Thursday, September 29, 2005

FEMALE ORGASMS TIED TO MATE SELECTION

Women who fail to orgasm during sex may be genetically programmed to weed out unreliable men who are a flop between the sheets, according to new research. Scientists who have studied the ability of thousands of women to climax say it is largely written in their genes -- the most compelling evidence so far that the female orgasm has a biological role.

The findings suggest the failure of some women to orgasm regularly is not a dysfunction, but a sophisticated mate-selection strategy that evolved during prehistoric times.

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."

"Perhaps women who had orgasms too easily may be more likely to be satisfied with poor quality men," 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."

Thirty-two percent of the women said they never or infrequently experienced an orgasm during sex, and 21 percent during masturbation. Only 14 percent said they always had an orgasm during sex. Genetic comparisons showed that 34 percent of the variation during intercourse was inherited. In the case of masturbation, 45 percent of the difference was down to genes.

Spector said that genes are probably the greatest single factor involved in whether women have an orgasm. One theory is that orgasms promote fertility. Studies have shown that women are slightly more likely to have an orgasm when they are ovulating. There is also evidence that the uptake of sperm is increased when a woman climaxes. But if this were the only explanation, all women would have orgasms.

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