We still haven't cured cancer/AIDS/all those other potentially fatal diseases, but that hasn't stopped researchers from taking time and money to figure out the important questions: like why the female orgasm exists.
While the scientific community has long held that it has no identifiable reproductive purpose, a recent breakthrough may have finally unearthed evidence to the contrary.
Beyond the myriad health benefits associated with getting off (the release of oxytocin; the sheer, magical, all-encompassing euphoria; etc.), a study out of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital now suggests that it might have been integral to reproduction at some point in our evolutionary history.
Basically, once upon a time, the female orgasm may have been the sensory manifestation of a "hormonal surge" similar to the process other mammals (such as cats and rabbits) undergo signaling that the eggs have been released from the ovaries. Think of it as an internal spiritual guide saying, “Hey, looks like there’s a potential to get knocked up over here.”
But in contrast to wild animals, female humans have evolved to ovulate more spontaneously in the millennia since.
“It is important to stress that it didn’t look like the human female orgasm looks like now,” said Mihaela Pavličev, the study's co-author. “We think that [the hormonal surge] is the core that was maybe modified further in humans.”
So is the orgasm still "necessary" today, or just a happy leftover from more primitive times?
“There is a lot of discussion about whether it could have any [other, more contemporary] functions, like in bonding behaviour," added Pavličev in her conclusion. "We cannot exclude that it actually has co-opted some other function after it lost its function in reproduction.”
As most people who have had the pleasure of having or giving an orgasm would probably agree, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that it certainly doesn't hurt on the bonding front.