Female Sexuality: It’s Complicated
by An Ordinary Man (the novel)
“Classical thought has it that the function of the orgasm for both sexes is to make reproduction worthwhile. It’s easy to see where this could be true with the males, whether you’re talking about head-butting ungulates such as buffalo, big horn rams, or African antelope; territorial males like lions and wolves who guard their fiefdoms and the mating rights that go with it with tooth and claw; or harem masters like elk and elephant seals who exhaust themselves covering as many females as possible while driving off rivals.” He played short, silent videos of each as he spoke and considered the irony of telling his female students about the strength of the male sex drive; were there any of them who had not been subjected to its relentlessness by now? “Obviously, something, it would seem, makes this all worthwhile and it’s reasonable to assume it’s the male orgasm.” Very reasonable, in fact.
“So what about the females? Reproduction kind of seems like the ultimate bad deal for them because it’s usually up to her to more or less submit to the male’s advances, exposing herself to rough treatment from him, the fatigue of pregnancy, the danger of childbirth, and the demands of motherhood, all while he sort of just ambles off, looking for another conquest. What makes the female go there? It’s not the desire to have offspring, or the satisfaction of raising a family because although I do not doubt the special bond between mothers and their babies, animals wouldn’t be able to make a connection between sex and birth weeks or months later. Indeed, some humans don’t seem able to make that connection.
“But yet, we can be pretty sure it’s not pleasure, at least not in most cases.” He paused, aware that he was about to venture into dangerous territory. “Much of the mating out there is coercive in nature, with the males using harassment, intimidation, and physical force to accomplish it. Copulation in many species is quick, brutish, and even painful for the female, who frequently seeks to avoid it as much as possible. The use of the term ‘rape’ would not be entirely unjustified in several cases. On the other hand, making sex as pleasant for females as it is for males wouldn’t work very well; we would literally have bad moms running all through the animal kingdom, throwing themselves at the guys, with no one watching out for the babies she might already have at home.
“At the end of the day, it seems clear that many, if not most, females mate because if they didn’t, their species would cease to exist and not for any other reason. Females who completely reject any interaction with males are unable to reproduce themselves and would be selected out.”
That’s Professor Richard Wilson addressing his evolutionary biology class at Aeolian College, grappling with the issue of female sexuality as his own marriage falls apart because of bedroom incompatibility. Dr. John Randolph, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology for the University of Michigan Health System and an author of a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, had this to say: “[w]omen’s interest in sex is extremely complicated,” with “[m]ood and an overall sense of health and well-being [being] key for women.”