What am I making my brain do to my body?
July 3, 2008 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Can someone tell me what I am doing in my brain to cause this sensation in my body? Am I a monk?

I am a 23 year old male in very good shape, and ever since I was in middle school I have been able to perform the following body hack. (I am posting this anon because several of my friends read Meta and I wish to keep these details a secret from the public.)

If my body is perfectly still (whether sitting in class or laying down), I can intensely focus on a part of my brain (it feels like the rear top side of my brain), and immediately flood my body with either a chemical or nervous sensation that gives an incredibly pleasurable feeling. It's sort of like the sensation one feels before reaching orgasm. I feel the sensation start in my head and quickly work its way down to my legs until my entire body feels the same way.

This sensation is especially strong in my knees, legs, groin area, and chest. Usually I cannot sustain this for over 10 consecutive seconds - it's almost like my brain gets fatigued at keeping this up. I discovered about 8 months ago that I can increase my heart rate by doing this, and If I hold my breath while doing this I can cause a pronounced 1-2 beat in my heart I can feel in my chest. I can actually speed up time it takes to get an erection by doing this brain hack by focusing the "sensation" on my groin area.

Also for what it's worth when I was 17 or so, I remember actually reaching full orgasm by doing this with no manual assistance whatsoever when i was laying in bed one night. I have not been able to replicate that scenario since that one time.

I really want to figure out what this condition is called or what I am actually doing to my body. Anyone have any sources, ideas, or comments?
posted by anonymous to Science & Nature (19 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
First of all: congratulations. That is awesome.

It sounds like you're able to trigger a dopamine (I hope I am remembering the right chemical) reaction in your body by simply concentrating.

Here's a RadioLab episode which might help to explain what's going on, in an entertaining fashion.
posted by bryanjbusch at 8:10 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

I can also do something in my brain that if I concentrate, I can make my legs feel very strange, and I can only do it for about 10 seconds as well, but it is in no way sexual, and is actually mildly uncomfortable. I have always been curious as to what is actually happening to my body when I do this (for some reasons, I always assumed it was draining blood from my legs or something), and so when I was having an EEG done once, without the tester's knowledge, I induced that strange feeling in my legs, and almost immediately the tester warned me not to fall asleep. Not sure if that will help you, but maybe some other answerer will be nudged in the right direction by this?
posted by Grither at 8:10 AM on July 3, 2008

Some women are able to achieve orgasm through concentration (mentioned on page two of this PDF)
posted by lowlife at 9:10 AM on July 3, 2008

I can do this! I've considered using AskMe to find out what it is, but I didn't know how to describe it.

I've been able to do it ever since I was a child. I can do it for longer now than I used to be able to. During meditation it is much more potent, sometimes unbearably pleasurable.

I've never been able to connect it with any other bodily function. It feels like it spreads outward and upward from the sacrum, but I can't tell. I have been reading more about kundalini to see if there are parallels but I don't really know what I'm looking for there either.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 9:34 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is the question I've always wanted to ask but never remembered to. Cool!
posted by lyam at 10:43 AM on July 3, 2008

I can do a similar thing, but it starts at the soles of my feet. I relax, and sort of "turn on the tap", or whatever, and it's like I'm reaching orgasm. The feeling moves up my body in a split second, focused in the soles of my feet and solar plexus. The feeling itself is as intense as orgasm, but it's a different sensation. Almost like an electric shock.

I have no answers for you, but I figured I'd throw the information out there anyway.
posted by Solomon at 12:58 PM on July 3, 2008

I learned to do something similar years ago from a book that I can't remember now. It may have been a book on Tibetan meditation.

The instructions were to lie down with arms relaxed and palms facing up. Then imagine your right hand getting extremely heavy. I think there was a mantra that went along with it. When you feel a strange sensation in your palm, you visualize spreading it up your arm and to the rest of your body.
posted by euphorb at 1:16 PM on July 3, 2008

I. am. so. envious.
Especially since it doesn't seem to be a singular thing. (mmkhd in some strange state of mind: Did you know that humans are one of the few mammals without a penis bone? Drunken buddy1: I have one. Drunken buddy2: Me, too! All: Ha,ha mmkhd has no penis bone!)
posted by mmkhd at 1:55 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness.

