237 reasons to have sex

Last updated 00:00 01/08/2007
Fairfax Media
FEELING GOOD: A new study has shown that men and women have sex for similar reasons, quoshing gender stereotypes that men have sex for physical pleasure and that women want love.

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After coming up with a list of 237 reasons why people have sex, researchers have come to the conclusion that men and women are motivated by the same reasons - and it mostly comes down to lust not love.

While many researchers concentrated on 'how' people have sex, scientists at the University of Texas decided to invest five years and their own money into looking at 'why' people have sex.

For US college-aged men and women the top reasons for having sex were the same - they were attracted to the person, wanted to experience physical pleasure and simply because "it felt good," according to the study published in the August edition of Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

Reasons which made the top ten for both men and women included expressing love and showing affection, but the clear number one reason was: "I was attracted to the person."

University of Texas clinical psychology professor Cindy Meston said that the survey had refuted a lot of gender stereotypes... that men only want sex for the physical pleasure and that women want love.

"None of the gender differences are all that great," Meston said.

"Men were more likely to be opportunistic towards having sex, so if sex was there and available they would jump on it, somewhat more so than women."

"Women were more likely to have sex because they felt they needed to please their partner."

Meston and colleague David Buss first asked 444 men and women - aged from 17 to 52 - to come up with as many reasons as they could think of to have sex.

The resulting 237 reasons ranged from "It's fun" which men ranked fourth and women ranked eighth to "I wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease" which women ranked bottom.

Meston conceded that the results reflect college students, whose "hormones run rampant."

She predicted huge differences when older groups of people are studied.

Since her study came out on Tuesday, she's been inundated with new reasons to have sex.

"Originally, I thought that we exhaustively compiled the list, but now I've found that there should be some added," Meston said.

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