Why Do People Have Sex?; Surveying Sexual Preferences

The sexual frustration builds up this week for many passionate couples ready for a romantic Valentine’s Day. The hopeless romantics looking for a casual date hesitate for the final decision. A recommendation for anyone to follow is effective communication and body language. Pay close attention to what they say, how they say it, and what they do while they are expressing their feelings. A complimentary way of using terms of endearment, regardless of the relationship status, is extremely healthy for anyone to try. The mutual attraction for each other through verbal communication is never enough to satisfy physical intimacy. The two lovers must have a better understanding of how actions speak louder than words. The strong emotional and physical connection for the two may entice more romantic nights after Valentine’s Day.

Michael Castleman published an article in Psychology Today on November 15, 2010. The article surfaced the Internet via HoneyColony.com. According to Castleman, men believe that the woman’s physical characteristics play an important role in sexual attraction. The women desire more of an emotional connection with their partner instead. The reason to engage in sex varies depending on the person, but a recent study surveyed 442 people for the overall purpose of sexual intercourse. The rewarding results of the survey provide a clear understanding of sexuality between men and women.

Sexy Survey

Researchers have generally assumed that people have sex for one or more of three reasons: to have children, to experience sexual pleasure, and to cement relationships. Turns out there are more than that — 234 more.

Psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss, of the University of Texas at Austin, surveyed 442 people, aged 17 to 52, asking just one question: “List all the reasons why you or those you know have engaged in sexual intercourse.”

The myth is that men and women are emotionally very different. An old saying illustrates this: Women have sex to become intimate. Men become intimate to have sex. There’s some truth to this. But surprisingly, in the Meston-Buss survey, eight of the top 10 reasons why men and women have sex and 20 of the top 25 are remarkably similar:

Women’s Reasons For Having Sex (from most to least frequently expressed)

1. I felt attracted to the person.
2. I wanted to experience the physical pleasure.
3. It feels good.
4. I wanted to show my affection for my partner.
5. I wanted to express my love for my partner.
6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release.
7. I felt horny.
8. It’s fun.
9. I realized I was in love.
10. I was swept up in the heat of the moment.
11. I wanted to please my partner.
12. I wanted emotional closeness/intimacy.
13. I wanted the pure pleasure.
14. I wanted an orgasm.
15. It’s exciting, adventurous.
16. I wanted to feel connected to the person.
17. The person’s physical appearance turned me on.
18. It was a romantic setting.
19. The person really desired me.
20. The person made me feel sexy.
21. The person caressed me.
22. It seemed like the natural next step in the relationship.
23. I wanted to become one with the person.
24. It just happened.
25. I wanted to deepen our emotional bond.


Men’s Reasons For Having Sex

1. I was attracted to the person.
2. It feels good.
3. I wanted to experience the physical pleasure.
4. It’s fun.
5. I wanted to show my affection for the person.
6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release.
7. I felt horny.
8. I wanted to express my love for the person.
9. I wanted an orgasm.
10. I wanted to please my partner.
11. The person’s physical appearance turned me on.
12. I wanted the pure pleasure.
13. I was swept up in the heat of the moment.
14. I desired emotional closeness/intimacy.
15. It’s exciting/adventurous.
16. The person had a desirable body.
17. I realized I was in love.
18. The person had an attractive face.
19. The person really desired me.
20. I wanted the adventure/excitement.
21. I wanted to feel connected to the person.
22. I wanted the experience.
23. It was a romantic setting.
24. The person caressed me.
25. The person made me feel sexy.

The myth is that men are obsessed with sex, while women view it as a way to deepen relationships. Not quite. The top three reasons why both men and women become sexual have nothing to do with either horniness or love. They are based on attraction and pleasure. Men and women gave the same priority to horniness (No. 7) and almost the same to expressing love (No. 5 for women, No. 8 for men), and feeling closeness/intimacy (No. 12 for women No. 14 for men).

Americans focus a good deal of attention on sexual victimization (rape, incest, pedophilia, sexual harassment, etc.), and using sex for personal gain (money, a job, a promotion, drugs, etc.) These turn out to be among the least frequent reasons for having sex.

