Friday Feminist – Elisabeth A. Lloyd
June 10, 2011
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I was surprised … when I spoke with a researcher who was working on the evolution of female orgasm in stumptail macaques. He described his experimental set-up to me with some enthusiasm: the females are radio-wired to record orgasmic muscle contractions and increased heartrate, etc. This sounds like the ideal experiment, because it can record the sex lives of the females mechanically, without needing a human observer. In fact, the project had been funded by the NIH, and had presumably gone through the outside referee and panel reviews necessary for funding. But then the researcher described to me the clever way he had set up his equipment to record the female orgasms – he wired up the heart rate of male macaques as the signal to start recording the female orgasms. When I pointed out that the vast majority of female stumptail orgasms occurred during sex among the females alone, he replied that yes, he knew that, but he was only interested in the important orgasms.
Elisabeth A. Lloyd, “Pre-theoretical Assumptions in Evolutionary Explanations of Female Sexuality,” Philosophical Studies 69: 1993, pp. 139 – 153.