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This week on SciShow Talk Show Hank talks with Dr. Lindsey Doe about the female orgasm. Special guest Jessi Knudsen CastaƱeda brings Daisy, a curious Boa Constrictor.

Dr. Lindsey Doe @

Jessi Knudsen CastaƱeda @

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 Intro and Phallological museum

(Intro plays)

Hank(H): Hello and welcome to the SciShow Talk Show the day on SciShow where we talk to cool people about cool stuff. This is Lindsey Doe, the host of Sexplanations and err... and knower of things about sex and other stuff. 

Lindsey(L): Yeah.

H: 'cause you recently went to a museum that was just for penises.

L: The phallological museum in Iceland.

H: It's in Iceland.

L: It's in Iceland, right by the bus station.

H: Wait, there's just one bus station?

L:(laugh) There's a main transfer station and there is a grocery store and it is in between the two of those. So I actually got to go past the phallological museum everyday I was there.

 Purpose of Female Orgasm theories (0:49)

What I wanna talk about is the female orgasm.(H in background [H in B]: Okay) and how it is being debated by multiple theories and different types of sciences that we have something that is either: created to put me to sleep so that I will be able to get pregnant more easily; or something that bonds me to my partner so I don't leave; or something that lets my partner know I'm so sexually satisfied that I'm not leaving, and then umm; also a theory by Steven Jay Gould, which says ahh, it was just intended to be a penis (H in B: right). Right same undifferentiated embryonic tissue,  but it didn't make it.

H: So you're saying the female orgasm is more complicated, more nuanced, err, more studied, more interesting than the male orgasm, is that what's happening right now?

L: No


L: I'm saying that there's no consensus on what its purpose is, and so we have all of these theories. But here's the newest one. The one that I think is most exciting.

H: There's another, in addition to all those theories, there's something else.

L: Yes.

H: Okay.

L: The one to rule them all. Are you so excited?

H: I'm so excited.

L: (gleeful laugh) okay.

 Newest theory (2:01)

So we have those four theories. One is that the orgasm puts me to sleep and relaxes me so that I receive the sperm and have an easier chance of impregnation. The other is that it bonds me to my partner. The third is that it lets my partner know that I'm sexually satisfied and therefore I'm not going to wander off. And the fourth is that it is, ah, intended to be a penis but didn't make its way, so it has no function.

H: it's just a biological after effect.

L: Yes. All right, so this theory comes about that says "wait a minute, what we know is that women are more likely to get pregnant if they have an orgasm 1 minute before her male heterosexual partner ejaculates or 45 minute after."

H: after the orgasm?

L: after the ejaculation 

H: okay

L: Right, so...

H: so that... is that a window or is that two distinct times?

L: two distinct times.

H: wow

L: yes, so we know that orgasm can help with fertility, and I have actually seen really cool footage that they did of the inside of a woman's vagina where there is a... they show the man's ejaculate coming, and it creates a pool right outside the cervix, which is kinda like the tip of a person's nose with a hole in it. And so the cervix, actually just like a duck head, dips into this pool of liquid when the woman is having an orgasmic contraction, it just (hand gestures the action). So to me, that says the orgasm has a very distinct function, actually. That it, it is determining whether or not she is going to receive this sperm successfully or unsuccessfully. Now here's what I think is the coolest part of it, it's really quiet in here. (laugh) Everybody wants to know... get to it!

H: (laugh) Everybody's waiting with bated breath.

L: She is more likely to have more orgasms and better orgasms if her partner is attractive, and because attractive is somewhat subjective, they've created objective measures of that, and they include in it: masculinity, symmetry, a flawless complexion, and dominance.

H: Hmm, how do you measure dominance?

L: They measure it on scales that are objective, but then they also do partner rating and then self-importance.

H: So... attractiveness affects the frequency of orgasm?

L: Yes 

H: if the attractiveness of the partner increases orgasm and orgasm increases the chances of fertility, then you're also maybe saying that being an attractive partner increases your chances of making a baby.

