Historically, the reasons people have sex have been assumed to be few in number and simple in nature-
- to reproduce,
- to experience pleasure, or
- to relieve sexual tension.
Several perspectives suggest that motives for engaging in sexual intercourse may be larger in number and psychologically complex in nature.
Our first study used a procedure that identified 237 expressed reasons for having sex, ranging from the
- mundane (e.g., ‘‘I wanted to experience physical pleasure’’) to the
- spiritual (e.g., ‘‘I wanted to get closer to God’’), from
- altruistic (e.g., ‘‘I wanted the person to feel good about himself/herself’’) to
- vengeful (e.g., ‘‘I wanted to get back at my partner for having cheated on me’’).
Our second study asked 1549 participants to evaluate the degree to which each of the 237 reasons had led them to have sexual intercourse.
The Physical reasons included
- Stress Reduction,
- Physical Desirability, and
- Experience Seeking.
The Goal Attainment reasons included
- Social Status,
- Revenge, and
The Emotional reasons included
- Love and
- Commitment and
The three Insecurity reasons included
- Self-Esteem Boost,
- Duty/Pressure, and
- Mate Guarding.
Why Humans Have Sex, Cindy M. Meston & David M. Buss. Arch Sex Behav (2007) 36:477-507.