After asking nearly 2,000 people why they’d had sex, [Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss,] have assembled and categorized a total of 237 reasons... [which they sort into] four general categories:I'd like to re-sort the list into good reasons and bad reasons! Is "duty" obviously a bad reason? Well, trying to do this re-sort would involve endless argument. The very process of analyzing the reasons is interesting. But if you're too analytical about the reasons... you might never get around to having sex. I mean... how about a list of reasons not to have sex? I'll bet there are 237 of them too.
¶Physical: “The person had beautiful eyes” or “a desirable body,” or “was good kisser” or “too physically attractive to resist.” Or “I wanted to achieve an orgasm.”
¶Goal Attainment: “I wanted to even the score with a cheating partner” or “break up a rival’s relationship” or “make money” or “be popular.” Or “because of a bet.”
¶Emotional: “I wanted to communicate at a deeper level” or “lift my partner’s spirits” or “say ‘Thank you.’ ” Or just because “the person was intelligent.”
¶Insecurity: “I felt like it was my duty” or “I wanted to boost my self-esteem” or “It was the only way my partner would spend time with me.”
The article contains a lot of material about the extent to which the male and female answers were the same:
[B]oth men and women ranked the same reason most often: “I was attracted to the person.”I don't know how much I want to rely on Buss -- "buss" means "kiss," by the way -- because he doesn't seem sensitive enough to the problem of self-reporting. I see a huge, looming stereotype here: Women want to seem loving and unselfish, and men are comfortable looking ambitious and a bit egotistical. But maybe women are more loving and unselfish, and men are more ambitious and egotistical. If so, it may help us have more sex -- which would be a reason that these tendencies evolved.
The rest of the top 10 for each gender were also almost all the same, including “I wanted to express my love for the person,” “I was sexually aroused and wanted the release” and “It’s fun.”
No matter what the reason, men were more likely to cite it than women, with a couple of notable exceptions. Women were more likely to say they had sex because, “I wanted to express my love for the person” and “I realized I was in love.” This jibes with conventional wisdom about women emphasizing the emotional aspects of sex, although it might also reflect the female respondents’ reluctance to admit to less lofty motives.
The results contradicted another stereotype about women: their supposed tendency to use sex to gain status or resources.
“Our findings suggest that men do these things more than women,” Dr. Buss said, alluding to the respondents who said they’d had sex to get things, like a promotion, a raise or a favor. Men were much more likely than women to say they’d had sex to “boost my social status” or because the partner was famous or “usually ‘out of my league.’ ”
ADDED: Here's one for that list of reasons not to have sex: Your body is composed of dead animals.