Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Female Orgasm and In-Pair Copulation

  • Candace Jasmine BlackEmail author
  • Emily Anne Patch
  • Desirae Taylor
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3665-1

Introduction

Evolutionary analyses of human behavior characterize modern phenotypes as potential products of natural and sexual selection. Within evolutionary psychology, the human female orgasm generates debate as to an adaptive function because, compared to male orgasm and ejaculation, it is not required for fertilization (e.g., Lloyd 2009 and Puts and Dawood 2006). Evolutionary researchers have proposed two main theories offering adaptive explanations for the female orgasm (Puts et al. 2012a). These Mate-Choice Hypotheses argue that female orgasm increases the probability of producing offspring, thereby falling within the purview of natural selection. Of these adaptive hypotheses, the Pair-Bond Hypothesis would increase survival of offspring through women’s selection of long-term mates, while the Sire Choice Hypothesis focuses on orgasm’s potential to increases genetic quality of offspring through women’s selection of high-quality mates. We describe these models to frame current...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Acevedo, B. P. (2015). Neural correlates of human attachment: Evidence from fMRI studies of adult pair-bonding. In V. Zayas & C. Hazan (Eds.), Bases of adult attachment: Linking brain, mind, and behavior (pp. 185–194). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, E. A., England, P., & Fogarty, A. C. (2012). Accounting for women’s orgasm and sexual enjoyment in college hookups and relationships. American Sociological Review, 77, 435–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker, R. R., & Bellis, M. A. (1993). Human sperm competition: Ejaculate manipulation by females and a function for the female orgasm. Animal Behaviour, 46(5), 887–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnett, M. D., Moore, J. M., Woolford, B. A., & Riggs, S. A. (2018). Interest in partner orgasm: Sex differences and relationships with attachment strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 124, 194–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Black, C. J., & de Baca, T. C. (2018). MHC compatibility. In T. K. Shackelford & V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of evolutionary psychological science. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Brody, S., & Weiss, P. (2010). Vaginal orgasm is associated with vaginal (not clitoral) sex education, focusing mental attention on vaginal sensations, intercourse duration, and a preference for a longer penis. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(8), 2774–2781.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Brody, S., Costa, R. M., Hess, U., & Weiss, P. (2011). Vaginal orgasm is related to better mental health and is relevant to evolutionary psychology: A response to Zietsch et al. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8(12), 3523–3525.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, R. D., & Hatfield, E. (1989). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 2(1), 39–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clifford, R. (1978). Development of masturbation in college women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 7(6), 559–573.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen, D. L., & Belsky, J. (2008). Avoidant romantic attachment and female orgasm: Testing an emotion-regulation hypothesis. Attachment & Human Development, 10, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conley, T. D., Piemonte, J. L., Gusakova, S., & Rubin, J. D. (2018). Sexual satisfaction among individuals in monogamous and consensually non-monogamous relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35, 509–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Costa, R. M., & Brody, S. (2007). Women’s relationship quality is associated with specifically penile-vaginal intercourse orgasm and frequency. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 33, 319–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costa, R. M., & Brody, S. (2011). Anxious and avoidant attachment, vibrator use, anal sex, and impaired vaginal orgasm. The journal of sexual medicine, 8(9), 2493–2500.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Dawood, K., Kirk, K. M., Bailey, J. M., Andrews, P. W., & Martin, N. G. (2005). Genetic and environmental influences on the frequency of orgasm in women. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 8(1), 27–33.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellsworth, R. M., & Bailey, D. H. (2013). Human female orgasm as evolved signal: A test of two hypotheses. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(8), 1545–1554.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Eschler, L. (2004). The physiology of the female orgasm as a proximate mechanism. Sexualities, Evolution & Gender, 6, 171–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fisher, H. (2004). Why we love: The nature and chemistry of romantic love. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Fletcher, G. J., Simpson, J. A., Campbell, L., & Overall, N. C. (2015). Pair-bonding, romantic love, and evolution: The curious case of Homo sapiens. