Finally, the Female Orgasm Explained

Is this really why the female orgasm exists?

Female orgasms: why do they exist?

Many scientists have pondered this question through the years. Well, two hardworking researchers may have finally cracked the orgasmic code.

Why care?

Because we’re humans and we like to understand how our bodies work, duh. Also: because female orgasms are just as confusing to researchers as they are to some sexual partners.

The main reason this elusive sexual phenomenon has stumped scientists over the years is because female orgasms never appeared to play a role in conception like the male orgasm. Now, however, scientists are beginning to think that this action could actually help a woman conceive.

The research

All of this new news was recently published in a paper in the Journal of Experimental Zoology. Scientists Mihaela Pavlicev of the University of Cincinnati and Gunter Wagner of Yale University hypothesize that the female orgasm could actually trigger ovulation (or that it used to). Humans just may have “evolved” out of this response.

“If you think of an orgasm as consisting of three parts—a wave of hormones, intense pleasure, and muscle contractions—it’s possible to see similarities between a human orgasm and phenomena in other mammal species,” NPR reports.

Because of this, the authors are considering researching other mammals who ovulate in response to having sex.

Apparently, some of these mammals—this includes cats and rabbits—only release an egg when the clitoris is stimulated. The stimulation produces a wave of hormones released from the pituitary gland.

“If you walk those two phenomena forward in evolutionary time, you get a female orgasm that relies on clitoral stimulation and includes a hormone release, even though female humans have since evolved to ovulate every month, whether or not a male is around,” NPR reports.

“In fact, the authors suggest it is that change in ovulation frequency that allowed female anatomy to change over the millennia; as the clitoris was no longer strictly necessary to release an egg, it moved farther from the vagina.”

So, basically, the female orgasm is an evolutionary leftover, Science Magazine adds.

Not so fast!

While this new hypothesis is intriguing, there are plenty of other scientists who think this new conclusion is quite farfetched.

Michael Baum from Boston University and Kim Wallen from Emory University in Atlanta, two behavioral neuroendocrinologists, think Pavlićev and Wagner have misinterpreted some previously published results “and do not have the details about the hormonal changes during ovulation and orgasm correct,” Science reports.

Well, no matter where this new hypothesis leads scientists, we’ve got to admit that we’re quite interested in this research and appreciate that there are scientists who actually want to better understand the modern, human, female body.

Related on EcoSalon
Not Your Typical College Checklist: Know a School’s Sexual Culture Before Saying Yes
3 Sexualized Workout Trends that Freak Us Out
Sex by Numbers: One-Night Stands

Image of woman in bed via Shutterstock

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy! Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.