Once again, the female orgasm has managed to avoid providing any helpful information to scientists about how and why it evolved in humans. Like an unforthcoming woman, it is refusing to reveal its deepest mysteries to those who treat the human body in the same way that mechanics treat a car. They can’t understand when they strip it down to its components why the sum is so much more than the number of parts.
Scientists recently studied the orgasmic function in thousands of twins and found that none of the statistical patterns were present which should be there if the female orgasm was just a coincidental byproduct of natural selection on its male counterpart, as has been suggested.
“The evolutionary basis of human female orgasm has been subject to furious scientific debate, which has recently intensified,” says University of Queensland geneticist Brendan Zietsch and Pekka Santtila of Finland’s Abo Akedemi University in a Sept. 3 Animal Behavior article. “These results challenge the byproduct theory of female orgasm.”
But why did scientists ever come to the conclusion that the female orgasm had no health-giving or life-enhancing function other than to provide pleasure?
Possibly because the female orgasm refuses to slot itself into the handy scientific pigeon holes that the male orgasm has always so helpfully provided.
As you would expect of the humble male, his orgasm, in evolutionary terms, is a straightforward and simple no-nonsense affair. This has, so far, been explained by the theory that the male orgasm furthers man’s evolution because the pleasure it gives makes men want to have sex more often (well it gives men a good excuse to, anyway.)
However, there’s nothing so straightforward about the female orgasm, the results of the studies for which provide no such clarity.
For instance, all male animals orgasm, but not so female animals. Gibbon ladies, for example, do not enjoy such When Harry Met Sally-like raptures. Even in humans, men are far more likely to experience orgasm than women, of whom one in 10 don’t ever experience it.
Added to that, the most common experience of orgasm with women is clitoral orgasm, which can be experienced without contributing at all to population numbers.
So these statistics give the lie to traditional explanations for the female orgasm, which always used to be:
• it strengthens bonds between mates and thus improves the care received by their children
• the ability to elicit orgasm indicates a male’s virility
• underlying physiological processes somehow improve reproductive success
None of the above now appears to be the rationale behind women being able to reach orgasm, just like males, because if there was a evolutionary imperative behind it, the female orgasm should be easier to attain for all women.
The scientists in this most recent study were working to try to prove the idea put forward in Elizabeth Lloyd’s popular book The Case of the Female Orgasm. She put the case that there may be no evolutionary imperative for the female orgasm; that it was merely because women share biology with men, making the female orgasm an accidental byproduct.
However, like geneticists once dubbed DNA for which they could find no purpose ‘junk DNA’, let us not to rush to label the female orgasm ‘junk ecstasy’.
Just because scientists cannot find what the female orgasm is for, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a purpose.
When women talk about their orgasms, they seem to be describing a much more holistic and rounded experience, verging on spiritual ecstasy, than that described by their male partners. In ancient times, ‘sacred sex magic’ was practised where the female orgasm was seen as just as much a function of the auric or energetic field as the physical body. (See The Sacred Sex Rites of Isis). It is a mind-body-spirit experience, and this is a trick that scientists might be missing in their exclusive concentration on trying to make this experience fit Darwinian theories.
Matter is governed by the energetic field is something that Einstein discovered before he died but few, since then, have realised how to apply this to the human experience, possibly because science has no tools with which to measure this field. However, until they do, the female orgasm will probably continue to evade their insistent probings like a woman with a headache on a Saturday night….until she turns round and insists: “But if you really loved me, you would just KNOW!”.
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