home
RSS
Are female orgasms a 'bonus'?
October 13th, 2011
07:14 AM ET

Are female orgasms a 'bonus'?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

What do female orgasms and male nipples have in common? It’s a question that is helping inform research into the purpose of female orgasm (other than simply as a form of pleasure).

Investigators want to know whether the female orgasm is an “adaptation” or “byproduct” of evolution. In other words, does the female orgasm, like the male orgasm, have its own evolutionary raison d’etre and contribute directly to reproductive success? Or is it just an awesome bonus? Make that totally awesome.

This question of whether the female orgasm is an adaptation or a byproduct came to the fore in 2005 with the publication of “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution,” in which Indiana University professor Elisabeth Lloyd rigorously examined 21 theories that sought to promote the female orgasm as an adaptation and, ultimately, found all of them lacking.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have had some thought-provoking conversations with Lloyd on various topics – such as whether premature ejaculation makes good evolutionary sense – and recently, her work has been once again garnering much-deserved attention.

· One such theory involves “pair bonding,” the idea that orgasm bonds a couple emotionally so that they’re more likely to pursue parenthood.

· Another theory states that female orgasm is a part of mate selection: A woman will choose her mate based on his ability to bring her to climax.

· And a third main theory involves the belief that the contractions of female orgasm will draw sperm up the reproductive tract and into the uterus.

In her book, Lloyd argues that studies show that the vast majority of women do not experience orgasm as a result of intercourse alone, or do so inconsistently, so how could the female orgasm be an adaptation? If the female orgasm, like the male orgasm, was essential to the propagation of humanity, wouldn’t it need to occur consistently via sexual intercourse?

Instead, Lloyd argues to view the female orgasm through the lens of the “byproduct” theory, which holds that orgasm is a trait that is so heavily selected in males (reproduction wouldn’t happen without it) that women retain an inherent capacity – after all, men and women are physiologically the same during the first eight weeks of gestation: Penises grow out, clitorises grow in, but they share the same organic structure and tissue.

According to Lloyd, “It is crucial to note that the penis and the clitoris are the ‘same’ organ in men and women. ... [T]he nervous and erectile tissues involved in orgasm in both sexes arose from a common embryological source.”

This same byproduct theory also explains why men have nipples: The biological necessity of nursing our young makes the nipple so highly selected in women that male embryos develop immature structures as an evolutionary byproduct. Similar to the clitoris, the male nipple contains highly sensitive tissue that contributes to male sexual arousal and pleasure. Male nipples: arousing? Yes. Necessary? No.

Yet a study of twins and siblings published recently in the journal Animal Behavior questions the byproduct theory of female orgasm. Researchers looked for similarities in orgasm function between 10,000 Finnish female and male twins. And although there were significant similarities between same-sex twins, the researchers found no such correlation in orgasm function between opposite-sex twins, a correlation one would expect if female orgasm is a byproduct of male orgasm.

All this debate of adaptation vs. byproduct shouldn’t really matter to the average person who just wants to enjoy orgasms. The problem, though, is that we tend to believe that what’s “natural” is better, even orgasms. And if we do argue that the female orgasm is some sort of “evolutionary norm,” then what should be said of all the women who do not orgasm consistently – that they are somehow not normal?

As a sex counselor, I frequently receive e-mails from women who are unable to achieve orgasm via intercourse and wonder, “What can I do to change this? What’s wrong with me?”

Well, if we stop thinking of female orgasms as something that should naturally result from intercourse, then we can also stop feeling that there’s one right way to have orgasms. In this sense, the byproduct theory offers a more expansive and encompassing view of female sexuality.

