Secrets of the Female Orgasm: How much do you know?

By: Julie Douglas

Secrets of the Female Orgasm: How much do you know?
Image: Compassionate Eye Foundation/David Oxberry/OJO Images Ltd/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Until the 20th century the female orgasm was woefully misunderstood. While aspects of it still require demystification, it's no longer taboo to speak of it and discuss the fascinating discoveries of the last century. Not to mention searching for answers to our most intimate questions. Questions like, can a woman achieve the big O just by thinking about it? And why isn't there Viagra pill for women? Take a few minutes to test your female orgasm smarts.
When a women has an orgasm parts of her brain are deactivated, effectively shutting down the following brain function:
Emotional processing
Brain scans revealed that one of the areas dimmed by an orgasm is the amygdala, involved in processing emotion. Though parts of men's brains are also deactivated during an orgasm, the effect is less pronounced. It's not known if this is because the duration of the male orgasm is so short and therefore more difficult to get data on.
Memory processing
Auditory processing

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For women, the ability to achieve an orgasm could be genetic.
True
Up to 45 percent of the variation in women's ability to have orgasms can be determined by underlying genetic variation, according to Professor Tim Spector, who carried out DNA tests on more than 4,000 women between the ages of 19 and 83.
False
Depends on the person

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The following device guarantees a female orgasm, and is estimated to cost $12,000 when it becomes commercially available:
Spinal implant
Dr. Stuart Meloy was working on a device to treat chronic pain when he discovered that it sexually stimulated his female patients. Nicknamed the Orgasmatron, the device is a small box with two thin wires that, like an epidural, run under the skin and attach to the nerves in the spine that correlate with sexual pleasure. A remote control allows you to activate the device and create a nearly instantaneous orgasm.
Clitoral implant
Foot implant

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What percent of women have trouble reaching an orgasm?
20 to 30
10 to 15
10 to 15. About 75 percent of all women never reach orgasm from intercourse alone. And 10 to 15 percent never climax under any circumstances (with the aid of sex toys, etc.).
5 to 10

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If you're someone who talks about your feelings a lot, you’re apt to have more orgasms.
True
True. In a study of 2,000 female twins between the ages of 18 and 83, it was found that those most in touch with their feelings had the most orgasms -- twice as many as their stoic counterpoints -- the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports. The conclusion is that women with more emotional intelligence were able to better communicate their desires and tap into their fantasies.
False
Depends on the person

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What is the French term for orgasm?
La petite coit
La petite sacre bleu
La petite mort
La petite mort, "little death," is a metaphor for orgasm as a release and transcendence of the physical.

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Trained sexologists can tell a woman’s sexual history just by the way she walks.
True
Though a small study with just 16 participants, trained sexologists were able to correctly infer vaginal orgasm history of women more than 80 percent of the time by watching the way they walked, keeping an eye out for stride length and vertebral rotation. Possible explanations include clues inherent in a woman's anatomical features, which can either aid or confound a vaginal orgasm.
False
Maybe – the jury's still out

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In women an orgasm can cause:
Double vision
A rash
Funky breath
According to Mary Roach, author of "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex," researchers have detected a subtle odor on the tongues of women for up to an hour after they’ve done the deed.

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The orgasm reflex can be triggered by:
Genital stimulation
Nonsexual organ stimulation
Both
The orgasm reflex can be triggered by a broad range of scenarios, and doesn't always necessitate touching of the genitals. For example, sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey interviewed a woman who could be brought to orgasm by having her eyebrow stroked.

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Evolutionary biologists think the female orgasm exists for what purpose?
Nothing but pleasure
Nothing but pleasure. So far evolutionary biologists have yet to figure out why the female orgasm exists, noting that although the clitoris promotes sexual excitement, it, along with an orgasm, is not needed in order to successfully procreate since a woman's uterine contractions during orgasm do not contribute to impregnation.
To increase the odds of conception
To encourage men to procreate

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Even though texts like the "Kama Sutra" referenced "female semen," the modern medical community initially rejected the existence of female ejaculate. However various studies have confirmed it exists, and have found that the fluid contains:
Urea and creatinine
Prostate-specific antigen
Both
Low levels of urea and creatinine were found. But so was prostrate-specific antigen. Turns out that women have varying amounts of prostate tissue, also known as Skene's glands, thought to be the cause for female ejaculate. In 2001 the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology officially renamed these structures the "female prostate."

