Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

The Birds and the Bees and the Buzz from Love



The brain of someone in love looks strikingly like the brain of someone on hard drugs.  Most humans love being in love.

Love chemicals

Graphic credit: Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014

Brain Activation During Human Male Ejaculation

“Brain mechanisms that control human sexual behavior in general, and ejaculation in particular, are poorly understood. We used positron emission tomography to measure increases in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during ejaculation compared with sexual stimulation in heterosexual male volunteers. Manual penile stimulation was performed by the volunteer’s female partner. Primary activation was found in the mesodiencephalic transition zone, including the ventral tegmental area, which is involved in a wide variety of rewarding behaviors.

Parallels are drawn between ejaculation and heroin rush.”   The Journal of Neuroscience

fireworks718ROXCfmFBsffgifBut wait — what about women?   FIREWORKS.   Below is short video clip of a female brain as it approaches, experiences and recovers from an orgasm.  The clip was pieced together using images from a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.  The woman involved in the experiment is a 54-year-old PhD student and sex therapist.  As seen in the video, an orgasm leads to almost the entire brain illuminating yellow, indicating that most brain systems in women become active at orgasm.  Apparently, only an epileptic seizure causes more electrical activity to the brain.

You go girl

Professor Barry R. Komisaruk, PhD, a psychologist at Rutgers University, explains:

“The human brain can be separated into regions based on structure and function – vision, audition, body sensation, etc, known as Brodmann’s area map.  This visualization shows the functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, brain data of a participant experiencing an orgasm and the corresponding relationships seen within these different regions based on utilization of oxygen levels in the blood.  Oxygen utilization levels are displayed on a spectrum from dark red (lowest activity) to yellow/white (highest). As can be observed, an orgasm leads to almost the entire brain illuminating yellow, indicating that most brain systems become active at orgasm.

It’s a beautiful system in which to study the brain’s connectivity.

love SMOOCH1

No post about the birds and the bees and the buzz from love would be complete without this Robert Palmer tune. 😉


Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

151 thoughts on “The Birds and the Bees and the Buzz from Love

  1. Great post! 🙂


  2. This is so, so interesting, my friend. Thanks for posting this. So, orgasms are good for our brains and bodies. NICE! 🙂


  3. Brain Activation During Human Male Ejaculation” – interesting – I would have assumed from personal experience, that the male brain was totally deactivated on such occasions.


    • Totally deactivated? Why would you think that? 😀

      Men Versus Women on Sexual Brain Function: Prominent Differences During Tactile Genital
      Stimulation, but not During Orgasm

      “Gender commonalities were most evident during orgasm, a phase which demonstrated activations in the anterior lobe of the cerebellar vermis and deep cerebellar nuclei, and deactivations in the left ventromedial and orbitofrontal cortex in both men and women. During tactile genital stimulation, deactivations in the right amygdala and left fusiform gyrus were found for both genders.

      Marked gender differences were seen during this phase: left fronto-parietal areas (motor cortices, somatosensory area 2 and posterior parietal cortex) were activated more in women, whereas in men, the
      right claustrum and ventral occipitotemporal cortex showed larger activation.

      The only prominent gender difference during orgasm was male-biased activation of the periaqueductal gray matter.”

      Periaqueductal gray (PAG; also called the “central gray”) is the gray matter located around the cerebral aqueduct within the tegmentum of the midbrain. It plays a role in the descending modulation of pain and in defensive behavior.


  4. You’re such a romantic, Victoria! 🙂

    I seriously want this Oxytocin Molecule necklace:


  5. John’s very first comment made me laugh because it was exactly what was on my mind.

    And I think I may have made a mistake – I just told my wife that my love for her was really only due to dopamine and norepinephrine and I got a smack in the face – explain that one with neurology. Thanks a lot Victoria! 😛


    • Oh, I understand. LOL You’ve talking to a romantic here. Not an easy pill to swallow, eh? We’ve all been told that love is ‘just’ an emotion and ‘selfless’. Hehe — Nature is cleaver.

      “…and I got a smack in the face – explain that one with neurology.”

      Oh my — looks like your wife might need a few hits of oxytocin (you can make that happen *wink*) and/or she can explain that (her behavior) to a psychologist in a few anger management sessions. 😀


      • Oxytocin hit sounds like the better way to go! 😀 Oh boy, there’s too much material for humor in this post.

        Seriously though, if I had really mentioned any of this to my wife she’d probably be like “you mean you didn’t know that?” She majored in biology and has been teaching high school and middle school bio/science classes for a while now. She doesn’t know all the detailed brain research stuff, but a lot of the stuff I’ll tell her she’s usually pretty familiar.

