A pair of scientists have a new hypothesis about why the female orgasm exists: It might have something to do with releasing an egg to be fertilized.
Scientists have puzzled over, and sometimes even questioned the existence of, a phenomenon that appears to have no physical effect on conception. While a male orgasm is crucial to impregnate a female, it is not obvious how a female orgasm affects whether she is impregnated.
In fact, Aristotle and Hippocrates both pointed out the female orgasm appears to be an afterthought, at least when it comes to creating offspring.
The theory would explain the modern reality that women do not experience orgasms as easily or as regularly as men.
But, until now, no hypothesis looked to the biology of distant human mammal relatives, even older than primates, for clues about the orgasms of modern women. In a paper published Sunday in the Journal of Experimental Zoology, Mihaela Pavlicev of the University of Cincinnati and Gunter Wagner of Yale University describe how, over millions of years, evolutionary history suggests reproduction could help explain the female orgasm after all.
If you think of an orgasm as consisting of three parts — a wave of hormones, intense pleasure and muscle contractions — it’s possible to see similarities between a human orgasm and phenomena in other mammal species. The authors are particularly interested in mammals who ovulate in response to copulation.