Ask a woman what an orgasm feels like, and she’ll probably tell you that it falls somewhere along the lines of a tingly feeling that intensifies to the point that it’s felt overwhelmingly throughout the whole body — at least that seems to be the general consensus among Reddit users. But despite what you may believe, they don’t always have to result from sex, masturbation, or whatever other direct stimulation you may use. No, there are countless other, weirder ways to achieve that oh-so-glorious rush of good feeling, even if it’s not always as glorious. Here are five.
Parkinson’s Disease Drugs
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that causes a person to experience tremors in their hands, as well as stiffness in the arms and legs. It’s a rather disabling disease, but it became unbearable for a 42-year-old woman after 10 days of taking the drug rasagiline, which was supposed to reduce her symptoms. Along with treating her disease, the drug also caused her to experience increased arousal and libido, which led her to have spontaneous orgasms three to five times a day, lasting five to 20 seconds.
She visited a hospital complaining about the orgasms, and stopped taking the drugs for a few days. When she started taking them again on day 15, the ominous orgasms returned, forcing her to stop taking the drug altogether. Doctors believe that the orgasms were a result of excessive dopamine levels — the neurotransmitter for pleasure — in the brain.
Yeah, that’s right. At least with your next child, you’ll go into labor hopeful that, besides giving birth to a healthy baby, your pain will be supplemented by a rush of that glorious sensation. In a survey of midwives who had assisted with over 206,000 births, there were 668 births in which sensations akin to an orgasm occurred. Nine of the mothers experienced a full-on orgasm.
Obviously, this happens because the baby stimulates the same areas of the vagina that would normally be stimulated for an orgasm. Interestingly, the researchers involved with the study believe it occurs more often, but because they asked midwives and not the actual mothers, it doesn’t show in the results. They also believe that Western birth settings don’t lend to a more pleasurable birth experience, as fetal monitoring devices, little labor support, and other limitations hinder a woman’s ability to give birth pleasurably.
This kind of orgasm was featured on an episode of TLC’s Strange Sex. It was pioneered by Barbara Carrellas, a former Broadway performer in New York City who wanted to discover safer ways to achieve orgasms during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. She found that a combination of deep breathing, imagination, making sounds, and squeezing the pelvic floor muscles, could induce an orgasmic sensation over the entire body — even for men.
When a pair of Rutgers University researchers had her perform the technique in an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine, they found that thinking off activated the same parts of the brain as regular orgasms. “It’s really equivalent, in terms of physiological response and brain response, to genitally stimulated orgasms,” said Dr. Barry Komisaruk, a professor at the university, on the TLC show.
Though rare, one 55-year-old woman experienced up to six orgasms a day, all of which originated in her left foot, for about a year-and-a-half before visiting a doctor. She didn’t even need to feel any kind of sexual arousal for her orgasm to start in the foot, creep its way up to behind the knee, and end in the vagina. Although MRI scans of her brain and foot showed no abnormalities, researchers found in another test that the nerves differentiated between her left and right feet. After receiving an anesthetic injection into the spinal nerve that receives sensory information from the foot, she hasn’t had an orgasm since.
Called coregasms, these orgasms occur, as the name implies, when women do core-strengthening exercises. A study conducted by researchers at Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion, found that women who did crunches, rope climbing, weight lifting, swimming, and even some yoga poses were able to induce an orgasm. Most participants said they were able to induce the effect on command, and 44 percent said they had experienced 11 or more orgasms during exercise.
Though the researchers weren’t exactly sure how the orgasms were triggered, they hypothesized that the exercise increased blood flow to the vagina, while also putting pressure on the clitoris. In an interview with Popular Science, researcher Debby Herbenick said she sees “orgasm more as a mind-body event that we’ve perhaps taught ourselves to experience during sex, and which often occurs during sexual activities, but that also occurs in other ways.”