I'm too dumb to read this, but it looks like it's on subject. FWIW, I can do this too. There's a sanskrit (or maybe pali) word for pleasurable sensations during meditation, but it escapes me right now. Here's a good forum in which to ask.
posted by desjardins at 1:56 PM on July 3, 2008

Hey! I think I can do exactly what you're describing. I remember doing it, accidentally, freshman year of high-school (math class) and then practicing it fairly often during class.
posted by ifthe21stcentury at 3:39 AM on July 4, 2008

I do this! I sometimes do it when I'm listening to a particularly dramatic part in a song and if I time it right it coincides with the musical climax - uber-drama with goosebumps ensues. I also do it when I'm concentrating/meditating to fall asleep, though then it's mostly by accident as I'm not really looking for a euphoria shot when I just want to black out.

You are not alone!

PS: It's awesome.
posted by Skyanth at 4:12 AM on July 4, 2008

I'm with Skyanth, I do something like this with music. For myself, I coined the term "spiritual orgasm", as it is nothing like sexual orgasm, while still being, somehow, orgasmic. However, my sensations center on my solar plexus. At its strongest, my solar plexus, both shoulders, and my forehead all join in. Such experience leaves me calmer and more focused than is typical.

I've also done it differently when listening to more energetic types of music. One time I was whirling around madly, and started blinking my eyes. (The music was some ELP track, perhaps some version of Tarkus). Next thing I knew, the part where my eyes were closed were when I saw something different. Instead of the apartment, I saw the view from the roof, 2 floors up (I was living on the upper westside of Manhattan at the time, on Riverside Drive, so the view was quite remarkable).
posted by Goofyy at 5:25 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

One thing I'd strongly recommend is reading Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas. Urban Tantra is the best example of instructional writing about this kind of energy-making that escapes the stereotypically gooey/vague new age style most people associate with western tantra.

Like you, I've got a natural connection with this sort of thing, but I think almost anybody can find that connection or deepen the connection they've got. In sexual energy/breathing workshops, I've seen people go from openminded-but-essentially-skeptical to stunned and reeling and flooded with energy.

In case you're near NYC or DC/Baltimore, the most outstanding workshop leaders I know in this area are Barbara Carellas and Whittney Matlock, and by far the best event for exploring a good variety of energy/sexuality workshops is the weekend-long Beltane Sacred Sexuality event every spring (and now its sister event Fires of Venus, which will probably happen every fall).
posted by kalapierson at 10:34 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Jesus, I am so jealous. Seems this is very real, and reproducible. Can we all learn to do this?
posted by fcummins at 3:26 PM on July 5, 2008

Almost all, I think. Everybody's different (obviously, it's not a failing if this doesn't end up being your thing).

I think the key is to approach it in an openminded way and be flexible -- know that you might have to keep looking til you find a route into it that makes sense to you and doesn't alienate you (because there's plenty of American writing about tantra and energy orgasms that some people will perceive as just abstruse and/or sexist and/or silly). I think there are ways into it for almost everybody.
posted by kalapierson at 12:28 AM on July 6, 2008

I do this too! Thank you for writing this question! I have almost asked this question many times, but was never able to describe it properly.

Hmm, I am a little disappointed that it's not just my unique magic power, but I guess that's not too surprising.
posted by allen8219 at 1:35 PM on July 7, 2008

I can do this, but only in my sleep. Typically happens when I experience sleep paralysis or hypnagogic hallucinations. Read up on sleep paralysis, and you'll find that it scares the crap out of most people, but a small percentage finds it intensely pleasurable. My guess is that the people who find it pleasurable do exactly what I do.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:21 PM on July 23, 2008

Seconding what Afroblanco said. I'd say that for every 5 times I get sleep paralysis, 4 times scare the shit out of me and 1 time completely makes up for the rest. I just figured it was part of the sleep paralysis thing, not something that could be done normally...
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:25 PM on July 25, 2008

Fascinating! Seems the two reponses here are "I can do this!" or "I'm jealous!". Count me in on the 'jealous' team.

Does seem to sound a lot like a kundalini experience from what I have read about kundalini in the past. You might want to check out Gopi Krisha's Living With Kundalini, a first-hand account of his experiences. And from what I recall of the book, no New Age mumbo-jumbo — he was an accountant or something similar, and the experience was a bit scary for him due to the intensity. A very down-to-earth autobiographical recount of the events.

But, having experienced neither I can't say that these are related — perhaps worth a look though.
posted by horhey at 2:03 AM on September 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

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