Remember on Cheers when Diane wrote a paper on Sam’s romantic history? Looking through it, Sam says, “she even managed to make my love life boring.”
Well, that’s what Meston and Buss have done in Why Humans Have Sex. Like all scholarly papers written by and for the so-called intelligentsia, this paper is long and dull, despite the topic. You can read sentences like this only so many times: “sex can be viewed as a fungible resource” or “the most comprehensive existing taxonomy, framed from a theoretical perspective of dispositional sexual motives”…. Yawn!
Like most academic research, this paper is flawed because the overwhelming majority of participants were college students, but that is a topic for another time. Of the 706 males and 1,287 females studied, the age range was 16 to 42, but 96 percent of them were between 18 and 22. Only 4 percent were married.
There are 237 reasons listed, and almost all of them are selfish and egocentric.
The most common reason was mere stress relief. “I wanted to release tension.” “I was bored.” “I hadn’t has sex in a while.”
The next most common reasons were for physical pleasure, but with a mine not yours attitude. “It feels good.” “It’s exciting and adventurous.” “I just wanted it.”
Then comes mere physical attraction. “The person had an attractive face.” “The person had beautiful eyes.” “The person flattered me.”
Then there’s simple curiosity. “I was curious about my sexual abilities.” “I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.”
Of course, there are reasons that just seem wrong by any standard. “I wanted to make my boyfriend jealous.” “I felt it was my duty.” “It was the only way my partner would spend time with me.” “My friends were having sex and I wanted to fit in.”
As a father of seven girls, these disturb me. “The person had taken me to an expensive dinner.” “I wanted to defy my parents.” “I needed another notch in my belt.” “I was competing with someone else to get the person.” “I wanted to impress my friends.” “The person had too much to drink and I was able to take advantage of them.” “I wanted to be popular.”
Finally, a heads up for parents: one of the most frequent reasons unmarried males had sex? “[She] wore revealing clothes.”
Something to think about the next time your daughter goes clothes shopping.
Photo credits: Cheers, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Flinstones.