Prompt: It is suspected that the female orgasm provides support for the evolutionary history of short-term mating. Is short-term mating a way for females to narrow down the pool of potential reproductive candidates? Provide research in support of this theory. Then explain how female orgasm helps create better genetic reproduction.
The female orgasm may provide some evidence in why women engage in short-term mating. Studies have shown that women are more likely to experience sexual orgasm with men who are masculine and physically attractive (Puts, Welling, Burriss, & Darwood, 2012). Other evidence has shown that women are likely to have sexual orgasm with men who have facial asymmetry (Thornhill, Gangestad, & Comer, 1995). These studies provide evidence that there may be a correlation between male genetic quality and the female orgasm. Perhaps the female orgasm functions as a mate selection device, providing clues about the quality of the man she is having copulations with. In the first article Puts et el. (2012) studied the relationships between the genetic quality of men (attractiveness, dominance, facial asymmetry and masculinity) and the frequency and timing of copulatory orgasm in their female partner. The studied examined 110 couples, which 98% of the participants were white. For the study, participants were photographed and the photos were masked so that the photo showed no hair, neck or clothing. These photos were assessed by judges (9 women; 9 men), who rated the photographs on attractiveness and masculinity, which then produced an overall score for each photo. The participants additionally completed a questionnaire in which they rated self-attractiveness, partner’s dominance and partner’s masculinity/femininity. Also the participants were questioned on the percentage of time they experienced orgasm with their partner and orgasm during self-masturbation. The results of this study showed that male masculinity positively and male self-rated dominance negatively predicted female coital orgasm (see table 8). Male attractiveness and the length of relationship also significantly predicted female coital orgasm after or during sex (see table 9). Overall Puts et el. (2012) found that the quality of women’s mates, the men’s attractiveness and masculinity, significantly predicted the women’s orgasms. In the second study Thornhill et al. (1995) examined women’s orgasm rates in comparison to their partner’s fluctuating asymmetry. The researchers predicted higher orgasm rates in females who were in relationships with symmetrical men. The study consisted of 86 heterosexual adult couples involved in sexually active relationships. All participants were around the age of 20-21 and had been in a romantic relationship from a range of a month to two years. Participants completed a questionnaire study in which they were asked to complete assessments on self and partner future earnings, social potency scale, investment behavior of self and partner, the Rubin love scale, sexual behaviors, female orgasm and contraceptive use. Also each participant was photographed and measured to assess fluctuating asymmetry. Using the photos, physical attractiveness was assessed by 10 outside raters that were naïve to the purpose of the study. The results showed that 86 of the women, on average, claimed to orgasm during copulation 29.5% of the time. As predicted, the researchers found that women with partners who possessed lower fluctuating asymmetry were reported by both partners as having more orgasms during copulation. According to Table 3, even with confounds, such as sexual experience, frequency, investment in relationship and partner’s love scale, the most predicted variable of female orgasm was men’s facial symmetry. In conclusion, female orgasm appears to be an adaptation to increase the likelihood of reproduction. Attractiveness, masculinity and facial symmetry are seen as important indicators of genetic quality. These three factors all positively correlate with female orgasm, suggesting that these markers are of reproductive significance. It seems female orgasm may have evolved into a mate selection technique by increasing the probability of fertilization only from high quality males.
Puts, D. A., Welling, L. L., Burriss, R. P., & Dawood, K. (2012). Men’s masculinity and attractiveness predict their female partners’ reported orgasm frequency and timing. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(1), 1-9. Thornhill, R., Gangestad, S. W., & Comer, R. (1995). Human female orgasm and mate fluctuating asymmetry. Animal Behaviour, 50, 1601–1615.