What do you answer if someone asks you why you have sex? Clearly women also have sex for pleasure, and women and men are not as different as you might think. Whether you are in a relationship or do not have much to say why you have sex. Everything you need to know about why we have sex.
You may want to say that it is romanticism and desire, but this immediate answer probably does not necessarily tell the whole and the full truth. Two American studies showed in 2007 and 2009 that there are many different reasons why we have sex. The results showed that in addition to having sex to confirm an emotional attachment, or romance and love, as we may call it, there are many who have sex because of physical enjoyment. This may not be so surprising.
But the investigations showed that there are several reasons for having sex. When people are asked, and probably respond honestly, many of the American participants in the survey state that getting social status or get back at someone is a reason for sex.
The same goes for having sex in order to increase self-esteem, and many also replied that they have sex because they feel the pressure for it. Besides, there were naturally many who expressed physical attraction and discouragement as a cause of sexual activity.
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Study – Why do we have sex
Norwegian researchers decided to carry out the same study to see if Norwegian students would give the same answers as American students. 1327 students in the 20’s were asked, and the answers from the Norwegians were very similar to those Americans gave.
Mutual romance and enjoyment is clearly part of the overall picture, but we must accept that there are more turbid, functional and less sugary or reciprocal reasons that are also normal.
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Basically, the modern human being has sex for the same reason our grandmothers and ancestors had. What has changed is that sex is not exclusively about reproduction. Now it has also got an emotional significance, such as strengthening the pairing. This means that we are probably one of the few species that have fun with sex.
The cultural evolution that has taken place since the Stone Age, including the invention of contraception, has made it possible to separate the sex part from the reproductive function of the sex, and this is unique to humans.
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When the researchers in the US and Norway were to survey the reasons we got, the students presented a number of alternative reasons. They were then given the task to state to what extent each reason is typical of why they have sex.
The Norwegian researchers divided the students by sex and whether they were interested in short-term or long-term oriented sex. Short-term orientation means interest in one night stands and other uninterrupted sexual encounters rather than interest in more committed relationships.
Physical pleasures for pleasure were more important for both short-term women and men compared with the long-term orientation of both sexes. In other words, personal pleasure is a common reason for having one night stands. Reasons for physical attractiveness were more important for both short-term and long-term men, as well as short-term women compared to long-term women. Thus, women in long-term relationships are less concerned with the physical attraction of their partner than the other groups.
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In return, love and commitment were more important for long-term women than all the other groups. But if it was not as important as for women in relationships, then it was also stated as an important reason for both long-term men and short-term women. Only short-term men did not think this was any particular good reason to lie with someone.
For reasons related to sexual experience and practice, we found that this was clearly more important for short-term men and women than long-term men and women.
The Norwegian researchers, however, did not find as much “target oriented” sex as the US. Among American youth it was more common to have sex to achieve something than among the Norwegian. Being involved with someone to avenge themselves, gaining a kind of resources, gaining an advantage, or gaining status or better reputation.
Another finding in the Norwegian study was that pliktsex was not so common among women in long-term relationships that they might have believed. Duty or pressure was stated by a larger proportion of women in short-term relationships, and in fact, by more men in short-term relationships than women in long-term relationships.
Other reasons that cut high were stress reduction and increased self-esteem.
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Not so unexpected
The results were not really surprising. There where a number of predictions based on theory and previous research, and most of them struck. For example, there are differences between both sexes and between individuals, ie whether you are oriented towards short-term sex or thinking about sex as something that is part of a committed relationship, for example was completely expected.
If something surprised us in this study, it must have been that short-term orientation or no more importance than gender.
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Not applicable to all age groups
The answers are related to the age of those asked. There would not have been exactly the same pattern if we had studied a sample of people for example 30 years on average. In general, it seems that women’s sexuality changes from the early 20’s to after the age of 30, and we think that getting pregnant would become far more relevant.
In other words, there is no reason to believe that all reasons for sex are stable over age. It would therefore also be interesting to see what were the common reasons for an even older selection of people, for example in the 50’s and 60’s.
These are the main reasons we have sex