Female Orgasm Captured In Series of Brain Scans
Scientists have used brain scan images to create the world’s first movie of the female brain as it approaches, experiences and recovers from an orgasm. The animation reveals the steady buildup of activity in the brain as disparate regions flicker into life and then come together in a crescendo of activity before gently settling back down again.
To make the animation, researchers monitored a woman’s brain as she lay in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner and stimulated herself. The research will help scientists to understand how the brain conducts the symphony of activity that leads to sexual climax in a woman.
By studying people who have orgasms, Professor Barry Komisaruk, a psychologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey and his team hope to uncover what goes wrong in both men and women who cannot reach sexual climax.
The above video displays fMRI images of a woman’s brain as she experiences an orgasm. Oxygen levels in the blood correspond to the activity of different brain regions and are represented here on a spectrum from dark red (lowest) to yellow/white (highest). Twenty snapshots of the data have been taken from a 12-minute sequence during which she approaches orgasm, achieves orgasm and then enters a refractory period.
An excellent read. See more here.
That wasn’t my first impression, but I could see why there might be a bit of a “something’s not quite right” vibe, though I find it psychologically intriguing. The wrapped technique may stir a sense of claustrophobia, asphyxiation, and even the uncanny valley, which would understandably be disturbing versus sensual in lieu of a seductively smooth textile.
In Erik Ravelo’s words, “I’m a human being and I don’t believe in borders. I think the world belongs to everyone born on Earth. This is my planet, our planet. No man is an island… I like to think that Lana Sutra talks about universal love which cancels diversity.”
I am drawn to shrouds and veils in all their iterations. I love seeing the human form blanketed from view. They embody unknown depths, symbolic of esoteric tradition and occult truth, the covering alluding to that which is hidden, only revealed when one sees beyond seeing.
Erik Ravelo, Lana Sutra: Union of the Antelope
Erik Ravelo, Lana Sutra: Suspended Union
A psychedelia of sensuality from Goldfrapp.
All day long
What effect do thoughts of death have on a typical person’s desire for sex? The short answer is that it depends. Armed with insight from terror management theory and attachment theory, Gurit Birnbaum and her colleagues have made a start unpicking the detail of when and for whom death is an aphrodisiac.
Research on terror management theory has shown that people respond to mortality reminders by bolstering their own cultural view, derogating opposing views, and shoring up their self-esteem. By this account, the effect of death on libidinous desire will depend on the meaning that sex has for a person.
An initial study with 36 women and 40 men in Israel found that thinking about death led the men, but not the women, to say that they’d be more likely (compared with controls who thought about a dentist visit) to take part in a casual, one-night stand with a person they’d met at a pick-up bar. Perhaps, the researchers reasoned, this is because cultural norms dictate that ‘sexual conquests’ can be a self-esteem boost for men, but less so for women.
A follow-up was similar to the first except the 163 Californian participants were asked to imagine a potential one-night in a more romantic context, after a candle-lit dinner and engaging conversation. In this case, thoughts of death led both men and women to say that they’d be more likely than controls to go ahead with the one-night stand, thus showing how a subtle change in sexual symbolism can alter the relationship between morbid thoughts and sexual desire.
This idea was supported in a third study with 89 men and women who were primed with thoughts of death before considering their willingness to have either physical, hedonistic sex with a long-term partner or romantic, loving sex. This time, thoughts of death, compared with thoughts of a dental visit, increased participants’ desire for loving, romantic sex, but not purely physical sex. In fact, there was a slight trend for participants to be put off this latter kind of sex, perhaps because morbid thoughts make some people want to escape their animal nature, not be reminded of it.
Lastly, Birnbaum’s team explored the role of attachment style in all this, leading to some complex results. This time, morbid thoughts increased most people’s overall sexual desire, unless they had an anxious attachment style (characterised by clingy behaviour driven by self-doubt). For these anxious types, when morbid thoughts did lead to sexual desire it was for reasons of relationship insecurity - i.e. to have sex with a partner as a way to cement the relationship. By contrast, for participants with an avoidant attachment style (characterised by emotional distance and self-reliance) morbid thoughts led to increased desire for sex that would bolster self-estem. For men with an avoidant attachment style, this meant a desire for casual sex.
Taken together the research paints a complex picture in which the effect of death-related thoughts on people’s libido depends on the meaning that sex has for them. In turn this meaning is shaped by cultural norms and a person’s attachment style. ‘Although the present research is an important step toward shedding light on the dual potential of sex for both joy and distress,’ the researchers said, ‘more research is needed to elucidate its contextual determinants and the psychological mechanisms regulating its expression.’
via Research Digest
BIRNBAUM, G., HIRSCHBERGER, G., and GOLDENBERG, J. (2011). Desire in the face of death: Terror management, attachment, and sexual motivation. Personal Relationships DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2010.01298.x
“In regards to the Self, the most divine act is of selflessness. (personal belief) What do you feel about love and sex, and its role in the discovery or refinement of selflessness and Self? I wonder if love and sex are too generic or too impulsive to be penetrative of the inner mysteries.”
We, as a collective, do tend to throw around the L word a lot, don’t we? If love doesn’t make you question who you are and what you believe then leave it in the romance section of the bookstore. Any love that does not tear you open and bare your soul to you in ways you could have never imagined is simply not the real deal. In the end, Love always instills a stronger and deeper self-knowing. If you find yourself willing to lay down your life for a cause, a person, or a belief, then you are beginning to understand the meaning behind, Love knows no boundaries.
Somewhere along the way a lot of us get hung up on sexuality as a cornerstone of romance or the garden variety annual we like to call love. It is unfortunate that there is a disproportionate focus in the world on sexuality as a means of gratification. Sex can be and often is “generic and impulsive,” but if casual encounters are acceptable between two consenting adults then that is fine and will be enjoyed for what it is. However, it is at this skin deep layer of physicality many choose to stay and in turn they steal from themselves an incredible opportunity to learn and grow.
If you are sensitive and open enough with the right person, the act of sex can become more than a physical manifestation of attraction or love; it can be a spiritual practice. It is rare to find such a connection but if you do it is a wonderful way to discover and play around with the subtle energies. (Not that one cannot do this on his or her own.) It is a powerful avenue to explore the ecstatic realm of consciousness. Here, one can experience a true dissolution of ego.
Coitus may very well have been the first penetration of “the inner mysteries.” It certainly is one of the most primal and was known to be the driving spiritual force of many ancient fertility religions. Why did these cultures so invariably bow to the feminine as sacred? Only a woman can transmute the ecstasy of physical union into flesh and blood by giving birth to new life.