        This was a very interesting post. While it’s sometimes nice to let the mystery be I think learning whatever there is we can know about what makes us tick is the way to go. ➡ (I just had to try that arrow thing that you’ve been doing; wordpress keeps coming out with cool new graphic stuff)


        • “While it’s sometimes nice to let the mystery be I think learning whatever there is we can know about what makes us tick is the way to go. “

          Well said. Relationships can often get stale — the libido may lower which is normal — and we might blame it on our partner. Why a lover pulls away after sex. But we now know about the Coolidge Effect as well as what happens during the “honeymoon” period when prolactin kicks in to help curtail dopamine and possible sexual (dopamine) addiction. What I love about this research is that by understanding these hormonal/neurotransmitters and their effect on relationships, we gain a better understanding of ourselves, our behaviors, our thoughts.

          We can override unnecessary guilt (through education) that religion (and society) places on us for having “thoughts” that are perfectly normal. Remember what Jesus reportedly said? Matthew 5:28. That kind of poor teaching will mess with your head. Also, we can intentionally stimulate oxytocin through caring to increase the bond in relationships. It’s very empowering. 🙂 I plan to do more posts on this subject.


    • Trust me Howie – a bust in the mouth is always preferable to a smack in the face.


  6. This is so interesting.
    If there is any time to die, it must be as they say- he came and went.


    • Hahaha — What a way to go. Reminds me of a scene in the movie “Private Benjamin”. Btw, have you heard of the Coolidge Effect?

      ➡ “When you drop a male rat into a cage with a receptive female rat, you see an initial frenzy of copulation. Then, progressively, the male tires of that particular female. Even without an apparent change in her receptivity he reaches a point where he has little libido-and simply ignores her.

      However, if you replace the original female with a fresh one, the male immediately revives and begins copulating again. You can repeat this process with fresh females until the rat nearly dies of exhaustion.


      • I think I must have read in one of these biology books or watched on NatGeo of male rats that mate till they die. They forget to eat. They die both happy and hungry, I must think.
        I have only watched Saving Private Ryan 😛


        • LOL —

          But yeah, you’re right about the research. Did you ever hear/read about this?

          Guinea pig harem says ‘hello Sooty’

          “A GUINEA pig called Sooty had a night to remember after escaping from his pen and tunnelling into a cage of 24 females.

          He romanced each of them in turn and was yesterday the proud father of 43 offspring. Staff at Little Friend’s Farm in Pontypridd, South Wales, have now secured Sooty’s pen – and begun looking for homes for the guinea pigs. Owner Carol Feehan, 42, said: “I’m sure a lot of men will be looking at Sooty with envy.

          “We knew that he had gone missing after wriggling through the bars of his cage. We looked for him everywhere but never thought of checking the pen where we keep 24 females. We did a head count and found 25 guinea pigs – Sooty was fast asleep in the corner. He was absolutely shattered. We put him back in his cage and he slept for two days.”



  7. Little giggle first thing in the morning, eh? . .. ask 90% of the men you know how THEY’d like to go. I guarantee the answer. . . 🙂 You might not get the same response from women. .


    • “You might not get the same response from women. .”

      LOL — I wonder why that is? When it comes to the big O or rather multiple O’s, men got the short end of the stick. 😈

      Oh, and speaking of humor — have you seen this prank?


      • Ha, ha, ha – that was desk-slapping funny! . . and I’m wondering if arch is going to comment on this thread saying, “What’s this 90% business?? . . big grin. .


      • When it comes to the big O or rather multiple O’s, men got the short end of the stick” – from Mark Twain’s Letters From the Earth, in which Satan has popped down to Earth to check on Humans, and discovered that they have invented a strange religion, and so he writes home about it to his fellow archangels:

        “The law of God, as quite plainly expressed in woman’s construction, is this: There shall be no limit put upon your intercourse with the other sex, sexually, at any time of life.

        “The law of God, as quite plainly expressed in man’s construction, is this: During your entire life you will be under limits and restrictions, sexually.

        “During twenty-three days of every month, until a woman dies of old age, she is ready for action and competent. As competent as the candlestick is to receive the candle. Also, she wants that candle — yearns for it, longs for it, hankers after it, as commanded by the law of God in her heart.

