Table of Contents
Definition of Orgasm
Intense sensation of pleasure and excitement that occurs at the culmination of sexual stimulation. Involuntary contractions of the pelvic muscles typically accompany orgasm. In men these contractions result in ejaculation, propelling semen from the urethral opening (meatus) at the tip of the penis.
In women the contractions of orgasm occur as rhythmic waves along the walls of the vagina. Aside from being a source of intense pleasure, orgasm appears to serve as a mechanism to facilitate the movement of sperm through the vagina.
This is important from a reproductive perspective as the vagina presents a fairly hostile environment for sperm, which are not able to survive longer than an hour or two within it.
Though a man can have an orgasm without ejaculating, he cannot ejaculate without orgasm.After orgasm a man enters a refractory period during which his body recovers from the experience. During this time the mechanism of erection does not respond to sexual stimulation and many men feel the overwhelming desire to fall asleep.
The length of the refractory period varies with age and among men, ranging from 10 to 20 minutes for a man in his 20s to an hour or longer for a man 50 or older. A woman does not have a refractory period and may continue or revive sexual arousal indefinitely.
The consistent inability to reach orgasm is a form of SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION that may have physiologic or emotional foundations.
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