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Rachel Gurevich

Can Female Orgasm Help You Get Pregnant?

By July 17, 2012

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I've seen a variety of answers to this question in articles and magazines - can orgasm (for the woman) improve your chances of getting pregnant? We know the man must have an orgasm (unless high-tech fertility treatments are being used to extract sperm from the testes), but what about for women? Does orgasm help?

I watched a fascinating lecture on the topic of orgasm at TED.com. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and in short, it's a forum for people with great ideas to share their research and inventions. (Be warned, their website of videos can become addictive!) The video lecture was by author Mary Roach, entitled "10 Things You Didn't Know About Orgasm". One of the ten things she talked about was the relationship between orgasm and fertility.

She says that in the early 1900s, doctors routinely prescribed female orgasm to help couples with fertility problems. The theory was that orgasm helped the semen get "sucked up" from the cervix into the uterus. They called this "up suck".

In the 1950s, researchers Masters and Johnson wondered if "up suck" was real, and decided to conduct an experiment. They made artificial semen, mixed with radiographic dye, and placed it inside a cervical cap inside the woman. Then, they had the woman self-pleasure herself to orgasm in the lab. They then took x-rays, to see if the artificial semen had been sucked up.

The fake semen did not get sucked up, and so Masters and Johnson declared that the "up suck" theory was untrue.

This isn't to say that enjoyment of sex may not improve fertility in other ways. But at least as far as "up suck" theory, female orgasm does not seem to be a must-have ingredient for getting pregnant.

However, after doing more research on this topic, I discovered that some researchers feel the "upsuck" theory does happen. They used a different method to research it. Read more about the research on female orgasm and getting pregnant here.

Personally, hearing about this research made me feel so much better. As if we didn't have enough pressure in our lives when dealing with infertility, the last thing we need is pressure to orgasm.

I know some experts will say, "Yes, but enjoyment of sex is still a healthy ingredient in trying to get pregnant." To them I say, yes... but one thing that will kill enjoyment right away for a woman is a feeling that you "must" have an orgasm. Then, it begins to feel more like homework. (Yes, I know for the guys, this is still a problem. I feel for you!)

More about sex and trying to get pregnant:

What are your thoughts on this research? Please share in the comments below!

Comments
July 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm
(1) pee in the pants says:

eh.. bookmarked..

July 29, 2009 at 11:14 am
(2) Willow says:

I never heard about an orgasm helping
a woman get pregnant, however I have heard of being preggo, and being over
40 wks very ready to deliver. Being overdue, that is! I heard the best thing to do in that situation when you want to induce labor is to masturbate! For some reason, the hormones that we have during sex somehow stimulates the uterus, or makes it contract, either one. But either way it was so tempting, that I had to try it and unfortunately it didn’t work! Well I had fun trying. Not really. I was kind of miserable being so big, hot and so preggers!

September 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm
(3) Nancy Kleber says:

Actually, female orgasms do not help. In fact, they hurt your chances of becoming pregnant because the fluids interfere with the pH levels needed to become pregnant. The best way to become pregnant is for the female NOT to orgasm. The orgasm almost dilutes the environment needed for conception. Hope this helps!

November 10, 2009 at 11:25 pm
(4) sarah says:

I don’t know about this honestly – there is an evolutionary reason for orgasm. I think that women who can’t orgasm get flustered and need to hear this since they already have so much ‘pressure.’

November 10, 2009 at 11:38 pm
(5) sarah says:
December 2, 2009 at 12:59 am
(6) Quirky says:

If you cannot relax enough to have orgasms during sexual relations, you will not become pregnant. Orgasm is not something to stress about; It should come naturally. My four children were ALL conceived by my having an orgasm just after (within 15 minutes of) my husband. I’m definitely pro-female-orgasm!!!

March 14, 2010 at 8:19 pm
(7) anonymous says:

Quirky, you’ re an idiot.

April 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm
(8) Lina says:

I am pro orgasm too! and I feel sorry for women who call idiots to people getting more satisfaction than them :) )

July 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm
(9) bk says:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199601/the-orgasm-wars

If you go to the above link, the story reports more recent studies do indicate orgasm helps conception.

