Imagine if the male orgasm did not exist. What would be its purpose? Where would babies come from? Now, flip the sexes. Imagine if the female orgasm did not exist. What would be its purpose?
After all, unlike the male orgasm, which is most often responsible for a man ejaculating seminal fluid, humanity's reproductive success is not dependent on the female orgasm.
Trying to solve the curious case of the female orgasm is Indiana University professor and theoretical biologist Elisabeth Lloyd, who recently determined that the female orgasm is not the “adaptation”of evolution as was projected in 21 theories she examined in her book “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution.”
Ultimately, however, Lloyd concluded the theories that held evolution responsible for the female orgasm did not withstand.
One of the main evolutionary theories suggests that a woman's orgasm-induced contractions assist in drawing sperm to the uterus. The problem Lloyd found with this, however, is that women do not consistently have orgasms while having intercourse with their male partner.
That is, if 50 to 60 percent of women do not have an orgasm during intercourse, and only 25-ish percent of women can have a reliable orgasm during intercourse, then the female orgasm could not be a result of adaptation because the fate of human's does not exist in such small odds.
Instead, Lloyd argues the female orgasm is a “byproduct” of selection. The same way the male nipple is a byproduct of selection on female anatomy, the female orgasm is a byproduct of selection on the male orgasm on account on how the clitoris is anatomically analogous to the male penis, and share the same organic anatomy.
Lloyd's conclusion, however, has upset some people, such as sex educator Susie Bright who say Lloyd's conclusion makes the theory behind the female orgasm sound “like a can of Spam.” The result? The Indiana University professor has since changed the name of the theory to the “fantastic bonus.”
So what does the female orgasm being a “fantastic bonus” of selection mean? To be honest, we have no idea. It's true, there's something to be said that things — anything, really: female orgasms, life — should have a purpose, a meaning, but as Lloyd herself wrote “evolution doesn't dictate what's culturally important.”
The female orgasm may not be the result of evolution, and may have no purpose when it comes to reproductive success, but so long as women's toes are curling as the result of an orgasm, “bonus” or no bonus, the female orgasm remains one of the best things about life — ever.