The desire for sex – just like most everything we do – is driven by underlying motivations. It is these sexual motivations that often determine the kind of sex we want, how frequently we want it and even the level of satisfaction we achieve with each erotic encounter we have with our partner.
Physical pleasure, love or procreation are what most men and women consider to be the primary reasons for engaging in sexual activity but seldom are our motivations so singular or so simple.
According to an extensive study published in the August 2007 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, there seems to be many diverse psychological, social, cultural and even spiritual/religious meanings to our sexual behaviours. When asked to identify their sexual attitudes and experiences, the female and male respondents offered more than two hundred reasons for why they had sex.
Two hundred and thirty-seven to be exact.
Evidently, there are as many different motives to have sex as there are positions and places to have it. And since our reasons are as varied and complex as we are, conflicting motives between partners or even within an individual can generate uncertainty and disharmony within a sexual relationship.
And to complicate things even further, couples often have to contend with the different sexual motivations between genders.
Generally speaking, men tend to prefer sex that is focused primarily on bodily sensations (body-centred). They desire sex because they enjoy how it feels. And while women certainly derive physical pleasure from sex too, they are usually more interested in the relationship benefits that sex can offer such as an emotional connection (person-centred).
However, while most men start out more interested in body-centred sex and woman start out more interested in person-centred sex, it usually changes over time. As they reach their 40s, 50s and 60s, the relationship and greater emotional intimacy become more important to men while body-centred sex becomes a greater focus for women.
So with so much potential for confusion, if we wish to enjoy a long, satisfying sexual relationship with our partner, we need to take an honest look at what truly drives us to want to have sex.
Here then is a list of the most common sexual motivations for both men and women that extend beyond pleasure, being in love or procreation. As you go through the list you will likely notice that more than one motive will apply to you. That is because just as our moods fluctuate, the reasons for wanting sex can change from one encounter to the next.