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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 8;116(41):20267-20273. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1910295116. Epub 2019 Sep 30.

An experimental test of the ovulatory homolog model of female orgasm.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267.
2
Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221.
3
Center for Preterm Birth, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229.
4
Veterinary Services Surgical Core, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229.
5
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale Medical School, New Haven, CT 06510.
6
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale Medical School, New Haven, CT 06510; gunter.wagner@yale.edu.
7
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520.
8
Yale Systems Biology Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT 06516.

Abstract

The ovulatory homolog model of female orgasm posits that the neuro-endocrine mechanisms underlying female orgasm evolved from and are homologous to the mechanisms mediating copulation-induced ovulation in some mammals. This model predicts that pharmacological agents that affect human orgasm, such as fluoxetine, should also affect ovulation in animals with copulation-induced ovulation, such as rabbits. We tested this prediction by treating rabbits with daily doses of fluoxetine for 2 wk and found that fluoxetine treatment reduces the number of ovulations postcopulation by 30%. In a second experiment we tested whether this result was mediated by an effect on the brain or via peripheral serotonin functions. We treated animals with fluoxetine and induced ovulation with a single injection of human chorionic gonadotropin. In this experiment ovulation rate was nominally reduced by only 8%, which is statistically not significant. We conclude that the effect of fluoxetine on copulation-induced ovulation rate supports the ovulatory homolog model of female orgasm, suggesting that female orgasm has very deep evolutionary roots among the early eutherian mammals.

KEYWORDS:

anorgasmia; female sexuality; fluoxetine; induced ovulation; process homology

PMID:
31570579
PMCID:
PMC6789565
[Available on 2020-03-30]
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1910295116

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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