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Reason for female orgasms?

  1. Mar 2, 2005 #1
    Obviously there is a reproductive reason for the male orgasm, but why do females orgasm? Of course in our culture it is a pleasurable thing, but biologically it seems like most things in the reproductive system serve to actually help reproduce in some way. Is there a reproductive reason for the female orgasm?

    I don't mean this post to sound inappropriate in any way. I am asking a biology question.
     
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  3. Mar 2, 2005 #2

    Moonbear

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    And the biological answer is we really don't know. It doesn't even appear that any female animals other than human women have orgasms, though this could be an artifact of test conditions. Some postulates have been suggested, such as facilitating sperm movement upward toward the oviducts for conception to occur, but haven't really held up since there doesn't seem to be any impairment of fertility if orgasm doesn't occur. There always remains the theory that if it feels good, you'll do it again.
     
  4. Mar 2, 2005 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    I wonder if vaginal contractions could really help or hurt in this case. It seems like this motion could either move sperm toward or away from the target.
    Another thing I was curious about, and I hope I am not stepping over the line or anything -- what female animals other than humans have a clitoris? Other primates, maybe? I hope I don't sound too ignorant. :redface:
     
  5. Mar 2, 2005 #4

    Moonbear

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    All other female mammals have a clitoris. So, it's possible they could have an orgasm, but the males of those species really aren't worried about things like foreplay and stimulating the clitoris, so it doesn't seem very likely to happen.
     
  6. Mar 2, 2005 #5

    Math Is Hard

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    Bizarre. I didn't realize that. Thanks, MB.
     
  7. Mar 2, 2005 #6

    NateTG

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    I recall reading an article in 'Nature' in '94 about sexuality, which mentioned two popular theories, neither of which was particularly delicately named. The theories are the 'upsuck' and 'poleaxe' theories.

    The upsuck theory is that the vaginal contractions increase the chance of fertilization by moving fluids about. I think they mentioned an experiment where someone tested this on a mare.

    The poleaxe theory proposed that women would be less likely to move about after orgasm (having been 'poleaxed'), thus increasing the likelyhood of fertilization, but apparently women aren't less active after orgasm (its only the men that turn over and go to sleep...).

    Other primates have associated social and sexual behaviors.. It's entirely possible that the primary reproductive benefits associated with female orgasm have less to do with physiology and more to do with psychology.
     
  8. Mar 2, 2005 #7
    I think it's the Feels Good Theory. If our primate ancestor's didn't get some pleasure from having sex do you think they'd do it? Like wise us. Until we were smart enough to know that if we don't have sex we don't have kids then do you think we'd have done a pleasureless act? Orgasms are a trick we play on ourselves to have kids.
     
  9. Mar 2, 2005 #8

    Kerrie

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    The medical need for orgasms in women

    This of coruse is only a theory, but one that seems most logical to me, at least the medical part (I ignored the BS regarding marriage). When a woman has an orgasm, oxytocin is secreted, thus helping the transport of sperm, and the oxytocin secreted helps keep the hormone balance in check. The member hitssquad actually linked this site once, and I kept it ever since :blushing:
     
  10. Mar 2, 2005 #9
    The answer, as far as i'm aware is thus. The penis obviously orgasms and ejactulates in order for reproduction. The clitoris is basically a females underdeveloped "penis." Hence, why it becomes pronounced when stimulated and why it cause pleasure. So the reproductive reason we have orgasms is because males do, and our bodies aren't so dissimilar. Nature would have to go through alot more do do away completely with our "penis," so instead, She leaves it there, in its minisculized form, and it allows us orgasm. She may leave us with a clitoris so that our orgasm helps with fertilization, i don't know. I only know that it is there and so we orgasm just like males.

    get it?
     
  11. Mar 4, 2005 #10

    matthyaouw

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    I've read part of that (until it starts talking about marriage) and one thing springs to mind. It describes how a female orgasm is near impossible to achive through normal penetrative sex, which makes me wonder, if it were such an essenciality that oxytocin be released by an orgasm, wouldn't evolution make it much easier to achive than this? It seems to me that the release of oxytocin is more a beneficial side effect, rather than its ultimate purpose. I am more inclined therefore to believe the explanation posed by Gale 17.
     
  12. Mar 4, 2005 #11

    Kerrie

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    yes, it is near impossible, but still possible...many women will claim they are not able to achieve it through direct sex, but there are women who do claim they can. if the kegel muscles are strong enough, then it is possible. society doesn't encourage women enough to explore their bodies and understand exactly what the female body is capable of...thus many women are missing out on some serious joy. :biggrin:

    what exactly do you believe about what Gale said? if you are making the claim that orgasms are nearly impossible for women to have through direct intercourse, and she is saying that it helps with fertilization, then i am confused?
     
