The great­est sex brain wave

We’re taught sex is about what’s be­tween our legs. But what if we’ve to­tally been look­ing for or­gasms in all the wrong places? Hint: try about 80cm fur­ther up.

CLEO (Malaysia) - - LOVE & SEX SPECIAL -

Al­right, so we all know what the phrase ‘sex on the brain’ means; it’s what we typ­i­cally ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing a Hemsworth block­buster. Yet the ex­act re­la­tion­ship be­tween our in­ner thighs and our in­ner thoughts is one that sci­en­tists are only now start­ing to un­ravel. So, why the de­lay? (Se­ri­ously, this is our plea­sure at stake here, right?) That would be the, err, teeny-bit-awk­ward mat­ter of find­ing a group of vol­un­teers will­ing to mas­tur­bate in an MRI scan­ner. Now those brain-scan­ner re­sults are ac­tu­ally chang­ing how – as well as where – we get our sex­ual feels. “We could not have or­gasms with­out the brain: or­gasms are pro­duced in the brain, and 80 dif­fer­ent brain re­gions are ac­ti­vated dur­ing or­gasm,” ex­plains lead­ing sex­ual neu­ro­sci­en­tist Dr Barry Komis­aruk, who led the MRI study. Which means that get­ting our bits and our brain to work to­gether is our new #squad­goal. So, how can you make that kind of magic hap­pen? Al­right, over to you, brain…

More than one route to plea­sure

Imag­ine that reach­ing or­gasm was like gain­ing en­try to a night­club so ex­clu­sive that for­mer stars of The Bach­e­lor aren’t even on the list. The old think­ing was there was only one way into the club: get in that queue and stick with it – or, to bring it back to your bits, find one spot on your gen­i­tals and per­se­vere. Dr Komis­aruk’s brain scans found that there’s also the equiv­a­lent of a VIP en­trance and a he­li­pad – be­cause your vagina, cli­toris and cervix all ac­ti­vate dif­fer­ent parts of your brain. “Stim­u­late all three ar­eas,” he adds, “and you can in­ten­sify or­gas­mic plea­sure.” Yup, we al­ways knew queu­ing wasn’t for us.

MIND CON­TROL TIP: Add your nip­ples in too. When touched, Dr Komis­aruk’s study found that they can ac­ti­vate the same part of the brain as your gen­i­tals.

Think about some­thing nice

Wan­der­ing is just some­thing the brain does nat­u­rally, but there’s a pretty big dif­fer­ence be­tween harm­less mid-sex mind-wan­der­ing (usu­ally ran­dom things, like re­mem­ber­ing to buy bread and milk) and thoughts that de­stroy or­gasm. A study from sex­ol­ogy jour­nal, Ar­chives Of Sex­ual Be­hav­ior, found the two worst of­fend­ers were ‘spec­ta­tor­ing’ – judg­ing your own sex­ual per­for­mance – and body im­age fears. Both can re­duce your sat­is­fac­tion, par­tic­u­larly if you start chas­tise your brain for wan­der­ing. Get that thing a GPS, stat.

MIND CON­TROL TIP: As any­one who’s ever said “Don’t think about choco­late” knows, rein­ing in your brain is tricky. The key is to keep calm when dis­tract­ing thoughts come. First, be aware of your weak spot: are you prone to over­think­ing (“What does this sex mean for our en­tire re­la­tion­ship?”) or pres­sure (“This has to be amaz­ing!”). Re­di­rect at­ten­tion to the plea­sure you’re feel­ing. Daily mind­ful­ness ex­er­cises will train you: no­tice the pat­tern of two breaths (in, pause, out), five to 10 times a day. Each time your at­ten­tion starts wan­der­ing, bring it back. With prac­tise, fewer things will knock your breath­ing – and your sex brain – off course.

Bits have a mind of their own

Your vagina get­ting wet doesn’t al­ways mean you’re aroused. Psy­chol­o­gist Dr Kelly Suschin­sky showed women sex­ual im­ages and asked them to rate just how arous­ing they found them, mon­i­tor­ing how their gen­i­tals re­acted. In only 10 per cent of cases were the gen­i­tals and the mind on the same page. Your gen­i­tals re­spond to any­thing sex­ual – like a street­light does to dark­ness – but only you de­cide if it’s hot. It’s called Arousal Non-con­cor­dance, and ex­plains why you might feel a twinge down below while you’re watch­ing a TV sex scene with your par­ents – de­spite not feel­ing any real de­sire. At all.

