“Why Humans Have Sex” Article by Meston and Buss

“Why humans have sex” is the article that discusses the reasons people become engaged in sexual relations, including the most frequent and infrequent ones. It is written by professionals in sexual psychophysiology, Cindy Meston and David Buss. The authors claim that the common belief that people have sex only “to reproduce, to experience pleasure, or to relieve sexual tension” is not on the front burner anymore (Meston & Buss, 2007, p. 477).

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Still, even today some professionals, such as Dr. Nye and Mackay, make emphasis on evolution (Dovey, 2015; Mackay, 2001). To prove that such claims are wrong, the authors deepened in several theoretical perspectives and conducted research that consisted of two studies. When focusing on previous studies, the authors found out that in different approaches, the number of reasons people have sexual intercourse alters. Thus, they came up with the decision that scientists tend to underestimate and simplify this issue.

The first study of their research indicated 237 reasons that induce individuals to have sex while the second one was meant to evaluate them. When dealing with the results of their research, Meston and Buss found out that there are four main reasons individuals have sexual intercourse: “physical, goal attainment, emotional, and insecurity” (Meston & Buss, 2007, p. 496). They gather several subfactors, which were formulated by dint of assessment of the variety of simple reasons, such as “I was bored” or “I was attracted to the person” (Meston & Buss, 2007, p. 481). As a result, the authors indicated such subfactors:

The physical reasons subfactors included stress reduction, pleasure, physical desirability, and experience seeking. The goal attainment subfactors included resources, social status, revenge, and utilitarianism. The emotional subfactors included love and commitment and expression. The three insecurity subfactors included self-esteem boost, duty/pressure, and mate guarding (Meston & Buss, 2007, p. 477).

When all reasons were gathered and evaluated, the researchers created several lists to make their findings clear. The authors stated that men and women report diverse drivers for having sexual intercourse. Still, trying to provide the most general data, they created one common top of reasons and then stated the main differences between the opinions. In this way, nine main reasons for having sex were indicated, which proved that everything cannot be summarized to the previously considered three drivers. Thus, Meston and Buss pointed out:

  1. “pure attraction to the other person in general;
  2. experiencing physical pleasure;
  3. expression of love;
  4. having sex because of feeling desired by the other;
  5. having sex to escalate the depth of the relationship;
  6. curiosity or seeking new experiences;
  7. marking a special occasion for celebration;
  8. mere opportunity;
  9. sex just happening due to seemingly uncontrollable circumstances” (2007, p. 480).

Meston and Buss added the questionnaire at the end of the article for the readers to define their reasons for having sex. The range of reasons was rather wide, and it was sometimes difficult for me to evaluate my behavior. I tend to believe that in some cases several reasons may be a cause of one particular sexual intercourse. Even though the result of the questionnaire showed that I had emotional reasons (love and commitment subfactor, in particular), I admit that the answers belonged to other groups also.

I think that people may express their reasons to have sex in so many ways but tend to believe that they should be included in more broad sections, as some reveal similar ideas. In this way, such reasons as “I wanted to get a job” and “I wanted to get a promotion” or “I wanted to show my affection to the person” and “I wanted to express my love for the person” can be combined.

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The research conducted by Meston and Buss discusses the issue that the scientists have been questioning for a long time already, but they believe it to be more complicated and explain their position. The researchers refer to the works that were written by their colleagues in the previous years to prove that each of them considered different approaches and tended to treat the reasons for having sex using a more and more complicated approach.

The fact that Meston and Buss critically analyzed numerous sources before conducting their study proves that their assumptions are well-grounded. For the research not to be biased, the authors referred to a diverse population. They approached “a total of 1,549 undergraduate students (503 men, 1046 women)” to receive as many distinct points of view as possible. Moreover, the participants were of various nationalities and had different religious views. As a result, they got more than 700 reasons from the very beginning that were turned into 237 by adaptation of similar answers.

Their findings are considered to be valid by Noam Shpancer, who closely discusses this study concerning the ideas of a sociologist, Randall Collins (2012). The measures included personal traits and sexual strategies. Such an approach gave the researchers an opportunity to gain the most authoritative data. To show the results of the study, Meston and Buss created several tops that included the most (in)frequent reasons for having sex and the largest gender differences in them.


Dovey, D. (2015). Let’s talk about sex: The evolutionary reason humans have an insatiable sex drive. Web.

Mackay, J. (2001). Why have sex? British Medical Journal, 322(7286), 623.

Meston, C., & Buss, D. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36(4), 477-507.

Shpancer, N. (2012). Why do we have sex? Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, March 27). "Why Humans Have Sex" Article by Meston and Buss. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/why-humans-have-sex-article-by-meston-and-buss/

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""Why Humans Have Sex" Article by Meston and Buss." StudyCorgi, 27 Mar. 2021, studycorgi.com/why-humans-have-sex-article-by-meston-and-buss/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. ""Why Humans Have Sex" Article by Meston and Buss." March 27, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/why-humans-have-sex-article-by-meston-and-buss/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) '"Why Humans Have Sex" Article by Meston and Buss'. 27 March.

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