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Surprise! Women have sex for lots of different reasons

There’s been quite a fuss kicked up in recent weeks over a new book

There’s been quite a fuss kicked up in recent weeks over a new book called Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations — From Adventure To Revenge (and Everything in Between).

Authors Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss spent five years grilling more than 1,000 women about why they have sex and discovered that — surprise! — women have sex for a lot of reasons. Some do it out of duty, some for fun, some for money and some to relieve menstrual cramps (endorphins released through orgasm temporarily relieve pain).

I’m not sure why this is such a revelation to everyone. Just as women eat for reasons beyond survival, and shop for reasons beyond making sure their children don’t go to school naked, they have sex for a variety of reasons, which range from the lofty to the less-than-honour­able to just plain boring. Of course, it’s fascinating to examine the why behind the reasons we do a lot of things in life, and sex should be no exception. To this end, the book is an interesting read.

Marrying the anecdotal with the scientific, the authors conclude that women choose to have sex with symmetrical men with deep voices for evolutionary reasons, in order to ensure healthier offspring. They do it to stop their partners from cheating. They do it to get stuff, be it money or household chores. And sometimes, yes, they simply do it for kicks.

It’s nice to see the debate go beyond the old simplistic women do it for love, men do it mostly for physical gratification theory that so often gets bandied about.

But why just scrutinize women’s sexual motivations? The authors argue that women’s reasons are more complex, in part, because women can get pregnant and therefore must be more selective about why and with whom they have sex.

I’m sure there’s some truth to that. But I can guarantee, even without doing five years of research, that, if they’re honest about it, men have sex for just as many different reasons.

In the press release for the book, Meston says that the research “could help increase empathy and sexual communication between partners, and between men and women.”

It seems to me that as long as we keep making female sexuality more and more complex, while we continue to talk about men’s desire as if it’s just like a light switch waiting to be flicked on, we’re moving in the opposite direction.

– Josey Vogels is a sex and relationship columnist and author of five books on the subjects. For more info, visit www.joseyvogels.com.

 
 
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