Crossword puzzles and other interactive brain teasers don't come close to the cerebral benefits of having an orgasm, a recent study concludes. Rutgers researchers specializing in human pleasure have determined that while puzzles indeed stimulate particular areas of the brain, orgasms generalize such perks to cover all aspects of the mind.

"Mental exercises increase brain activity but only in relatively localized regions," Barry Komisaruk, co-author of the new paper, told The Times. "Orgasm activates the whole."

Together with research partner Nan Wise, Komisaruk recently enrolled female subjects in an experiment designed to measure blood flow within the brain during orgasms.

"If you ever want to make even the most cosmopolitan of your friends speechless, telling them you have volunteered to travel to Newark, New Jersey, so you can masturbate to orgasm in an fMRI is a great way to start," Kayt Sukel, writer and volunteer subject, told The Huffington Post.

Their findings indicated that orgasms not only increase blood flow to virtually all areas of the brain, but also promoted oxygenation and the distribution of nutrients.

Wise says that beyond a more sophisticated knowledge about the orgasm itself, their work could also further the academy's current understanding of emotion and decision making in general. By viewing all brain functions as pervasive, "orgasmic" events, researchers may note minute changes that would otherwise be overlooked.

"The more we understand how the brain works, the more we will be able to help people modulate its activity," she told NJ.com in an interview.

Komisaruk and Wise's study adds to the surprisingly long list of scientific inquiries into the matter, with previous studies noting orgasms' capacity to combat depression, pain, stress, and aging. According to Komisaruk, who has figured prominently in the field since the early 1980s, such inquiry has serious academic significance, and his latest addition has been well-received by the community.

"We are desensitizing people," he explained. "They used to be very squeamish about it and we're very straightforward about it. They don't make fun of it; we don't make fun of it. A lot of people take it very seriously."

 

Source: Komisaruk BR, Wise N, Frangos E, Liu W-C, Allen K, Brody S. Women's Clitoris, Vagina, and Cervix Mapped on the Sensory Cortex: fMRI Evidence. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2011.