Published September 21, 2009
“Why Women Have Sex.”
Given the stereotype that women are never in the mood, it’s not surprising that this book title is grabbing people’s attention. Written by researchers Cindy Meston and David Buss, the work flushes out the results of a survey of 1,006 women.
And their findings are all over the board; the authors highlight 200 reasons.
So why do women have sex? The vast majority (84 percent) have sex to guarantee a quiet life or to persuade their men to do some housework. Some of the other reasons given in interviews include...
1. She’s alleviating boredom – it gives her something to do.
2. She wants to relieve a stress headache or migraine.
3. She’s trying to put an end to an argument.
4. She wants a better complexion.
5. She’s thanking her date for a nice dinner, a present, or spending a lot of money on her early on in the relationship.
6. She’s after a spiritual experience since sex is seen as “the closest thing to God.”
7. She’s refining her sexual skills.
8. She feels sorry for the fellow.
9. She likes that he has an extravagant lifestyle.
10. She’s in a long-distance relationship and wants action now versus later.
Ironically, romance and passion ranked low on females’ reasons for having sex. Instead, sex was viewed as being all about fun, with 60 percent of survey respondents admitting to regularly sleeping with a male friend who was not their boyfriend.
Attraction, too, apparently ranks low on a lady’s list. What’s interesting to note about this factor is that while most men find most women sexually attractive, researchers said that the gals don’t see the guys in quite the same way.
Women reported being attracted to men who were described as tall, having a deep voice, and smelling good. A male having a symmetrical body was also liked, indicating that he could give her strong children. Still, those men not living up to such visions can take comfort in her preference of men with lower levels of testosterone, since this suggests that he’s less likely to pursue others.
It’s important to take these findings with a grain of salt. The way that they’ve been presented largely reinforces the idea that women aren’t sexual by nature as much as capable of using sex as a bargaining tool. Writings cast women as using sex manipulatively or to put up with a partner and her relationship.
Then, muddling matters in terms of how to interpret results is the issue of women having sex versus wanting sex. These are two different factors in one’s sexual activity that aren’t being dealt with independently. Which reasons are ones where women desired sex or skin-on-skin contact? Which reasons felt instinctual?
The University of Texas study has also been criticized for focusing solely on university students at the UT Austin campus who were mostly young and white. We have to remember that these are the results of one group of women — they’re not representative of all women. Still, the book’s press release claims that the work is the “richest and deepest psychological understanding of female sexuality.”
Collectively, the reasons presented in this survey make all women look conniving, selfish, narcissistic, and shallow when it comes to sex. It paints us as using sex for bartering purposes or approaching it as a hobby or sport. And while that may be the case for these women to some degree, the original research and book actually misrepresent all women by claiming that these findings apply to all of us.
There are a lot more reasons why women are having sex — and they aren’t being captured in this book.
If you ask me, and lot of other women of all ages and backgrounds out there, the reason women have sex, they’ll tell you... They’re having sex to express affection, to get in tune with their sexual core and feel sexy, to make love, to feel close to another, to maintain a long-term relationship by keeping the passion alive, to relish a shared, special moment... and because they like sex when it feels good.
Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."