Unfortunately the term “byproduct” doesn’t exactly resonate with a sense of the exalted, so perhaps we should stick to Lloyd’s later rephrasing of the female orgasm as a “fantastic bonus” – or as I like to say, totally awesome!


soundoff (1,434 Responses)
  1. 사설토토사이트

    Your fantastic is great as when it were written simply by a writer. My goal is to go to your blog frequently. Thanks always.

    https://uklianjiang.com/home.php?mod=space&uid=270440

    April 6, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Saul Yam

    Good aftie, i am a blogger too, and i can see that you are a nice blogger too,    

    https://www.pearltrees.com/rainwaterscoke0703/item356837482

    April 7, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sildenafil tablet 200mg

    can i purchase sildenafil over the counter https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil cheapest price

    April 7, 2021 at 03:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. tadalafil

    tadalafil 60 mg for sale https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil pills 20mg

    April 7, 2021 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. tadalafil max dose

    tadalafil online https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil online

    April 7, 2021 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. buy vardenafil over the counter with no pres. online

    how do you take vardenafil 20 mg? https://vegavardenafil.com/ buy vardenafil over the counter with no pres. online

    April 7, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 카지노사이트

    Your fantastic is great as in case it have been written by a writer. Let me visit your blog generally. Appreciate it always.

    http://www.cvma-korea.org/MyBB/member.php?action=profile&uid=321223

    April 7, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 우리카지노

    Whoa. You aren't so good that will you're so good right now. Your help woke everyone up. Thank you quite much.

    https://yogicentral.science/wiki/Find_out_Baccarat_Strategies_Have_fun_Baccarat_Just_Like_a_good_Pro

    April 7, 2021 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. barcelona jerseys

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any
    widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your
    new updates.

    April 7, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesisacloud.com thesis database thesisacloud.com thesis express

    April 7, 2021 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. muse injection

    alprostadil gel online https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil covered by blue cross

    April 7, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 우리카지노

    I love your blog site. I'm handled. Thank anyone.

    https://cutt.us/HtDvA

    April 7, 2021 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 카지노사이트

    Your fantastic is great as in case it had been written simply by a writer. I will pay a visit to your blog usually. Appreciate it always.

    https://funsilo.date/wiki/Suggestions_about_Playing_Round_Craps

    April 8, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Robby Jaruis

    You are so awesome! I do not think I've truly read a single thing like this before. So good to discover somebody with original thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is something that's needed on the web, someone with some originality!

    http://www.google.de

    April 9, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Nadine Femat

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

    http://google.com.ph/url?q=https://favro.com/organization/9c95001d84d8a042b667b06c/5ce2065fbd5351af17462537?card=vie-43

    April 9, 2021 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 카지노사이트

    Wow. Occur to be so good of which you're so good currently. Your help woke me personally up. Thank you incredibly much.

    http://xabez.ru/user/kneegrey31/

    April 10, 2021 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. ed treatment tablets

    erectile pill as shown on shark tank https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ best erectile medicine

    April 11, 2021 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. alprostadil cream cost

    transurethral alprostadil https://alprostadildrugs.com/ transurethral alprostadil

    April 11, 2021 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. 메이저사이트

    It's a envious article. It's very incredible and brand-new. Who will be you to write this special article?

    https://health-lists.com/story9308891/the-basics-of-gambling

    April 11, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    canadian pharmacies ed pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    April 11, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. price of sildenafil 100mg

    sildenafil in mexico https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil citrate 25mg

    April 11, 2021 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. buy vardenafil over the counter with no pres. online

    how long do the effects of vardenafil last https://vegavardenafil.com/ levitra vardenafil 40 mg

    April 11, 2021 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Rico Derosia

    Bereken zelf uw hypotheek. Hypotheek berekenen? Maak snel een indicatieve berekening van het maximale leenbedrag van uw hypotheek.

    https://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?preconfig=0a4f0d32-87b6-11eb-bde0-a0369fec9598&preconfigtype=module

    April 11, 2021 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. canadian pharmacy generic cialis

    cialis, sale, canadian pharm. https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian generic cialis 20mg

    April 12, 2021 at 05:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 메이저사이트

    At that level, you can debut as a copy writer. Now i am so touched. I'm cheerful to meet you. Give thanks to you.

    https://wacowla.com/chineseclassifieds/author/theorysilver75/

    April 12, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 사설토토

    Thank you so much with regard to enabling myself know what I actually didn't know. I count on working with you.

    http://www.authorstream.com/nylonflame1/

    April 12, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. zithromax antibiotic without prescription

    zithromax 500 mg oral tablet https://zithromaxes.com/ azithromycin for staph infection

    April 12, 2021 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 먹튀사이트

    Wow, the articles are so sexy. How can easily We write like a person? My partner and i are looking for the exact same writing skills while you.

    http://letusbookmark.com/story9404284/publication-visit-book-tests-and-counting-casino-gambling-costs-in-new-jersey

    April 12, 2021 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. pfizer viagra canada pharmistry

    canada pharmacy viagra https://canadaviagrastore.com/ can you buy viagra over the counter in canada?

