Alim Kheraj
August 01, 2016 4:22 am
Columbia Pictures

We all know that famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm over a cup of coffee. It’s completely iconic.

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But for years, scientists have been trying to figure out why women have orgasms at all.

Researchers have been puzzled by the female orgasm because it doesn’t serve any purpose for reproduction.

Now, however, scientists have come to the conclusion that the female orgasm might stem from our ape ancestors having been “left over” from evolution.

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A new study published in the journal JEZ-Molecular and Developmental Evolution conducted by Mihaela Pavličev of Cincinnati children’s hospital and Günter Wagner from Yale University, claims that the human female orgasm has “an ancestral function in inducing ovulation.”

Basically, in certain animals, sexual stimulation helps ovulation occur, leading the female to become fertile.

In other words, female orgasm would have released hormones that helped the release of eggs during sex, aiding the reproduction process. However, because of the evolution of spontaneous ovulation, this became redundant.

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In the study, Pavličev and Wagner suggest that this all has to do with the position of the clitoris in mammals. They found that in those animals that rely on sexual stimulation for ovulation, the clitoris could often be found inside the body near the female sex canal. They found that those mammals where the clitoris was found outside that area had evolved to ovulate spontaneously.

“The disconnect of copulation from clitoral stimulation, which appears to coincide with anatomical changes in the primate lineage, is only possible when the ovarian cycle becomes autonomous,” the study states. “This likely opened the potential to co-opt the clitoris into new, primate- or human-specific roles.”

This doesn’t mean that the female orgasm is redundant, however.

“There is a lot of discussion about whether it could have any functions like in bonding behaviour and things like that – so we cannot exclude that it actually has co-opted some other function after it lost its function in reproduction,” said Pavličev

Isn’t science just a wonderful and hella confusing thing?

[H/T The Guardian]