It's one of the best feelings in the world: an orgasm. And because we all love them so much, we've had really smart people study why they don't happen, how to try and get them to happen and now, thanks to a new study from Northwestern University neuroscience professor Adam Safron, why they feel so damn great.
According to an article published in Daily Mail, Safron has has "mapped out how rhythmic stimulation alters brain activity."
In a nutshell, sexual stimulation focuses our neurons in such a way that we are sent into a trance, blocking out everything else and concentrating solely, intensely on the sensation alone.
We lose our usual self-awareness and consciousness of other noises, feelings, and smells around us.
No other natural stimulation could recreate this level of concentration.
'Sex is a source of pleasurable sensations and emotional connection, but beyond that, it's actually an altered state of consciousness,' Dr Safron explains.
Per the Daily Mail piece, Dr. Safron reviewed various studies on the issue from over the years, developing a model in which rhythmic sexual activity influences rhythms in the brain. The model showed nerves being stimulated in a particular way and speed in a continuous speed, focusing on our neurons. It's due to these synchronized rhythms that trigger our climax.
Regarding his research, Dr. Safron added:
"Before this paper, we knew what lit up in the brain when people had orgasms, and we knew a lot about the hormonal and neurochemical factors in non-human animals, but we didn't really know why sex and orgasm feel the way they do," Dr Safron said.
"This paper provides a level of mechanistic detail that was previously lacking."
Finding relationships between sexual climax, seizures, music and dance, Dr. Safron's research showed that each of those four activities stimulate the brain's senses with rhythmic inputs. In other words, Safron's research focus on the rhythmic aspects of sexuality, which could improve sexual functioning.
"The idea that sexual experiences can be like trance states is in some ways ancient. Turns out this idea is supported by modern understandings of neuroscience," Dr Safron said.
"In theory, this could change the way people view their sexuality. And although obvious in retrospect, I wasn't expecting to find that sexual activity was so similar to music and dance, not just in the nature of the experiences, but also in that evolutionarily, rhythm-keeping ability may serve as a test of fitness for potential mates."
So that feeling you get when you're on the dance floor moving around and shaking it with someone to the song you love most? Yeah, according to this research, that's the same feeling your brain feels while climaxing during sex—except, in our personal research, it seems to be about 100 times more pleasurable.