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 20–36.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Foldes, P., & Buisson, O. (2009). Reviews: the clitoral complex: a dynamic sonographic study. The journal of sexual medicine, 6(5), 1223–1231.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Gallup, G. G., Jr., Ampel, B. C., Wedberg, N., & Pogosjan, A. (2014). Do orgasms give women feedback about mate choice. Evolutionary Psychology, 12(5), 147470491401200507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gallup, G. G., Jr., Towne, J. P., & Stolz, J. A. (2018). An evolutionary perspective on orgasm. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12(1), 52–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gallup, G. G., Burch, R. L., & Mitchell, T. J. B. (2006). Semen displacement as a sperm competition strategy. Human Nature, 17(3), 253–264.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Gangestad, S. W., & Thornhill, R. (1997). The evolutionary psychology of extrapair sex: The role of fluctuating asymmetry. Evolution and Human Behavior, 18(2), 69–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gangestad, S. W., & Simpson, J. A. (2000). Trade-offs, the allocation of reproductive effort, and the evolutionary psychology of human mating. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23(4), 624–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gangestad, S. W., Simpson, J. A., Cousins, A. J., Garver-Apgar, C. E., & Christensen, P. N. (2004). Women’s preferences for male behavioral displays change across the menstrual cycle. Psychological Science, 15(3), 203–207.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. Garver-Apgar, C. E., Gangestad, S. W., Thornhill, R., Miller, R. D., & Olp, J. J. (2006). Major histocompatibility complex alleles, sexual responsivity, and unfaithfulness in romantic couples. Psychological Science, 17(10), 830–835.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Gebhard, P. H. (1966). Factors in marital orgasm. Journal of Social Issues, 22, 88–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gebhard, P. H., Raboch, J., & Giese, H. (1970). The sexuality of women. New York: Stein and Day.Google Scholar
  29. Hald, G. M., & Høgh-Olesen, H. (2010). Receptivity to sexual invitations from strangers of the opposite gender. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(6), 453–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Harris, J. M., Cherkas, L. F., Kato, B. S., Heiman, J. R., & Spector, T. D. (2008). Normal variations in personality are associated with coital orgasmic infrequency in heterosexual women: A population-based study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5(5), 1177–1183.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Herberich, E., Hothorn, T., Nettle, D., & Pollet, T. (2010). A re-evaluation of the statistical model in Pollet and Nettle 2009. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hrdy, S. B. (1979). The evolution of human sexuality: The latest word and the last. Quarterly Review of Biology, 54, 309–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kaighobadi, F., Shackelford, T. K., & Weekes-Shackelford, V. A. (2012). Do women pretend orgasm to retain a mate? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 1121–1125.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. Kennedy, J., & Pavličev, M. (2018). Female orgasm and the emergence of prosocial empathy: An evo-devo perspective. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution, 330, 66–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. King, R., & Belsky, J. (2012). A typological approach to testing the evolutionary functions of human female orgasm. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 1145–1160.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. King, R., Belsky, J., Mah, K., & Binik, Y. (2011). Are there different types of female orgasm? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(5), 865–875.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. Little, A. C., Jones, B. C., & DeBruine, L. M. (2011). Facial attractiveness: Evolutionary based research. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1571), 1638–1659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lloyd, E. A. (2009). The case of the female orgasm: Bias in the science of evolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  39. McClintock, M. K. (1981). Social control of the ovarian cycle and the function of estrous synchrony. American Zoologist, 21(1), 243–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Meston, C. M., Levin, R. J., Sipski, M. L., Hull, E. M., & Heiman, J. R. (2004). Women’s orgasm. Annual Review of Sex Research, 15(1), 173–257.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Morris, D. (1967). The Naked Ape. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  42. Patch, E. A., Black, C. J., Amoa-Awuah, E. & Armas, A. (In preparation). Eight steps to ecstasy: Women’s pleasure in relationships.Google Scholar
