Show Summary Details
Page of

Pleasure 

Pleasure
Chapter:
Pleasure
Author(s):

Alfonso Troisi

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199393404.003.0002
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 09 May 2021

Contemporary neurobiological research has greatly improved our understanding of brain mechanisms that regulate hedonic response and the environmental stimuli that trigger physical and mental pleasure. However, to explain what purpose pleasure serves, we need to look at the problem from the perspective of evolutionary biology. Focusing on a specific type of pleasure, sexual pleasure, this chapter introduces several evolutionary studies that show how the variation in pleasurable experiences becomes understandable when hedonic capacity is viewed as an inner navigator that evolved to guide individuals toward the most adaptive behavioral choices. As a case in point, the alternative hypotheses that have been advanced to explain the evolution of female orgasm (the adaptive versus the byproduct hypothesis) are discussed. The findings of recent studies exploring the complexity of human sexual response and the striking sex differences that distinguish male and female responses to sexual stimuli are also presented.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.