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The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

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Book Jacket

Author: Elisabeth Lloyd

Though her prose style leaves something to be desired, the topic is, to say the least, very interesting. Lloyd’s thesis is that the entire community of scientists that have studied the question of why human females experience orgasms has failed. They have failed because they were all operating under the influence of deep biases. In particular, Lloyd finds that most researchers assume that female orgasm is just like a male’s orgasm. Wrong. Many researchers assume that female orgasm either always, or at least, only happens during intercourse with a male. Wrong. Even researchers not suffering from such obvious male biases, suffer from another form of bias, the adaptationist programme; that is, all traits, including human female orgasm, must be the direct result of natural selection. The evidence for this assertion has led to some quite bizarre hypotheses, none of which seem reasonable to me. A far more satisfying explanation can be found in the byproduct explanation. Human female orgasm is the byproduct for strong selection for male orgasm. For some reason, some find this perfectly valid, embryologically consistent explanation to be insulting. But why? There was never direct selection for the ability to read, but oh what a lesser existence if we did not have that ability.


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