Orgasms Could Up Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
Scientists have been debating why the female orgasm exists for decades. And while we're glad orgasms happen (regardless of the reason), this is a fun question to consider.

Some have posited that the female orgasm is inherited from our animal ancestors who needed it to ovulate, while others say the male and female orgasms evolved in tandem from the same structure, and others still believe the female orgasm is a way to reward us for making babies.

A small new study in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology supports another theory: Orgasming increases your chances of getting pregnant by moving sperm toward the womb.

University College Cork researchers came up with a creative way to test this hypothesis. They had six women between the ages of 26 and 52 masturbate after inserting 5 mL of a substance designed to mimic semen into their vaginas. Based on a coin flip, they would either keep going until they orgasmed, or stop first. A cup in the vagina collected the fluid that leaked out, so that the scientists could measure how much stayed in the women's bodies.

During the sessions when women didn't orgasm, they retained 3.3 mL on average; when they did, 4.1 mL — 15.7% more — stayed inside.

"It appears that female orgasm does perform some sort of sperm-retention function," the authors wrote. This could occur through movements of the cervix, they suggest, or through the release of the hormone oxytocin. Since the women reported that they "experienced their orgasms deep inside," they added, that might support the theory that orgasms can affect the body's absorption of sperm.

The researchers admit, however, that the results are not totally conclusive, due to the very small sample size. Another potential issue is that most women don't have orgasms through intercourse without clitoral stimulation, which limits the orgasm's ability to help with pregnancy for obvious reasons.

Still, having an orgasm can't hurt if you're trying to get pregnant — or ever, really.
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