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Difficulty of female orgasm linked to genetics: possibly an evolutionary response

Tim Spector of St Thomas's hospital in London, who led the research, said: "The theory is that the orgasm is an evolutionary way of seeing if men can prove themselves to be likely good providers or dependable, patient and caring enough to look after the kids."

Women who orgasm very easily may be more likely to be satisfied with poor quality men.

"Perhaps women who had orgasms too easily weren't very good selectors," Professor Spector said. "It paid women to be more fussy and this is one way of doing it. The simple fact is that it takes women on average 12 minutes and men two and a half minutes to reach orgasm. Adjusting to that imbalance is a test."


The rationale actually makes a certain bizarre sort of sense - to me, anyway. Not so well these days, when it's less necessary to be instictively inclined to be a good lover for the effects to manifest, but this is hardly the first time humanity has managed to sidestep evolution, and it will hardly be the last. I can imagine this being a fairly useful selection tool back in older times - any of you ladies care to comment?

Today has been almost militantly blah. Woke up, didn't get any callbacks, did some exercise, went to the dentist. Heard some bad news from an old friend, and had a longish conversation with my mother (the effects of both have been outlined in earlier posts today).

Elsewhere in the "stuff I was surprised to find out today" file:

  • My preferred alias is actually an Irish first name meaning "blind".
  • That old favourite Bill Nye has himself a new show. Apparently not on any channels I get, though. Bah. Humbug.


On the agenda for tonight: new episode of Doctor Who, and then likely some coding. But first - food!

-D.

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Comments

( Walk among 5 shadows — Cast a shadow )
skloak
Jun. 8th, 2005 01:57 am (UTC)
The way I always heard it (and the way it makes sense to me), the female orgasm happens so that human females desire sex. We don't have cycles of being in heat like most mammals do, where for a week or so that's all we can think about, and .. well, ok, we don't *biologically* have them, but you know what I mean. If we didn't get anything out of it, we'd think ourselves out of procreation (honestly, if you're not in the mood for it, it really sucks, and no female in her right mind would do it if she could avoid it), and that wouldn't evolve us anywhere.

However, we're not the only species in which the female has orgasms: dolphins at least have them too. And they're also reasonably intelligent, don't go into heat, and could choose not to procreate. So it seems reasonable there'd be a correlation.

Choosing a man based on how good an orgasm he gives you I think is probably a more recent development. Being a good provider will be evidenced by how much food he gathers, how well he defends the home, how many wooly mammoths he can lift with one hand, things like that. I doubt it was relevant way back in the day.
paleshadow
Jun. 8th, 2005 03:02 am (UTC)
You do have a very good point about it being a reproduction incentive, but I actually think that ties into the doctors' conclusion.

I don't think that anyone is arguing that this would be the only discriminatory factor that your hypothetical cavewoman would have gone by.

Just that hey, if this guy can gather enough food to feed a family, and club sabretooth tigers to death with his bare hands, and is a patient and caring enough fellow to actually try and have her enjoy the sex act despite the comparative difficulty, then it bodes well for the woman who decides to pair bond with him, doesn't it?

-D.


skloak
Jun. 8th, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
Caring and emotional support wasn't really an issue back then, I don't think. There is, of course, evidence of neandertals having grave goods, which signifies *some* amount of concern and attachment, but life being as rough as it was back then, I can't think that they weren't reasonably practical about things. Which means that the tiger-clubbing is going to be important, but whether or not he's a sensitive enough guy to get his girl off is really not. I mean, sure if they were doing it for fun (which they probably usually were), it would've been *nice* if the woman also had one. But I doubt that it was much of a mate-determining characteristic, if any at all.
generationxwing
Jun. 8th, 2005 03:00 am (UTC)
Doctor Who was weird. That's what I get for walking in half-way and going "..the hell is with the gas masks?"

o.o; Twelve minutes? Man.
paleshadow
Jun. 8th, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)
Heh, yeah, it took me a while to get it myself. The fact that I missed last week's (and it was apparently a two-parter?) Does Not Help.

Also - looks like a new companion. Eeenteresteeng.

-D.
( Walk among 5 shadows — Cast a shadow )