The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

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Harvard University Press, Jul 1, 2009 - Psychology - 320 pages
7 Reviews
Why women evolved to have orgasms--when most of their primate relatives don't--is a persistent mystery among evolutionary biologists. In pursuing this mystery, Elisabeth Lloyd arrives at another: How could anything as inadequate as the evolutionary explanations of the female orgasm have passed muster as science? A judicious and revealing look at all twenty evolutionary accounts of the trait of human female orgasm, Lloyd's book is at the same time a case study of how certain biases steer science astray. Over the past fifteen years, the effect of sexist or male-centered approaches to science has been hotly debated. Drawing especially on data from nonhuman primates and human sexology over eighty years, Lloyd shows what damage such bias does in the study of female orgasm. She also exposes a second pernicious form of bias that permeates the literature on female orgasms: a bias toward adaptationism. Here Lloyd's critique comes alive, demonstrating how most of the evolutionary accounts either are in conflict with, or lack, certain types of evidence necessary to make their cases--how they simply assume that female orgasm must exist because it helped females in the past reproduce. As she weighs the evidence, Lloyd takes on nearly everyone who has written on the subject: evolutionists, animal behaviorists, and feminists alike. Her clearly and cogently written book is at once a convincing case study of bias in science and a sweeping summary and analysis of what is known about the evolution of the intriguing trait of female orgasm.

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Review: The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

User Review  - Sean - Goodreads

An examination of every available theory out there on the evolution of the female orgasm, and why all but one are terribly flawed. This is not a 'popular science' type of book, though it is written in ... Read full review

Review: The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

User Review  - Daniel Namie - Goodreads

Dr Lloyd is a genius and a pioneer in the evolution of the female orgasm. The female orgasm is a byporoduct of the male orgasm and a its function is pair-bonding. The logic is sound, sexual satisify each other and there is no reason to stray outside the relationship for sexual gratification. Read full review


The Basics of Female Orgasm
PairBond Accounts of Female Orgasm
Further Evolutionary Accounts of Female Orgasm
The Byproduct Account
Warring Approaches to Adaptation
SpermCompetition Accounts

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About the author (2009)

Elisabeth A. Lloyd is Arnold and Maxine Tanis Chair of History and Philosophy of Science and Professor of Biology, Indiana University.

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