How We Do It

The evolution and future of human reproduction

Female Orgasms: Getting Off or Getting On?

Male orgasms are clearly linked to ejaculation, but the function of female orgasms is debated. Women's orgasms are variable and have no obvious function. Explanations range from a role in pair-bonding to the proposal that they are a functionless byproduct of development, like men's nipples. But is it true, as often claimed, that female orgasms are unique to humans? Read More

personal observations

Unlike nipples on men which have no apparent influence on their behavior, it's clear that orgasms influence the sexual behavior of at least some women. So it would seem that nature might have preserved this function to not be differentiated by gender, though perhaps not strongly so. There are women who have never had orgasms yet have many children.

Nipples and orgasms

And for very good reasons. Nipples are structures, orgasms are events. The analogy was always a poor one. I go into more detail here

I don't know why I have them,

I don't know why I have them, I'm just very glad I do!

One catch

In primates, any copulation between males and females lasts only a couple of seconds. That is impossibly enough to give the female enough clitoral stimulation to climax. So all experimental observations where female primates climaxed dealt either with masturbation or with pseudo-lesbian interactions. So, the human female is special after all.

Re: One catch

Rolf, that's a totally confusing statement. First, humans and monkeys are both primates. What are you talking about? Second, no, most men I know cannot ejaculate with only a few seconds of intercourse. Third, if you are talking about monkeys, apes, etc., if the male apes ejaculate much more quickly than humans, why would you not also think that genetic feature would also apply to female apes? That is, why would you apply the human standard to female apes, but not the human male standard to male apes?

Thank you anonymous! Rolf's

Thank you anonymous! Rolf's comment wasn't very well thought out at all. Yours cleared things up nicely.

Insuck and Upsuck

The original studies into insuck were carried out by the husband and wife team of the Foxes in the 1970s. These studies have been consistently misreported ever since. The least of the misreports has been confusing the terms insuck and upsuck. However Lloyd & Wallen make far more serious mistakes than that. I go into more detail here

It is assumed male orgasms

It is assumed male orgasms are all pretty much the same vanilla.

I can only speak of my own experiences, but my orgasms have varied depending on how I felt about my partner or how I felt at the time.

When I was with an exciting partner, my orgasms were intense and "body encompassing" with a more voluminous and forceful ejaculation and a quick recovery period. I've also experienced what I would describe as a multiple orgasm (which was great BTW) only a couple of times.

But, most of the times, they're pretty much nice, but the same.

If my experiences are common, it may support the idea that the female orgasm is related to the male. I don't know if I would go as far as to say it is a byproduct, however.

I always thought female dogs

I always thought female dogs could orgasm. Why else would they hump human legs?

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Robert Martin, Ph.D., is the A. Watson Armour III Curator of Biological Anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago.


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