Why Women Really Have Sex

New book reveals vast, surprising range of reasons women get between the sheets.

ByABC News
October 13, 2009, 6:49 PM

Oct. 14, 2009 — -- The answer seems simple, not worthy of 306 pages, hardcover binding and prime real estate on bookstore shelves.

But the reasons women have sex -- from pleasure and intimacy to revenge and competition to self-loathing and sheer boredom and beyond -- are as complex as the female sex itself, as the new book "Why Women Have Sex: The Psychology of Sex in Women's Own Voices" reveals in juicy detail.

The book reads like a clinical version of "Sex and the City." Drawing from five years of research and an online survey of 1,000 women, University of Texas psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss splice anonymous first-person anecdotes of women discussing sex with academic musings on how evolution, society and biology all play into female sexual desire.

The result resembles a cocktail-fueled conversation with your best girlfriends and Dr. Ruth Westheimer -- you come away learning things about women you never expected, and maybe understanding a bit more about yourself too.

"We found lots of surprising things," said Meston, director of the University of Texas at Austin's Sexual Psychophysiology Lab. "The overall biggest surprise is the huge diversity of reasons why women said they have sex. We certainly expected more than love, reproduction and because it feels good, but all the different ways women were having sex was incredible."

"A lot of women had sex simply for the adventure, the excitement," she said. "They wanted to try out men of different ethnicities, different penis sizes. And some did not want the emotional attachment. We did not find strong support for that theory at all. Physical gratification was placed much higher."