They asked volunteers to keep track of the timing of their orgasms during sex, and, after copulation, to collect male ejaculates from vaginal flowback–a technical term denoting a distinct form of material that emerges from the vagina several hours after sex (scientists have devised a way to collect it). The team counted sperm from over 300 instances of human copulation.

They discovered that when a woman climaxes any time between a minute before to 45 minutes after her lover ejaculates, she retains significantly more sperm than she does after nonorgasmic sex. When her orgasm precedes her male’s by more than a minute, or when she does not have an orgasm, little sperm is retained. Just as the doctors’ letters suggested decades earlier, the team’s results indicated that muscular contractions associated with orgasm pull sperm from the vagina to the cervix, where it’s in better position to reach an egg.

July 26, 2010 at 2:15 am
(10) Rachel Gurevich says:

Thank you for sharing that!

September 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm
(11) Hubby says:

I am searching for a way to bring my wife greater pleasure. You should know that she has never had an orgasm and has concieved every time I have gone near her.

September 7, 2010 at 5:28 pm
(12) Crimson says:

“We know the man must have an orgasm”

Whooooooaaaaa….don’t tell people the male has to orgasm! Cowper’s fluid has sperm, although not as much, and can get the job done. This is the reason “pulling out” is not effective in preventing pregnancy.

January 14, 2011 at 11:01 am
(13) Anonymous says:

Seriously, you’re saying that by feeling the need to have an orgasm it makes sex feel like homework? That shows just how little empathy you have for your male counterpart. Talk about pressure!

February 18, 2011 at 5:39 am
(14) Lily says:

Getting a chance of becoming pregnant has a various ways, its not about an orgasm but there are more than that, an example of which is lifestyle

February 18, 2011 at 5:43 am
(15) Lily says:

Becoming pregnant does not count with an orgasm, there are a lot of ways to become pregnant.

July 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm
(16) wendy - vida y salud says:

According to an interesting TV documentary about sex recently, fertility is higher when the woman has an orgasm during or after sex with a man. The man ejaculates semen deposits on the back of the woman’s vagina. When a woman orgasms, the cervix pushes forward.

August 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm
(17) Stepahnie says:

i have a quick question DOes a female have to have orasm first or the man has to i heard if she finish first it will get in the way of his sperm of gettin in true or false please help i want to get pregnant n i am tring all kinds of remedies from marijuana teas n massages to online pills please any advice??? docs say my hubby has a few slow sperms

April 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm
(18) jesskay75 says:

I am a r.n. I work in the e.r for ob/ gyn. I see it all. Orgasm or no orgasm u will eventualy get pregnant. Timing of ovulation is the most important factor. I feel that so many women put all the blame on themselves when unable to concieve. Men need to step up and get the sperm checked out. Low sperm count can cause the problem. Men also should avoid masterbation while trying to make a baby. If your one of the horny men who takes care of themselves daily ur sperm count won’t be a high than a man who refrains from masterbation. Back to women having an orgasm. If ur man can’t get u to climax then do it itself. God put our pleasure button in the wrong place making it harder for us to climax by sex alone. In closing.if u Realy want a baby there is a lot of technology out there. Just find what fits ur wants and needs.

July 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm
(19) aquamassage rochester says:

Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last part :) I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

August 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm
(20) DIESELMAN says:

This sounds like complete b.s. Like God, or Mother Nature or whoever would make it LESS likely to conceive during pleasurable sexual intercourse…

September 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm
(21) Giles says:

It would seem that the “upsuck” of sperm would be a major part of God’s or Mother Nature’s design, given that the orgasm providing that “upsuck” is more likely to occur when the woman is on top. Counterintuitively, the semen would supposedly seep out due to gravity in that position, but the force of a man’s ejaculation, the deeper penetration provided when the woman is on top and hence the shorter distance and quicker coagulation onto the cervix, in conjunction with the “upsuck” provided by the woman’s orgasm in that position are all helpful in compensating for that, and seemingly a part of a most wonderful and providential design to make the process of conception fruitful but also pleasurable, thus strengthening the bond between husband and wife.

October 1, 2012 at 7:38 am
(22) T.R. says:

Just a few words about female orgasm. It doesn’t “sucks up”, it is somewhat designed to push things out, similar to baby delivery, I think. That’s what I concluded on my own, mind you, not some scientific study.

