Female Orgasm Rates are Largely Independent of Other Traits: Implications for “Female Orgasmic Disorder” and Evolutionary Theories of Orgasm
Version of Record online: 13 MAY 2011
© 2011 International Society for Sexual Medicine
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Volume 8, Issue 8, pages 2305–2316, August 2011
How to Cite
Zietsch, B. P., Miller, G. F., Bailey, J. M. and Martin, N. G. (2011), Female Orgasm Rates are Largely Independent of Other Traits: Implications for “Female Orgasmic Disorder” and Evolutionary Theories of Orgasm. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8: 2305–2316. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02300.x
- Issue online: 26 JUL 2011
- Version of Record online: 13 MAY 2011
- Genetic Correlation;
- Fitness Traits;
- Female Orgasmic Disorder
Introduction. The criteria for “female orgasmic disorder” (FOD) assume that low rates of orgasm are dysfunctional, implying that high rates are functional. Evolutionary theories about the function of female orgasm predict correlations of orgasm rates with sexual attitudes and behavior and other fitness-related traits.
Aim. To test hypothesized evolutionary functions of the female orgasm.
Methods. We examined such correlations in a community sample of 2,914 adult female Australian twins who reported their orgasm rates during masturbation, intercourse, and other sexual activities, and who completed demographic, personality, and sexuality questionnaires.
Main Outcome Measures. Orgasm rates during intercourse, other sex, and masturbation.
Results. Although orgasm rates showed high variance across women and substantial heritability, they were largely phenotypically and genetically independent of other important traits. We found zero to weak phenotypic correlations between all three orgasm rates and all other 19 traits examined, including occupational status, social class, educational attainment, extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism, impulsiveness, childhood illness, maternal pregnancy stress, marital status, political liberalism, restrictive attitudes toward sex, libido, lifetime number of sex partners, risky sexual behavior, masculinity, orientation toward uncommitted sex, age of first intercourse, and sexual fantasy. Furthermore, none of the correlations had significant genetic components.
Conclusion. These findings cast doubt on most current evolutionary theories about female orgasm's adaptive functions, and on the validity of FOD as a psychiatric construct. Zietsch BP, Miller GF, Bailey JM, and Martin NG. Female orgasm rates are largely independent of other traits: Implications for “female orgasmic disorder” and evolutionary theories of orgasm. J Sex Med 2011;8:2305–2316.