The Ins And Outs: What to do when waiting for the blood to rush back to the head

I don’t know about everyone else, but that summer left me recharged and ready to go for round two of this delicious column. And so we’ll begin the semester with a little discussion about round two sex.

Let’s take a second to recap what happens toward the end of round one. An orgasm takes you in a delicious release of endorphins, you spend a few seconds floating in euphoria, and then fall back to the world to meet a fuzzy cloud of post-climactic bliss. Here’s where plenty of couples reach an issue — while women tend to be good to go again almost immediately, men can be sated, sleepy and ready for a break.

This is because men and women have different biological responses to orgasm.

“Blood is propelled out of an erect penis during the spasms of orgasm via a concentrated network of veins. There is no such single concentrated vein pathway from a woman’s erect clitoris and labia, so blood flows in and out of her erectile tissues more readily, facilitating repeated orgasms,” according to Cathy Winks and Anne Semans in “The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex.”

What this basically means is that after an orgasm, women are biologically still set up for another orgasm and are still sexually aroused — so you lucky lesbians pretty much never have to stop. But SF State peer sexual health educator Deirdra Bridgett says that this is not the case for every woman.

“Some women can and some women can’t. It just depends on the woman,” she says, referring to a woman’s personal sexual appetite. Regardless, “most women don’t need a refractory period. In fact, refractory period is not associated with most women.”

Instead, a refractory period — the recovery period of time following an orgasm in which it is impossible to have another orgasm — is associated with men, because, as the “Guide to Sex” says, the blood leaves the penis during an orgasm. This means that the penis is really sensitive following an orgasm and that he can’t get another erection until after the refractory period has run its course, which could be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

But don’t despair, horny ladies and gents! There’s an abundance of activities to kill time. If your guy is the type who gets turned on by an intimate connection, feel free to cuddle and caress your way through the refractory period — but make sure to avoid the sensitive genital region. If round one was hard and fast, this approach could be especially welcome. Also try an intense make out session or let him spoil you with oral or manual sex. Or experiment to your libido’s content.

No matter what, most guys will eventually find themselves rearing to go — and the refractory period teasing will have you both begging for more.