I’ve noticed that if my girlfriend gets orgasm that the contractions feel “weird” when it comes to the “sucking up” theory. but when you make your woman to achieve orgasm by using fingers on your hand for penetration, you have no dilemma – It’s actually pushing you OUTSIDE, not inside, right in the moment when uncontrolled contractions started and when her lower body started moving on it’s own. Maybe you won’t feel it with just one finger, because i guess it’s thinner than penis but if you use multiple fingers (like two or more), you’ll definitely notice it, your fingers are pushed OUT, not in.

Seems weird to me that everyone talks about sucking up when i think that every single person can easily confirm it’s the opposite, but then again maybe they either never saw a real, powerful orgasm, or my woman is just different than other women.
But I’d suggest others to forget about this “sucking up” theory because it seems like an urban myth to me, if you want a serious solution to infertility consult with your doctors, they will give you instructions even what to eat and wear and inform you about all the possible things that can help you and methods just in case any “natural” method fails. And none of them mentioned “sucking up via orgasm”.

But please note that my wife conceived a child after three years of natural attempts without contraception, even though they claimed that she may not be able to do it ever unless we go through IVF, because results concluded that her “reproductive system” had certain problems… so there’s always a possibility that even doctors don’t know everything.

November 23, 2012 at 9:44 am
(23) Anonymous says:

Quirky,

You say if you cannot relax enough to orgasm, you will not get pregnant…. Please tell this to the women that gotten pregnant after rape.

December 4, 2012 at 9:59 am
(24) muslim says:

Hi im a muslim… in islam the water of the man and the water of woman connect… this is how pregnancy happens… so all u couples ( married) that r trying to get pregnant make sure u orgasm at the same time and i found if woman ejaculates …this helps: ) if u search the verse about it in the quran u will find it…

January 13, 2013 at 3:05 am
(25) MotherOf2 says:

You can get prego without orgasms…I have been sexually active with my husband for 8 years now. We have had 2 babies within that time and I just started orgasiming this last year. Didn’t think that it would of ever happened but glad it has.

April 18, 2013 at 6:03 am
(26) Lucy says:

T.R. The reason you feel “pushed out” is as others have said before, the cervix (which if you google it looks like the end of a penis surrounded by cushions) moves, pushes forwards to where the sperm collects, this has been filmed and is common knowledge amoungst people who care to do research, if “upsuck” theory is correct then at the same time the cervix would do the upsuck action, dipping into the pool of sperm and upsucking the sperm at the same time. Scientists doing the research are becoming increasingly in favour upsuck as the evidence shows greater sperm retention on women who orgasm during this window.

June 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm
(27) W says:

Cowper’s fluid does NOT have sperm. The reason sometimes a small amount of sperm can be found in pre-ejaculate is because of a previous recent ejaculation in which sperm was in the urethra.

WRT orgasm helping pregnancy, after masturbating I have more cervical mucus. People say it must be female ejaculate or arousal fluid.

Arousal fluid happens AT arousal, BEFORE orgasm, so anything that is happening right AFTER orgasm cannot be “arousal fluid”. Female ejaculate is supposed to come from the urethra, not the vagina.

So if you have an increase in what feels like “cervical mucus” after you have an orgasm from masturbation… but it is in your vagina and NOT coming from your urethra (a totally different place) and it is happening AFTER orgasm and not before… and the cervix “tents” during female orgasm and as a health benefit seems to push “some stuff” out… then what is this “stuff”.

To me the only thing this can be is cervical fluid/mucus. Especially given that the nature/quantity of it changes depending on which part of my cycle (how fertile) I am. I think maybe I just masturbate more than other females so I know more about what is going on down there. It’s also possible that not all women have this same thing happen or maybe not to a degree that they notice it.

So on the one hand if you have more cervical fluid after an orgasm, then the sperm has more good stuff to swim in… BUT… it’s also possible like a person mentioned above that ph levels can be off by what is pushed out of the cervix. But could this be due to some other factor in the woman’s life. i.e. if female masturbation helps prevent cervical infections, then if a woman was not going to GET a cervical infection anyway, does this change up the ph balance and make it more hospitable to sperm?

I think there are a lot of questions we don’t know for sure, but I don’t think “orgasm helps with pregnancy” is a totally unlikely scenario. It would depend on the individual woman.

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