L: Yes.

H: fascinating 

L: yes, because women are selecting, and I realize that this conversation is very hetero-centric, but, women are selecting in those cases men who have umm, better genes, because attractiveness is also correlated to their health and...

H: general biological success 

L: yes their immune systems...

H: But attractiveness is very subjective and has a lot more going on than you think there is going on...

L: oh, yeah

H: ... which is really neat.

L: A person can be with someone attractive and not have orgasms at all and a person can be with somebody who is very skilled sexually and not have orgasms or have orgasms. That what they're finding is that it has less to do with sexual skill and the person's umm, anatomy and what they are or aren't capable of, and more with the parents of their partner. Which is kin... it's a little disheartening.

H: Yeah. Super disheartening.

L: But as far as partner selection and the continuation of our species, what that's saying is that she is saving her orgasms for a man that is...

H: attractive to her

L: right.

H: Umm, that does not mean that ahh, unattractive people will never give people orgasms because you don't know who you're going to be attractive to.

L: That's true. In the research study, while there are objective measures, there is also how the person rated himself and his attractiveness, so...

H: right, right.

L:... there's that honesty there.

H: Fascinating conversation.

 Introducing Daisy (6:31)

H: So we talked about some penises, do you want to see an animal that isn't a penis?

L: (laugh)

H: Do snakes have penises? They do have penises. They do. Snakes kinda look like penises. We're gonna meet a snake is what I'm trying to say.

H+L: (laugh)

H: Everybody's trying not to laugh. And just give up, just laugh, it's fine.

(all of the crew laugh)

 Daisy (6:53)

H: Jessi you've brought a marvelous animal. This is big.

Jessi (J): Isn't she amazing.

H: What is she and how much does she weigh?

J: (laugh) She is a red tail boa, her scientific name is Boa constrictor and she's about hmm, twenty five pounds, thirty pounds; a very awkward thirty pounds.

H+J: (laugh)

H: Well now, it's evenly distributed.

J: It is, isn't it? I don't have to do anything right now. Umm she's just over 7 feet long and this species can get up to 12 feet.

H: So sh... Daisy is very much attached to you right now.

J: Literally attached to me (laugh). Umm, yeah she's constricted around me, well she's not actually constricting she's just holding on.

H: Just for support.

J: So these guys are going to be arboreal, which means they're gonna live up in the trees umm, and when they're younger and about this age; when they get too big they're, they're not going to be able to support themselves up there so they'll go down and be terrestrial but umm, mainly arboreal so they have very strong instincts to wrap and cling themselves around branches. They can sleep up in trees and ahh, hunt in trees and... and all that sort of thing. Umm, so you know, she's just... this is her natural instinct is to hold on, so she's not actually constricting me.

H: Right.

J: She doesn't want to eat me, umm.

H: That would be a different feeling for you.

J: Much different. She would be biting me at the same time.

H: Right.

J: Yeah, and she knows size, she's not going to try and go after something that's...that she can't fit, umm.

H: inside of her?

J: Inside of her, not even in her head, 'cause her head can, you know her her jaw expands; it stretches and expands to fit something actually the, twice the width of the... of the widest part of her body; so you know, about that...

H: Is how big her head can get?

J: Is how big of a prey item she can eat and how far down her jaw can expand. Do you know how that works? Do you want me to explain it to you? 

H: Well, I mean I've...I've...they un-hinge, right?

J: Kinda yeah, yeah; it's like rubber, almost, as it stretches down.

H: Oh, my

J: It stretches down and then it, there's a part here, the bones come apart there, and this one stretches and stretches apart there as well. So it becomes this huge lower... 

H: Oh man

J: ... lower lip-jaw area. Umm, and then they will pull it with their teeth, they'll kinda walk it into their mouth and then their jaw will go around it and pull it in a little bit till they get it back to their neck and they'll use their muscles to grab it and pull it down to their, past their heart and their lungs and into their stomach.

