Why Women Have Orgasms: An Evolutionary Analysis

  title={Why Women Have Orgasms: An Evolutionary Analysis},
  author={David A. Puts and Khytam Dawood and Lisa L. M. Welling},
  journal={Archives of Sexual Behavior},
Whether women’s orgasm is an adaptation is arguably the most contentious question in the study of the evolution of human sexuality. Indeed, this question is a veritable litmus test for adaptationism, separating those profoundly impressed with the pervasive and myriad correspondences between organisms’ phenotypes and their conditions of life from those who apply the “onerous concept” of adaptation with more caution, skepticism or suspicion. Yet, the adaptedness of female orgasm is a question… 

Chapter 7 Evolutionary Science of Female Orgasm

Despite decades of scientific study, the functional significance of the human female orgasm remains unsettled. Whereas male orgasm is usually coupled with ejaculation, there is no parallel

Evolutionary Science of Female Orgasm

Evidence that female orgasm functions as a mechanism for choosing mates of high genetic quality, investment potential, or both is presented, and directions for future research are outlined that will help to resolve the debate about the functionality of orgasm in women.

Testing the mate-choice hypothesis of the female orgasm: disentangling traits and behaviours

This is the first study to test within-woman variation in orgasm and partner traits and some assumptions and predictions of mate-choice hypotheses of female orgasm were supported, while other aspects of the findings provide reasons to remain sceptical.

The Effect of Female Orgasm Frequency on Female Mate Selection: A Test of Two Hypotheses

  • Patrick J NeblAnne K. Gordon
  • Psychology
    Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior
  • 2022
Female orgasm has been a mystery that psychologists have been attempting to understand for decades. Many have contended that female orgasm is a functionless by-product of male orgasm, while others

An evolutionary behaviorist perspective on orgasm

  • D. Fleischman
  • Psychology, Biology
    Socioaffective neuroscience & psychology
  • 2016
It is argued that intense sexual pleasure, especially orgasm, can be understood as a primary reinforcer shaped by evolution to reinforce behavior that facilitates reproductive success (i.e. conception through copulation).

Understanding the Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunctions in Women: an Evolutionary Perspective

Epidemiological studies indicate that almost one in two women face some kind of sexual dysfunction. Given the importance of sexual functioning for successful reproduction, such a high prevalence is

Human Female Orgasm as Evolved Signal: A Test of Two Hypotheses

Results suggest that male satisfaction with, investment in, and sexual fidelity to a mate are benefits that favored the selection of orgasmic signaling in ancestral females.

What is orgasm? A model of sexual trance and climax via rhythmic entrainment

  • A. Safron
  • Psychology
    Socioaffective neuroscience & psychology
  • 2016
A novel mechanistic model of sexual stimulation and orgasm is introduced wherein sexual stimulation induces entrainment of coupling mechanical and neuronal oscillatory systems, thus creating synchronized functional networks within which multiple positive feedback processes intersect synergistically to contribute to sexual experience.



The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

Why women evolved to have orgasms - when most of their primate relatives don't - is a persistent mystery among evolutionary biologists. In pursuing this mystery, Elisabeth Lloyd arrives at another:

The Evolution of Female Orgasm: Adaptation or Byproduct?

This essay outlines why, unlike Caton (2006), it is not persuaded by Lloyd's argument that female orgasm is a nonadaptive byproduct of orgasm in men and defines female orgasm too narrowly, ignoring critical information about its affective aspects.

Of Bugs and Boojums: Female Orgasm as a Facultative Adaptation

Data on women’s orgasm frequencies contradict mate choice hypotheses for the evolution of female orgasm—and support the hypothesis that female orgasm is an evolutionary byproduct of male orgasm.

Clitoral variability compared with penile variability supports nonadaptation of female orgasm

A comparison in variability of aspects of male and female genital structures that supports differential selection on genitalia and thus likely differential Selection on male andFemale orgasm is presented.

Human oestrus

It is proposed that the term oestrus appropriately applies to this phase of female sexuality occurring near ovulation, and ways that fertile-phase sexuality in women has been shaped to partly function in the context of extra-pair mating are suggested.

Female coital orgasm and male attractiveness

Results support the hypothesis that women mated to more attractive men are more likely to report an orgasm at the most recent copulation than are women mating to less attractive men, after statistically controlling for several key variables.

Beauty and the beast: mechanisms of sexual selection in humans

Do Women Pretend Orgasm to Retain a Mate?

Testing the hypothesis that women pretend orgasm as part of a broader strategy of mate retention found that women who perceived higher risk of partner infidelity were more likely to report pretending orgasm and performed more mate retention behaviors.

The physiology of the female orgasm as a proximate mechanism

The dynamics of female orgasms were investigated and proposed as a possible proximate mechanism implicated in female mating strategies. Specifically, the role of female orgasm in motivating women to