Sex isn’t just something we humans occasionally think about. Sex is as important to human beings as the need to sleep, eat and live.
In today’s mainstream American culture, individuals think about sex, fantasize about sex, have sex, and spend an enormous amount of time and energy in the pursuit of sex. Why do we do all this?
First what is sex? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sex is defined as “physical activity in which people touch each others’ bodies, kiss each other, etc.: physical activity that is related to and often includes sexual intercourse.” Sexuality consists of values, society, learned messages and biology.
Kristen Mark, an assistant professor of Health Promotion and the director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at UK, has spent time and energy into researching one of the most common questions regarding sexuality: why do we have sex? From her research, Mark has compiled a list of 237 reasons for why men and women have sex.
The top 10 reasons women reported having sex were 1. Physical pleasure, 2. Feels good, 3. Show affection, 4. Express love, 5. Sexually aroused/wanted release, 6. Felt “horny,” 7. It’s fun, 8. In love, 9. Swept up in heat of moment, and 10. Please partner.
The top 10 reasons men reported having sex were: 1. Attraction, 2. Feels good, 3. Physical pleasure, 4. It’s fun, 5. Show affection, 6. Sexually aroused/wanted release, 7. “Felt horny,” 8. Expression of love, 9. Orgasm, and 10. Please partner.
These lists find that men and women are not that different when it comes to why they have sex. Results from the study found that 8 of the top 10 and 20 of the top 25 reasons men and women have sex were similar, and that the top 3 reasons for both sexes to engage in sex had nothing to do with arousal or love; the top 3 reason were based on attraction and pleasure.
Similarities were seen in the priority given by both men and women in the following areas: “horniness” (number 7 for both men and women), expressing love (number 5 for women and number 8 for men), and feeling closeness and intimacy (number 12 for women and number 14 for men).
However, men and women are not the exact same when it comes to sex. In Mark’s results, the top 10 biggest differences between men and women for having sex were:
1. Person wore revealing clothes, 2. Wanted to feel more masculine, 3. Wanted to relieve “blue balls,” (pain caused by prolonged sexual arousal in males without ejaculation) 4. Wanted to feel feminine, 5. The person had a desirable body, 6. The person was available, 7. The person’s appearance was arousing, 8. It’s fun, 9. Wanted to have an orgasm, and 10. The opportunity presented itself.
When thinking about the complexities of sex, consider this quote from sexuality expert Lonnie Barbach, “Sex is perfectly natural. However sex is not naturally perfect.”
Curated by Erbe