This video is courtesy of TheVisualMD.com.
You may know what it feels like to have an orgasm -- but do you know what it looks like? Now, thanks to a team of researchers at Rutgers University, you can see the big "O" in all its colorful glory.
Nan Wise, a 54-year-old PhD student, sex therapist and associate on the research project, agreed to be the guinea pig. She was hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner and stimulated herself while the machine took "snapshots" of her brain every two seconds, across 80 different regions, The Guardian reported. Professor Barry Komisaruk and his team then spliced these snapshots together into an animated film. The movie is the first of its kind.
And Wise isn't the only one to have participated in this project. Another female subject, Kayt Sukel, who also happens to be a science and travel writer, blogged about the experience, discussing the difficulty inherent in having an orgasm while "bolted" to a scanner:
It's not the most romantic spot one might engage in self-loving. In fact, if you've ever spent time in an MRI scanner, it may seem nearly impossible.
Turns out -- for both Wise and Sukel -- the task at hand wasn't impossible at all, and they got to have some fun, all in the name of science.
Watching the video, it's hard not to be visually stimulated by the colors alone. (It's really only a matter of time before someone on YouTube decides to post it with Katy Perry's "Firework" playing in the background.) The color scale, which ranges from dark red to light yellow, represents the amount of oxygen that is being utilized in that section of the brain. As the orgasm reaches its climax, the image lights up.
Komisaruk recently presented his research at the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC, although it hasn't been published in a peer-reviewed journal. He hopes that his work will not only allow scientists to understand why some men and women have trouble achieving orgasm, but also understand our body's reaction to pleasure as a whole.
"We're using orgasm as a way of producing pleasure. If we can learn how to activate the pleasure regions of the brain then that could have wider applications," he told The Guardian.
Understanding and encouraging pleasure while making really interesting, surprisingly beautiful videos? Amen to that.
Related: Here are some of the potential, "added bonus" health benefits of having an orgasm:
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