One of the most popular fertility debates of all time has to do with the sometimes-elusive female orgasm. Although some people believe that an orgasm is not at all helpful in terms of conception, new studies show that while an orgasm is not necessary by any means, it could actually be helpful for a number of reasons. Below, you can find the answers to some of your burning questions about the relationship between the big O and conceiving a baby.
The Top Questions Relating to Conception and the Female Orgasm
Plenty of women want to know whether they have a better chance at getting pregnant if they have an orgasm. Although the scientific evidence is mixed, there are certainly some interesting theories out there. Here are some of the most common questions women ask about orgasm and conception.
Will I get pregnant if I don’t have an orgasm?
In short, the answer is yes. There is no scientific, medical, or natural need for a woman to orgasm in order to get pregnant. On the other hand, men must orgasm in order to release the sperm required for fertilization. Think of it like this: Imagine an evening where you are feeling tired but your husband is feeling frisky. You may enjoy yourself, but the stress of the day may prevent you from achieving orgasm. As long as your husband orgasms, he releases sperm into your vagina. This sperm travels upward and onward, reaches the egg, and penetrates its outer shell. A few weeks later, your upset stomach and lack of a period bring you the news. Your lack of orgasm does absolutely nothing to hinder this process.
Do the contractions in my vagina during orgasm pull the sperm upward?
A study performed back in the 1990s in Europe may actually lend a little credence to this theory. Two researchers studied more than 300 samples in which they asked couples to keep track of the exact timing of their orgasms during intercourse and then collect the semen-laden fluid that emerges from the vagina for several hours after the sexual encounter. They discovered that when a woman orgasms within a minute before to 45 minutes after her partner ejaculates, she retains more sperm than if she does not have an orgasm at all. The researchers concluded that their findings clearly show the vaginal contractions during the female orgasm help pull more of the sperm closer to the cervix, giving it a better shot at finding its target.
A couple of studies also focus on the rates of conception among couples who enjoy earth-shattering, toe-curling simultaneous orgasms, too. According to theory, when a couple orgasms at exactly the same time, their bodies are then “primed” for the sperm’s journey beyond the cervix and into the uterus where they can fertilize the egg. However, these theories hold little water. Although a woman’s orgasm may help to pull more sperm in toward the cervix, simultaneous orgasms do not boost fertility in any way. However, most fertility experts readily claim that a couple who can achieve orgasm at the same time is a couple who is very relaxed in each other’s presence. This relaxation alone may help boost fertility rates among couples, and to back these claims further, there are numerous studies proving the negative effects of stress on conception rates.
Is it true that my vagina is not a sperm-friendly environment?
This is very true. The vagina is an acidic, warm place in which sperm have difficulty thriving. In some scientific studies, arousal may actually be the key to making the vagina more hospitable. One scientific study performed by Dr. RJ Levin, a scientist at the University of Sheffield in Yorkshire, England, shows that arousal and sexual fulfillment does play a vital role in fertility and procreation for this very reason. According to the study, sexual arousal before and during an orgasm causes a sudden increase of blood to rush into the genital area. When this occurs in women, it immediately lubricates the vagina with a substance that buffers the vagina’s acidity and improves the amount of oxygen in the area. Since sperm cannot survive in a highly acidic environment or in one with low oxygen tension, the act of sexual arousal and orgasm can certainly improve the sperm’s temporary home.
What Do the Professionals Really Think?
Despite all of the theories and studies, most obstetricians and gynecologists all agree on one thing when it comes to orgasm and conception. When a woman orgasms, she usually feels sleepy afterward. This may be nature’s way of encouraging her to remain in a horizontal position for as long as possible after sex, which gives the sperm more time to find its way through the cervix and into the uterus. In a nutshell, you do not have to have an orgasm to get pregnant, and the scientific evidence suggesting that orgasm may boost fertility rates is limited. Nonetheless, there is never any harm in finding new ways to enjoy your partner, and the big O is always a nice reward for trying to conceive.