Remember all those times you tried to meditate? Sitting cross-legged on the floor with one eye on the clock, trying unsuccessfully to stop your mind from repeating that song you heard on the way home (“Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m beautiful…”). Even a few minutes of this can feel like sheer torture. People who meditate regularly swear by its tranquil effects, but if you’re not one of them, the latest research tidbit may reignite your interest in trying: Orgasm and meditation create the same effect in our brains.
No, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get all hot and bothered during meditation, and inappropriate, naked meditation is not going to become the new fad, but it’s interesting to know that these two acts have similar mind-altering results. According to the study which was published in Scientific American, meditation and orgasm were both shown to reduce self awareness, alter our body perceptions and decrease our ability to sense pain.
“Pleasure is also linked to a loss of awareness of the boundaries of our body, and this, too, involves both sides of the brain. Orgasm and meditation dissolve the sense of physical boundary,” said study author, Nadia Webb.
Apparently, this is nothing new to spiritual teachers and gurus. One such Indian teacher, Osho, explains:
“The experience of orgasm itself is always nonsexual. Even though you have achieved it through sex, it itself has no sexuality in it. And my own understanding is that meditation has grown out of the experience of orgasm.”
Although there are many similarities, meditation and orgasm have some different effects on the brain, too. For one, orgasm activates the right hemisphere of the brain while meditation activates the left. They also affect your sense of inner-body and out-of-body awareness differently:
“Unlike meditation, orgasm seems a heightened sense of being within one’s body rather than the sense of being outside of it. The disconnected awareness meditation (“I am not my thoughts, I am not this experience”) is antithetical to the self-forgetting of sex in which wallowing in the experience, and the relationship, is precisely the point.”
The bottom line? Do both. You don’t have to be in Eat, Pray, Love mode to reap the benefits from a few minutes of mindful meditation a day. And no one needs to tell us how good an orgasm is for our brain — and various other body parts.