Why Do People Have Sex?

Why Do People Have Sex?


By Stacy Lloyd

Researchers have generally assumed people have sex for one or more of three reasons: to have children, experience sexual pleasure, and cement relationships, according to PsychologyToday.com.

Well, wrote WebMD, today’s reasons why people have sex seem to vary much more.

A 2010 Sexuality & Culture review of sex motivation studies states people offer “far more reasons for engaging in sexual intercourse than in the past.”

These include a wide range of motivations, from pleasure and procreation, to insecurity, to inquisitiveness.

This aside, some sexologists still believe, at the most basic level, there is only one true reason people have sex. We’re wired for it, reported WebMD.

“Our brains are designed to motivate us toward that behavior,” Richard A. Carroll, PhD, sex therapist and associate professor in the psychiatry and behavioral sciences department at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told WebMD.

Research from the University of Texas at Austin revealed hundreds of varied and complex motivations that range from the spiritual to the vengeful, wrote ScienceDaily.com.

After conducting comprehensive studies on why people have sex, psychology researchers David Buss and Cindy Meston uncovered 237 motivations, which appear in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

The Guardian wrote the two psychologists canvassed 2,000 people to compile the list of the 237 most popular reasons. PsychologyToday.com added that they asked people aged 17 to 52, to list “all the reasons why you or those you know have engaged in sexual intercourse.”

The Texas psychologists used the research to identify four major factors and 13 sub-factors for why people have sex, wrote ScienceDaily.com.

One major factor is physical reasons. The sub-factors are pleasure, stress relief, exercise, sexual curiosity, or attraction to a person, wrote WebMD.

Dummies.com said that many people engage in sex for the sensory experience, the wide range of physical and emotional pleasures that a person can derive from sexual activity.

Another major factor is emotional reasons. These sub-factors are love, commitment and gratitude.

Part of the glue that holds longtime love together is sex, said Dummies.com.

WebMD said that a major factor of why people have sex is a variety of goal-based reasons. The sub-factors are procreation, improving social status (i.e. to become popular) or for revenge.

The fourth major factor is insecurity-based reasons. These sub-factors include self-esteem, a feeling of duty or pressure, and to guard a partner, wrote ScienceDaily.com.

PsychologyToday.com wrote, the myth is that men and women are emotionally very different. However, in the Meston-Buss survey, the top reasons why both men and women become sexual were based on attraction and pleasure.

Men and women gave the same priority to horniness and almost the same to expressing love, and feeling closeness/intimacy.

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