Research shows no relationship, after all
While the reasons for a male orgasm may appear to be a rather obvious incentive to mate and procreate, scientists have debated more on why a female organism exists. Many sex researchers have assumed that female orgasm rates correlated with fertility; the more she has, the more kids she’ll have. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the orgasm induces physiological processes that stimulate pregnancy.
No such correlation exists, says Brendan Zietsch, a psychologist at the University of Queensland, Australia, and Pekka Santtila, a psychologist at Ab Akedemi University in Turku, Finland. The researchers, studying 8,000 female identical twins, non-identical twins and siblings, reported in Animal Behaviour that the rate of orgasm had no relationship with the number of children the women had.
By studying twins, Zietsch and Santtila could determine if a trait (in this case, orgasm rates and fertility) was genetic or environmental in origin. A genetic trait would be shared more often by identical twins than by non-identical siblings. Likewise, environmental factors would be shared equally by either twin or sibling. A genetic link would imply that orgasms had a physiological and evolutionary purpose, while purely environmental linkages would suggest that other social reasons lay behind the female orgasm.
The researchers found almost no correlations, either genetic or environmental, except for a weak but significant link between the length of a sexual relationship, frequency of intercourse and orgasm rates.
The study supports other rationales for female orgasms, including the idea that female orgasm encourages longer-lasting relationships, and another that female orgasms are merely by-products of selection for males. However, even these rationales are being questioned by recent studies.
So, while it’s becoming clear that female orgasms don’t produce more offspring, the reason for them remains a mystery. Easy for him to say.
Zietsch, B., & Santtila, P. (2013). No direct relationship between human female orgasm rate and number of offspring Animal Behaviour DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.05.011
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