Orgasm Delay and Enlightenment



I read an item the other day from a semi credible news source, which supports the view that sometimes creativity needs a hand: “According to a study published Monday in The New England Journal Of Medicine, the human brain is capable of wondrous, awe-inspiring things while an individual is masturbating”.

There are historical antecedents to support this conclusion: the French author H. Balzac used it to further intensify his coffee-fueled writing binges. Apparently the novelist would “masturbate to the very edge of orgasm, but not over, and in that state—agitated, excited to the point of near madness—was Balzac’s sweet spot, in terms of composing.” What he is describing has been referred to in psychoanalytic parlance as a merging of primary process thinking (dreams,imagination) with the secondary process (reality based) into a magical synthesis of creative thought.

The biology of this has been recently elucidated compliments of brain imaging. Here is what happens during orgasm….



A number of seemingly unrelated brain areas — such as the limbic system-B (which generates emotions including pleasure) and the nearby hypothalamus (which triggers oxytocin, the warm fuzzy hormone), and  the  prefrontal cortex -A (involved in judgment and problem solving) are affected, with one after another showing heightened levels of activation. The chemical substrate happens to be dopamine. Research has demonstrated that creative thinking in Parkinson’s is linked to dopamine therapy. This is the same mechanism behind the creative euphoria found in some stimulant and psychedelic drugs. Not surprisingly during meditation dopamine levels also rise.

Of course the ancient Hindus figured this out a long ago. From their metaphysical perspective, we find interesting theories. According to their tradition, the body is divided up into Chakras and each one is defined as the center of specific vital energies. The area of the body that encompasses the testes and the ovaries is the sacral chakra. The sacral chakra is believed to mentally govern creativity.

As a Hindu offshoot, Tantric Buddhism defines conventional truth as that of consensual reality; common-sense notions of what does and does not exist. Ultimate truth is reality, as viewed by an awakened, or enlightened mind. To obtain this state one employs the left-handed path aka Vamachara. Now of course one might assume this left-handed approach is a metaphor for self stimulation but that would be too literal.

In Tibet  it is associated particularly with the pancha-makara or the “Four Ms”.  In literal terms they are: Madya (wine), Mamsa (meat), Matsya (fish) and Maithuna (sexual intercourse). In other words enlightenment through gluttony, intoxication and carnal knowledge. An interesting idea no doubt.

Tantra is a Sanskrit word that means “woven together.” So some Hindu and Buddhist meditation practitioners use sexual union as a metaphor for weaving together the physical and the spiritual: weaving man to woman, and humanity to the divine. The purpose is to become one with everything (or God) i.e. enlightenment.

Of course in the absence of a partner there is always the left hand.

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One Response to “Orgasm Delay and Enlightenment”

  1. kristina nadreau says:

    well, I reaad the NEJM weekly and I must have missed this one!!!! LOL

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