Neuroscience of an Orgasm: The Effect of Pleasure on the Brain

Orgasm Definition: The Science, Spirituality and Culture Behind Pleasure

We invited Dr. Barry Komisaruk onto the show to find out what happens in the brain when we orgasm, and we found out so much more. It turns out that when we orgasm, every part of our brain is activated. So why do we have orgasms anyways? Why does pleasure matter? In this episode we discuss:

  • The mystery of how neurons produce pleasure
  • Orgasm in women with spinal cord or brain injuries
  • How body responds similarly with nipple, vaginal, clitoral or uterine stimulation
  • Sex is good for us: How pleasure reinforces us to repeat actions
  • Spiritual connection to sex and orgasm
  • Healing our cultural taboos around sex

Pleasure is often times overlooked as one of the foundations of health. Listen in to learn about the scientific functions of orgasm and why pleasure matters for brain health.

Listen here:



Guests Bio:

Barry R. Komisaruk received a B.S. in biology at The City University of New York and Ph.D. in psychobiology from Rutgers University. He was a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow in neuroendocrinology at the Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles. Joining the Rutgers-Newark faculty in 1966, Komisaruk was a professor in the Institute of Animal Behavior and Department of Zoology. He is now Distinguished Professor in the Psychology Department, director of the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program, and former associate dean of the Graduate School. With a penchant for finding new research avenues to explore, Komisaruk received a Board of Trustees of Rutgers University Excellence in Research award and the Hugo G. Beigel Research Award of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. His major research interests include: functional neuroimaging of genital sensory response; neurophysiology, neuropharmacology and neuroendocrinology of reproductive behavior; and neural control of autonomic genital function. He is senior author of The Science of Orgasm, a comprehensive look at the biology and neuroscience of orgasm, published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, as well as The Orgasm Answer Guide, a general readership book from the same publisher. He has published more than 155 academic journal articles and chapters.

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