Menu

InstagramTwitterYouTubeFacebookSnapchat
Globe Icon
Health

Rabbits may be key to revealing the secrets of the ‘female orgasm’

Lily Wakefield October 1, 2019
rabbits could help explain the female orgasm.

A study involving rabbits could help explain the female orgasm. (Envato)

The orgasm of someone with a vagina and clitoris has always been a scientific mystery, but now a study involving rabbits could finally help us understand it.

According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the “female orgasm is intriguing for two reasons”.

Firstly, the “female orgasm is not necessary for female reproductive success”, and secondly, it is “too complex to be an evolutionary accident”.

The theory that led to the study is that for someone with ovaries, the orgasm might have at one point been a trigger for the release of hormones that induced ovulation during sex.

While humans have evolved to release eggs as part of their menstrual cycle, “copulation-induced ovulation” still occurs in many animals, including rabbits.

Dr Mihaela Pavličev, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati who co-authored the study, told The Guardian: “We know there is a reflex [in rabbits], but the question [is] could this be the same one that has lost the function in humans?”

rabbits could help explain the female orgasm.
When rabbits have sex, a release of hormones causes ovulation. (Envato)

Rabbits were given Prozac to determine if there was a link between orgasm and ovulation.

The antidepressant fluoxetine, or Prozac, is known to reduce a human’s ability to orgasm.

So, scientists decided to give fluoxetine to female rabbits to see if it reduced the number of eggs released during sex with a male rabbit named Frank.

They found that the rabbits given fluoxetine produced 30 percent fewer eggs when mating with Frank, compared to the rabbits not given fluoxetine.

Therefore, “the effect of fluoxetine on copulation-induced ovulation rate supports the [theory] that female orgasm has very deep evolutionary roots among the early eutherian mammals”.

While the study explains the origin of the “female orgasm”, an evolutionary hangover from copulation-induced ovulation, Pavličev told The Guardian that is does not explain why it still exists.

She said it was possible that the orgasm had acquired a new function, and that more research was needed.

Pavličev added: “Maybe it can direct a little bit more friendly focus on female sexuality rather than just being in [the] service of childbearing.”

More: clitoris, evolution, female orgasm, orgasm, science, vagina

Read comments (0)

Close icon