Sexually speaking: ejaculation and orgasm

From the so-called “sexual response”, a process that goes through different stages – desire, excitement, orgasm and resolution – in men and people with penis, the erection usually prepares and precedes ejaculation. Various internal and external stimuli (visual, olfactory, auditory, tactile, memories, fantasies, etc.) trigger the message from the brain to the spinal cord and from there to the blood valves of the corpora cavernosa. This allows the erection to be achieved and maintained. Then there are orders to fire the ejaculatory center, and this is how that immediate and urgent process that is ejaculation begins.

Ejaculation develops in two phases. In the former there are contractions of the vas deferens, seminal vesicles, and ejaculatory ducts, which carry seminal fluid and sperm to the first portion of the urethra.

In the second, a series of rhythmic contractions (contraction-relaxation) occurs in the urogenital muscles, which determine the emission of semen. They are usually six to eight contractions at intervals of less than one second. This phase is already without return and almost always coincides with orgasm.

The force of ejaculation varies from man to man and also according to circumstances. Sometimes it can reach more than a meter away and at other times it just drips slowly over the glans. These variations depend on various factors: age, frequency of sexual intercourse, general health, intensity of sexual stimulation and the state of the prostate, among others. Many believe it has to do with the intensity of sexual pleasure. Not at all: the measure of pleasure experienced during orgasm – and in the moments leading up to it – is purely subjective.

Hard to describe

The orgasmic experience is very brief – it lasts between three and 10 seconds – and is difficult to describe in words. It constitutes the maximum point of emotional and physical satisfaction in sexual activity. Organically it is characterized by a rise in blood pressure, increased heart and respiratory rates, blood congestion, and muscular activity of the genitals in the form of an explosive release of tension, with the subsequent sensation of relief.

Although it is a response that involves and engages the whole body, it seems that men (and people with penis) tend to concentrate their orgasmic sensations almost exclusively on the genitals. On the other hand, women (and people with a vulva) experience them beyond this area, being able to even feel it throughout the body (the so-called full body orgasm).

Orgasm and ejaculation don’t always happen together. In people with certain spinal cord injuries, for example, ejaculation may not be accompanied by orgasmic sensations. There is also an orgasm without ejaculation or “dry orgasm” in prostate operated individuals. In these cases, the semen goes to the bladder and is then eliminated with the urine.

Both erection and ejaculation can occur without physical stimulation, something typical during adolescence. They are the “nocturnal pollutions”, responsible for the so-called “wet dreams”: reactions that are produced by the body’s need, in full hormonal boiling, to expel sperm from time to time (need that will decrease until disappearing as the sexual activity).

Orgasm (and ejaculation) can also be triggered without specific genital stimulation, from thoughts, kisses, or stimuli in other parts of the body.

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