Getting to O-town can be complicated, not just for women, but guys too. In fact, there's a lot that has to happen in a man's body before he climaxes. As urologist Aaron Spitz, MD, explains his new guide The Penis Book, both the penis and brain must generate a specific combination of signals that "jump from nerve to nerve, zipping along to meet in a specialized part of [the] lower spine known as the ‘spinal ejaculation center.'" The spinal ejaculation center then pulls the trigger to "fire off the big guns."
So what are those specific signals needed to launch an orgasm? Dr. Spitz details the whole process in his book. Of course, sensations of touch, pressure and vibration in his penis prime your guy. But other sensory info plays a big role too: "Sight is one of the most important senses for arousing a man," says Dr. Spitz—and the visual cues that set a guy off (say, a glimpse of the back of your neck) can be uniquely his own.
Also factor in "lusty, musty erotic smells (is that latex?), erotic touches (light brushes, deep massage, or perhaps a spanking), erotic sounds (breathing, moaning, or dirty talk), and erotic tastes (salty skin, wet lips, or perhaps some drizzled honey.)" Then there's what's happening in his mind: "Add to the mix the fantasies, thoughts, and memories all bouncing around the cerebral cortex, making all kinds of interesting connections," says Dr. Spitz.
That's not all though. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland—which sit deep in the brain, below the cerebral cortex—release hormones into the blood that cue the testicles to produce sperm and testosterone. “Testosterone circulates back to the brain, where it stokes the fire of sexual desire,” writes Dr. Spitz, conjuring steamy thoughts and fantasies, and making all that sensory stimulation flooding in even hotter.
The deep-brain center also releases oxytocin, aka the love hormone. This is the final key that commands the spinal ejaculation center to do its thing and … boom!
Now let's back up a tiny bit: Just moments before climax, "the semen cocktail," as Dr. Spitz calls it (a shot of sperm and two mixers), began collecting in the urethra. When a guy reaches orgasm, muscles at the base of the penis squeeze the urethra to pump the semen out. “These contractions are what most men associate with a primary source of pleasure during orgasm,” says Dr. Spitz.
And there you have it: the male orgasm in a nutshell.