NCBI ROFL: What can 2,914 Australian twins tell us about the evolution of the female orgasm?

By ncbi rofl | June 20, 2011 7:00 pm

Female Orgasm Rates are Largely Independent of Other Traits: Implications for “Female Orgasmic Disorder” and Evolutionary Theories of Orgasm.

“Introduction.  The criteria for “female orgasmic disorder” (FOD) assume that low rates of orgasm are dysfunctional, implying that high rates are functional. Evolutionary theories about the function of female orgasm predict correlations of orgasm rates with sexual attitudes and behavior and other fitness-related traits. Aim.  To test hypothesized evolutionary functions of the female orgasm. Methods.  We examined such correlations in a community sample of 2,914 adult female Australian twins who reported their orgasm rates during masturbation, intercourse, and other sexual activities, and who completed demographic, personality, and sexuality questionnaires. Main Outcome Measures.  Orgasm rates during intercourse, other sex, and masturbation. Results.  Although orgasm rates showed high variance across women and substantial heritability, they were largely phenotypically and genetically independent of other important traits. We found zero to weak phenotypic correlations between all three orgasm rates and all other 19 traits examined, including occupational status, social class, educational attainment, extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism, impulsiveness, childhood illness, maternal pregnancy stress, marital status, political liberalism, restrictive attitudes toward sex, libido, lifetime number of sex partners, risky sexual behavior, masculinity, orientation toward uncommitted sex, age of first intercourse, and sexual fantasy. Furthermore, none of the correlations had significant genetic components. Conclusion.  These findings cast doubt on most current evolutionary theories about female orgasm’s adaptive functions, and on the validity of FOD as a psychiatric construct.”

Photo: flickr/Martina Rathgens

Thanks to Amos for today’s ROFL!

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  • Jason

    I’m guessing you had an interesting time finding a publishable image of “twin female orgasms” for the upper left of the page there.

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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