The orgasmatron is a fictional device that appears in the 1973 movie ‘Sleeper,’ which also shows the effects of a related device, an orgasmic orb. Similar devices have appeared in other fictional works. The term has also been applied to a non-fictional device capable of triggering an orgasm-like sensation using electrodes implanted at the lower spine. Author Christopher Turner has suggested that the orgasmatron was a parody of Wilhelm Reich’s ‘orgone accumulator,’ a device which claims to concentrate ‘orgone,’ a bioenergy theorized by Reich. The orgasmatron is a fictional device in the fictional future society of 2173 in the Woody Allen movie ‘Sleeper.’ It is a large cylinder big enough to contain one or two people. The orgasmatron was made by decorating an elevator in the home where the movie was filmed. Once entered, it contains some (otherwise undescribed) future technology that rapidly induces orgasms. This is required, as almost all people in the ‘Sleeper’ universe are impotent or frigid, although males of Italian descent are considered the least impotent of all groups.
The main character Miles Monroe, played by Allen, is being hunted by the police as being subversive to security of the state, and attempts to hide in it, thinking it is a closet. He is discovered there, and easily captured in a daze, with a sheepish smile on his face. Another, related device, an orb also appears in this movie. It is a silver-colored sphere about the size of a grapefruit that contains some (otherwise undescribed) future technology. When the orb is touched by a human, it induces pleasurable sensations. In a scene where Miles impersonates a robotic servant, he is ordered by the hostess to pass the orb among the guests. Unlike the robot he is imitating, he is not immune to the effects of the orb. Much physical humor results from his reaction to firmly holding this device, which party participants only lightly caress. Later on, they encounter a gay male couple, one of whom offers Miles a ‘hit off the orb.’ Miles reports that he’s ‘cool’ and does not need to indulge. It appears the effect of the orb is more like social drinking or drug use, pleasurable rather than orgasmic.
Orgasm Inc. (2009) is the first feature documentary by award-winning director Liz Canner. It premiered at the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival. In the documentary, filmmaker Liz Canner takes a job editing erotic movies for a drug trial for a pharmaceutical company called Vivus. Her employer is developing what they hope will be the first Viagra drug for women that wins FDA approval to treat a new disease: female sexual arousal disorder (FSD). Liz gains permission to film the company’s work in general for her own documentary. Initially, she plans to create a movie about science and pleasure but she soon begins to suspect that her employer, along with a cadre of other medical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women (and potentially endanger their health) in pursuit of billion dollar profits.
The film continues from Vivus onto the more general question of whether there is a solid scientific foundation to medical industry claims about what constitutes ‘healthy’ female sexuality and whether drugs and surgery are a suitable first-line approach to obtaining it. The film documents an emerging medical industry intent on convincing women that they have medical problems, and that those problems are best solved by expensive and dangerous medical treatments.
Orgasm (from Greek: ‘to swell’) is the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual tension during the sexual response cycle, resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure. Experienced by males and females, orgasms are controlled by the involuntary, or autonomic, limbic system. They are often associated with other involuntary actions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of the body, a general euphoric sensation, and, frequently, body movements and vocalizations are expressed. The period after orgasm (known as a refractory period) is often a relaxing experience, attributed to the release of the neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin. Human orgasms usually result from the stimulation of the penis in males, typically accompanying ejaculation, and the clitoris in females. Stimulation can be by self-practice (masturbation) or by a partner (penetrative sexual intercourse, non-penetrative sex, and other erotic sexual activities). In addition, partners simultaneously stimulating each other’s sex organs by mutual masturbation, penetrative intercourse, or other rhythmic inter-genital contact may experience simultaneous orgasms.
