Why Humans Have Sex

You may not be surpised that humans have sex for a variety of reasons, but 237?  That’s what Meston and Buss (2007) found out in their study of University of Texas  students and volunteers. They factor analyzed their list and came up with four factors: Physical reasons (stress reduction, pleasure, physical desirability, experience seeking), Goal Attainment (resources, social status, revenge, utilitarian), Emotional (love and committment, expression), and Insecurity (self-esteem boost, duty/pressure, mate guarding). Mate guarding? “…the strategic use of sexuality may send signals to potential mate poachers” to seek other targets. Mate poachers! Not surprisingly they found some interesting gender differences, but not that different–“men and women were remarkably similar in that 20 of the top 25 reasons given were identical for men and women.” Men do seem more motivated to “opportunistic copulation” while women seek sex in the context of love and relationship committment. All of this of course supports currently popular evolutionary ideas about mating strategy. The authors conclude reassuringly that what motivates most people most of the time is “attraction, pleasure, affection, love, romance, emotional closeness, arousal, the desire to please, adventure, excitement, experience, connection, celebration, curiosity and opportunity.”

Reference: Meston, C.M., & Buss, D.M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36: 477-507. Full text (PDF)    More like this

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