People often find it awkward to talk about sexual pleasure openly with their peers and partners. But on Thursday, April 24, Megan Andelloux, founder of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, informed students at the College that the more they talk about it freely, the safer their sex will be.
Voices for Planned Parenthood at the College invited Andelloux to speak to students. Her presentation, “Orchestrating Orgasms,” informed students of the different types of orgasms performed during sex and the ways and reasons they are performed.
Andelloux presented fun facts about orgasms during the presentation, but they often led to deeper, more serious messages. For example, she stated that during a Princeton study in a research lab, it was discovered that one woman had 134 orgasms within one hour of sex — the highest number ever recorded. According to Andelloux, the woman guessed 32 before the results were shown. Students’ guesses in the audience ranged from 23 to 100. Andelloux said the guesses prove how people don’t recognize how many orgasms they experience during sex.
“The way that we talk about orgasms is messed up in this country,” Andelloux said. “There are so many different types of orgasms … and we miss the moments where orgasms happen that are smaller.”
According to Andelloux, there are many misconceptions about orgasms and what they actually are. During an orgasm, she said, involuntary muscles contract, specifically in the pelvic region of people of all genders. Sexual energy builds up, the heart rate increases and endorphins release, causing a feel-good sensation. It is important to note, however, that an orgasm is not an ejaculation.
“You can ejaculate and not have an orgasm, and you can have an orgasm and not ejaculate,” Andelloux said.
In addition to the feel-good sensation, orgasms do many other wonders for the human body, according to Andelloux. For example, because orgasms increase blood flow and clear out toxins in the body, they are able to heal wounds relatively fast. They also decrease sensitivity to pain, reduce stress, help people remember things better and increase quality of sleep.
While there are many benefits to having an orgasm, they can also be dangerous. According to Andelloux, when one has an orgasm, that person is losing complete control of his or herself.
“You are losing safety on some level,” she said. “And that can be really scary, which is one of the things that can prevent people from having orgasms.”
There is also a condition called persistent general arousal disorder, in which one of the clitoral nerves is irritated and causes people to have spontaneous orgasms. Andelloux described the condition as “debilitating.”
“These individuals usually end up attempting suicide because they can’t function in society,” she said. “And most people laugh at them for this condition and say, ‘I want this.’ And they say, ‘You don’t want this,’ but no one believes them.”
Next, Andelloux explained the different types of orgasms that people of all genders experience. Different parts of the body stimulate different nerves, causing different types of orgasms. For example, the clitoris, urethra, penis and anus stimulate the pudendal nerve, which causes short and fast orgasms. Breasts, nipples and the mouth send stimulation straight to the brain, which can cause people to experience orgasms. According to Andelloux, people can even experience orgasms just from thinking about something.
Junior business management major Sumaiya Rahim said that Andelloux’s presentation was “very informative and educational.”
“I learned that not talking about sexual health and well-being causes more harm than good,” Rahim said.
Sophomore indigenous studies and women’s and gender studies double major Tommi-Estefan Granados was grateful for Andelloux identifying people not as male or female, but as “clitoral owner” or “penis owner.”
“She acknowledged different bodies and different gender genitals,” Granados said. “It gave a chance for someone like to me to talk about sexuality.”
Despite writing a book and visiting colleges and universities all over the nation, Andelloux said she would like to partner with other organizations to further her studies on sexual pleasure. However, she is facing some challenges. While the Center for Disease Control expressed interest in working with her, the organization informed her that government organizations are not allowed to affiliate with anything related to sexual pleasure. Nonetheless, Andelloux stays hopeful.
“We have a long way to go, but at least this is out there,” she said.