There is some debate whether certain types of sexual sensations should be accurately classified as orgasms, including female orgasms caused by G-Spot stimulation alone, and the demonstration of extended or continuous orgasms lasting several minutes or even an hour. The question centers around the clinical definition of orgasm, but this way of viewing orgasm is merely physiological, while there are also psychological, endocrinological, and neurological definitions of ‘orgasm.’ In these and similar cases, the sensations experienced are subjective and do not necessarily involve the involuntary contractions characteristic of orgasm. However, the sensations in both sexes are extremely pleasurable and are often felt throughout the body, causing a mental state that is often described as transcendental, and with vasocongestion and associated pleasure comparable to that of a full-contractionary orgasm. For example, modern findings support distinction between ejaculation and male orgasm. For this reason, there are views on both sides as to whether these can be accurately defined as orgasms.
Expanded orgasm is any sexual experience more intense and extensive than what can be described as, or included in the definition of, an ordinary orgasm. It includes a range of sensations that include orgasms that are full-bodied, and orgasms that last from a few minutes to many hours. The term was coined in 1995 by Dr. Patricia Taylor. It was used in her Ph.D. research of intense sensual experiences of 44 couples from various backgrounds and referenced in a video she produced in 1998. Distinguishing features of expanded orgasm are energetic sensations and contractions all over the body, especially in the abdomen, inner thighs, hands, feet, and genitals. Dr. Taylor describes reports of practitioners going into various altered states of consciousness, bringing about deep emotional release and rejuvenation, profound spiritual experiences, having awarenesses not normally perceived in regular orgasm, and perceiving energy expanding beyond the limits of their bodies. Similar experiences were reported in studies by Dr. Jenny Wade, and by David Deida.
Theories for the biological processes required for achieving these states include the progressive and balanced stimulation and elevation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system; this is evidenced by the tantric practice of using breathing techniques to engage the parasympathetic nervous system during sexual activities.
Global Orgasm, also known as GORG, was an action originally scheduled for December 22, 2006 to coincide with the end of solstice. The idea was for participants throughout the world to have an orgasm during this one day while thinking about peace in order to emit positive energy to Earth. The Second Annual Synchronized Global Orgasm for Peace occurred at 6:08 (GMT) on December 22, 2007, the actual moment of the Solstice.
In 2009 Ani Sinclair took over the cause (and website) of Global Orgasm. She encourages everyone to practice conscious dedication of orgasmic energy to world peace. The Solstice on December 21st is the day to culminate the practice for the year and then to begin again, practicing for the next year. She would like to help change the perception about sexuality from ‘original sin’ to ‘original blessing,’ honoring and empowering women.Studies have found increases in the hormone oxytocin at orgasm in both men and women. Oxytocin’s role in increasing trust, pair bonding and reducing anxiety has meant it is sometimes referred to as the ‘love and trust’ hormone.
Orgasm control, also known as ‘edging,’ ‘peaking,’ ‘surfing,’ and by other terms, is a sexual technique which involves the maintenance of a high level of sexual arousal for an extended period of time before reaching orgasm. If orgasm is not reached after the extended period of arousal, it is referred to as ‘erotic sexual denial.’ If the partner whose orgasm is being controlled, sometimes referred to as the submissive partner, is put into physical restraints, the better to control the orgasm, the activity is sometimes called ‘tie and tease,’ and if orgasm is denied it is ‘tease and denial.’ Additional possibilities include the dominant partner subjecting the submissive partner to a forced orgasm(s). Orgasm control can involve either one sex partner being in control of the other partner’s orgasm, or a person delaying their own orgasm during sexual intercourse or masturbation.
In a two-person sexual activity, one partner would stimulate the other, gradually bringing them up to the point high in the plateau phase where an orgasm is actually building, and will then reduce the level of stimulation to just below that needed to trigger the orgasm. By carefully varying the intensity and speed of stimulation, and by practicing with the same partner to learn their responses, a person can be held in the highly-aroused state near orgasm. This process may be repeated as desired, but at some point repetition may cause the urge to orgasm to become overwhelming. When a partner eventually provides enough stimulation to achieve an orgasm, it may be stronger than usual due to the increased tension and arousal that builds up during the extended stimulation.
