Julian Sanchez header image 2

photos by Lara Shipley

The Second Coming

February 13th, 2005 · 4 Comments

At the start of a piece on the porn classic Deep Throat, Laura Kipnis muses on Mother Nature’s shocking lack of gender solidarity in arranging things so that, on average, it’s easier for men than women to arrive at the Big O:

And let’s not forget the unkindest joke of all, the placement of the clitoris–the primary locale of female sexual pleasure–at some remove from the vagina, the primary locale of human sexual intercourse. While not an insurmountable obstacle, some percentage of the male population still has yet to fathom these anatomical complexities. Why wasn’t everything just combined into one efficient package, as with the lucky male?

Utter speculation here, but a guess: For reproductive (and therefore evolutionary) purposes, the male orgasm is the strictly necessary one. If someone’s going to go first, then, it’d make sense for it to be the guy. If caveman finishes first, rolls over, and goes to sleep, pregnancy can still occur. Not so much the other way around. And if cavewoman’s still aroused but hasn’t had her turn, well, added incentive for a post-refractory second round. Not exactly fair, but it’d make a certain amount of evolutionary sense.

Tags: Science



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Caitlin // Feb 13, 2005 at 9:21 pm

    Ah, but Julian, the female orgasm causes muscle spasms of the vaginal walls that facilitate the reception & transportation of semen. She comes, and (in the case of no protection) the lovejuice is literally sucked up.

  • 2 Prof $1.50 // Feb 14, 2005 at 5:02 am

    It is a cruel joke indeed if we ladies are supposed to be waiting around for a “post-refractory second round.”
    Caitlin brings to mind the fact that the physiology of sex is still a developing body of knowledge, a science in its toddler years (shocking that we haven’t learned everything in the years since Kinsey…ya think?!)… for instance, the egg has a larger role in determining its fertilizing sperm than was previously thought; it actually moves to the sperm it prefers. In school, we who were fortunate enough to get any kind of sex ed were taught that the egg was as passive and submissive as Paris Hilton with what’s-his-name.
    My personal theory is that babies would be smarter and less prone to depression if their mommies all conceived them after orgasm. Hey, prove me wrong!

    (Oh, and in certain sexual positions, clitoral placement makes perfect sense; perhaps these positions enhance fertility. Now there’s a study I’d like to see.)

  • 3 John Casey // Feb 15, 2005 at 11:36 pm


    Both genders have the maximum enervation in analogous physical structures. Could just be a accident of development, eh?

  • 4 Dominic Murphy // Feb 17, 2005 at 12:19 pm

    There’s a huge (if controversial) literature on the non-adaptiveness of the female orgasm, going back To Donald Symons’ article in 1979. Check out Elisabeth Lloyd’s forthcoming book, which argues that the evolutionary explanations for the female orgasm are all garbage.