L: That is like orgasm.

H: Yeah

J: It's constricting muscles.

L: Peristaltic contractions, there we go

J: ooh

L: gonna just pull this in and gonna get it.

H+J+L: (laugh)

H: Wow

 Snake Genitals (9:23)

J: But you were talking about orgasms and...and penises and vaginas and that (laugh) fun stuff and ahh, snakes they do, they have penii; they have two.

H: They have multiple... why not?

L: Diphallophilia

J: Ooh

H: That's the love of two penises.

L: Yes so...

J: I don't think these are loving each other, they're on the same...

L: It would be, diphallia, I think is the word.

H: Diphallia

J: Diphallia. Yeah so they're gonna wrap up around the female and whatever angle works best.

H: Oh right so there's not two vaginas?

J: No, nope, just one.

L: So the lady friend would, no, yeah, she would be diphallophiliac because...

H: Yes. She likes two penises.

L: There we go

 Animal Orgasms (10:06)

J: (laugh) But yeah, you guys were talking about you know, umm, are humans special? Are... are female humans, are they the only ones that have orgasms, and that's not true, You can actually, umm, there's whole studies in science about umm, orgasms in animals, and specifically female orgasms in animals, and so you can... Any, pretty much, any primate female you can make have an orgasm and then they've even done it in a few cows, as well.

L+H: Hmm

H: Wow

J: Yeah, it's interesting.

L: Bonobos, it's how they shake hands

H: (laughs)

J: Oh bonobos, yeah, oh yeah. You can do a whole show on bonobos.

 Lindsey holding Daisy (10:46)

L: May I hold it?

J+H: D'you wanna try?

J: Yeah?

L: It doesn't seem like a try thing right, doesn't it decide you do or don't...? Do you want me to stand up?

J: Yeah stand up, K your gonna put your arms out like this and she's gonna come into your arms and she'll probably wrap around your body.

H: That's a big animal. Oh, jeez...

J: So the important thing about snakes is that you support each third of their body.

L: Aww, hi.

J: Gonna put that below and I'm going to twist this.

L: Who wants to knock me over? Ooh, you wanna go between my legs.

J: Oh, there she goes (laugh)

L: Hey, you are so heavy.

H: It's like the same size as you.

L: You can hold on to my leg.

J: That's a good shot right there.

H+J+L: (laugh)

J: There you go.

H: Snake lady.

J: Now you can sit down. Nice work!

L: Ohh, I don't know if you're holding on for safety right now. You gotta squeeze.

J+H: (laugh)

J: Yeah, new person.

H: Ooh, look at it move, wow,wow.

L: And you're giving me the privilege

H: That is so cool. I don't even know how she's moving right now.

J: Isn't that neat?

H: Is she using her scales?

J: Muscle contractions and her scales are gonna just help her so she doesn't slip backwards, but it's just muscle contractions as she goes along, it's going to push her.

H: With a scaly animal you think that they're going to be hard, but it turns out that they are often very soft and like lovely to touch.

J: Smooth

H: Yeah

J: Smooth and soothing... and you can feel how she's moving on you, it's almost like it's soothing. It's soothing.

L: It's so awesome.

H+J+L: (laugh)

H: Wow.

 Wrap up and thank yous/credits (12:36)

H: Daisy you're a champion, it was really nice to meet, you umm, I think you bring something exceptional to SciShow Talk Show, and umm I appreciate it, your ever unblinking striped eyes staring into my soul. Ahh, ooh amazing!

J: (laugh)

H: Aah, Jessi thanks for bringing her in; Lindsey thanks for our complicated conversation on orgasms and human sexuality, as always. If you wanna check out Lindsey she's at Jessi, a link to your channel is in the description. I'm not telling you where to go because it is a weird spelling of animal wonders.

J: Sorry about that.

H: Thank you guys for watching this episode of SciShow Talk Show. If you wanna keep getting smarter with us, you can go to and subscribe.