    April 12, 2021 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. how long do the effects of vardenafil last

    vardenafil 20mg https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil

    April 13, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. canadian pharmacies ed pills

    canadian pills pharmacy https://canadapillstorex.com/ average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    April 13, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. buy zithromax online

    what is the generic name for zithromax https://zithromaxes.com/ z pack generic name

    April 13, 2021 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. 우리카지노

    Hey, aren't you too great? Your own writing widens my knowledge. Appreciate you.

    https://telegra.ph/Round-Craps-Basics-04-04

    April 13, 2021 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. best canada viagra pills online

    canada online viagra https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra without a doctor prescription in canada

    April 14, 2021 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 먹튀검증

    Thanks to you, My spouse and i realized something new. Thank a person so much. My spouse and i glimpse forward to working with you.

    https://gambling9talkalloy59.bladejournal.com/post/2021/03/26/Enjoy-Gambling-Through-Online-Sites

    April 14, 2021 at 06:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Dominic Scachette

    Technology is an large topic, you'll locate many different things to learn about it. You should, nonetheless, ensure you do not lose sight of the essential issues which are important if you want to reach your targets. What we have actually discussed right here is a very good area to get going and if you want to proceed, you ought to see what else you can locate at Our Technology Site. There are, nevertheless, many various methods that you can take and also there are great deals of various web sites that happen to be worth taking a look at– among them is Our Technology Site.

    https://www.tryarticles.com/

    April 14, 2021 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. https://magic-mushrooms-online.com/

    Your manner of addressin this topic is both fantastic as well as motivating.

    https://magic-mushrooms-online.com/

    April 14, 2021 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 먹튀

    Thanks to you, We discovered something new. Appreciate a person so much. My spouse and i look forward to nearby.

    https://www.empowher.com/users/parrotview55

    April 14, 2021 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Magic Mushroom Spores

    Just bookmarked this article as I have found it fairly useful.

    https://magic-mushrooms-online.com/product-category/magic-mushroom-spores/

    April 15, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Dorian Daughtry

    I feel that is an enchanting element, it made me think a bit. Thanks for sparking my thinking cap. From time to time I get so much in a rut that I just really feel like a record.

    https://trello.com/c/ficGBNGP

    April 15, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. alprostadil use after heart surgery

    muse alprostadil https://alprostadildrugs.com/ injectable ed drugs

    April 15, 2021 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. vardenafil price

    purchase vardenafil online https://vegavardenafil.com/ buy vardenafil over the counter online

    April 15, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 카지노사이트추천

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

    https://gymspider59.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/the-thrill-of-playing-poker/

    April 15, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. 카지노사이트추천

    Great information. Lucky me I ran across your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!

    http://pandora.nla.gov.au/external.html?link=https://casino-heaven.com/

    April 15, 2021 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. 우리카지노

    This is a topic that's close to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?

    https://getpocket.com/@whalechance1

    April 15, 2021 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Necole Dubaldi

    I am glad to be a browser of this fantastic weblog ! , thankyou for this rare info ! .

    https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/130911638-eulalia-spartz

    April 16, 2021 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Synthia Fechtel

    It’s really a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    http://cse.google.com.jm/url?q=https://structured-parsing.wikidot.com

    April 16, 2021 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. why vardenafil dosage over 65

    vardenafil cheap https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil vs tadalafil which is better?

    April 16, 2021 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Thomas Unterburger

    https://www.tryarticles.com/

    https://www.tryarticles.com/

    April 16, 2021 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. 카지노사이트

    https://www.chilterntraveller.co.uk/members/lovehub39/activity/1034580/

    April 16, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Leave a Reply to Synthia Fechtel


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.