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

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

by Elisabeth A. Lloyd
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674022467

ISBN-13: 9780674022461

Pub. Date: 10/01/2006

Publisher: Harvard

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674022461
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
10/01/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.93(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Basics of Female Orgasm

3. Pair-Bond Accounts of Female Orgasm

4. Further Evolutionary Accounts of Female Orgasm

5. The Byproduct Account

6. Warring Approaches to Adaptation

7. Sperm-Competition Accounts

8. Bias

Notes

Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Index

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