What’s the evolutionary reason behind the elusive female orgasm? It’s a question that’s plagued sex researchers for centuries.
Unlike male orgasms which lead to ejaculation and subsequently reproduction, there’s no clear reason as to why women orgasm.
Orgasms are not needed for a woman to become pregnant and besides, as any woman can tell you, women do not consistently orgasm during penetrative sex.
Still, there are a few hypotheses as to why the female orgasm exists.
One is that it creates a further bond with your partner, increasing the likelihood of having more sex—thus increasing the likelihood of pregnancy.
Another is that the contractions from orgasms push semen further up the reproductive tract, increasing the chance of becoming pregnant.
There’s now support—albeit in a study on rabbits, not humans—for another hypothesis:
It’s a mechanism for stimulating ovulation.
In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mihaela Pavlicev, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and her colleagues attempted to stop ovulation by giving rabbits anti-depressants, which are known to affect sex drive in humans.
The researchers used rabbits as the subjects because rabbits have “copulation-induced ovulation,” meaning that they start ovulating only if they have sex.
This differs from human women (yikes, there has to be a better phrase than “human women”), who ovulate regardless of whether they have sex or not.
Pavlicev and her team gave female rabbits fluoxetine (generic for Prozac), and then had a control group of female rabbits who didn’t receive the specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
Then a male rabbit, whom they named Frank, went about copulating with all the female rabbits. The researchers found that those in the group that received fluoxetine had 30% fewer ovulations.
The research team believes that these findings support the theory that rabbits need something akin to orgasm to have a hormonal surge to then ovulate.
Not all researchers, however, were convinced that the study supports Pavlicev’s hypothesis.
Julie Bakker, a neuroendocrinologist at the University of Liège in Belgium who studies ovulation in ferrets, told Scientific American, “There’s no such thing as an orgasm in rabbits.” For one, it’s unclear if rabbits feel pleasure from it, but also two, “[it’s] kind of a thrashing behaviour—stretching their legs in a certain way that might have been uterine contractions.”
Further research will need to confirm if having an orgasm does, in fact, impact ovulation. And while we’re not yet sure that rabbits can help explain female orgasms, we suggest you ladies keep getting all those solely for pleasure orgasms… at least until we find out if there’s any other reason.
Source: Men’s Health
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