Elisabeth Lloyd caused a stir with a recent book that suggests the female orgasm has no evolutionary function, and she discusses her controversial views on ABC Radio’s All in the Mind.
Professor Lloyd has examined the current evolutionary theories and argues none adequately explain why females orgasm, as sexual climax is not needed for succesful conception in women, nor is it related to levels of fertility.
In contrast, males need to orgasm for successful reproduction. Lloyd argues that the female orgasm is only present due to the similar structure of early-stage embryos.
Male and female embryos share the nerve pathways necessary for orgasm, like they share the tissue structure for nipples, despite them being reproductively useful in only one half of adults.
Other theories, she claims, have been unduly influenced by ideas about what is sexually ‘normal’ or ‘appropriate’.
On a bit of a tangent, All in the Mind now produces its programmes as podcasts as well as Realaudio streams, allowing them to be downloaded for later listening.
Realaudio or mp3 of The Perplexing Case of the Female Orgasm.
Link to transcript.
One thought on “No function for the female orgasm ?”
ISTR seeing a documentary on the BBC a few years back (Desmond Morris’ “The Human Animal”, IIRC) where they actually filmed using tiny cameras and fibre-optics, inside a woman’s vagina while she had an orgasm. The cervix went into spasm, dipping itself into a pool of semen repeatedly and creating a suction effect. The program concluded that this must be evidence that the female orgasm has a positive practical role in reproduction, making it easier for sperm to make it past the cervix into the uterus – although it’s not necessary for conception, it’s very helpful if this happens.