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Let's Talk About Your Genital Sensory Cortex (And How It Gets You Off)

You can think your way into a orgasm more than you think...

Sex

Whenever someone tells me that, according to them, you get to a point in life where sex isn't "that big of a deal" or the topic becomes pretty redundant, pardon the word that I'm about to use but I can't seem to think of a better one at the moment — all I do is scoff. Listen, I've been writing about sex, on some level, ever since I've been a professional writer (well over 20 years now) and I continue to find out things that — again, pardon the pun considering today's topic — blow my mind. Today, we're gonna touch on something we all have — a genital sensory cortex.


I wouldn't be surprised if you've heard before that your biggest sex organ is your brain. Matter of fact, I've said that very thing on this platform on numerous occasions. Well, while there used to be a time when — surprise, surprise — women's brains weren't studied all that much when it comes to sexual stimulation and pleasure, we live in a new age and more and more data is coming out by the day. For instance, did you know that the part of your brain that reacts to your vagina (it's connected to the pelvic nerve), cervix and nipples being stimulated is different than the part of your brain that directly triggers (in the best way possible, of course), your clitoris (it's connected to the pudendal nerve)? The more you know. The more you freakin' know.

OK, but I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. Anyway, I've written articles on here like "Mental Foreplay Hacks That Ultimately Takes Intercourse To New Levels" and "What Exactly Is 'Orgasmic Meditation'?" that clearly support how much I think the mind is a terrible thing to waste when it comes to not incorporating mindfulness in order to experience some pretty incredible sex. Now I'm hoping that a technical term like "genital sensory cortex" won't cause you to yawn with boredom before I can break down the kind of doors that it can unlock for you inside that bedroom of yours.

Your Genital Sensory Cortex? What in the World Is That?

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Let's jump right into it, shall we? We all have something called our sensory cortex (also known as the somatosensory cortex). Basically, it is a strip of brain tissue that's located in the same place that our headphones would go (but on our brain, of course), right in the middle of both brain hemispheres. All throughout it, there are a variety of neurons that are connected to different parts of our body. Interestingly enough, the size of each body part corresponds to how much sensory information our brain is able to process. The fascinating thing about this is, thanks to this part of the brain, we are able to respond to feelings of pleasure and pain; ones that derive directly from touch. This means that when we touch our body or our body is touched, our nerves are able to send signals to our brain and ultimately to our sensory cortex.

And just what does this have to do with making sex better? Well, here's the thing. Although many of us already know that our clitoris (whose stimuli is located on the same part of our brain as it is for a man as it relates to his penis; it's called the homunculus) only has a sexual purpose, contains 8,000 nerve ends (double what men have in their penis) and that stimulating it is the easiest way that most of us are able to climax, now we've got greater insight into how to have other kinds of orgasms. Take vaginal ones. You've probably heard that 70 percent of women struggle with experiencing those. So, how are the other 30 percent able to pull it off? A part of it has to do with clitoris/vaginal placement. What I mean by that is, the closer a woman's clitoris is to her vaginal opening, the easier it is for both areas to be stimulated during intercourse which ultimately results in a vaginal orgasm. OK, but here's the deal about all of this.

What science is discovering is the more that our brain gets involved in sexual activity, the greater the chance we have of having all kinds of orgasms — nipple orgasms, vaginal orgasms…you name it. In other words, an orgasm isn't just a physical reaction that comes from sexual stimuli. The more our brain gets into the action, the better sex is.

Case in point. I recently read about a study where some people merely imagined being sexually stimulated with a sex toy vs. actually experiencing that kind of stimuli. What the researchers discovered (via some fMRI brain scans) was, the sensory cortex part of the brain that lights up when physical stimulation happens, it responds the same way to thought alone. In other words, the genital sensory cortex of the brain reacted the same way to "thought" as it did to "action".

If you really let all of this sink in, now it makes better sense why erotica works for some of us, sexual sounds (even without touch) work for some of us and imagining sex with someone can also get us pretty aroused. Our brain gets sexually stimulated by thought alone. So, when thought and touch are combined — BOOM.

So, what is the genital sensory cortex? It's simply the parts of your brain that directly connect to sexual stimulation. If you connect all of these dots, the takeaway is, if there is just as much effort put into "getting the mind right" as it is in getting your body off, you can end up having orgasms in places and on levels that you never really have before.

5 Ways to Significantly Increase Your Chances of Getting Off, Thanks to Your Genital Sensory Cortex

1. RELAX

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If the main thing that is sticking out in your mind is, "Damn. This sure requires a helluva lot of thinking," I hear you. Yes, you do need to be super intentional about your thought process and yes, that can initially seem like a bit of a buzzkill when it comes to sex. And yes, I get that by my saying that you should relax, on top of all of this, might seem a bit absurd. Just remember that these thoughts are the fun kind — the "dirty" kind. And if what you're thinking about makes you feel good, it won't be hard to have a feeling of zen. The main point here is don't kill yourself trying to think about pleasurable moments. If you follow these other tips, relaxing won't be very hard to do anyway.

2. Think About the Last Time You Had Some Really Amazing Sex (with Your Partner)

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Here's something that you can (and should) try alone. Get quiet and comfortable and think about the last time you and your partner had some great sex together. As the thoughts get more intense, do some deep breathing and focus on creating vivid memories in your mind. If you notice your nipples hardening or your vagina getting wetter, even without much touch on your part, that is a pretty good sign that your genital sensory cortex has been activated. Now you can move more confidently into the next step.

3. Share Your Most Intimate Fantasy with Him

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Instead of immediately sharing with your partner all of this scientific stuff, talk to him about a really intimate fantasy that you've always wanted to experience. If you explain it all in as much detail as you can, I can almost guarantee that it's going to arouse him (which means that his genital sensory cortex has been "triggered" too). As you find yourself getting more excited, it's time for point #3.

4. Allow Him to Touch Areas Where You Want to Cum but Haven’t. Literally Think it Through.

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Here's the real clincher. Usually, when we find ourselves getting aroused, we gravitate to the parts of our body that will get us to "the mountaintop" as quickly as possible. This time, though, I want you to aim for a part of your body that either doesn't get enough sexual attention or you have yet to receive an orgasm from.

If a vaginal orgasm is your goal, have him go with your vaginal region — no clitoris, just vagina. While your partner is gently touching you around and/or inside of your vagina opening, again, deep breathe and think about nothing else other than how his touches are making you feel. No matter how much you may want him to stimulate your clitoris, reject the notion. Focusing on your vagina only and how much pleasure you want to receive can very well increase the chances of your vagina becoming super aroused, making it more possible than ever to have a vaginal orgasm.

5. Try a Bit of Mental “Edging”.

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Final point. When it comes to "tripping off" your genital sensory cortex, something else that I read about was the importance of focusing on the pattern of thought then touch, thought then touch. What immediately comes to my mind is it's all like a form of mental edging. For instance, think about your partner caressing your neck, then ask him to do it, only for a few seconds, before you go back to only thinking about it again. We all know how human nature is — the less we get something, the more we desire it. If you and your partner both go through this pattern for 10 minutes or so, you very well could end up climaxing, a few times, without intercourse ever taking place. All thanks to learning how to tap into your genital sensory cortex. You're welcome. #wink

For more love and relationships, features, dating tips and tricks, and marriage advice, check out xoNecole's Sex & Love section here.

Featured image by Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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