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Why Women Have Sex

Why Women Have Sex

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Published by mukesh kaushik
Why Women Have Sex
Why Women Have Sex

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Published by: mukesh kaushik on Feb 20, 2010
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11/28/2012

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Why women have sex
According to a new book, there are 237 reasons why women have sex. And most of themhave little to do with romance or pleasurePerefect symmetry: Brad Pitt and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise. Photograph:Ronald Grant ArchiveDo you want to know why women have sex with men with tiny little feet? I am stroking a book called Why Women Have Sex. It is by Cindy Meston, a clinical psychologist, andDavid Buss, an evolutionary psychologist. It is a very thick, bulging book. I've never really wondered Why Women Have Sex. But after years of not asking the question, theanswer is splayed before me.Meston and Buss have interviewed 1,006 women from all over the world about their sexual motivation, and in doing so they have identified 237 different reasons why womenhave sex. Not 235. Not 236. But 237. And what are they? From the reams of confessions,it emerges that women have sex for physical, emotional and material reasons; to boosttheir self-esteem, to keep their lovers, or because they are raped or coerced. Love? That's just a song. We are among the bad apes now.Why, I ask Meston, have people never really talked about this? Alfred Kinsey, the"father" of sexology, asked 7,985 people about their sexual histories in the 1940s and50s; Masters and Johnson observed people having orgasms for most of the 60s. But theynever asked why. Why?"People just assumed the answer was obvious," Meston says. "To feel good. Nobody hasreally talked about how women can use sex for all sorts of resources." She rattles off alist and as she says it, I realise I knew it all along: "promotion, money, drugs, bartering,
 
for revenge, to get back at a partner who has cheated on them. To make themselves feelgood. To make their partners feel bad." Women, she says, "can use sex at every stage of the relationship, from luring a man into the relationship, to try and keep a man so he isfulfilled and doesn't stray. Duty. Using sex to get rid of him or to make him jealous.""We never ever expected it to be so diverse," she says. "From the altruistic to the borderline evil." Evil? "Wanting to give someone a sexually transmitted infection," sheexplains. I turn to the book. I am slightly afraid of it. Who wants to have their romanticfantasies reduced to evolutional processes?The first question asked is: what thrills women? Or, as the book puts it: "Why do thefaces of Antonio Banderas and George Clooney excite so many women?"We are, apparently, scrabbling around for what biologists call "genetic benefits" and"resource benefits". Genetic benefits are the genes that produce healthy children.Resource benefits are the things that help us protect our healthy children, which is whywomen sometimes like men with big houses. Jane Eyre, I think, can be read as a loveletter to a big house."When a woman is sexually attracted to a man because he smells good, she doesn't knowwhy she is sexually attracted to that man," says Buss. "She doesn't know that he mighthave a MHC gene complex complimentary to hers, or that he smells good because he hassymmetrical features."So Why Women Have Sex is partly a primer for decoding personal ads. Tall, symmetricalface, cartoonish V-shaped body? I have good genes for your brats. Affluent, GSOH – if too fond of acronyms – and kind? I have resource benefits for your brats. I knew thisalready; that is how Bill Clinton got sex, despite his astonishing resemblance to a moving potato. It also explains why Vladimir Putin has become a sex god and poses topless withhis fishing rod.Then I learn why women marry accountants; it's a trade-off. "Clooneyish" men tend to beunfaithful, because men have a different genetic agenda from women – they want toimpregnate lots of healthy women. Meston and Buss call them "risk-taking, womanising'bad boys'". So, women might use sex to bag a less dazzling but more faithful mate. Hewill have fewer genetic benefits but more resource benefits that he will make available, because he will not run away. This explains why women marry accountants. Accountantsstick around – and sometimes they have tiny little feet!And so to the main reason women have sex. The idol of "women do it for love, and menfor joy" lies broken on the rug like a mutilated sex toy: it's orgasm, orgasm, orgasm. "Alot of women in our studies said they just wanted sex for the pure physical pleasure,"Meston says. Meston and Buss garnish this revelation with so much amazing detail that Iam distracted. I can't concentrate. Did you know that the World Health Organisation has aWomen's Orgasm Committee? That "the G-spot" is named after the German physicianErnst Gräfenberg? That there are 26 definitions of orgasm?
 
And so, to the second most important reason why women have sex – love. "Romanticlove," Meston and Buss write, "is the topic of more than 1,000 songs sold on iTunes."And, if people don't have love, terrible things can happen, in literature and life:"Cleopatra poisoned herself with a snake and Ophelia went mad and drowned." Womensay they use sex to express love and to get it, and to try to keep it.
Love: an insurance policy
And what is love? Love is apparently a form of "long-term commitment insurance" thatensures your mate is less likely to leave you, should your legs fall off or your ovaries fallout. Take that, Danielle Steele – you may think you live in 2009 but your genes are stillin the stone age, with only chest hair between you and a bloody death. We also get datawhich confirms that, due to the chemicals your brain produces – dopamine,norepinephrine and phenylethylamine – you are, when you are in love, technically what Ihave always suspected you to be – mad as Stalin.And is the world mad? According to surveys, which Meston and Buss helpfully whip outfrom their inexhaustible box of every survey ever surveyed, 73% of Russian women arein love, and 63% of Japanese women are in love. What percentage of women in northLondon are in love, they know not. But not as many men are in love. Only 61% of Russian men are in love and only 41% of Japanese men are in love. Which means that12% of Russian women and 22% of Japanese women are totally wasting their time.And then there is sex as man-theft. "Sometimes men who are high in mate value are inrelationships or many of them simply pursue a short-term sexual strategy and don't wantcommitment," Buss explains. "There isn't this huge pool of highly desirable men justsitting out there waiting for women." It's true. So how do we liberate desirable men fromother women? We "mate poach". And how do we do that? We "compete to embody whatmen want" – high heels to show off our pelvises, lip-gloss to make men think aboutvaginas, and we see off our rivals with slander. We spread gossip – "She's easy!" –  because that makes the slandered woman less inviting to men as a long-term partner. Shemay get short-term genetic benefits but she can sing all night for the resource benefits,like a cat sitting out in the rain. Then – then! – the gossiper mates with the man herself.We also use sex to "mate guard". I love this phrase. It is so evocative an image – I can seea man in a cage, and a woman with a spear and a bottle of baby oil. Women regularlyhave sex with their mates to stop them seeking it elsewhere. Mate guarding is closelyrelated to "a sense of duty", a popular reason for sex, best expressed by the Meston andBuss interviewee who says: "Most of the time I just lie there and make lists in my head. Igrunt once in a while so he knows I'm awake, and then I tell him how great it was whenit's over. We are happily married."Women often mate guard by flaunting healthy sexual relationships. "In a very publicdisplay of presumed rivalry," Meston writes, "in 2008 singer and actress Jessica Simpsonappeared with her boyfriend, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, wearing a shirtwith the tagline Real Girls Eat Meat. Fans interpreted it as a competitive dig at Romo's previous mate, who is a vegetarian."

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