Unlike some animals, human females can have sex any time of the month, and they do not have to orgasm to ovulate or get pregnant.
Male-dominated scientific norms mean that much about the female orgasm remains misunderstood, and many harmful myths persist.
A female orgasm can be highly pleasurable and occur during masturbation or sexual activity with one or more partners. Scientists are unsure whether it has additional benefits.
In this article, we look at why female orgasms occur and what happens during an orgasm. We also debunk some common misconceptions.
The benefits of the male orgasm are clear. Men must ejaculate to deposit sperm in the vagina, possibly leading to pregnancy. The male orgasm, therefore, serves a clear evolutionary purpose.
The purpose of the female orgasm is less clear. Researchers have suggested numerous potential benefits, but few have been rigorously tested, and no theory has conclusive scientific support.
Not everything the body does has a clear purpose, however. Scientists have not discovered the evolutionary benefits of some traits that have persisted in humans.
A 2016 studyTrusted Source argues that the female orgasm may have no obvious evolutionary benefit and that it may be a relic of a time when the hormones associated with orgasm were necessary for a woman to ovulate.
Since there was no evolutionary need to eliminate the female orgasm, it persisted even when it was no longer necessary for fertility.
Orgasm may serve important purposes, however. The pleasure it can cause can encourage females to have sex. This may also promote bonding with a sexual partner, which does have significant evolutionary benefits.
During arousal, blood flow to the genitals increases, causing them to become more sensitive.
As arousal increases, a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate may also increase. As orgasm approaches, the muscles may twitch or spasm. Many women experience rhythmic muscle spasms in the vagina during an orgasm.
Several researchers have proposed that sexual response follows specific stages, though their theories about these stages differ.
Still, most theories include the following stages:
- excitement, during which arousal builds
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