        “But a man is only briefly competent, and only then in moderate measure applicable to the word in HIS sex’s case. He is competent from the age of sixteen or seventeen thenceforward for thirty-five years. After fifty his performance is of poor quality, the interval in between are wide, and its satisfactions are of no great value to either party; whereas his great grandmother is as good as new. There is nothing the matter with her plant. her candlestick is as firm as ever, whereas his candle is increasingly softened and weakened by the weather of age, as the years go by,until at last it can no longer stand, and is mournfully laid to rest in the hope of a resurrection that is never to come.

        “By the woman’s make, her plant is out of service three days in the month and during a part of her pregnancy. These are times of discomfort, often of suffering. For fair and just compensation, she has the high privilege of unlimited adultery all the other days of her life.

        “That is the law of God, as revealed in her make. What comes of this privilege? Does she live in the free enjoyment of it? No. Nowhere in the whole world. She is robbed of it everywhere. Who does this? Man. Man’s statutes — if the Bible IS the Word of God.

        “Now there you have a sample of Man’s ‘reasoning powers,’ as he calls them. He observes certain facts. For instance, he never sees a day in his life when he can satisfy one woman; also, that no woman ever sees the day when she can’t overwork, and defeat, and put out of commission any ten masculine plants that can be put to bed with her. He puts those strikingly suggestive and luminous facts together, and from them draws this astonishing conclusion: The Creator intended that the woman be restricted to one man.

        “So he concretes that singular conclusion into a law, for good and all. And he does it without consulting the woman, although she has a thousand times more at stake in the matter than he has.

        “You have heretofore found out, by my teachings, that Man is a fool; you are now aware that Woman is a damned fool”


    • ask 90% of the men you know how THEY’d like to go. I guarantee the answer. . . 🙂 You might not get the same response from women.” – Ethical question for you Carmen, if a woman SHOULD “go” that way, is that any REAL reason for the man to stop what he’s doing?


  8. What a fun AND enlightening post! I’m so old that the Masters and Johnson research was just coming out (or maybe just coming out in my part of the country) when I was in college. I’ve always been fascinated by the female oxytocin release during/after an orgasm. It’s the tie that binds, right?
    Tossing lots of love, fun and happy thoughts your direction. xo


  9. Great post as usual Victoria and love the video you shared with John. You should have added it to your post as well. It’s beautiful and insightful. As for me, all my hormones are somewhere on a lovely island in the Caribbeans and they left me at home. 😆


  10. Cliff Klaven here, reporting from a barstool at Cheers – it’s a little known fact that American porn actress Lisa Sparks (also spelled Sparxxx) holds the world record for the largest gangbang – on October 16, 2004 she had sex with 919 men in Warsaw, Poland.

    And no, I missed that one.


    • Moulay Ismail Ibn Sharif set this sex record in the 17th century when he added a whopping 1,042 recorded offspring to his harem of about 500 wives. Unlike Lisa Sparks, no one called him or King Solomon (with his supposed 700 wives and 300 concubines) a slut or a whore.


      • Hey, I didn’t call her ANYthing!


        • I know that, Arch. I never said you did. I was sharing what I’ve read about her — comments from guys. But when I read comments about guys who are sex addicts, they get an “atta boy” from other guys or are envied. Btw, while we are on the subject of the Coolidge Effect, the record for a man having intercourse was about 52,000 times over a period of 30 years. He wasn’t out to set a record, unlike Lisa, who, as I’m sure you know, participated in the Third Annual World Gangbang Championship and Eroticon in 2004.

          Also, female chimpanzees have been recorded copulating with eight different males in 15 minutes. A lioness in heat has sex once every half an hour for four or five days/nights according to the Guinness World Record.

          But imagine if we lived in a world that had consensual sex rather than war, like the Bonobos. Oh well — guess we are just too “civilized”. 😉


          • I just wanted to be sure we were clear on that – I don’t editorialize, I only report.

            the record for a man having intercourse was about 52,000 times over a period of 30 years” – you have to wonder, how exactly was that documented? I have no idea what my record is, and 52K doesn’t seem unreasonable, but a man who is sure of himself, has no need to keep count.

            The REAL thing is not how many women there have been, but how many you’ve satisfied.

            …unlike Lisa, who, as I’m sure you know….” – How would I know? You must think I subscribe to Gangbanger’s Monthly


            • “How would I know? You must think I subscribe to Gangbanger’s Monthly ”

              Yeah sure you don’t. 😉 And you think having sex on average 33 times a week for 30 years is not unreasonable? OK — gawd help the women in your life, lol.


          • My take on it, and I have no stats as you always do, to back me up, is that among men, there must be so many out there who are bad at what they do, that when a woman sees a man who appears to be successful, decides he must have something the others don’t.

