The female orgasm has mystified men and women alike for ages. But science has come one step closer to figuring out the female climax. Researchers have mapped the exact locations that correspond to the vagina, cervix, and female nipples on the brain's sensory cortex for the first time, proving stimulating different parts of the female body excites women in different ways, finds a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The brain imaging showed that vaginal, clitoral, and nipple stimulation all correspond with stimulation in the brain's sensory cortex in different ways. The biggest surprise: a woman's nipples not only showed stimulation in the chest region, but also the genital region. But with this type of brain imaging technology, scientists now will better understand what allows certain women to reach that special place. Lead researcher Barry R. Komisaruk PhD even has hopes that it could help locate the G-spot.
The research, though, still does not explain why some women have trouble reaching orgasm or draw a map to the magical orgasm button known as the G-spot. One study has chalked up the lack of orgasms to genetics. Another posits that the G-spot doesn't exist. Another group of scientists have said that some women just don't have G-spots, making it much harder for them to climax. And evolutionary biologists still wonder why women can orgasm at all, or why, for some women, reaching orgasm might be easier with non-intercourse stimulation. Researcher Elisabeth Loyd guesses female orgasms are simply happy accidents.
Science has long had a better understanding of the male orgasm and which body parts correspond to the male pleasure center due to a 1951 experiment, which spawned the creation of the "sensory homunculus", an image that shows how much of the brain is dedicated to sexual sensations, explains New Scientist.
The diagram was first published in 1951 after experiments conducted during brain surgery performed while the patients were conscious: the surgeon electrically stimulated different regions of the patients' brains and the patients reported the parts of their bodies in which they felt sensation as a result. But all the subjects were men. Until recently, the position of female genitalia on the homunculus had only been guessed at.
Now researchers have created a corresponding diagram for women, finding different types of stimulation affect a woman's body in different ways. "This is hard proof that there is a big difference between stimulating those different regions," says researcher Stuart Brody.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.