Plenty has been said about how to get an orgasm, but not a huge amount is known about why we have orgasms.
A new study however may have the reason: we evolved to have them as a way to encourage partners to keep coming back for more.
Researchers at Plymouth University found that intense sexual pleasure ensured reproductive success by discouraging men from seeking other partners and discouraging women from abandoning the father of their children.
But there may be a difference between the effect it has on men and women.
Because female orgasms are rarer than male orgasms, the researchers believe it is a stronger form of reinforcement.
Dr Diana Fleischman, a psychologist at Plymouth, described orgasms and intense pleasure as “sexual currency”.
“All animals engage in behavior that has positive consequences and learn to associate reward with the stimuli that go with it, eventually finding those stimuli rewarding in their own right,” Dr Fleischman told Mail Online.
“Orgasm and sexual pleasure are intensely fulfilling and when people experience sexual pleasure with another person they start to be rewarded by that person, their form, their smell, their voice, etc.
“Their partner becomes a reward in their own right and ultimately this gives people leverage in relationships.”
The researchers believe that because sex drive isn’t strongly linked to fertility, orgasms instead reinforce bonds between people, encouraging loyalty.
The sense of pleasure and wellbeing you get from orgasms makes people more likely to forgive their partners for errors that could otherwise lead to a break up, the study found.
Previous research into the role of the female orgasm suggests it may have first evolved to induce ovulation.
People, we may not live in caves anymore, but there’s much to learn.