This existential question has been debated for a long time, particularly by the Ancient Greeks. Despite there being numerous theories, two researchers think they have found the origin of the female orgasm, and it is apparently not related to pleasure.
It is quite difficult to think about a female orgasm without linking it to pleasure. Although many scientists have been trying to find a sufficient reason for years, two researchers think they have the solution. It is related to the theory of evolution. The two researchers are Alison Richard from Yale University and Mihaela Pavličev who works at a children’s hospital in Cincinnati, USA. Their study was published in the JEZ-Molecular and Developmental Evolution journal on 1 August 2016.
Researchers studied the biology of many mammals not including human or primates so as to understand to what extent female orgasms were linked to the reproduction process. According to The Guardian article which looks at this study, about 75 million years ago, an orgasm is thought to have triggered ovulation.
Today, however, we know a female orgasm is not connected to female ovulation, which instead follows a specific cycle. However this is not the case for a lot of mammals where ovulation is triggered by the male. During this type of ovulation, scientists observed the secretion of the two hormones prolactin and oxytocin, which can also be found in female blood during an orgasm.
Alison Richard and Mihaela Pavličev believe that more than 75 million years ago ovulation in all female mammals was triggered by males so, therefore by an orgasm. The first primates and rodents evolved to an ovulation cycle which prompted the end of a biological interest in this “hormonal reflex.”
To prove their theory, researchers compared genitals of different mammals. For mammals where ovulation is triggered by an orgasm the clitoris is located inside the vagina, in contrast to women who have an ovulation cycle.
“There is a lot of discussion about whether (an orgasm) could have any functions like in bonding behaviour and things like that – so we cannot exclude that it actually has co-opted some other function after it lost its function in reproduction.” stated Mihaela Pavličev, who does not believe that the clitoris is completely biologically useless.