Female Orgasm Rates are Largely Independent of Other Traits: Implications for “Female Orgasmic Disorder” and Evolutionary Theories of Orgasm

Authors

  • Brendan P. Zietsch PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
    2. Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia
      Brendan Zietsch, PhD, School of Psychology, McElwain Building, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia. Tel: (+61) 4 0023 9049; (+61) 7 3362 0101; E-mail: brendan.zietsch@qimr.edu.au
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  • Geoffrey F. Miller PhD,

    1. Psychology Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
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  • J. Michael Bailey PhD,

    1. Psychology Department, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
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  • Nicholas G. Martin PhD

    1. Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia
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Brendan Zietsch, PhD, School of Psychology, McElwain Building, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia. Tel: (+61) 4 0023 9049; (+61) 7 3362 0101; E-mail: brendan.zietsch@qimr.edu.au

ABSTRACT

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.

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