Young couple engaged in sexual intercourse

Scientists have found out that the orgasm has become a “useless” phenomenon for the evolution of the human kind, a kind of relic of the past.

The female orgasm is a kind of an atavism from the point of view of evolution — in the past it facilitated ovulation and production of sex cells during the mating season, and now it plays no role in the everyday life. This article was published in JEZ-Molecular and Developmental Evolution journal.

“In the past our colleagues were focused on what there is in human biology and the traits that could change in the process of evolution. However, they did not try to understand how an orgasm could occur in the course of evolution,” said Gunter Wagner from Yale University (USA).

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Scientists and philosophers have been thinking since the ancient times why women feel pleasure during sex. From the point of view of the evolution this function of the human organism has no meaning – it does not help women become pregnant and produce more children. Moreover, females of gibbon monkeys (who are, in fact, our closest “relatives” and who lead a monogamous lifestyle) do not have orgasms in principle, which calls into question the “social” role of this feature of the female reproductive system.

Wagner and his colleague Michaela Pavlicev tried to unravel the role of an orgasm, drawing attention to what actually happens to a woman’s body at the onset of this condition and comparing it with the behavior of the females of apes and other mammals.

The main biological feature of an orgasm, as the scientists explain, is to release a number of hormones into the blood, including oxytocin, the hormone of happiness, and prolactin, the hormone of maternity, preparing the body of a woman to the development of the embryo. Something similar, as Pavlicev and Wagner found out, occurs in the body of females of other mammals – a similar process of prolactin and oxytocin production in their bodies takes place when they begin ovulating.

Ovulation in women, unlike in animals, go on its own and does not depend on the time of year or another important factor that causes ovulation in females of many other mammalian species – the smell or sight of a particular male.

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The presence of such features in the sexual behavior of females in the most ancient mammalian species that exist today is a positive indication that this type of ovulation emerged earlier than the cyclical ovulation of modern women. For this reason, it is likely that this process was the “grandfather” of the modern orgasm during sex, the meaning of which disappeared after a woman’s body moved to the hidden cyclic ovulation, not allowing a potential partner to guess whether a woman is ready to mate or not.

According to the authors, this proposition is supported by the fact that the clitoris  “moved” in the process of human evolution from the internal part of the female reproductive system in his current position, which reduced the likelihood of “accidental” triggering of this reflex during an intercourse.

Today all these changes have lost its meaning, because the mere sight of men does not affect the process of ovulation today, and the female orgasm has become a “useless” phenomenon.