James W. Hicks, M.D.

Posts Tagged ‘orgasm’


In Sexploration* on October 26, 2010 at 7:48 pm

The experience of orgasm is similar for men and women. Pleasure builds until you feel a sense of inevitability, at which point your skin flushes, pulse accelerates, and breathing quickens. As the wave of tension and release surges through you, your muscles clench and spasm. Vaginal and anal muscles contract, squeezing the penis or other penetrating objects even more tightly than before, and the man’s throbbing erection may bounce up and down as it ejaculates.

Men can reach orgasm within a few minutes of intercourse or masturbation, or even faster if they are highly aroused. Women benefit from longer foreplay and stimulation of multiple erogenous sites.

By the time a man reaches the point of inevitability, spermatic fluids have accumulated in the prostate and other glands and ducts, from which they are forcefully ejected in a series of muscular contractions. The head of the penis becomes uncomfortably sensitive to touch during and after orgasm, so he may need to stop thrusting or withdraw his penis. If you are jerking or sucking a penis when the man starts to come, you should adjust the pace and tightness of your grip; do not squeeze harder or you may stymie the ejaculation.

Male ejaculate consists of sperm floating in a mixture of cholesterol, sugars, salts and protein, which has a sweet and salty taste and a faint smell of chlorine. Semen can vary in consistency from watery to gelatinous (or a mix of both), and the volume depends in part on the length of arousal and the number of days since the last ejaculation. A tablespoon is a typical amount, and maximum volume is reached after about five days. A thinner, slippery “pre-come” may also drip from the tip of the penis during arousal, and this contributes to lubrication during intercourse. Women also exude lubricating fluids and may ejaculate a small amount from the pee-hole at the time of orgasm.

Men experience a refractory period after orgasm, during which it is difficult to become erect again, and this refractory period becomes longer and longer with age. (Adolescents and young adults may be able to get hard again within a few minutes if they are sufficiently psychologically aroused.) Women have an advantage over men in their ability to reach orgasm multiple times in succession.

Blue Balls

In Sexploration* on September 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm

If a man has been sexually aroused for some time and does not reach orgasm, he can develop a painful, congested feeling in his lower abdomen and testicles, commonly known as “blue balls.” Surprisingly, this phenomenon is almost completely ignored in the medical literature. Because there has been little medical investigation, we can’t be certain whether the discomfort comes from venous congestion or from the build-up of seminal fluids.

Some consider blue balls a myth that young men use to pressure their girlfriends into sex. I’m sure the complaint has been used for that purpose, though there is really no excuse, since the discomfort is easily and safely relieved by masturbating to orgasm. But some people have a personal or cultural belief that masturbation is sinful or that it depletes masculine vigor. Of course, relief can also come in the form of a “wet dream” in the early morning during REM sleep, when men naturally and involuntarily develop an erection. Or you can fool around with a sympathetic friend with the excuse that you are “horny” and “need relief.”

The G-Spot

In Sexploration* on July 7, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Both men and women are confused about the anatomy and function of the female sex organs. Important parts of the female genitalia are embedded in the body rather than hanging out, like their male counterparts, so they are difficult to study, but scientists have also mischaracterized or ignored the area for centuries. Vesalius, a classical anatomist from the Italian Renaissance, went so far as to claim that the clitoris was a myth or an abnormality that should be removed. Sixty years after physicians “discovered” the G-spot and female ejaculation, scientists continue to debate their existence or characterize them as feminist myths.

Medical studies conducted in just the past decade have revealed the clitoris to be a more complex organ than had been realized previously. The clitoris is much more than the button of sensitive tissue visible under the labial hood; it includes long tubes of erectile tissue, similar to those found in the male penis, which extend deep into the pelvis, where they straddle the vagina like a cowgirl gripping a bronco. Squeezed between the vagina and clitoral tissue are several types of sexual glands. The entire organ is richly enervated and sensitive to the thrusting, stroking, tugging, vibrating, distending, and contracting motions that a woman experiences during intercourse.

Some scientists have begun to refer to a “clitoral complex” that includes the visible head of the clitoris, the deeper erectile tissues, the sexual glands, and the especially sensitive adjacent area of the vagina, often referred to as the G-spot.

The G-spot was named after Dr. Gräfenberg, the doctor who first noted that some women were aware of a point of maximum pleasure just within the vagina. The area is usually described as dime-sized and located about an inch inside, on the front side of the vagina. You can reach the area by sliding a finger into the vagina and bending the finger in the direction of the bellybutton.

Ever since Dr. Gräfenberg’s “discovery,” scientists have debated whether the G-spot exists, and most have been distracted by the hunt for a distinct organ rather than a sweet spot. It turns out that the location of the G-spot corresponds to the area where the deep, erectile tissue of the clitoris pushes up against the wall of the vagina, especially when the erectile tissue becomes engorged with blood and the vaginal muscles contract, as they do during sexual arousal and vaginal penetration.