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Keywords:

  • primates;
  • female orgasm;
  • vaginal contractions;
  • uterine suction;
  • phylogenetic inertia;
  • adaptive pattern

Abstract

The major genital responses of arousal in women are vasocongestion, resulting in tumescence of the vaginal walls, and vaginal lubrication, facilitating penile intromission and thrusting. During orgasm, several involuntary muscular reactions occur, the most adaptive being in the outer third of the vagina and the uterus. Uterine suction of the ejaculate seems to occur when the reproductive apparatus is functioning at full efficiency. Coitus may result in reflex ovulation. Indices of female nonhuman primate orgasm thus far proposed include rhythmic vaginal and anal contractions, hyperventilation, involuntary muscle tension, arm and leg spasms, grimacing, and uterine contractions. Orgasm in our species may exist as a result of phylogenetic inertia, not as a novel response selected during protohominid or hominid evolution. A theory for the evolutionary nature of orgasm in women states that the orgasmic vaginal contractions stimulate ejaculation. Reasons for the common asynchrony of this adaptive pattern are the usually lowered ejaculatory threshold because of non-species-typical orgasmic frequency in the male, and the frequently delayed female orgasm because of psychological inhibition and/or inadequate control and development of the pubococcygeus.