Women’s 10 Least Frequent Reasons For Having Sex

237. I wanted to spread a sexually transmitted disease.
236. Someone offered me money to do it.
235. I wanted to get a raise.
234. It was an initiation rite to a club or organization.
233. I wanted to get a job.
232. I wanted to get a promotion.
231. The person offered me drugs to do it.
230. I wanted to punish myself.
229. I wanted to hurt/humiliate the person.
228. I wanted to feel closer to God.

Men’s 10 Least Frequent Reasons for Having Sex

237. The person offered me drugs to do it.
236. I wanted to spread a sexually transmitted disease.
235. I wanted to punish myself.
234. I wanted to break up my relationship.
233. I wanted to get a job.
232. It was an initiation rite to a club or organization.
231. Someone offered me money to do it.
230. I feared physical harm if I said no.
229. I wanted to make money.
228. I wanted to feel closer to God.

Of course, men and women are different, and despite the similarities just mentioned, they have different reasons for having sex. The researchers calculated the reasons for sex that differed the most by gender.

The Top 10 Largest Gender Differences

1. The person wore revealing clothes. Stated significantly more often by men than women.
2. I wanted to feel masculine. More men.
3. I wanted to relieve “blue balls.” More men.
4. I wanted to feel feminine. More women.
5. The person had a desirable body. More men.
6. The person was available. More men.
7. The person’s appearance turned me on. More men.
8. It’s fun. More men.
9. I wanted to have an orgasm. More men.
10. The opportunity presented itself. More men.

Men were much more likely to have sex based on women’s physical characteristics: desirable body, attractive face, she turned me on. This finding supports a great deal of research showing that men are sexually stimulated by visual cues (for example, pornography).

Women were more likely to have sex based on its contribution to a relationship: I wanted to express my love. I wanted deeper emotional closeness. Again, this finding supports other research showing that most women prefer sex in the context of a committed relationship.

So why do men and women have sex? For more reasons than most people think.

Source:
Meston, CM and DM Buss. “Why Humans Have Sex,” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2007) 36:477.

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Why Do People Have Sex?; Surveying Sexual Preferences

41 thoughts on “Why Do People Have Sex?; Surveying Sexual Preferences

  1. In the largest gender differences, I wonder why more men said they have sex because “It’s fun?” Do more women fear answering that “It’s fun” might in some way perpetuate the stereotype that women having sex for fun makes them somehow “slutty?” or is there something else behind the gender gap?

    1. You might be right! The evaluation of sex being fun can also reflect the misconception of being easy or being promiscuous. No woman would ever admit to say that they love being promiscuous to feel, what the study suggests, more feminine. So, although most women felt that sex feels good, generally speaking, something fun does make us feel good. So, it might have been a factor in where this study was taken. The environment is extremely important, especially for disclosing intimate personal information. If the location was not a problem to hinder the way they answered this survey, it could have been their feelings reflecting on the reasoning behind the enjoyment of sexual gratification.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. “Feels good” is similar but much more acceptable than “fun.” It’s interesting/sad to think that the progress women have made in owning their sexuality could still be setback by such an innocent word, like “fun.” It’s almost to say that it’s okay to enjoy as long as it’s taken very seriously. And I agree with the idea of location and culture, which can play an enormous role in surveys like this.

  2. I am often taken aback when I need to make love because I feel sexually charged and I think I need release. Ironically, in the middle of it, I find the end goal was not to have the release…in the end, it was watching my lover have the release…that sometimes, becomes the best reason of all and my own satisfaction is the last thing I need after making him happy, because making him happy IS the satisfaction and release. If orgasm comes, it comes, next time it might be my turn, that is if I am a good girl.🙂

    1. Ah, so it’s not a matter of your own sexual gratification, but it’s a performance based reward. If your lover does not achieve an orgasm, you believe that something went terribly wrong. Yeah, I can understand that. After using my Fleshlights, I can never achieve an orgasm with a woman. We end up sweating with physical exhaustion. Talk about sexercise!

