July 31, 2007

Experts discover 237 reasons to have sex.

John Tierney writes about a University of Texas study:
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:

¶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.”
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.

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.”

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.’ ”
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.

ADDED: Here's one for that list of reasons not to have sex: Your body is composed of dead animals.


Meade said...

Where are these women with the more evolved tendencies toward loving and unselfishness? I've got 237 reasons I'd like to meet them.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder if there are more, or less, reasons not to have sex? Will someone do a study on that?

I love the change the topic of conversation reason. I wonder what they were talking about?

AllenS said...

Since I use my you know what to do all of my thinking for me concerning sex, I've never had a reason to categorize the act itself.

Viagra, the goal attainment pill.

Meade said...

I'm on my way to New Zealand to meet up with some of those highly evolved women you mentioned and to promote my new book: Dr. Meade's Carrot Stick Diet.

Bissage said...

It doesn't seem right, somehow.

There are 237 reasons to have sex.

But there are only 50 ways to leave your lover.

Go figure.

Meade said...

subtitled: "237 Ways To Scoring Beta Carotene"

Meade said...

The Joy of Sticks

Smilin' Jack said...

ADDED: Here's one for that list of reasons not to have sex: Your body is composed of dead animals.

I'm more concerned about the live ones---millions of parasites, from protozoans to mites (did you know there's a specialized skin mite that lives only in your eyebrows?)

Anyway, I'm not sure vegetarians are any more attractive...who wants to make love to a compost heap?

That's why I'm glad implants are back--when I see an attractive chick, I know that her attractiveness is mostly due to pure, clean silicone.

downtownlad said...

Your post was heteronormative.

peter hoh said...

#238: The Surge is working, my dear.

amba said...

Here's at least one of the 237 reasons not to have sex, courtesy of the Buddha:

§9 Gratification and Danger in Form (Body)

"And what is gratification in the case of form (body)?

"Suppose there were a girl of warrior-noble cast or brahmin caste or householder stock, in her fifteenth or sixteenth year, neither too tall nor too short, neither too thin nor too fat, neither too dark nor too fair: is her beauty and loveliness then at its height?"

"Yes, venerable sir."

"Now the pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on that beauty and loveliness are the gratification in the case of form.

"And what is danger in the case of form?

"Later on one might see that same woman here at eighty, ninety or a hundred years, aged, as crooked as a roof, doubled up, tottering with the aid of sticks, frail, her youth gone, her teeth broken, grey haired, scanty-haired, bald, wrinkled, with limbs all blotchy: how do you conceive this, bhikkhus, has her former beauty and loveliness vanished and the danger become evident?"

"Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, this is the danger in the case of form."

— M. 13, "The Mass of Suffering," trans. Ven. Ñanamoli

amba said...

Oops, I omitted the note appended to the end of that:

N.B. Women reading this should change the sex of the person in the above.

Jennifer said...

Fascinating! I wonder how vegansexuals feel about petting the cats and dogs that belong to other people...?

Theres seems to be a growing offshoot of nutty vegans these days. I've read of at least a few vegan parents who have killed their infants by feeding them a purely vegan diet. Some of them even eschewed breastfeeding on vegan principles!?!? Insane.

El Presidente said...

I didn't see "She looked so good in her Vlog" on that list.

Peter Palladas said...

Did "I needed my daily guilt fix" get mentioned?

Or "I had to find some reason to give up quitting smoking."

Or "How else do I get out of mending that fence."

Or "The TV broke so we had to do something with our lives."

Or "I never realised it was going to be that kind of party!"

Or "God instructed me to do it."

Or "I never had sex with that woman."

Come on. This list is full of holes.