The female orgasm

Is it a happy accident, or an adaptation?

On the one hand we have the “Professor of Anthropology and Biology”:http://anthro.rutgers.edu/faculty/trivers.shtml at Rutgers University, who says — or will say, in some future issue of the _Guardian_ — that “If Steve Gould thought the female orgasm was a byproduct, you have to wonder how close he had ever been to that blessed event.”

On the other side, we have a “really fine piece of reasoning”:http://philbio.typepad.com/philosophy_of_biology/2005/06/lisa_lloyds_vie.html from the Arnold and Maxine Tanis Chair of History and Philosophy of Science and Professor of Biology, at Indiana University. I’m not being ironic. It’s a beautiful piece of argument; and I am interested that none of the papers here seem to have picked it up, or “her book.”:http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/LLOCAS.html


The first person to comment that “more research is needed” will have a long time in which to consider the self-restraint that all the rest of us showed, when we didn’t leap to that conclusion.

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1 Response to The female orgasm

  1. Prof. Trivers’ joke is pretty gratuitous.

    Steve Gould also thought that male nipples are a byproduct. I wonder if Trivers thinks Gould never experienced those either.

    Just because an experience is intense, doesn’t mean it has to be an adaptation. I’ve been intensely drunk on many happy occasions, but I don’t believe for one second that drunkenness is anything more than a byproduct of my body chemistry’s reaction to alcohol. But, to paraphrase Woody Allen, as byproducts go, it’s one of the best.

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