      1. Actually, I thought about posting a review for those! Maybe I’ll get some people interested in buying their man one? haha Yes, it’s only for magical forests.😉

    2. You were doing ok until your last 6 words. A pity that in todays’ day and age a woman still thinks that only if she is good she get rewarded or, in your case pleasured until orgasm.
      When a man truly is interested in, or loves his woman he makes sure she achieves her sexual satisfaction as well and doesn’t make her wait her turn for next time. That is if he deems that she behaves like a “good girl.”

      1. Yes, I completely agree with you! This is why I am actually on the other side of the spectrum. I am only pleased if my woman is sexually satisfied. I am not there for my own climax. I can do that on my own time. I want to invest time in placing the spotlight on her sexual fulfillment for that night first. I never favored a value system. It should be a mutual value system. Just because you’re not good, doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t loved and should feel loved. I am not going to punish someone for being bad through the lack of intimacy with someone I love.There is never a duration until “next time” … the unfortunate part is … we never know when our next time is! So invest in quality of how you treat them over the quantity of times you’re together. I make her a priority, instead of an option.

    3. Missus Tribble says:

      I couldn’t have said this better myself. I have a severe hormone imbalance and take vital medication for epilepsy that has had a negative impact on my libido, so when I actually feel *capable* of having sex or feel the desire for sex I jump my husband faster than he can blink because I don’t get as many opportunities as I’d like to be able to give him pleasure and release.

      1. I’ve always wanted to use the Mold-A-Willy set, and give one to my best friend. She could have been my girlfriend, but she lives in Florida, and eventually found someone else after so many beautiful nights over the phone. If I called her up, she would still melt by the sound of my voice.

      2. If that is the case, then I sure hope the melting point is high, being in Florida and all. Maybe they should come with pull strings that say cute things while your using it, like, “Est-ce que je dois attendre?” or “Vos cheveux me fait pleurer.” Bye!🙂

  3. HA … I just googled ‘fleshlights’ well you learn something new every day!! Think the beer car one is taking things a bit too far though ha ha x

    1. Haha! I heard some average sized men prefer not to use the smaller pocket ones. They’re too big for it. I could tell it’s a lot smaller than your average Fleshlight.

  4. Lakeshia Artis says:

    As the saying goes, “I fell in LUST at first sight.” It is true. You’re attracted to the physical first then everything else comes after. I have to say that when a guy wears a good smelling cologne, I swear I feel like jumping their bones. A sexy fragrance makes you horny and want to do very bad things. But seriously, I do agree with most of the reasons why men/women want to have sex with someone. I must say that although the physical plays an important part, I would still like to connect with them on an emotional level. I want the satisfaction of knowing a guy is into me. Its no fun when they aren’t.

    1. Yes, first impressions play an important role deciding whether you feel sexually compatible or not. If someone doesn’t meet the sex appeal, why would you allow them to pursue any further when you already know intimacy (down the road) is hindered within the first minute of meeting each other. Any physical intimacy later in the future of the relationship will be based on an emotional connection to make up for the physical disadvantages.Yes, I believe they have enough studies on what entices the arousal of men and women, including shirt color (red) and scent. Yeah, when you find out that they don’t even like your personality, it is very upsetting.

      1. In lust is the perfect way to explain it. When a man and a woman first see each other if the timing is right along with the look of the person it creates chemicals in your brain & body. The smell of a man (pheromones) can be a stimulant women cannot refuse. It is innate. Compatibility is an entirely different issue. When you only want to get laid being compatible is the last thing on any ones mind. All they both want is sexual release.All they seek is pleasure.
        They want to be intimate, they want to consume each one another.There are no disadvantages when two people want to have sex. If an advantage exists it is usually in the mans favor. He after all can obtain his pleasure easily. If he is selfish she then it is the woman that is at a disadvantage. After all if that is all they want they really do not even have to like each other very much.
        Having said that,relationships where the couple have sex on the first date statistically do not last.
        In order to have love you must first have trust.

  5. My husband of 12 years just turns me on!!! Our kids (from previous marriages) are off living their own lives and our time is our own, as is our house! I’m approaching the age when women say they lose desire. I guess I’m lucky. I want it more than ever. I have time to spend on myself and it improves my self confidence. Evidently, my husband finds that sexy too. We are very lucky to have eachother!