‘Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology’ is a 1943 book by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Its main purpose is to assert the individual’s existence as prior to the individual’s essence. Sartre’s overriding concern was to demonstrate that free will exists. While a prisoner of war in 1940 and 1941, Sartre read Martin Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time,’ an ontological investigation through the lens and method of Husserlian phenomenology (Husserl was Heidegger’s teacher). Reading ‘Being and Time’ initiated Sartre’s own inquiry leading to the publication in 1943 of ‘Being and Nothingnes’s whose subtitle is ‘A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology.’
The essay is clearly influenced by Heidegger though Sartre was profoundly skeptical of any measure by which humanity could achieve a kind of personal state of fulfillment comparable to the hypothetical Heideggerian re-encounter with Being. In his much gloomier account, man is a creature haunted by a vision of ‘completion,’ what Sartre calls the ‘ens causa sui,’ which religions identify as God. Born into the material reality of one’s body, in a material universe, one finds oneself inserted into being. Consciousness has the ability to conceptualize possibilities, and to make them appear, or to annihilate them.
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex was written by Mary Roach in 2008. The book follows the winding history of science and its exploration of human sexuality, going back as far as Aristotle and finally ending with recent discoveries about the origination and anatomy of the female orgasm. Throughout, Mary Roach provides a humorous and often very personal view—both as a participant and observer—of humans, scientists, animals, and sex machines. Of the book’s numerous accounts, Roach discusses artificial insemination of sows in Denmark, the notorious history of sex machines, as well as much discussion and commentary on Kinsey’s notorious attic sex experiments. Her footnotes provide additional humor; as in a sentence which includes several DSM diagnoses listed as acronyms she adds ‘And from HAFD (hyperactive acronym formation disorder).’ In the book, Mary Roach describes a session in which she and her husband Ed volunteer to have sex in a 20-inch-diameter (510 mm) MRI tube in the interests of science. During the experiment, a doctor looks on, making suggestions, and finally telling Ed that he ‘may ejaculate now.’
White Tantrism [tan-triz-uhm] is a form of sexual alchemy which involves a man and a woman making sexual contact then transmuting their sexual energies whilst remaining still throughout the act and withdrawing without orgasm. It is regarded by its practitioners as an essential spiritual exercise for awakening consciousness rather than purely an act of pleasure. It is currently taught by schools of modern Gnosticism. The modern day Gnostic teacher Samael Aun Weor wrote extensively on the topic including his books ‘The Perfect Matrimony,’ ‘The Mystery of the Golden Blossom,’ and ‘The Three Mountains.’ He claims it to be a very ancient practice, taught in different ways by many schools throughout the ages. During the practice of sexual alchemy, the Kundalini (Chackric energy) is said to awaken which is claimed to be a conscious spiritual force which is often represented by a serpent coiled at the base of the spinal column. According to the Gnostic teachings, while performing the practice daily in an intensive and specific manner, the Kundalini eventually rises up the spinal column, vertebra by vertebra, awakening the chakras and psychic faculties as it rises and giving birth to spiritual bodies in higher dimensions. Samael Aun Weor claims this is what was meant by Jesus when he spoke of the need to be born-again, born of the spirit.
The term ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’ (ASMR) is a neologism for a claimed biological phenomenon, characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation often felt in the head, scalp or peripheral regions of the body in response to various visual and auditory stimuli. The phenomenon was first noted through internet culture such as blogs and online videos. Tom Stafford, a professor at the University of Sheffield, says ‘It might well be a real thing, but it’s inherently difficult to research.’ The term ASMR was first used in 2010 in by Jennifer Allen (under the alias ‘Envelope Nomia’ on Facebook), creator of the group, in response to a SteadyHealth forum posting of many people who were discussing the largely unknown sensation. ‘Autonomous’ pertains to the idiosyncrasy involved with people who experience ASMR since the nature of the response varies from person to person; the term meridian was claimed to be a less explicit word for orgasm. Some alternative names for ASMR includeAttention Induced Head Orgasm, Attention Induced Euphoria, and Attention Induced Observant Euphoria. The pleasant tingling or buzzing sensations felt in the head can be triggered by hearing people whispering.
