Episode 60: The Science of Orgasms
November 12, 2021 by Justin Lehmiller
What does it really mean to have an orgasm? Different people—and even different scientists—define “orgasm” in different ways, which makes this a surprisingly difficult subject to study scientifically. So how do you measure when someone has an orgasm in a research lab? For this episode, I spoke to an orgasm researcher who has figured out how to do it. Her methods and findings are absolutely fascinating and will change everything you think you know about orgasms!
My guest today is Dr. Nicole Prause, a licensed psychologist and sex researcher who founded the sexual biotechnology company Liberos. She is a former Kinsey Institute trainee and has published an extensive body of research on the neuroscience and psychophysiology of sex.
Some of the topics we explore in this episode include:
- What technology do you need to study orgasms scientifically?
- Orgasms have both a physiological and a psychological component—but they don’t always line up in the same way for everyone. So what does it mean when someone experiences one but not the other?
- What does it actually mean to have multiple orgasms? Are we talking back-to-back orgasms with continued sexual stimulation? Can you take breaks? How much time can pass between each orgasm for it to count as “multiple?”
- Is there really a gender difference in the ability to have multiple orgasms? (The answer may surprise you!)
- Some people get sick every time they orgasm. What causes this post-orgasmic illness syndrome?
- Are there really different “types” of orgasms, or are all orgasms technically the same process?
- What happens inside the brain during an orgasm?
- For people who have trouble orgasming, what can they do about it?
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Dr. Justin LehmillerFounder & Owner of Sex and Psychology
Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.Read full bio >