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Orgasmic Anhedonia/ PDOD: Overview
Orgasm is a neurologic response to sexual stimulation. Sensory input from smell, touch, in particular the external genitalia (clitoris, labia, vagina), taste, sight and hearing passes along sensory nerves to specialized portions of the brain, called the limbic system. The limbic system influences the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system and is highly interconnected with the brain's emotion center, behavior center and pleasure center, all of which play a role in sexual function. When sufficient input messages are received in limbic brain centers, in particular the thalamus, there is a release of a large amount of neurochemicals that induces an orgasm. During orgasm in a woman, brain scans show a temporary deactivation in the metabolic activity of a large part of the left cerebral cortex with increased metabolic activity in the right brain, in particular the limbic area of the brain.
During orgasm, there are downward motor signals that result in quick cycles of muscle contraction in the pelvic muscles that surround the vagina, urethra, female prostate, and clitoris. Orgasms are often associated with other involuntary motor actions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of the body resulting in body movements and often vocalizations are expressed.
In addition, during orgasm there are upward neurologic signals to the cerebral cortex. These signals result in a general euphoric sensation that is characterized by an intense pleasure.
It is thought that women with pleasure dissociative orgasmic disorder or orgasmic anhedonia have a dysfunction in regulation of the brain neurochemical dopamine in the region of the brain’s reward center, the nucleus accumbens. This region of the brain is thought to play an important role in reward, laughter, pleasure, addiction, and music.
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