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In Living Commentary

Studies about arousal and desire and selection make for interesting reading.

Study finds 237 reasons women have sex


I recently encountered a Time Magazine article about why women have sex. The article was prompted by a recent study and subsequent book on the topic and the results may be more complex than you would think. As a woman, it was certainly an interesting insight to some of my own conscious and subconscious behaviors.

Women have sex for many of the same reasons as men -- physical attraction, love and pleasure. No real big secret there, right? Based on the findings of this study, however, the majority of women have a lot more riding on most of their sexual encounters than just lust or love.

The two psychologists that developed the study interviewed 1,000 women worldwide about their sexual reasoning after publishing a book called "Why Humans Have Sex." The basis for the follow-up: they felt that women's reasons for having sex not only deserved but required a study. They must have been right, because they came up with 237 different reasons why women have sex.

Now, it's no secret that women tend to be more emotionally involved when it comes to sex. There have been plenty of other studies done that show women release chemicals during sex that give them an emotional response to the act. That's the theory, anyway.

However, if you think it's only women that use their brains during sex you're mistaken. This article led me to another about the chemistry that goes on in our bodies to create arousal and desire, and that a huge amount of our brains and biochemistry are involved in sex and that applies to both men and women. Who knew? These findings are still very murky in the minds of researchers, who are trying to figure out how this all differs in males and females and when and why the internal reactions occur.

Some of the findings in the women-only study show that aside from affection, love and attraction, women admit to having sex for reasons ranging from boosting their self-esteem (now there's a slippery slope) to getting revenge on either a cheating partner or another woman (not always a great idea, either). Some of the women in the study claimed that they even have sex to relieve pain such as a headache, or so they could fall asleep more easily afterwards.

Boy, do the movies have this one backward. Isn't a headache the reason always given for why women don't want to have sex? I guess I have never paid that much attention to whether or not the pain relief aspect works. Ladies, has anyone given this a try?

The findings also suggest that women, whether consciously or not, are very primal, instinctual and often picky when it comes to sex. While men will supposedly have sex simply because there is a prospect, the study finds women tend to be more cunning in who they choose.

According to Darwin, women do not choose men accidentally, there are very specific reasons we are attracted to one man and not another. (As a quick side-note I should mention that this particular blog is focused on heterosexual sex. That is due solely to the content of the articles and studies being discussed.)

Rather, we base our choice of sexual partners on the same practices as our ancient ancestors. Each woman wants to find the most successful, healthy and able man so she can rely on both she and her children being supported.

Therefore, women are constantly in competition with one another for the best male specimen. We gatherers are out to find the best hunter.

That really boils it down to its most basic primal definition. If this is true, why are so many women hooked on idiots and creeps?

Are these women missing a vital piece of DNA? Also, this doesn't take into account that many modern women don't need a man for anything ... even sex. That's not to say women don't get involved or have sex with men based solely on their social status or their bank accounts, the point is most women don't feel as though they need to. So, the changes in society have altered the path of our evolution and not necessarily in a bad way.

Since Dr. Kinsey conducted some of the first sexuality research back in the 1940s, there have been numerous studies on sex, sexuality, masturbation and the like. Some of these claim that women's sexuality revolves around a complicated circle of desire and arousal and that orgasm is not always the ultimate end result (who are they kidding?) and that, unlike the simpler linear path of male sexuality, female desire can trigger arousal and vice versa. Are we talking about modern art or orgasms?

Some suggest that a woman's interest in sex is based not only on the feelings she has about her partner, but also about how she feels about herself, her feeling of security and safety and her closeness with her partner outside of the sex.

Isn't this all a little confined? It seems like an obvious conclusion to say all men are visual and non-emotional about sex. They see something they like; they get aroused and ultimately pursue orgasm. While women are so very complicated, emotional and deeply rooted in their sexual desires and partners. I'm no scientist, but I can tell you that fitting women and men into those sexual molds isn't going to work. I mean -- come on, a circle and a line ... That's human sexuality as a 6-year-old sees it.

Then again, what do I know?

For the sake of argument, just think for a minute about the things that turn you on. Now think about things that turn on your current or past partners. No two people are the same, and therefore its borderline ludicrous to assume that all women are emotional and complicated when it comes to sex and all men are walking erections, though I have known a few that could be classified that way.

Clearly, the reasons for one to have sex are based on more than just gender, lifestyle, religion, health, age and even socioeconomic class or status.

I think the study was trying to say that women are complicated sexually when it comes to biochemistry, but they have sex for many more reasons than just physical attraction. They like sex, they use it to achieve many things they want and some are even malicious in their sexual nature.

And as it turns out, women also are visual when it comes to attraction. Heterosexual women tend to be attracted to V-shaped male bodies that are not overly muscular, symmetrical facial features, a good head of hair, a strong jaw and a deep male voice.

So guys, it seems like you too have quite a lot to live up to. The study also points out that we have a better sense of smell than you do and that good hygiene can be your saving grace.

This is an interesting topic with many opinions and theories attached to it. Maybe this is all as simple as circles and lines, but I'm not ready to buy that hypothesis.

Talkbacks

Broner | Oct. 17, 2009 at 6:06 p.m. (report)

Men have 1 reason: It's awesome.

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sandstorm | Oct. 17, 2009 at 1:50 p.m. (report)

#238: i'm irresistable.

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TosaJim | Oct. 17, 2009 at 1:47 p.m. (report)

For having sex.....Women need a reason....men just need a place.

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