Human Female Orgasm as Evolved Signal: A Test of Two Hypotheses

Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri, 107 Swallow Hall, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA, .
Archives of Sexual Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.53). 07/2013; 42(8). DOI: 10.1007/s10508-013-0152-7
Source: PubMed


We present the results of a study designed to empirically test predictions derived from two hypotheses regarding human female orgasm behavior as an evolved communicative trait or signal. One hypothesis tested was the female fidelity hypothesis, which posits that human female orgasm signals a woman's sexual satisfaction and therefore her likelihood of future fidelity to a partner. The other was sire choice hypothesis, which posits that women's orgasm behavior signals increased chances of fertilization. To test the two hypotheses of human female orgasm, we administered a questionnaire to 138 females and 121 males who reported that they were currently in a romantic relationship. Key predictions of the female fidelity hypothesis were not supported. In particular, orgasm was not associated with female sexual fidelity nor was orgasm associated with male perceptions of partner sexual fidelity. However, faked orgasm was associated with female sexual infidelity and lower male relationship satisfaction. Overall, results were in greater support of the sire choice signaling hypothesis than the female fidelity hypothesis. Results also suggest that male satisfaction with, investment in, and sexual fidelity to a mate are benefits that favored the selection of orgasmic signaling in ancestral females.

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Available from: Drew H. Bailey, Mar 28, 2015
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    • "Given the high prevalence of sexual arousal, desire, and orgasmic difficulties reported by women (Brotto, Bitzer, Laan, Leiblum, & Luria, 2010; Laumann, Paik, & Rosen, 1999; West et al., 2008), understanding the psychological stimulus features associated with orgasmic response is important for developing interventions aimed at improving sexual functioning. Women's sexual functioning, and particularly their copulatory orgasm, is positively associated with their sexual (Haavio-Mannila & Kontula, 1997; Hisasue et al., 2005; Tao & Brody, 2011), relationship (Costa & Brody, 2007; Ellsworth & Bailey, 2013; Mah & Binik, 2005; Shackelford et al., 2000; Singh et al., 1998; Trudel et al., 1993), and general life satisfaction (Brody, 2007). Future research could examine other psychological stimulus features associated with copulatory orgasm, such as other male partner's features and traits as well as relationship characteristics as potential mediators, given the association between women's perceptions of partner attractiveness and copulatory orgasm. "
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    ABSTRACT: Women’s copulatory orgasm may function to retain sperm from men with “good genes”, one indicator of which is attractiveness, and one benefit of which is pathogen resistance. Women who perceive their partner to be more (vs. less) attractive are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation. Another benefit of male attractiveness to women is that he may sire offspring that will gain the heritable share of this advantage (i.e., “sexy sons”). Research has not addressed the “Sexy Sons” Hypothesis (e.g., as indicated by women’s perception of other women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness) in regards to female copulatory orgasm. We secured self-reports from 439 women in a committed, heterosexual relationship and investigated the relationships between women’s orgasm at last copulation and (1) women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness and (2) women’s perceptions of other women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness. The results indicate that women mated to more (vs. less) attractive men are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation, and this relationship is mediated by women’s perceptions of other women’s assessments of their partner’s attractiveness. We discuss the mediated relationship, note limitations of the research, and suggest future research directions.
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    Journal of Sexual Medicine 12/2014; 12(3). DOI:10.1111/jsm.12766 · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    01/2015: pages 123-148;