MIND CON­TROL TIP: To get turned on, your mind’s big­gest ally is con­text (who you’re get­ting naked with and where) and trust. To find your sweet spot, re­call three amaz­ing and three not-so-amaz­ing lays. “Think specif­i­cally about what made those ex­pe­ri­ences, in terms of both ex­ter­nal cir­cum­stances and your in­ter­nal state,” sug­gests sex ed­u­ca­tor Dr Emily Nagoski, au­thor of Come As You Are. That’s your to-do and to-don’t list sorted.

Stress less to have more sex

Sci­en­tists from The Kin­sey In­sti­tute iden­ti­fied that our sex drives have more in com­mon with a Volk­swa­gen Golf than we ever thought. Yes, re­ally. A Volk­swa­gen Golf. Why is that? Be­cause, like a car, “Your sex­ual brain has an ‘ac­cel­er­a­tor’ that re­sponds to sex­ual stim­u­la­tion, but it has ‘brakes’

too, which re­spond to all the very good rea­sons not to be turned on right now,” ex­plains Dr Nagoski. Women’s sen­si­tive men­tal brakes – rather than any­thing phys­i­cal – are one rea­son phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are still strug­gling to make a fe­male Vi­a­gra with a de­cent suc­cess rate. Of all of the brakes, it’s safe to say that stress kicks in hard­est. “More than half of women re­port that stress, de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety de­crease their in­ter­est in sex, re­duce sex­ual arousal and in­ter­fere with or­gasm,” Nagoski says. “Stress is all about sur­vival. And while sex serves a lot of dif­fer­ent pur­poses, per­sonal sur­vival is not one of them. So, for most peo­ple, stress im­me­di­ately slams on the brakes.” Hmm, not ex­actly an aphro­disiac for the world’s most-siz­zling sex life, now is it? Luck­ily, there’s still hope if you’re feel­ing a bit down or fraz­zled ...

MIND CON­TROL TIP: To beat stress, get on those sneak­ers and move your butt (Netflix will be there when you get back, prom­ise). Swedish re­searchers re­cently dis­cov­ered that ex­er­cise makes our skele­tal mus­cle pro­duce an en­zyme that purges the harm­ful sub­stance that ac­cu­mu­lates dur­ing stress – just like how our liver pro­cesses al­co­hol. Then si­lence your self-crit­i­cal side, be­cause your body re­sponds to mean thoughts as if it’s un­der at­tack. And your gen­i­tals and your brain are both un­happy about it.

Bad-guy sex doesn’t feel good

OK, not that good. Ev­ery­one’s had a part­ner with whom sex wasn’t just some­thing fun to do be­fore Game Of Thrones, but a des­per­ate car­nal de­sire. The rea­son that you don’t have the same sex­ual delir­ium with your cur­rent, lovely part­ner isn’t in­com­pat­i­bil­ity but, yep, your brain. See, sex with a rat (of the love kind, not the an­i­mal) isn’t nor­mal sex. It’s at­tach­ment-driven and it hap­pens if our re­la­tion­ship is threat­ened (like, if he hasn’t replied to your text for 43 hours). Ac­cord­ing to Dr Nagoski, what you re­mem­ber as pure lust was more like the act of re­liev­ing your blad­der. She ex­plains: “Imag­ine you need to pee re­ally badly, and you have to wait, and then fi­nally you pee, and it’s al­most plea­sur­able be­cause it’s such an in­tense re­lief. Sex in un­sta­ble re­la­tion­ships is like that.” Which, all of a sud­den, doesn’t feel as de­sir­able.

MIND CON­TROL TIP: In­crease your lust-o-me­ter with­out threat­en­ing your at­tach­ment by try­ing some­thing new. The ex­cite­ment makes you see your part­ner in an ex­cit­ing light (like a kind of erotic laser-beam). Re­ally, any­thing that raises your heart rate will work, be it a con­cert or roller-coaster.

Are you dirty minded?

“Where’s your mind wan­der­ing off to, dear?”

Women’s sen­si­tive men­tal breaks – rather than any­thing phys­i­cal – are one rea­son phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are still strug­gling to make a fe­male vi­a­gra.

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