Nipples, Vagina,and the Medial Paracentral Lobule

Nipples stimulate the same area of the brain as genitals do

August 5, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier

A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals medical evidence that women’s nipples stimulate the brain in the same way that genital stimulation does, something most women already know.

A team of researchers at Rutgers University led by psychologist Barry Komisaruk, recruited 11 healthy women between the ages of 23 and 56. The women were placed in an fMRI scanner and asked to stimulate their cervix, nipple, clitoris and vagina with either a rhythmic finger tap or plastic dildo.

The  images of the women revealed increased activity in the medial paracentral lobule for each area of stimulation, however each stimulated area was responsible for lighting up a specific region.

There are four nerves that bring signals to the brain from the genital region. The pudendal nerve is connected to the clitoris, the pelvic nerve to the vagina, the hypogastric nerve to the cervix and uterus and the vagus nerve which also connects the cervix.

Nipple stimulation during breast-feeding is known to cause the release of oxytocin which triggers uterine contractions and Komisaruk believes this then sends a signal to the genital area of the brain. However, the few men who have been studied under the same controls show similar activity to nipple stimulation. One of the study researchers is now also looking at women who have had a hysterectomy to see if the response is the same.

Komisaruk hopes that this new research will lead to information to help people who are unable to reach orgasm but is also looking at ways to use this pleasurable stimulation to directly control brain activity. According to Komisaruk, learning to better understand and control the part of the brain that produces pleasurable sensations could make a difference in the treatment of depression, anxiety, addiction or even obesity.

About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
This entry was posted in Sex and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.