    1. Wow, that’s amazing! I am so glad you two can value intimate quality time together! Ah, that makes more sense. You have the entire house for all your spontaneous endeavors! The bedroom was last night, so try the kitchen tonight! Yes, I love emphasizing the importance of masturbation, especially for women who never consider it. I am glad you are both open about sexuality and sensuality. You are very fortunate to find a keeper!😉

  6. You got me at “HoneyColony.com”…I write for them🙂 …great post on sex…just for the record, I have sex because it feels good physically, emotionally, and spiritually….if it’s done right with the right person at the right time.

    1. Oh, wow! Small world or small Internet? I must be advancing around the blogosphere faster than I thought! Maybe I should apply to them? What do you think? Is it worth it? Yes, great response! I knew you were always beyond the physical and emotional connection. I can sense it in your voice.😉

      1. LOL of course I will give you one, just hold off til they actually get my pieces up that they committed to and I will for sure🙂 …the woman who owns it is the woman who wrote the documentary “The Vanishing of the Bees”

      2. Haha, not that either! I meant from your own personal experience working with them, is it worth it? However, that sounds lovely too! haha Oh, wow, I think I’ve seen that before!

      3. I don’t know yet. They do not pay for re-posting anything you have already done although they want it re-worked entirely. When they do pay it’s $45. Articles are 1200 words.

      4. Oh, interesting. So, almost 4 cents a word? Yeah, I noticed most websites recommend fresh new content. Well, regardless, I would have made well over $1400 if WordPress paid me that rate! haha

      5. I should also mention they are very behind and there are lots of delays. My deadline was the 2nd and they still have not gotten to it. Their main editor is sick as well.

      6. Yes so just be wary for the time being…they kind of missed their target “launch”. Everything since it’s inception has been recycled, they want to go all original content (which will be great), but haven’t quite gotten their ducks in a row. Their pay scale sucks, but I like the alignment with them. If you email me I can send you their guidelines and a look at their contracts if you’d like.

  7. Missus Tribble says:

    I’m attracted to hands. To me, longer fingers indicate both physical and emotional tenderness, and so my husband had me from a handshake at a mutual friends’ garden party.

    I also find the rest of him physically attractive, but I was definitely right about what I read in the shape of his hands🙂

    1. Wow, you might actually be right! I have longer skinnier fingers, and my dad has stubby fat fingers. My dad is not sensual at all, but very rough in everything he does – even when he cooks! He lacks the patience to do something with his hands, unlike me where I can take my time.

      That is amazing how you experienced love at first shake! Previously, in the article of mine about the impact of Disney Love Stories on Modern Dating, I mention that Cinderella had love at first dance. That sounds like a very intriguing story! I never thought about the first impressions of shaking hands in the sense of a prospective relationship. I have always focused the importance of shaking hands during interviews with a firm handshake. That is amazing! Now, it makes a lot of sense! Thanks for giving me a … hand … on understanding myself better!😉

      1. Missus Tribble says:

        My husband has very warm hands. I felt the heat and then noticed his beautiful fingers.

        I wouldn’t say it was love at first shake, but definitely intruige at first sight. You know how some people just grab your attention from the moment you meet them with a simple “hello”? That’s what happened. We remained in touch and teo months later he paid for a taxi from Birmingham to Essex to get me out of a bad situation… and the following night we realised that we were in love🙂

        Hands can tell you all you need to know about a person.

  8. kp says:

    Very interesting. Personally, I have sex with my gf to be connected to her. The multiple orgasms are just an added bonus😉

    1. Yes, the emotional connection with your girlfriend outweighs everything else to experience. You want that quality time with her, especially if there is a lack of quality time together from a busy work schedule. The result of the quality time is not only strengthening your relationship, but something just as great. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!😉

  9. Pretty cool post! I personally think that human beings make sex more complicated than it is. Then again, maybe that’s just human nature…which contradicts itself, doesn’t it? Oprah’s website has some pretty good sex resources as well.

    1. Thanks for checking it out Katie! Yes, human beings make everything awkward when it really isn’t awkward. They all need to learn how to accept something, whether it is the norm or taboo in their culture, and grow an understanding from it. I have persuaded people to realize how immature or naive they were when they first said something about sexuality and sensuality. Thanks for stopping by!

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