When it comes to orgasm, 'What’s the big deal? is rarely ever the reaction. Let's be honest, humans are spellbound by this riveting response. It’s often hailed as the greatest human experience. You have not truly lived unless you’ve had an orgasm – or have you?

Life is full of intoxicating outbursts of all-consuming excitement, many of which rival reaching climax. Are humans therefore guilty of having played up orgasm as the peak experience?

A study titled, 'The Components of Optimal Sexuality: A Portrait of ‘Great Sex,'" out of the University of Ottawa, indicates that we are indeed glorifying the big “O” a bit too much.

Oddly, the study’s mostly U.S.-based participants ranked intense physical sensations, including climax, as extremely unimportant in sizing up good sex. The 34 male and 30 female participants, ranging in age from 23 to 82, saw lust, sexual desire, attraction and chemistry as terribly unimportant as well.

Equally intriguing is the finding that sexual gratification doesn’t have much to do with having an ideal body or technique, as the media would have us believe.

Participants largely confessed that sexual satisfaction has a lot more to do with erotic intimacy, connecting, being present and uninhibited and in-sync.

Such findings are resounding given they highlight sex as a holistic experience and not just a physiological one. They also underscore the fact that what rocks us to our core are experiences beyond the groin that move us. While orgasm is an amazing experience, in many ways we’ve been brainwashed to think that it’s the maximum one, when it’s obviously not.

So if orgasm isn’t all that, what is? When asked about their most intense, positive life experiences, people answered:

"Mine would be when my husband and I exchanged wedding vows we wrote in front of family and friends in a ceremony overlooking the ocean in Mexico. What made the moment even more beautiful was seeing my husband with a huge smile, tears running down his face, as I walked down the aisle."

"Nothing beats the emotions that gripped me with the arrival of my first child. You always hear how wonderful it is, but nothing prepares you for just how great it is."

"In my yoga/meditation practice, I regularly practice the Breath of Fire, where you rapidly pump the navel center while powerfully breathing through your nose. The energetic changes that take place with the final, deep breath are like nothing else. The natural high that comes from activating your life force is better than any drug you could ever take."

"In the immediate aftermath of breaking up with my partner, I sat quietly, not moving. I didn’t call anyone to cry. I didn’t plead, apologize, get angry, or distract myself with sport or cleaning. I just sat for a couple of hours doing NOTHING and watched the emotions as they coursed through me. It was as if my body processed the unhappiness much more effectively because I let it move through me. And I suddenly, surprisingly, felt utter elation in that it was the right decision. It was incredible – the most positive, although tough, emotional experience ever."

If you’ve had not only an orgasm, but a "mind-blowing" orgasm, you may still be scratching your head. How can these other life experiences even compare? How can orgasm not be the pinnacle of living?

What makes for life’s most incredible experiences really comes down to the individual. Orgasm may just be that for you. Whether or not that’s the case, however, it’s important for humans to scrutinize the peak potential we place upon our sex lives and life experiences in general.

There are a plethora of passion-inducing experiences to be had in and out of the bedroom. To get locked into this head space of orgasm being the highest state ever known to man only works against us.

It minimizes the significance of other life events. It defeats us in our bedroom pursuits, with lovers coming away from sexual exchanges feeling insecure or sexually inept if orgasm isn’t reached.

As lovers and humans, we serve ourselves well in approaching every positive experience as potentially orgasmic. We stand to only reap greater rewards in regarding any uplifting moment as better than orgasm.

While I’ve had some out-of-this-world orgasms, I personally think that a good laugh gives orgasm a run for its money. Nothing is more delicious than losing yourself in a side-splitting, seemingly endless crying with laughter session. It’s no wonder that being drunk with laughter has so many benefits.

Laughter boosts your immune system, healing and cleansing your mind, body and soul. It increases the level of endorphins and neurotransmitters that are health-enhancing while lowering the level of stress hormones in your body, like cortisol.

Laughter provides fantastic physical and emotional release. It gives your body a good workout, exercising the diaphragm, contracting the abdominals and working up your heart rate. It enhances your mood, drawing you away from any negative emotions, like anger, that are consuming you.

In being utterly contagious, laughter also connects us. Hmmm, kind of sounds a lot like orgasm.

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."

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