An article about the ‘chills’ phenomenon induced by specific moments in a musical piece mentions distinctions made by users on the Reddit section for ASMR to distinguish the valence between ASMR and cold chill (also called frisson). Writer Sean T. Collins quoted Ohio State University professor David Huron, who teaches in the university’s School of Music, claiming ASMR and cold chill are different, ‘The [ASMR] effect is clearly strongly related to the perception of non-threat and altruistic attention,’ says Huron, who notes that there’s a strong similarity to physical grooming in primates. ‘Non-human primates derive enormous pleasure (bordering on euphoria) when being groomed by a grooming partner.’ And, says Huron, they groom each other not to get clean, but rather to bond with each other.
Sex-positive feminism is a movement that began in the early 1980s to promote sexual freedom as an essential component of women’s freedom. Some became involved in the sex-positive feminist movement in response to efforts by anti-pornography feminists, such as Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, to put pornography at the center of a feminist explanation of women’s oppression. This period of intense debate and acrimony between sex-positive and anti-pornography feminists during the early 1980s is often referred to as the ‘Feminist Sex Wars.’ Other less academic sex-positive feminists became involved not in opposition to other feminists but in direct response to what they saw as patriarchal control of sexuality.
Sex-positive feminists oppose legal or social efforts to control sexual activities between consenting adults, whether these efforts are initiated by the government, other feminists, opponents of feminism, or any other institution. They embrace sexual minority groups, endorsing the value of coalition-building with members of groups targeted by sex-negativity. Sex-positive feminism is connected with the sex-positive movement.
Orgone energy was a hypothetical universal life force originally proposed in the 1930s by Austrian psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. In its final conception, developed by Reich’s student Charles Kelly after Reich’s death, Orgone was conceived as the anti-entropic principle of the universe, a creative substratum in all of nature comparable to Mesmer’s animal magnetism, the Odic force of Carl Reichenbach and Henri Bergson’s élan vital. Orgone was seen as a massless, omnipresent substance, similar to luminiferous aether, but more closely associated with living energy than inert matter. It could coalesce to create organization on all scales, from the smallest microscopic units—called bions in orgone theory—to macroscopic structures like organisms, clouds, or even galaxies. Reich’s theories held that deficits or constrictions in bodily orgone were at the root of many diseases—including cancer—much as deficits or constrictions in the libido could produce neuroses in Freudian theory.
He created the Orgone Institute to pursue research into orgone energy after he emigrated to the US, and used it to publish literature and distribute material relating to the topic for more than a decade. Reich designed special ‘orgone accumulators’—devices ostensibly collecting and storing orgone energy from the environment—for improvement of general health or even for weather control. Ultimately, the FDA obtained a federal injunction barring the interstate distribution of orgone-related materials, on the grounds that Reich and his associates were making false and misleading claims, and later jailed Reich and destroyed all orgone-related materials at the institute after Reich violated the injunction. Contrary to common misconception, Reich always rejected the idea that the accumulator could provide orgastic potency. Orgone is regarded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a type of ‘putative energy,’ a model which some therapists use for clinical procedures, for which specific measurement machines can be built. There is no empirical support for the concept of orgone in medicine or the physical sciences, and research into the concept ceased with the end of the Institute.
Within the work of the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957), the term orgastic potency referred to the ability to experience an orgasm with specific psychosomatic characteristics. Reich described it as ‘the real emotional experience of the loss of your ego, of your whole spiritual self,’ and believed it was essential for the capacity to love. For Reich, ‘orgastic impotence,’ or failure to attain orgastic potency (not to be confused with anorgasmia, the inability to reach orgasm), meant that the undischarged libido, which he saw as a physical energy, might cause illness. This he defined as neurosis, arguing that ‘not a single neurotic individual possesses orgastic potency.’ According to one of his followers, Elsworth Baker, someone who can attain orgastic potency ‘cannot maintain a neurosis.’