            Looks certainly have little to do with it, I’m so ugly that when I was a kid, my Mom used to have to hang a pork chop around my neck, just to get the family dog to play with me, but I’ve known women to come into my bed just because they knew someone else who had been there and had good things to say (bless their hearts!).


            • Somehow, that wound up in the wrong place, it was supposed to follow yours – damned WordPress!


            • My take on it is that sex is over-rated when it’s just about getting off. Don’t get me wrong, — it can be enjoyable with the right person, but I’ll take a vibrator any day if I want to enjoy a great orgasm or multiple orgasms. If I want to enjoy a connection with someone I care about, then sex can be a added benefit. I’ve never used a man for sex, ever. Nor have I had sex with a man to “get my way”. To me, it’s about connection.


              • I’ve never used a man for sex, ever. Nor have I had sex with a man to ‘get my way’. ” – I can honestly say, neither have I. Great minds really DO think alike, don’t they?


              • I’ll take a vibrator any day if I want to enjoy a great orgasm or multiple orgasms.” – Well, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it sounds so mechanical. Even if there were artificial vaginas – and I honestly don’t know whether they are or not – I seriously doubt that I would avail myself of one. I prefer the real thing. Part of the enjoyment lies in reaction, and it’s hard to find that in an appliance – I’ve had long chats with my refrigerator about how cold she seems.


  11. …when I read comments about guys who are sex addicts, they get an “atta boy” from other guys or are envied” – and before your finger cramps, pointing at us, I can’t count the women I’ve met who prefer “bad boys” to “nice guys” – there seems to be an added thrill, which you would likely attribute to one or more brain chemicals, in being right on the edge of danger, while actually knowing you’re safe – much like a ride in an amusement park.


  12. I don’t know what you get where you are, but this on PBS tonight here:
    Sex in the Wild
    Episode: Orangutans

    S01, E02
    (First Aired: Jul. 23, 2014)

    Orangutans mate, give birth and raise their young in Borneo; theories about the behavior of super-males; how females control mating.


  13. My wife just breezed though my office all smiles and asked what I was doing?
    I told her I was watching a video of a woman having an orgasm posted by my blogpal Victoria.
    She slammed the door as she went out and yelled something unprintable. I think I could have worded that differently.
    Er … if I give you her email will you explain things please?


  14. I come back after my ‘back to nature’ trip (and no, no birds and the bees were involved except the ones that were buzzing around our heads as we hiked, walked, and went canoeing. . .) to find 84 comments on this thread. I can only echo Sonel’s comment – “Bwahahahaha. . . !!”

    P.S. I am almost certain that when the high school kids come around selling magazine subscriptions in the Fall (fundraiser for Band), there’s no ‘Gangbanger’s Weekly’. . .perhaps I’ll inquire? 🙂 oh, and arch – sorry about the sore hand. .. err. . head. . .well, you know! 😉


    • LOL — Carmen, I was wondering where you were. 😀 I was thinking about you earlier today — thought this was too juicy for you to pass up, no pun intended. Arch plays all innocent but appears to know all about these Annual World Gangbang Championships and who did what and how many times. Hell, I’m a researcher and I didn’t even know about this.


      • I’m totally innocent, as usual – I subscribe to a site called “Knowledge Guild” (, run by a sweet little Dutch girl who calls herself Kuba, and she daily posts unusual information. That just happened to be one of the topics.

        FYI, she graciously asked me privately to contribute articles to her blog, which I felt was an honor, but my second contribution – and I worked on the graphics for hours – she chopped to pieces. I don’t mind being edited, but if you’re going to dissect an article of mine to the point where even I don’t recognize it, at least run the new version past me, so I can decide whether or not I want my name removed.

        She’s a sweet kid, she really is, and I still read her entries daily, in fact recommend it to others, but my contribution days are over.


    • No pain, no gain, Carmen!


    • BTW, Carmen – what’s a hot-blooded Cubana like you doing in a cold country like Canada – shouldn’t you be where palm trees grow?


      • No, no arch, all I did was visit Cuba (and LOVED it!) – I’m a Maritimer (a Bluenoser, at that) , twang and all!


        • Somehow I got the impression you were FROM Cuba, which is why I wrote you all that Spanish – then, when you said you had to translate it, I thought, “OK, 2nd generation.” Clearly, Sherlock I’m not. Mea culpa – wait a minute, you don’t know what that means —

          I mean, with a name like Carmen, I’m seeing you dancing the Flamenco with a rose in your teeth! And you’re freakin’ CANADIAN – a people who are terminally nice! You REALLY let me down, Carmen, I gotta tell ya —


        • Next time, Carmen, lie through your teeth! Tell people a story about floating for 90 miles while clinging to a toothpick – ANYthing except, “I’m Canadian.” The only thing more boring is, “I’m Swiss.” Invent a mystique!


