For many women who are stressed out with a demanding job and clamouring children, pleasure is probably the last thing on their mind.
But there is good news for ladies who believe they have too many cares to enjoy themselves properly in the bedroom.
A study has found that women don’t need to ‘switch off’ from life to achieve orgasm.
This goes against previous research, which suggested that to climax, females must be completely relaxed – which is easier said than done.
The latest study also discovered that the female orgasm is truly ‘mind-blowing’, as it activates the same part of the brain involved in ‘out-of-body experiences’.
A 2005 experiment used a PET scanner to measure brain activity during orgasm and found a lack of activity in the frontal part of the brain that deals with stress and problems.
For many women who are stressed out with a demanding job and clamouring children, pleasure is probably the last thing on their mind
This may have contributed to the myth that, for some women, unless they were entirely ‘switched off’, climax would not be possible.
However, by using more precise MRI machines, US neuroscientist Dr Nan Wise actually found increased activity in that part of the brain at the crucial moment.
Her study involved ten women experiencing orgasm while inside the scanners. This allowed researchers to follow their brain activity in 20-second intervals.
They observed that brain activity in regions responsible for movement, senses, memory and emotions all gradually increased during the lead-up to orgasm, when activity then peaked and lowered again.
Dr Wise said of the findings: ‘We found no evidence of deactivation of brain regions during orgasm.’
The expert, whose research is published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, remarked: ‘This suggests that the brain does not need to be switched off for a woman to experience an orgasm.
‘I don’t believe women have to be worry-free at the time, they just need to focus on the sensation of what is happening.
‘Then this will essentially take over as what they are focusing on.’
She added: ‘We know so little about pleasure in the brain, we are just now learning the basics.’
The study, reported in New Scientist magazine, also found a part of the brain called the dorsal raphe nucleus becomes more active during orgasm.
This is involved with releasing serotonin, which can dampen pain, explaining why women may be less likely to notice being in pain during climax.
These findings contradict the 2005 research by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, which found a much-reduced blood flow to the dorsal raphe nucleus.
This was interpreted to mean that women need to be free from worries and distractions to reach this state.
Dr Wise added: ‘The research shows orgasms can literally be mind-blowing. Interestingly, a region of the brain involved in climaxing is also involved in out-of-body experiences.
‘When you think of it, an out-of-body experience is a state of altered consciousness. And you also get to a point in orgasm where you are taken completely out of yourself.’