These effects impact cultural views of orgasm, such as the beliefs that orgasm and the frequency/consistency of it are important or irrelevant for satisfaction in a sexual relationship, In a clinical context, orgasm is usually defined strictly by the muscular contractions involved during sexual activity, along with the characteristic patterns of change in heart rate, blood pressure, and often respiration rate and depth.

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They are often associated with other involuntary actions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of the body, a general euphoric sensation and, frequently, body movements and vocalizations.

The period after orgasm (known as the refractory period) is often a relaxing experience, attributed to the release of the neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin as well as endorphins (or "endogenous morphine").

Masters and Johnson argued that, in the first stage, "accessory organs contract and the male can feel the ejaculation coming; two to three seconds later the ejaculation occurs, which the man cannot constrain, delay, or in any way control" and that, in the second stage, "the male feels pleasurable contractions during ejaculation, reporting greater pleasure tied to a greater volume of ejaculate".

They reported that, unlike females, "for the man the resolution phase includes a superimposed refractory period" and added that "many males below the age of 30, but relatively few thereafter, have the ability to ejaculate frequently and are subject to only very short refractory periods during the resolution phase".

Scientific literature focuses on the psychology of female orgasm significantly more than it does on the psychology of male orgasm, which "appears to reflect the assumption that female orgasm is psychologically more complex than male orgasm," but "the limited empirical evidence available suggests that male and female orgasm may bear more similarities than differences.

In one controlled study by Vance and Wagner (1976), independent raters could not differentiate written descriptions of male versus female orgasm experiences".

A scientific study to successfully document natural, fully ejaculatory, multiple orgasms in an adult man was conducted at Rutgers University in 1995.

During the study, six fully ejaculatory orgasms were experienced in 36 minutes, with no apparent refractory period. Judy Chicago created the Pasadena Lifesavers, a series of abstract paintings that blended colors to create an illusion that the shapes "turn, dissolve, open, close, vibrate, gesture, wiggle," to represent her own discovery that she was multi-orgasmic.

Because of this, there is currently an experimental interest in drugs which inhibit prolactin, such as cabergoline (also known as Cabeser or Dostinex).