          • “ANYthing except, “I’m Canadian.” The only thing more boring is, “I’m Swiss.” Invent a mystique!”

            Just goes to show you how little you know about Canadians. 😉 I’m half French-Canadian and I can assure you there is nothing boring about Canadians. My father is from Quebec. Canadians are HOT. But you didn’t know that because of their mystique. 😛


            • Maybe it’s only FRENCH Canadians who are hot! As you doubtless know, a band of them, the Acadians crossed the US to become the “Cajuns” of Louisiana – I spent a little over a year with one once, and yes, she was hot.


              • Well, Carmen is hot, too, and she’s not FRENCH Canadian. She’s also a hoot. I’ve gotten to know her via email, soooooooo…

                And another hot band — this one from Quebec. You might recognize the tune as it was featured in Phil Hellenes video I posted in Mindgasm which was, as you know, dedicated to Richard Feynman.


                • Feynman is one of my heros, right after Einstein and Walt Disney (intellect and imagination).


                • Well, Carmen is hot, too, and she’s not FRENCH Canadian. She’s also a hoot” – you don’t need top promote Carmen, I’ve met her and like her.


                  • Arch, I wasn’t promoting her, I was defending her. You pretty much called her boring. 😉


                    • I didn’t say that Carmen was boring – she and I have had numerous conversations, and she is DEFinately not boring – I DID imply that Canadians in general, are terminally nice, and if you think that’s boring, it’s on you. But countries DO have reputations – Switzerland, for example, hasn’t had a standing army for 400 years, yet somehow managed to invent the Swiss Army Knife. Take a trip to Italy, then come back and tell me you didn’t get your ass pinched!


                    • Calm down you dingbat.

                      “And you’re freakin’ CANADIAN – You REALLY let me down, Carmen, I gotta tell ya.” –

                      I fully knew what you meant — was just going “toe-to-toe” with ya. 😉


                    • And you’re freakin’ CANADIAN – You REALLY let me down, Carmen, I gotta tell ya.” – Totally taken out of context.

                      And “toe to toe” works best if one of us is toes-down, and the other is toes-up – I leave the image to your imagination.


                    • Ummm, what part of “I fully knew what you meant” didn’t you understand? Lighten up — I was just having some fun and didn’t take anything out of context. Geesh, so sensitive these days. Been drinking tonight? Where’s Ark when I need him.


                    • Lighten up“? – I’m never more than semi-serious about anything. I’m having fun with your effort at having fun – you’re the one whose taking it too seriously, because I’m not serious in the least. My only concern, is that Carmen couldt think that she might in some way be to blame for our confrontation, which in my mind, isn’t a confrontation, because you overestimated the degree of my seriousness!

                      I AM NOT UPSET WITH ANYONE!!!! I don’t know what else I can say.

                      Why can’t we all just get along? Anyone wanta make s’mores? Maybe sing “Kumbaya? How about hugs, I’m really big on hugs.


  15. Ummm. .. point of clarification here, folks. The kind of hot Victoria is referring to (about me) refers to flashes .. .. I am mid-50’s, ya know! If there are other 50-plus women reading this, they know what I mean. 🙂


    • Ummm, don’t make me come over there. Having hot flashes just makes you doubly hot. 😉 We are probably close to the same age, and I ain’t no old lady, that’s for damn sure. Neither are these hotties — all over 50.

      Christie Brinkley
      Michelle Pfeiffer
      Sela Ward
      Sharon Stone
      Beverly Johnson
      Morgan Fairchild
      Raquel Welch
      Jaclyn Smith
      Cheryl Ladd
      Jennifer Tilly
      Katey Sagal
      Barbara Hershey
      Lauren Hutton
      Angela Bassett
      Goldie Hawn
      Catherine Keener
      Ann Curry
      Geena Davis
      Kelly Lynch
      Gloria Estefan
      Susan Sarandon
      Ellen Barkin
      Janice Dickinson
      Joan Jett
      Susan Lucci
      Mary Steenburgen
      Kim Cattrall
      Elizabeth Perkins
      Andie MacDowell
      Holly Hunter
      Jennifer Grey
      Cheryl Tiegs
      Julianne Moore
      Jane Seymour
      Meryl Streep
      Lynda Carter
      Olivia Newton John
      Kim Basinger
      Valerie Bertinelli

      I could go on and on.


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