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Orgasms in men, unlike those in women, occur in two distinct stages. In the first stage of orgasm, the vas deferens (each of the two tubes that carry sperm) and the prostate and seminal vesicles begin a series of contractions that forces semen into the bulb of the urethra. The man experiences a sensation of eiaculatory inevitability — that is, the feeling of having reached the brink of control — as these contractions begin. This sense of inevitability is quite accurate because at this point ejaculation cannot be stopped. In the second stage of the male orgasm, contractions of the urethra and penis combine with contractions in the prostate gland to cause ejaculation or the spurting of semen out of the tip of the penis. The external appearance of semen does not occur until several seconds after the point of ejaculatory inevitability because of the distance semen must travel through the urethra.
During ejaculation, the neck of the urinary bladder is tightly shut to ensure that semen moves forward and to avoid any mixing of urine and semen. The rhythmic contractions of the prostate, perineal muscles, and shaft of the penis (creating the physical force that propels semen on its journey) occur initially at 0.8 second intervals, just as in women, and account for the spurting of the semen during ejaculation. After the first three or four contractions of the penis, the intervals between contractions become longer and the intensity of the contractions tapers off.
Male orgasm and ejaculation are not one and the same process, although in most men and under most circumstances the two occur simultaneously. Orgasm refers specifically to the
sudden rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region and elsewhere in the body that effectively release accumulated sexual tension and the mental sensations accompanying this experience. Ejaculation refers to the release of semen, which sometimes can occur without the presence of orgasm. Orgasm without ejaculation is common in boys before puberty and can also occur if the prostate is diseased or with the use of some drugs. Ejaculation without orgasm is less common but can occur in certain cases of neurological illness.
In retrograde ejaculation, the bladder neck does not close off properly during orgasm so that semen spurts backward into the bladder. This condition occurs in some men with multiple
sclerosis or diabetes, or after certain types of prostate surgery. There are no harmful physical effects, but infertility results, and the man may have a different sensation during ejaculation.
The subjective experience of orgasm in men starts quite consistently with the sensation of deep warmth or pressure (sometimes accompanied by throbbing) that corresponds to ejaculatory inevitability. Orgasm is then felt as sharp, intensely pleasurable contractions involving the anal sphincter, rectum, perineum, and genitals, which some men describe as a sensation, of pumping. A different feeling, sometimes called a warm rush of fluid or a shooting sensation, describes the actual process of semen traveling through the urethra. In general, men's orgasms tend to be more uniform than women's although all male orgasms are certainly not identical.