Study: People have sex because it feels good
August 03 2007 12:00 AM ET
exhaustively compiling a list of the 237 reasons people have
sex, researchers found that young men and women get
intimate for mostly the same motivations. It's more
about lust in the body than a love connection in the
and women agree on their top reasons for having sex:
They were attracted to the person, they wanted to experience
physical pleasure, and ''it feels good,'' according to
a peer-reviewed study in the August edition of
Archives of Sexual Behavior. Twenty of the
top 25 reasons given for having sex were the same for
men and women.
and showing affection were in the top 10 for both men and
women, but they did take a backseat to the clear number 1:
''I was attracted to the person.''
the University of Texas spent five years and their own
money to study the overlooked why behind sex while others
were spending their time on the how.
''It's refuted a
lot of gender stereotypes...that men only want sex for
the physical pleasure and women want love,'' said University
of Texas clinical psychology professor Cindy Meston,
the study's coauthor. ''That's not what I came up with
in my findings.''
that men are from Mars and women from Venus: 'Tthe more
we look, the more we find similarity,'' said Irwin
Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado
Hospital in San Diego. Goldstein, who wasn't part of
Meston's study, said the Texas research made a lot of sense
and adds to growing evidence that the vaunted
differences in the genders may occur only among people
with sexual problems.
colleague David Buss first questioned 444 men and
women—ranging in age from 17 to 52—to come up
with a list of 237 distinct reasons people have sex.
They ranged from ''It's fun,'' which men ranked fourth
and women ranked eighth, to ''I wanted to give someone else
a sexually transmitted disease,'' which ranked on the
bottom among women.
Once they came up
with that long list, Meston and Buss asked 1,549
college students taking psychology classes to rank the
reasons on a one-to-five scale on how they applied to
''None of the
gender differences are all that great,'' Meston said. ''Men
were more likely to be opportunistic towards having sex, so
if sex were there and available they would jump on it,
somewhat more so than women. Women were more likely to
have sex because they felt they needed to please their
But this is among
college students, when Meston conceded ''hormones run
rampant.'' She predicted huge differences when older groups
of people are studied.
Since her study
came out Tuesday, people are coming up with new reasons
to have sex.
thought that we exhaustively compiled the list, but now I
found that there should be some added,'' Meston said. (Seth
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