  43. Pollet, T. V., & Nettle, D. (2009). Market forces affect patterns of polygyny in Uganda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(7), 2114–2117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pollet, T. V., & Nettle, D. (2010). Correction: “Partner wealth predicts self-reported orgasm frequency in a sample of Chinese women”. New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  45. Prause, N. (2011). The human female orgasm: Critical evaluations of proposed psychological sequelae. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26(4), 315–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Puts, D. A. (2005). Mating context and menstrual phase affect women’s preferences for male voice pitch. Evolution and Human Behavior, 26(5), 388–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Puts, D. A., & Dawood, K. (2006). The evolution of female orgasm: Adaptation or byproduct? Twin Research and Human Genetics, 9, 467–472.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Puts, D. A., Dawood, K., & Welling, L. L. (2012a). Why women have orgasms: An evolutionary analysis. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 1127–1143.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  49. Puts, D. A., Welling, L. L., Burriss, R. P., & Dawood, K. (2012b). Men’s masculinity and attractiveness predict their female partners’ reported orgasm frequency and timing. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shackelford, T. K., Weekes-Shackelford, V. A., LeBlanc, G. J., Bleske, A. L., Euler, H. A., & Hoier, S. (2000). Female coital orgasm and male attractiveness. Human Nature, 11, 299–306.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  51. Sherlock, J., Sidari, M., Harris, E., Barlow, F., & Zietsch, B. (2016). Testing the mate-choice hypothesis of the female orgasm: Disentangling traits and behaviours. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 6, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Symons, D. (1979). The evolution of human sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Tavris, C., & Sadd, S. (1977). The redbook report on female sexuality. New York: Delacorte Press.Google Scholar
  54. Thornhill, R., & Gangestad, S. W. (1996). The evolution of human sexuality. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 11(2), 98–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Thornhill, R., Gangestad, S. W., & Comer, R. (1995). Human female orgasm and mate fluctuating asymmetry. Animal Behaviour, 50(6), 1601–1615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. Sexual Selection & the Descent of Man (pp. 136–179). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  57. Udry, J. R., & Morris, N. M. (1968). Distribution of coitus in the menstrual cycle. Nature, 220(5167), 593.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  58. Wallen, K. (2006). Commentary on Puts’ (2006) review of the case of the female orgasm: Bias in the science of evolution. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35, 633–636.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  59. Wasser, S. K. (1983). Social behavior in female vertebrates. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  60. Wasser, S. K., & Waterhouse, M. L. (1983). The establishment and maintenance of sex biases. In Social behavior of female vertebrates (pp. 19–33). New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Welling, L. L. M. (2014). Female orgasm. In V. A. Weekes-Shackelford, T. K. Shackelford, & R. D. Hansen (Eds.), Evolutionary perspectives on human sexual psychology and behavior (pp. 223–241). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wheatley, J. R., & Puts, D. A. (2015). Evolutionary science of female orgasm. In T. K. Shackelford & R. D. Hansen (Eds.), The evolution of sexuality (pp. 123–148). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  63. Wildt, L., Kissler, S., Licht, P., & Becker, W. (1998). Sperm transport in the human female genital tract and its modulation by oxytocin as assessed by hysterosalpingoscintigraphy, hysterotonography, electrohysterography and Doppler sonography. Human Reproduction Update, 4(5), 655–666.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  64. Zak, P. J., Kurzban, R., & Matzner, W. T. (2004). The neurobiology of trust. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1032, 224–227.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  65. Zervomanolakis, I., Ott, H. W., Hadziomerovic, D., Mattle, V., Seeber, B. E., Virgolini, I., et al. (2007). Physiology of upward transport in the human female genital tract. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1101(1), 1–20.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  66. Zietsch, B. P., & Santtila, P. (2011). Genetic analysis of orgasmic function in twins and siblings does not support the by-product theory of female orgasm. Animal Behaviour, 82(5), 1097–1101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zietsch, B. P., Miller, G. F., Bailey, J. M., & Martin, N. G. (2011). Female orgasm rates are largely independent of other traits: Implications for “female orgasmic disorder” and evolutionary theories of orgasm. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8(8), 2305–2316.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Candace Jasmine Black
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily Anne Patch
    • 2
  • Desirae Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & SciencesArizona State UniversityGlendaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Brian B Boutwell
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySaint LouisUSA