You may have watched that scene in When Harry Met Sally a million times, but there’s a lot more to orgasms than moaning and heavy breathing. Did you know, for example, that your pupils often dilate when you climax? Now that’s tough to fake—even though a 2017 study by Dr. Ed claims 68 percent of women admitted to faking an orgasm with their partner at some point.
And that’s just the tip of the sex facts iceberg.
We’ve compiled 19 facts about orgasms that will likely surprise and, ahem, delight.
1. The Word ‘Orgasm’ Comes from the Greek Word ‘Orgasmos’
The Greek word translates to “excitement” or “swelling,” which is pretty spot-on.
2. The Average Orgasm Is a Little Longer Than 20 Seconds Long
According to a 1993 study in Czechoslovak Psychiatric Society, 48 percent of women experienced “predominantly long orgasm,” or orgasms lasting between 20 seconds and two minutes.
3. Men’s and Women’s Orgasms Are Similar—but Not the Same
According to Cleveland Clinic, both women and women go through each phase of the sexual response cycle, consisting of: desire (libido), arousal (excitement), orgasm and resolution. However, the timing is usually different for men and women.
4. The ‘G’ in ‘G-Spot’ Is Short for Gräfenberg
It’s named for the researcher, Ernest Gräfenberg, who first wrote about the G-spot in the ’50s.
Referring to the G-spot, Gräfenberg wrote in the 1950 study published in The International Journal of Sexology: “…the anterior wall of the vagina along the urethra is the seat of a distinct erotogenic zone and has to be taken into account more in the treatment of female sexual deficiency.”
5. You Won’t Get Your Best Orgasm in Your 20s
In a 2016 study conducted by Natural Cycles, the world’s first app to be certified as contraception, women over the age of 35 engage in sex less frequently than younger age groups, however, they experience their best orgasm at age 36.
6. Older Women Are More Sexually Satisfied
According to a 2012 study in The American Journal of Medicine, women older than 80 are more sexually satisfied than their younger counterparts.
7. Orgasms Can Cause Your Pain Tolerance to Increase
According to a 1985 study in the PAIN journal, the pain tolerance threshold for women who were stimulated vaginally increased significantly by 36.8 percent.
8. Meditation And Orgasm Feel The Same To The Brain
Scientific American reported in 2011 that orgasms and meditation created a similar effect in our brains.
9. The Most Unexpected, Daily Tasks Have Triggered Orgasms
A 2004 case report in Seizure stated a 41-year-old woman had an orgasm from brushing her teeth. More specifically, brushing her teeth caused seizures, which left her with “a specific sensation of sexual arousal and orgasm-like euphoria that were followed by a period of impairment of consciousness.”
10. Orgasms Are Good for Your Health
Orgasms have been shown to:
- Boost the immune system, according to a 2004 study in Neuroimmunomodulation,
- Lower the risk of dying from coronary heart disease, according to a 1997 study in BMJ, and
- Help relieve stress, according to a 2011 study in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
11. Sex Lasts an Average of 5 Minutes
According to a 2005 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the average amount of time it takes for couples (the US, UK, Netherlands, and Spain) to climax is 5.4 minutes.
12. Yoga Orgasms Are a Thing
Some yoga fanatics claim to have experienced a “yogasm,” brought about simply by practicing yoga. Plus, a 2010 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that regular yoga helped improve women’s sex lives.
13. So Are ‘Coregasms’
One study from Indiana University in 2012 found 40 percent of women have experienced a “coregasms,” or ab-exercise-induced orgasms.
Here’s how it broke down:
- Orgasm via weight lifting: 26.5 percent
- Orgasm via yoga: 20 percent
- Orgasm via bicycling: 15.8 percent
- Orgasm via running: 13.2 percent
- Orgasm via walking/hiking: 9.6 percent
14. You Can Have an Orgasm Even When Brain-Dead
According to Bonk author March Roach in her must-watch TED Talk, it’s possible for people who are brain-dead (but still have beating hearts) to experience an orgasm. “Yes, if the sacral nerve is being oxygenated, you conceivably could,” brain death expert Stephanie Mann told Roach.
15. Orgasms Have Been Shown to Cure the Hiccups
Yep, according to a 2000 study in Canadian Family Physician, having sex could treat your hiccups.
16. The Shape of Your Lip Could Indicate Better Sex
Hurry, head to a mirror: A 2011 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests women with a “prominent tubercle of the upper lip” (or, the center of the upper lip has a more prominent “dip”) have a greater chance of having a vaginal orgasm.
17. Apparently, Women Have a Specific Breath Odor After Having Sex
Theodoor van de Velde wrote a marriage manual way back in 1940 called Ideal Marriage, and in it he claimed women have a stronger genital odor than men after sex.
“The genital odour is stronger in women than in men,” he wrote. “When the whole organism is stimulated and ready for coitus this odour is increased by the lubricating secretions of the accessory glands of the vulva; and in many women there is apparently an increase of the odorous exhalations of skin and breath as well. This phenomenon may then serve as a special means of excitement and allurement for the male lover.”
18. Women Can Orgasm Too Quickly, Too
As part of a 2011 study in Sexologies, 510 Portuguese women between 18 and 45 years old were surveyed, revealing that 40 percent experienced premature orgasm.
19. Some Women Have Orgasms in Their Sleep
A 2003 study in the American Journal of Public Health revealed that 37 percent of women surveyed had experienced at least one orgasm while sleeping.
A version of this article was originally published in July 2014.