response to vaginal (“G spot”) stimulation; (c) in response to cervicalstimulation; and/or (d) by thought alone, without physical stimulation.
Orgasms–Genital and Nongenital
Although orgasm is characteristically a response to genital stimula-tion, there are many reports that other types of sensory stimulation alsogenerate orgasms, some perceived as feeling “genital” but others as“nongenital.” For example, we have documented cases of women whoclaim that they can experience orgasms just by thinking, without anyphysical stimulation; their bodily reactions—doubling of heart rate,blood pressure, pupil dilation, and pain threshold—bear out their claim(Whipple, Ogden, & Komisaruk, 1992). Men and women who havespinal cord injury have described to us that the skin near their injuryfeels hypersensitive to touch. Painful and intensely aversive if acciden-tally brushed, when stimulated in the right way and/or by the right per-son, touch can produce orgasmic feelings that may or may not beperceived as emanating from the genitalia. One woman with completespinal cord injury at the upper thoracic level experienced an area of hypersensitivity at the neck and shoulder and claimed to have orgasmsfrom stimulation of the skin of her neck. In the laboratory, her heartrate and blood pressure increased markedly during self-application of avibrator to her neck-shoulder junction, and she described experiencingan orgasm accompanied by a “tingling” sensation in her vagina (Sipski,Komisaruk, Whipple,
Alexander, 1993). Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin(1948), Masters and Johnson (1966), and Paget (2001) each reportedwomen who stated that they experience orgasms from breast or nipplestimulation; in addition, Paget (2001) described orgasms produced bystimulation of mouth or anus in women and men. The heroine in thenovel
, realizing that she had had an orgasm when her loverheld her hand, says that she can experience orgasms from stimulationanywhere on her body (Alther, 1975).Consideration of the sensory pathways likely activated in some of theabove examples can suggest the bases for these experiences of orgasm.The pelvic nerve provides afferent innervation of the vagina, cervix, andrectum (Berkley, Hotta, Robbins,
Sato, 1990; Komisaruk, Adler,
Hutchison, 1972; Peters, Kristal,
Komisaruk, 1987). Because activa-tion of this nerve through vaginal stimulation can generate orgasm, it isnot surprising that when activated nongenitally (i.e., rectally) it canalso generate orgasm. Indeed, women have described feeling the need todefecate during uterine contractions at parturition, indicating a secondcontext in which “cross-talk” exists between at least two organs inner-vated by the same (pelvic) nerve, leading to a form of referred sensation.
2B. KOMISARUK & B. WHIPPLE