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237 Reasons Why Women Have Sex

Drugs, money, revenge, because it's fun -- those are just a few of the reasons women have sex, according to a new book that interviewed 1,006 women from around the world.

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Women often mate guard by flaunting healthy sexual relationships. "In a very public display of presumed rivalry," Meston writes, "in 2008 singer and actress Jessica Simpson appeared with her boyfriend, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, wearing a shirt with the tagline Real Girls Eat Meat. Fans interpreted it as a competitive dig at Romo's previous mate, who is a vegetarian."

Meston and Buss also explain why the girls in my class at school went down like dominoes in 1990. One week we were maidens, the following week, we were not. We were, apparently, having sex to see if we liked it, so we could tell other schoolgirls that we had done it and to practise sexual techniques: "As a woman I don't want to be a dead fish," says one female. Another interviewee wanted to practise for her wedding night.

The authors lubricate this with a description of the male genitalia, again food themed. I include it because I am immature. "In Masters & Johnson's [1966] study of over 300 flaccid penises the largest was 5.5 inches long (about the size of a bratwurst sausage); the smallest non-erect penis was 2.25 inches (about the size of a breakfast sausage)."

Ever had sex out of pity and wondered why? "Women," say Meston and Buss, "for the most part, are the ones who give soup to the sick, cookies to the elderly and . . . sex to the forlorn." "Tired, but he wanted it," says one female. Pause for more amazing detail: fat people are more likely to stay in a relationship because no one else wants them.

Women also mate to get the things they think they want – drugs, handbags, jobs, drugs. "The degree to which economics plays out in sexual motivations," Buss says, "surprised me. Not just prostitution. Sex economics plays out even in regular relationships. Women have sex so that the guy would mow the lawn or take out the garbage. You exchange sex for dinner." He quotes some students from the University of Michigan. It is an affluent university, but 9% of students said they had "initiated an attempt to trade sex for some tangible benefit".

Medicinal sex

Then there is sex to feel better. Women use sex to cure their migraines. This is explained by the release of endormorphins during sex – they are a pain reliever. Sex can even help relieve period pains. (Why are periods called periods? Please, someone tell me. Write in.)

Women also have sex because they are raped, coerced or lied to, although we have defences against deception – men will often copulate on the first date, women on the third, so they will know it is love (madness). Some use sex to tell their partner they don't want them any more – by sleeping with somebody else. Some use it to feel desirable; some to get a new car. There are very few things we will not use sex for. As Meston says, "Women can use sex at every stage of the relationship."

And there you have it – most of the reasons why women have sex, although, as Meston says, "There are probably a few more." Probably. Before I read this book I watched women eating men in ignorance. Now, when I look at them, I can hear David Attenborough talking in my head: "The larger female is closing in on her prey. The smaller female has been ostracised by her rival's machinations, and slinks away." The complex human race has been reduced in my mind to a group of little apes, running around, rutting and squeaking.

 
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