Reich coined the term in 1924 and described the concept in his 1927 book ‘Die Funktion des Orgasmus,’ the manuscript of which he presented to Sigmund Freud on the latter’s 70th birthday. Though Reich regarded his work as complementing Freud’s original theory of anxiety neurosis, Freud was ambivalent in his reception. Freud’s view was that there was no single cause of neurosis. Reich continued to use the concept as an indicator of a person’s health in his later therapeutic methods, such as vegetotherapy (physical manifestations of emotions). During the period 1933-1937 he attempted to ground his orgasm theory in physiology, both theoretically and experimentally.
The eight-circuit model of consciousness is a transhuman (an intermediary form between the human and a hypothetical posthuman) theory proposed by Timothy Leary and expanded on by Robert Anton Wilson and Antero Alli. The model describes eight circuits of information (eight ‘brains’) that operate within the human nervous system. Each circuit is concerned with a different sphere of activity. The lower four, the ‘larval circuits,’ deal with normal psychology, while the upper four, the ‘stellar circuits,’ deal with psychic, mystical, enlightened and psychedelic states of mind. These higher circuits are thought to have only recently evolved, with just a fraction of human beings using them. The higher the circuit, the fewer people have activated it. Leary describes the four larval circuits as necessary for surviving and functioning in a terrestrial human society. He proposed that the higher four exist primarily for future use by humans who might someday migrate to outer space and live extraterrestrially.
Leary, Alli and Wilson have written about the model in depth and how each circuit operates, both in the lives of individual people and in societies. The term ‘circuits’ came from the first wave of cybernetics research and development in the United States in the 1970s. (Other have proposed that the term ‘systems’ should be substituted for ‘circuits’ to reflect both a systems theory approach and also the changing anatomy of an entity as it goes through a neurological change). Each successive circuit represents a more complex phase of evolution. In line with recapitulation theory (the idea that the embryonic development of an individual organism follows the same path as the evolutionary history of its species), the model applies equally to the evolution of an individual organism and the evolution of the whole tree of life. Each neurological circuit provides a new cognitive function (whether or not the organism is aware of the circumstances that led to its activation). The eight circuits are 1) oral biosurvival; 2) emotional–territorial; 3) symbolic or neurosemantic–dexterity; 4) domestic or socio-sexual; 5) neurosomatic; 6) neuroelectric or metaprogramming; 7) neurogenetic or morphogenetic; and 8) psychoatomic or quantum non-local (Overmind).
‘Conversion therapy‘ (also known as ‘Reparative therapy’) is a pseudo-scientific therapy that aims to change sexual orientation. Mainstream American medical and scientific organizations have expressed concern over conversion therapy and consider it potentially harmful. The advancement of conversion therapy may cause social harm by disseminating inaccurate views about sexual orientation. As a result, conversion therapy on minors is illegal in California. The American Psychiatric Association has condemned psychiatric ‘treatment’ which is ‘based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation.’ It states that, ‘Ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation.’ And that political and moral debates over the integration of gays and lesbians into the mainstream of American society have obscured scientific data about changing sexual orientation ‘by calling into question the motives and even the character of individuals on both sides of the issue.’
The highest-profile contemporary advocates of conversion therapy tend to be fundamentalist Christian groups and other right-wing religious organizations. The main organization advocating secular forms of conversion therapy is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which often partners with religious groups. Psychologist Douglas Haldeman writes that conversion therapy comprises efforts by mental health professionals and pastoral care providers to convert lesbians and gay men to heterosexuality by techniques including aversive treatments, such as ‘the application of electric shock to the hands and/or genitals,’ and ‘nausea-inducing drugs…administered simultaneously with the presentation of homoerotic stimuli,’ masturbatory reconditioning (the individual uses his anomalous fantasies to achieve arousal, and then he switches to a normal fantasy just before orgasm), visualization, social skills training, psychoanalytic therapy, and spiritual interventions, such as ‘prayer and group support and pressure.’ NARTH repudiates aversive techniques and stresses therapeutic efforts toward growing more fully into what it considers one’s biologically appropriate gender identity.