Hurt so good.

Yes. Well. New Scientist’s never-so-aptly-named “Short Sharp Science” blog revels in the discovery that the female orgasm is neurologically linked to pain:

To get his results, Komisaruf somehow persuaded nine women to stimulate themselves to orgasm while having their brains scanned in a functional MRI machine. Taking snapshots of activity throughout the event allowed Komisaruf and his colleagues to create a 3D video of the spread of activity around the brain during an orgasm.

Although the work has clear applications for the treatment of sexual dysfunction, there could be other avenues to explore. Komisaruf says his study showed activation in numerous areas previously thought to be inactive during orgasm, such as parts of the frontal cortex, providing more information about neural connectivity.

His team also saw activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula. This was surprising, since these areas are more commonly involved in the processing of pain. “The fact that these areas are both active during pain and intense pleasure suggests that they may be involved in the analgesic effects of orgasm,” says Komisaruf. This suggests the work may be useful to those looking at the neural mechanisms of pain and its treatment.

I imagine the same centers light up for any sensation that we register as “intense.” There’s always something pain-like about intensity.