Not surprisingly, a lot of what contributes to having an orgasm actually goes on in your head instead of between the sheets. Undoubtedly, many people have sex because it feels good and can tell from the many physiological signs of arousal. There are also many health benefits, like being able to stop a headache. But what is an orgasm like in the brain? What does sex do to your brain exactly?

The Pleasure Center

During sex, nerve endings in your genitalia send messages to your brain about the different sensations being experienced. That’s actually why someone can experience a sensation differently depending on where they are touched. Vaginal orgasms differ from clitoral orgasms, for example, because of the different nerve endings being stimulated. Prolonged stimulation will lead to an orgasm, in which the brain releases dopamine. This rush of dopamine leaves us basking in pleasure.

Mutual Bonding

Along with dopamine, when we have an orgasm, oxytocin is released by our brain. This “cuddle hormone” fosters a closeness between the partners. It’s actually been said by a study published in the Journal of Hormones and Behavior at the Hannover Medical School in Germany that oxytocin leads to more intense orgasms.

Improves Brain Function

While the pleasure chemicals being sent by our brain may be going through waves within our bodies, it’s not all pleasure. Some report that sex encourages brain cell growth. Also, regular sexual activity can be a great stimulant for the development of neurons, known as neurogenesis. A group of researchers from the University of Maryland have also noted that there is a correlation between more frequent sexual activity and an increase in brainpower.

Fosters Healthy Body Systems

Regular sexual encounters can improve the production of estrogen and DHEA. Estrogen gives your cardiovascular and brain systems a boost. The estrogen produced also helps get rid of bad cholesterol while improving the level of good cholesterol. DHEA, balances out the immune systems and promotes healthy skin. Also, if you notice, after sex your sense of smell is heightened. This is due to your brain producing prolactin in surges, which results in brain stem cells producing new neurons in the smell center of the brain, the olfactory bulb.

Improves Mental Health

After an orgasm, the calm and relaxation that comes over most of us aids in sleeping better. Getting more sleep has been shown to restore the body and mental facilities, so feel free to hit the sheets and then hit the sack. Also, those who engage in sexual activity have noted that they are more relaxed and can handle daily stressors better. Sex has also been shown to reduce depression in those that suffer from the disorder.

Whatever your collection of reasons may be to have sex; benefiting from getting a good nights sleep, getting a toned and flexible body from trying new positions, or if you just plain want to feel good. Do remember that there are also several benefits to safe sexual behavior. Occasionally, people suffer from being unable to perform because of stress factors that may be on their mind. We’re human; we think and over-think. Be honest with your partner. Your partner may be able to offer some suggestions and you’d be surprised at how much honesty can actually recharge your sex drive.