Female Climax As Evolutionary Function?

Biological Perk

Everyone knows that a man's sexual climax has an evolutionary purpose. Male ejaculate retains a primary role in the process of reproduction. On the other hand, scientists have been scratching their heads over the issue of the female orgasm since time immemorial. What, they wonder, is the Darwinian logic to the female climax? Since a woman can become pregnant without the benefit of an orgasm, how are we to explain the purpose of this female biological perk?

Some scientists subscribe to the idea that orgasms are lots of fun, and women who experience them are going to want to have lots of sex, thus ensuring the perpetuation of the species. Other scientists insist that the female orgasm has no evolutionary purpose at all. Still another school of thought believes that the female orgasm is only a byproduct left over from the days before the sexual differentiation of an embryo.

Donald Symons, an anthropologist, theorized in 1979 that the female orgasm is due to the matching development of the female and male embryos during the first two months in utero. At this juncture, the nerve and tissue pathways are prepared for many of the human reflexes, and this includes orgasm. A similar process is responsible for men's nipples, according to Dr. Elisabeth A. Lloyd, a philosopher of science. It is clear that women's nipples serve the purpose of lactation, whereas the male nipples appear to be leftovers from the earliest stages of the development of the embryo.

Fun Byproduct

Based on the idea that the female orgasm is due to embryonic byproducts created before sexual differentiation, Lloyd maintains that the primary purpose of the female orgasm is pleasure. Still, many scientists continue to insist that orgasms must have an evolutionary purpose. Lloyd's answer to these scientists is that 5-10% of all women have never had orgasms, although many of them have conceived. 

The 1953 bestseller, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female," by Dr. Alfred A. Kinsey claimed a much higher statistic. In this book, women who reported always or almost always having orgasms during intercourse occupied a figure as high as 39-47%. Lloyd explains away the significance of the gap between her figures and those of Kinsey as due to the latter's inclusion of clitoral stimulation as a study variable.

In 1993, Drs. Robin Baker and Mark A. Bellis, at Manchester University in England proposed a theory supporting the female orgasm as an evolutionary function. Bellis and Baker contend that the female orgasm creates suction in the uterus which in turn serves as an aid to the retention of the male sperm. The two researchers are of the belief that a female orgasm one minute before the male climax or up to 45 minutes after the male partner's ejaculation causes the woman to retain sperm in greater numbers.

Better Gene Pool

The British researchers theorize that a woman who has intercourse with a mate other than her usual partner has a better chance of reaching climax during this allotted beneficial time span. This leads to greater sperm retention and a higher rate of conception. The idea behind this hypothesis is that women seek out new partners in an effort to provide the best possible gene pool for their children.


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