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Why isn't there an equivalent of Viagra available for women?
There's no global market for it
Political lobbyist are attempting to block its development
Not all women respond uniformly to the drug
Unlike the straightforward and easily treatable erectile dysfunction, which requires a boost of blood flow to the penis, the catchall diagnosis of female sexual dysfunction covers an array of conditions that can stem from personal, psychological and/or physiological issues. However the pharmaceutical industry is pursuing a catchall pill that could potentially garner billions of dollars in revenue.

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Women with Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome report spontaneous and persistent genital arousal, with some women reporting periods of discomfort lasting for up to:
One day
One week
Both
Both -- women with PGAD report intense feelings of genital congestion and sensations that are usually unaccompanied by any conscious awareness of sexual desire. Paradoxically, engaging in sexual activity can at best provide temporary relief, and at worst make the sensations even more unbearable.

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It's possible to climax during childbirth.
True
Yes, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup in the "Orgasmic Birth" documentary: "When the baby's coming down the birth canal, remember, it's going through the exact same positions as something going in, the penis going into the vagina, to cause an orgasm. And labor itself is associated with a huge hormonal change in the body, way more prolactin, way more oxytocin, way more beta-endorphins -- these are the molecules of ecstasy."
False
What?

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According to author Mary Roach's, “Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex,” Marie Bonaparte had a spot-on theory that the vaginal-clitoral distance determines whether or not a woman has an orgasm during intercourse. What’s the ideal distance?
Less than 1 inch
Less than 1 inch is the optimal distance between the vagina and clitoris to achieve an orgasm during intercourse. The closer the two are, the more the clitoris is stimulated.
Less than 2 inches
Less than 3 inches

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Could the the release of the “cuddle drug,” oxytocin, in conjunction with a woman’s orgasm cause women to fall in love after the act?
Yes
No
No – oxytocin is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter that helps contract the uterus, among other things. Very little of it gets to the brain through the blood, and when it does it’s acting as a neurotransmitter rather than a hormone.
The jury's out

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It's not possible to have an orgasm while you sleep.
True
False
False. It's called "confusional arousal," and it occurs when a person is roused from deep sleep but not yet conscious. Sleep related sexual behaviors include masturbation, fondling, sexual intercourse and sometimes even sexual assault/rape. Factors that can increase instances of the behavior include alcohol, sleep deprivation and sleep apnea.
Depends on the person

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The Gräfenberg Spot, or the G-Spot, is thought to be a nickel-sized area in the front wall of the vagina that's helps a women reach orgasm when deep pressure is applied. Is it for real?
True
False
The jury's out
The short answer is that scientists are still arguing whether it really exists. They're trying to figure out if it's psychological or biological. However French researchers recently ultra-sounded women during coitus and found physiological evidence of the G-Spot, leading some to debate that the existence depends on the amount of tissue a woman has in the area.

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Which heterosexual position is more likely stimulate the clitoris and result in an orgasm?
Woman on top
Sitting on lap
Both
Both positions will do the trick, and both are reported to engage the G-Spot.

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Can you "think" yourself to an orgasm?
Yes. After all, isn't it all mind over matter?
Barbara Carellas, who claims to have trained herself to climax on demand and was featured in Strange Sex on TLC, has been "thinking herself off" for a number of years. To demonstrate she placed herself in an MRI and came to climax multiple times while researchers at Rutgers University studied her brain patterns, reporting that the parts of the brain that are engaged during an orgasm "lit up" during the big O.
No. It's not evolutionarily possible.
If you're really, really lucky.

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You Got:
/20
Compassionate Eye Foundation/David Oxberry/OJO Images Ltd/Getty Images