People are finally talking about women’s sexual pleasure. With the female orgasm no longer such a taboo subject, more women are proudly sharing their experiences of self-exploration. One thing is becoming increasingly clear: the female orgasm is a profound experience.
The more that researchers uncover about life-changing events – giving birth, nearing death, and now, orgasms – the more apparent their similarities become. At the intersection lies a mystical experience, and psychedelics could be the reason why.
The mysticism of psychedelics… and orgasms
The psychedelic experience is often likened to a mystical state of mind, characterised by oneness with the Divine or the universe, and the transcendence of space and time.
Somewhat ironically, scientists have endeavoured to make sense of this mystical experience. In the new wave of research into LSD, psilocybin, and other psychedelics in psychiatric treatment, it is generally believed that stronger feelings of mysticism are associated with greater healing.
Mystical experiences have been an integral feature of many meditative and Eastern religious practices for thousands of years, long before the current psychedelic renaissance, but what other natural experiences can conjure feelings of mysticism? Giving birth, maybe, or even nearing death? Perhaps so, but some would go as far to argue that an orgasm – specifically the cervical orgasm – is a definitively mystical experience.
The cervix is often neglected in the conversation surrounding sexual pleasure. For some, this region is a source of pain and discomfort during sex. But, for others, cervical stimulation can surrender them to a deep and prolonged tidal wave of pleasure. This experience is said to be life-changing – spiritually profound, even.
What makes the cervical orgasm so unique? It differs from a clitoral orgasm, which tends to be a more localised sensation that follows a uniform progression – a build-up and a release. During a cervical orgasm, however, pleasure comes in longer waves and intense pulses, which can even span the whole body.
Dr Barry Komisaruk, an expert in the science of orgasms, found that the cervix has its own pleasure pathway that is independent of clitoral anatomy. The cervical orgasm bypasses the spinal cord and stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the abdomen. This would explain the dichotomy between these two experiences of female pleasure.
Since the cervical orgasm is believed to evoke feelings of mysticism, is there any overlap with a psychedelic experience? Well, both are altered states of consciousness. Both release you of your ego and dissolve your sense of self. And both allow you to transcend reality, which can be hugely profound and spiritual.
It’s a fascinating parallel, but is there anything psychedelic about an orgasm? Some people believe so. One theory states that a cervical orgasm causes us to naturally release the psychedelic molecule, DMT.
Is DMT the body’s spirit molecule?
DMT, or N,N-dimethyltryptamine in pharmacology talk, is a classic psychedelic substance found naturally in many plants and animals. It is the hallucinogenic ingredient in the psychoactive Amazonian brew, ayahuasca, and has a long history of Indigenous ritualistic and medicinal use.
When people consume DMT, they report having meaningful and transformative experiences. The psychoactive effects of DMT are often likened to a near-death experience – that is, an out-of-body experience accompanied by visual hallucinations, feelings of inner peace, and the sense of a spiritual presence.
This has caused many to speculate that natural experiences of mysticism, such as coming face-to-face with death, are associated with the release of endogenous DMT in the brain. Yes, that’s right. Some scientists believe that the human body can produce its own DMT.
DMT was famously termed “the spirit molecule” by Dr Rick Strassman for its ability to evoke spiritually-awakening experiences. Strassman’s book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, pioneered the idea that the human body has an endogenous DMT system. It’s an often contested theory with no conclusive scientific evidence, but the initial findings suggest that it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
Strassman proposes that DMT is produced and released by the pineal gland in the human brain during major life events, such as being born, giving birth, and nearing death. Currently, there is no evidence of the latter being true, but one animal study has alluded to the presence of an endogenous DMT system in mammals. Here, researchers found DMT in numerous regions of rat brains, including the pineal gland.
If Strassman’s theory is true, and humans do possess this DMT system, is it then possible that the female brain releases DMT during a cervical orgasm?
DMT and orgasms: is there any evidence?
There hasn’t been a huge amount of scientific research into the female orgasm. This could be because women’s sexual health is a hugely under-researched and under-funded field. Or it could be because of the obvious: it is both practically and ethically challenging to study orgasms in a lab.
Though, remarkably, this has been done before. One study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2017, found that the clitoral orgasm activates over 30 brain regions, particularly those involved in touch, memory, and reward.
Another study found that the clitoral orgasm reduces activity within the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for our personality. Researchers have speculated that this underlies the ‘loss of control’ felt during orgasm. Psychedelics are also known to reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is thought to cause the psychedelic sensation of ‘ego-loss’ – yet another parallel between orgasms and the psychedelic experience.
However, in order to elucidate whether DMT is produced during a cervical orgasm, blood samples would need to be taken during climax. Again, this complicates the scientific study of this phenomenon so, for now, it remains a speculative mystery.
It is generally believed that the DMT-orgasm theory has been formulated in the absence of science, but this is, in part, due to the female orgasm being poorly understood in the world of biological science. Most of our existing knowledge of orgasms is theoretical, and not derived from actual data. But, by this token, the psychedelic realm of orgasms – although a dubious theory – is not too distant from what we consider to be fact about female pleasure.
Either way, this intriguing overlap between near-death experiences, orgasms, and DMT definitely gives some deeper meaning to the French euphemism for orgasm, la petite mort, meaning ‘the little death’.
The role of psychedelics in sexual pleasure
Much more research is needed before scientists can clarify the link between DMT and cervical orgasms, but are there other ways to explore the bidirectional relationship between psychedelics and sex? Rather than an orgasm causing the release of a psychedelic substance, perhaps psychedelic drugs could help those who are struggling with sexual pleasure.
There is accumulating evidence for the use of psychedelics in the treatment of countless mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. One currently unexplored avenue of research is the use of psychedelics to heal those living with sexual trauma. This, in turn, could dissolve emotional barriers and allow survivors of sexual abuse to fully enjoy sex.
Outside of the clinic, research into North American women who use ayahuasca during ritualistic ceremonies suggests that psychedelics can enhance intimacy with others and transform our relationship with ourselves, thus facilitating sexual liberation and pleasure.
Endogenous or not, DMT is clearly a powerful, healing tool. As scientists uncover more about the mystical realm of psychedelics, they hold the potential to revolutionise sexual pleasure for women all over the world.