Barry R. Komisaruk, Ph.D.

Professor II

Rutgers University Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor

Associate Dean of the Graduate School

Adjunct Professor, Dept. Radiology, New Jersey College of Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Ph.D, Rutgers University

Rutgers University, Psychology Dept.
101 Warren Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Smith Hall
phone: (973) 353-5440 x3941; (973) 462-0178
fax: (973) 353-1171

Research Interests

We have identified a novel functional sensory pathway that conveys sensory activity from the vagina and cervix directly to the brain, bypassing completely the spinal cord. This genital sensory pathway is via the Vagus nerve, and it produces brain-mediated responses to vaginal-cervical stimulation in women who have suffered "complete" spinal cord injury, at any level of the spinal cord (Komisaruk et al, 2004). These women may also show sexual responses, including orgasm, to vaginal-cervical self-stimulation. We have found that vaginal-cervical stimulation also produces a potent blockage of pain throughout the body in women and laboratory animals. The Vagus nerve pathway suggests a means to rehabilitation of sexual and other visceral function after spinal cord injury. We have published the first evidence of brain regions involved in orgasm in women (Komisaruk et al, 2004). We have published a comprehensive review of neurological, pharmacological, hormonal, and health aspects of orgasm in our book, “The Science of Orgasm,” by Komisaruk, Beyer-Flores and Whipple, (2006) published by The Johns Hopkins University Press (JHUP), now in its second printing, and received a best book award from the SSSS/Kinsey Institute. A companion book, written in less technical form, will soon be published by JHUP: “The Orgasm Answer Guide,” by Komisaruk, Whipple, Nasserzadeh, and Beyer-Flores. A comprehensive review of our research is in press (Komisaruk, Whipple and Beyer, 2008).

Selected Recent Publications


Komisaruk, B.R., Beyer-Flores, C., and Whipple, B. (2006) The Science of Orgasm. In press. Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 358 pages.

Komisaruk, B.R., Whipple, B., Nasserzadeh, S., and Beyer-Flores, C. (2009) The Orgasm Answer Guide. Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, in preparation.

Selected Recent Review/Research Publications

Komisaruk, B.R., Whipple, B., and Beyer, C. (2008). Sexual Pleasure. In K.C. Berridge and M. Kringelbach, (eds.), Pleasures of the Brain: Neural Bases of Sensory Pleasure. New York. Oxford University Press. In press.

Komisaruk, B.R. (2008). Where is I? in N.Bauer, (ed.), Holistic Consciousness. In press.

Komisaruk, B.R., Whipple, B., and Beyer, C. (2008). Orgasm. The Psychologist. Vol 21 100-103 plus cover

Komisaruk, B.R., and Whipple, B. (2006). Neurological Impairment of Sexuality in Men and Women. In M. Tepper and A. Owens, (eds.), Sexual Health. Chapter 13, Vol. 2, 351-390.

Komisaruk, B.R. and Whipple, B. (2005) Functional MRI of the brain during orgasm in women. Annual Review of Sex Research, 16: 62-86

Komisaruk, B.R. and Whipple, B. (2005). Brain activity imaging during sexual response in women with spinal cord injury. In: J.S. Hyde, Ed., Biological Substrates of Human Sexuality, Washington, D.C.:American Psychological Association, pp. 109-145.

Komisaruk, B.R., Whipple, B., Crawford, A., Grimes, S., Liu, W-C., Kalnin, A., and Mosier, K. (2004). Brain activation during vaginocervical self-stimulation and orgasm in women with complete spinal cord injury: fMRI evidence of mediation by the Vagus nerves. Brain Research, 1024: 77-88.

Recent Media

New York Times, US News & World Report, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Scientific American Mind, Men's Health, The Doctors-(CBS TV)

Courses, 2008-2009

Physiological Psychology: Selected Lecture slides

Pleasure and Pain: Selected Lecture slides