  13. Mar 4, 2005 #12
    Sex is orgasmic, by its nature. Many other females have orgasm, maybe they don't have a great time hooked up to monitors, but males are more functional in their orgasms. Bonobos chimps have all kinds of sex, and sex purely for pleasure. Orgasm is a part of that. To say that females of other species don't have orgasm, is a scientific rationalization for rape, actually. Females do have orgasm, to drive them to reproduce, just like males do. The implication, that attraction and response is not a part of our historical reproductive scheme, is ridiculous. Males have to attract, not just take, in a civilized society. Whales court, courtship is about creating arousal in the female, in many species reproduction does not happen without feminine arousal. The whooping cranes were doomed until some amazing zoologist, put on his whooping crane suit and danced for the females so they would quicken to fertility.
     
  14. Mar 4, 2005 #13
    Foreplay in non-human species, is some of the most outrageous stuff imaginable. It speaks to some ancient brains structures in females and makes them receptive, to fertilization. Foreplay is huge. There are Australian birds that build arches, under which to dance, and who build trenches to run, and amplify booming noises they make. There is a lot of very complex foreplay to be seen in nature.
     
  15. Mar 4, 2005 #14
    I ran a dude ranch one summer, when the mares were in estrus. From the kitchen window, you could see the mares present their hindquarters to be mounted, already in the midst of orgasm, before the Stallion even penetrated. You could see the muscles clenching . The stallions grinned in a special way, when they finished.

    It was also amazing to see the nursing pack horses come in from off the trail. The foals would hear them coming down the valley, and begin to call to their Mothers, and the Mares, would call back, by the time they were in the corral their milk was already spurting from their teats.

    I never thought it was good to have the mares away from the young foals. But I had no control over that part of the ordeal.
    We aren't the only joyous and connected animals on this planet.
     
  16. Mar 4, 2005 #15

    Moonbear

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    Dayle, please list the scientific papers that show females of those other species experience orgasm. What you're describing here is called "vulval winking." It is a characteristic of mares in estrus, but is not an orgasm. It is a proceptive behavior that shows the stallion she is in estrus, a pretty important thing for stallions to know. If you've ever watched a stallion attempt to mount a mare that isn't quite in estrus, he can get kicked pretty badly.

    There is some work in rats where cages are designed in a way that allows either the female or the male to pace sexual behavior. If the male paces the behavior, it is rewarding for the male, but not rewarding for the female (using measures such as conditioned place preference for the area of the cage where mating occurs). On the other hand, it is more rewarding for the female if the female can pace the sex behavior. In a natural habitat, there is usually more of a balance of both sexes controlling the pace of the behavior. That it is rewarding doesn't mean an orgasm has occurred, however. There are certainly pleasurable components to sex aside from orgasm.

    Gale's comment could be equally likely to be true, that it's simply a vestige of sexual differentiation that has no real function in women, but is there because there's nothing to select against it.

    For example, years ago, it was speculated that orgasm may be beneficial in some way to conception, so when women underwent IVF, it was recommended they have an orgasm within a few hours of the procedure. As far as I know, further controlled studies have shown no benefit of this.
     
  17. Mar 4, 2005 #16

    saltydog

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    Thanks, that was interesting and I agree with most if not all of it. It's a valuable resource that all men should read. The sooner the better.
     
  18. Mar 4, 2005 #17

    Math Is Hard

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    It was an interesting read, but it lost me at this:

    "Like you need a compass sailing at open sea ; every once and a while you have to check the compass, and adjust your course. Without orgasms, your ship may sail way off course, causing a bacterial infection, a physically caused lack of interest, obesity, nervous breakdowns, psychotic behavior or even breast cancer ;"

    I thought that was just a little bit too extreme of a claim.
     
  19. Mar 4, 2005 #18

    saltydog

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    Well, I understand how a compass is being used as a metaphor for a hormone that may control other hormones but I'm a little weak in endocrinology.

    This seems to be a good question for Berman and Berman. I'd accept their view. How about a female of the group e-mailing them and asking about it. I mean, I contact all kinds of other people for other stuf and well, I'm interested but, can't you just ask one or the other and just report back to us guys here? Specifically: is oxytocin released in any amounts during clitoral orgasms and does oxytocin control the secretion of other hormones and just well, what they think about the whole gist of the article. See, that's not hard to do.
     
  20. Mar 4, 2005 #19
    Where did the claim about not orgasming causing breast cancer come from? MIS, I agree with you. That is a bit outrageous. I'm jsut curious as to where it was derived from.
     
  21. Mar 4, 2005 #20

    Math Is Hard

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    The claim here (from the article) is that oxytocin regulates prolactin secretion, and excessive prolactin can enhance breast cancer. It seems to me, however, that there must be other biological events besides orgasm that can produce supplies of oxytocin to the body, so why point to lack of orgasms as a cause of breast cancer?
     
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