You may have heard the expression “la petite mort” in intimate moments or casual conversations; to those who do not know its meaning, it revolves, of course, around sex. To some, the word “orgasm” is just too bland for the out-of-body experience that it brings to people. And let’s face it, some things just sound better in French.

What is the meaning behind la petite mort?

La petite mort is a French word that translates to “little death,” “small death,” with a connotation of  “a short loss or weakening of consciousness.” The term was not associated with orgasm until the year 1882. 

What connection is there between la petite mort and orgasm?

La petite mort is another name for orgasm, which is how the two words are related. You can say that it is a fancier term for the boring single word that is “orgasm.” This phrase is frequently used to describe female orgasms as well. 

A little bit of history behind why this phrase is interchanged with “orgasm”: according to philosophers, “orgasm” leads to psychological loss during intimacy. This suggests that orgasm is more than just a bodily release brought on by pleasure because it feels so surreal. 

Philosophers also link it to being a spiritual release as well. On the contrary, others believe orgasm to be something more literal, meaning that people associate sex with death, hence le petite mort’s direct translation. 

In the Victorian era, doctors believed that orgasm would be the cause of a woman’s inability to bear children. Back in the day, it was also a common belief that sex would literally drain the life out of someone, given that it is such an out-of-body experience. 

These old beliefs have since been thoroughly debunked. 

As a matter of fact, orgasms provide tons of physical and mental health benefits for both men and women, such as: 

Physical benefits

  • Boosts fertility 
  • Boosts immune system 
  • Relieves pain 
  • Lowers risk of hypertension, several cardiovascular diseases, and rapid heart rate

Mental health benefits 

  • Increases one’s focus
  • Establishes a deeper connection between a person and their partner

Considering all these positives, suffering a little death is ok in our book.

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