1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Does Female Orgasm Boost Your Odds for Getting Pregnant?

What Everyone Wonders But Never Asks About Orgasm and Fertility

By

Updated May 30, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

High angle view of a young man kissing a young woman's neck
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Whether or not female orgasm can help you get pregnant is unclear. Obviously, you can get pregnant without female orgasm. It happens all the time. But could female orgasm improve your chances for conception?

Researchers have wondered about the purpose of female orgasm in humans for quite some time, with some theorizing it's just for fun and others saying it definitely helps a woman get pregnant.

If female orgasm can help you conceive, how might it work? And should you "go for the gold" during babymaking sex?

The "You're Getting Veeery Sleeeepy" Theory of Female Orgasm and Fertility

There are two main hypothesis on how female orgasm may help with getting pregnant. One is known as the "poleaxe" hypothesis. This says that the purpose of orgasm in women is to make them feel relaxed and sleepy, so they will lie down after sex. By lying down, this may help the sperm reach their destination more easily.

However, it isn't clear whether or not lying down after sex can help you get pregnant. In one study that specifically studied orgasm and sperm retention, researchers found that just lying down did not seem to improve sperm retention.

But other studies imply lying down does matter. A study of IUI treatment found that women who remained horizontal after insemination were more likely to conceive.

Upsuck Theory

The other theory of how female orgasm may help with pregnancy achievement is called the "upsuck" theory. This hypothesis is that the contractions of the uterus help "suck up" the semen that gets deposited in the vagina, near the cervix. The orgasm then helps to move the sperm through the uterus and fallopian tubes.

One study actually measured the amount of semen "flowback" (how much semen leaked out after sex), and found that when female orgasm occurred a minute or less before male ejaculation, sperm retention was greater. They also found that this retention was higher when the woman had an orgasm up to 45 minutes after male ejaculation.

They also found that a lack of female orgasm that took place more than a minute before male ejaculation led to lower sperm retention.

This study did not, however, look at pregnancy rates. If pregnancy rates are higher with female orgasm, it's unclear by how much.

Going for the Gold: Female Orgasm During Babymaking Sex

So, after reading this, perhaps you're thinking you'd like to "go for the gold" during babymaking sex. There are plenty of good reasons to have an orgasm, of course. Orgasm is fun, pleasurable, and an excellent stress buster.

However, if your desire for orgasm is completely wrapped up in your desire to get pregnant, you may find yourself feeling pressured. This can lead to you having difficulty achieving orgasm, adding frustration to your babymaking sex.

The best way to improve your chances of orgasm during sex? To just enjoy your intimate time with your partner. No goals, no pressured-orgasms, no guilt. Just passionate, loving sex.

If you have an orgasm, great. And if not, that's OK, too.

More on infertility, trying to conceive, and sex:

Would you like to receive trying to conceive tips and fertility information every week? Sign up for a free fertility newsletter here.

Think you're a baby making sex wiz? Take this conception sex quiz!

Sources:

Baker, R. Robin, Bellis, Mark A. "Human Sperm Competition: ejaculate manipulation by females and a function for the female orgasm." Animal Behavior. 1993, 46, 887-909.

Custers IM, Flierman PA, Maas P, Cox T, Van Dessel TJ, Gerards MH, Mochtar MH, Janssen CA, van der Veen F, Mol BW. "Immobilisation versus immediate mobilisation after intrauterine insemination: randomised controlled trial." British Medical Journal. 2009 Oct 29; 339:b4080. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4080.

Levin, Roy J. "The Physiology of Sexual Arousal in the Human Female: A Recreational and Procreational Synthesis." Archives of Sexual Behavior. Volume 31, Number 5, 405-411.

Related Video
Sex Life During Pregnancy
Common Sexual Problems in Marriages

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.