Things You Should Know About the Big O (VIDEO)

Orgasm. Climax. Coming. La petite mort.

Call it what you want. But what really happens when we orgasm?

Most of us (I hope) know what an orgasm is, and most of us have a pretty good idea of what happens to our bodies during one: muscles contract, embarrassing facial expressions are pulled and awesome feelings are felt.

For many of us, that’s all we really need to know about them. But, for the rest of you brainiacs, here are a few nifty facts about the relationship between your brain and the big O. Read on after the video for even more interesting orgasm trivia.

Orgasms can make your headache go away

In a 2001 study called “Orgasm and Migraine,” researchers found that “I can’t tonight; I have a headache,” is not necessarily a legitimate excuse for avoiding sex – because orgasms actually relieve headaches in some people. In fact, 47.4 percent of study participants found that having an orgasm completely relieved their migraine. Those are pretty good odds.

But don’t get too excited, because orgasms can also give you headaches. Coital cephalgia, or “orgasm headaches” as they’re more commonly known, are a type of headache caused by sexual activity (including masturbation).

Orgasms can help fight cramps

Here’s something that might change your mind about the often derided “period sex”: many women find that having an orgasm during their period makes cramps more bearable. This is probably due to the muscle contractions and release of hormones that occur during orgasm.

Oh, and speaking of orgasm, you might actually find you have an easier time having one when you’re on your period. Increased blood flow to the genitals means some women find themselves easily aroused – and easily stimulated – when Aunt Flo’s in town. So next time you’re on your period, treat yourself to an orgasm. It’s both cheaper and way more fun than lying on the couch popping Midol.

We lucky ladies can have multiple orgasms

Unlike dudes, we ladies can continue to ride the orgasm train even after we’ve, uh, gotten off. That’s right: multiple orgasms. They’re rare, but they’re definitely real – and they’re far more common in women, because we either don’t experience a refractory period (a length of time after orgasm during which another orgasm can’t be achieved) or we experience a significantly shorter one than men do. This means we can keep enjoying sex, and having orgasms, after we’ve already come – which is all the more reason to start with us first, and then the guys (and then us again).

Orgasms sometimes come as a surprise

You don’t need a guy or a toy to have an orgasm. In fact, you don’t even have to try. Some women have reported having orgasms during exercise – probably the result of muscles that engage when you’re getting hot and heavy in the gym.

This type of spontaneous orgasm has been given a number of loving names based on the activities that cause them, including “coregasm” and “yogasm.” Take note: ab exercises seem to be the most likely to have these special benefits.

Unfortunately, as cool as spontaneous orgasms sound, they also have a dark side. Sufferers of Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder have spontaneous orgasms all the time – sometimes up to hundreds a day. As you can imagine, this makes it pretty hard to get things done and live a normal life. So, y’know, be careful what you wish for.

Not everyone can orgasm

It’s hard to get an accurate figure on how many women can’t achieve the big O, because there’s a lot of outdated and poorly researched information out there. But I think it’s safe to say that about a third of women can’t achieve orgasm during intercourse, and about 10 percent of women can’t climax at all. It’s got nothing to do with age or maturity, as Freud argued – more likely, the lack of orgasm has to do with medication side effects or having never learned how to.

What’s more surprising than that, however, is that only a third of women are able to have an orgasm regularly during intercourse, while the rest require some alternative form of stimulation to bring them over the edge. That means the traditional picture of the female orgasm, in which the woman happily orgasms away during sex with minimal effort on the part of either partner, actually isn’t the norm.

So, all of you who thought you were broken because you weren’t having a screaming O five minutes into a mediocre sexual experience, rejoice! You’re the rule, not the exception. Now, tell everyone so we can change the status quo to something a little more realistic.