Can you actually have an orgasm while you sleep?
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A sleep orgasm can turn a good dream into an incredible dream.
If you’ve never experienced the pleasure of curling your toes from a nighttime orgasm, the concept of orgasm while you are sleeping soundly – when no one (or not, uh, thing) touches you there – may seem far-fetched. But don’t underestimate the importance of psychological factors when it comes to the Big O.
“Although we feel the physical effects of orgasm in our bodies, orgasm is actually a process that takes place in the brain,” Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and creator of Finish school, an online orgasm course for women, says HuffPost. “We don’t need any physical stimulation for this to happen.”
We spoke to sex experts to find out more about the elusive sleep orgasm, how it happens, and if there is anything you can do while awake to trigger one while asleep. Here’s what they told us:
(Oh) Yes it is possible
People of all sexes are able to have orgasms while they sleep. As you may recall from college sex education, it’s not uncommon for teens to have “wet dreams” during the puberty years; a smaller number of men (or people with genitals understood to be men) may even have them in early adulthood.
While men wake up with semen on their pajamas or sheets after a wet dream, a woman (or someone with female genitalia) is unlikely to find the same type of physical “evidence” of a sleep orgasm. . But that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of men and 40% of women have had at least one sleep orgasm, according to the new Kinsey Institute sex report.
How orgasms happen when you sleep
First of all, it’s important to note that orgasms in general are difficult to study in the lab. So much of the available data is based on older studies and small sample sizes; the other information we have is anecdotal in nature.
What we know about the science of orgasms is in large part thanks to the work of Barry Komisaruk and Beverly Whipple, two eminent scientists in the field. Some of the results of their research may help explain how nighttime orgasms occur.
In a small study, Komisaruk and Whipple looked at women who said they were able to “rethink themselves” – in other words, they could have an orgasm from thoughts alone, no physical stimulation needed. . Researchers measured changes in women’s physiological responses – such as heart rate, blood pressure, pupil dilation, and pain tolerance – during a mental orgasm and during a physical self-stimulation orgasm. They found that the magnitude of the increase in these responses was pretty much the same whether it was a thought-induced climax or a masturbation-induced climax.
In a later study, Komisaruk and her team looked at functional MRI scans of women’s brains and found that when subjects thought about touching their nipples or clitoris, the sensory cortex would light up, as if that part of the body had been touched. . But the researchers observed a marked difference between imagined touch and physical touch in another area of the brain.
“What we discovered, to my surprise, is that when [the women] thought of stimulating one region of the body, the corresponding region of the sensory cortex map was activated as if it was physically stimulating that region of the body, “Komisaruk told Fusion in 2015.” But there was a lot of activation. more important in the prefrontal cortex when women thought of stimulating a particular region of the body than when they actually physically stimulated that region of the body.
Experts believe these results may provide insight into how you are able to have a full-blown orgasm while sleeping, even in the absence of physical contact. But other bodily factors may also be at work, said Laurie Mintz, professor of psychology at the University of Florida and author of “Becoming a Clitoral: Why Is Equal Orgasm Important? And how to get it. “
Since orgasm involves increased blood flow to your erectile tissue – then the release of that blood flow – it is important to know that during REM sleep blood flow to your erectile tissue, including your clitoral complex. , happens, “she said. “The brain can recognize it and it can lead to sexual arousal and then to orgasm.”
Some people may alone orgasm when they sleep
You can find first-person testimonials online from women, in particular, who say they can’t have an orgasm during sex, but have had one while sleeping. Which give?
“There is a major psychological component to orgasm,” said Jesse Kahn, sex therapist and director of the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center in New York City. “So if the reasons someone is unable to have an orgasm during sex are related to anxiety, depression, stress, shame, internal or external cultural or relationship pressures,” it is likely that having an orgasm while sleeping means that these reasons cannot interfere. “
“Basically, sleep is a wonderful environment that can facilitate orgasms,” he added.
Often times when you are in a sexual situation in your waking life your thoughts run wild, “Do I look chubby in this position?” “; “Does she notice how sweaty I am?” “; “What if he thinks I’m a terrible kisser?” But when you are in the middle of a sex dream, you are more able to immerse yourself in the sensation of the experience, even the imaginary one, without letting all of your real world blockages get in your way.
“When you sleep, there are no distractions or anything to worry about or be embarrassed about,” Mintz said. “So if a woman can have an orgasm in her sleep but not in her real life, it could be a sign that she is having a hard time keeping awkward and awkward thoughts at bay during sex.”
Can You Achieve Orgasm While Sleeping?
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do that will trick your brain into giving you a guaranteed sleepy orgasm – wonderful as that may be. That said, we did ask our experts to share a few tips, and they did – with the caveat that these suggestions are not based on research. (But hey, it’s worth a try.)
Sleep on your stomach – or any position “that puts some pressure on your external genitalia,” Mintz said.
Think, watch, or read something sexy before bed. “You can always try to wake up during the day and before bed, as we tend to sort out issues that we were faced with during the day while we were sleeping,” Marin said.
Try to have more orgasms in your waking life. “While it sounds counterintuitive – that is, you’d be ‘orgasmed’ at bedtime – we know the more sex women have, the more they want it,” Mintz said.
If you end up having an orgasm from sleep, it’s amazing. And if that doesn’t work for you, don’t worry – really. This especially applies to women, who often feel compelled to cum during sexual experiences.
“We have a long history of installing women to have specific types of orgasms,” Mintz said. “While sleep orgasms are great, some women get them and some don’t. It is of course important not to put pressure on women to try to achieve another type of “ideal” orgasm.
Sex Ed for Grown-Ups is a series that tackles everything you haven’t learned about sex in school, beyond birds and bees. Keep checking back for more expert articles and personal stories.
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