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April 28, 2009


A fascinating hypothesis! But let's not discount the purely biological factors: female orgasm has a documented impact on fertility, as well.

Effect of SSRIs in delaying ejaculation in males may support this hypothesis. In Buss' Evolutionary Psychology there was an idea that serotonin might be an internal signal for status, the level of which is set quite early in life. This might help the individual not to risk too much in trying to up his status.

Matt writes "A fascinating hypothesis! But let's not discount the purely biological factors: female orgasm has a documented impact on fertility, as well."

That's perfectly compatible with the hypothesis. Besides the orgasmic response to copulation, the status perception could also influence fertility, further reducing the chance of being successfully fertilized by a low status male.

Whoops, I constantly scan for competitors when I'm having sex.

Matt Osborne: let's not discount the purely biological factors: female orgasm has a documented impact on fertility, as well..

See this comment in an earlier OB post regarding this topic: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/12/the-best-exerci.html?cid=126712336#comment-126712336
If the "documented impact" you mention is "enhanced fertility", the majority of us in the field of sexual medicine find no valid evidence to support this popular belief.

As to bears preferring "better" male lovers, I would hope that Barash had his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek. Ursal sows are among the mammals who experience induced ovulation by being in the presence of mature boars. They also are in the group that experience estrus, and are unreceptive to boars in all ways at other times. Confirming the wide disparity in occupational interests, researchers have taken the time to document that there is no correlation between bear body mass and size of the os penis nor testicular size/sperm density. The only relationship to procreation in the story is that there is a correlation between increased time of sexual arousal/ejaculation latency and increased sperm density in mammals. All in all, there seems to be no insight to be gained about humans from Barash's bear story. The observations about the macaque primates are more relevant, since they have non-estral sexual relations.

@Effect of SSRIs in delaying ejaculation in males may support this hypothesis.

SSRI's delay ejaculation by acting on the the peripheral synapses of the sympathetic nervous system, over the S2-S4 roots. not centrally in the brain.

Here is another thought with regards to these findings: if you're a male and not looking to commit to the particular female you are having sex with, you would deliberately try not to give her an orgasm. This can help explain why high-status males who have promiscuous sex are often considered inattentive lovers - it keeps any one female from getting too attached, which causes unwanted complications.

(Unfortunately, this is based on anecdotal evidence, I don't know of any quantification on this matter myself.)

@ retired urologist

I don't think it's that simple. See for example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16844284

certainly the most interesting thing I've read all day.


The company who published the article you cite (Pelvipharm) is in the business of developing new drugs to sell for manipulating ejaculatory latency, among other things. Their study reflects that. They are not trying to "overcome bias". If you wish to discuss the issue of ejaculatory latency, please contact me by email: there is a contact box on my blog, retiredurologist.com.

One thing seems a little confusing to me here, and you have probably explained earlier, but, what are we defining "high status men" as? In the animal kingdom status seems a little more objective. In the kingdom of man perception of status is very subjective and based on the interests of those evaluating. So should I generalize status and success as accumulation of wealth and fame with regard to this argument?

SortingItOut: No, you should treat it as a remnant of our primitive past, just like many other biases! But yeah being great in bed is probably "high status" :)

This is a great way to look at things. Humans are, after all, animals. Killer stuff here.


Baker (Sperm Wars) posits that orgasm is a way for the female body to help her sexual partner in sperm swimming competition. If female orgasms immediately after male ejaculation, it helps this partner's sperm to reach uterus, and also prevents later partner's sperm from doing the same.

This is useful for example if she first has extra-pair copulation with a mate with superior genes, and later copulates with her own mate with inferior genes. I don't think Baker's idea conflicts with the idea here. Orgasm serves multiple purposes.

Baker also makes the distinction between clitoral, G-spot and vaginal orgasms, and claims that they may serve different evolutiory purposes. Many people have conflicting meaning for the term female orgasm, so I think one should clarify the terminology. This may be difficult, because peculiarly, many western women seem to consider even the concept of vaginal orgasm offensive.

once again we see evolutionary arguments used to justify pretty much anything one wants. i thought it was in bears' (humans?) interest to ejaculate quickly? make up your minds will ya?

Here's a thought, mostly anecdotal.

If a female is with a higher status male I would expect her to be more excited about it, thus easier to aroused and orgasm. I would believe the reverse of this to be true as well.

To take into a human example, take a rich high society New York house wife and tell her that she had to have sex with the bum that lives off her trash. I would suspect she would be anything but interested, and I would doubt she would orgasm without alot of effort from the male.

In the Monkey study could they measure if the monkey female was faking an orgasm to show off who she was mating with? After which did her status change?

that why i dont date ghetto girls

Isn't during sex a little late to be screening partners?

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