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Why we have sex

Written by Yetunde Arebi - Nigeria  

Sex, since the history of man or human evolution has gone through several changes, even in terms of definition and form and the individuals engaging in it. Once upon a time, sex was thought to be primarily for reproductive reasons, then for the relief of sexual tension and later, for the sexual pleasure. Right from the explosive documentation of the Kama Sutra, various studies and experiences have been carried out by persons and institutions to unravel the mystery of human sexology and why, besides procreation, sex is important to mortal men and women.

From the researches of Alfred Kinsey who is regarded as the father of sexology in the 40s and 50s to Masters and Johnson's famous researches on orgasms of the 60s and 70s, sex has become a subject of great interest to all.
Now, a research conducted by psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss on why women have sex which is published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, the duo in their new book of the same title, have listed 237 reasons why women have sex with their partners.
Ranging from the mundane desires to experience physical pleasure; to the vengeful intentions of getting back at a cheating partner, the spiritual attempt to get closer to God, or the altruistic gesture of wanting a partner to feel good about themselves, Meston and Buss concluded that the motives for engaging in sexual intercourse may be larger in number than what most people think and psychologically complex in nature too.

Some of the reasons listed are quite glaring and practiced across societies and persons at various times, regardless of their marital status too. In fact, marital sex as well as long term relationships tend to be more complex than those in newer or non-commitment relationships. Just as a married woman may have a legion of reasons for not wanting to have sex, she just might have another gazillion on why she must have sex.

The most important and common reason being "duty sex". Once married, it is assumed that providing sexual pleasure to her partner is a given. She must fulfill her own side of the bargain to keep the union. To some other women, it is the price for the status and benefits. In this case, it has nothing to do with her own sexual pleasures or preference and more about submission, ditto the man. Many women also believe that the more sex they have with their partners, the less chances he is likely to stray.

Women assume that the more sex he gets with them, the less chances he is likely to think about sex outside the box, much less look for it. While good communication channel and a strong sexual connection may have been identified as important keys to a good relationship, hardly has having sex with a partner on demand been known to keep a person from straying into the thighs of another individual. Some women also believe that sex and children are the perfect ways to keep their men.

Women dubiously believe that the more children and responsibility they throw at their husbands, the less likely they are to walk away from them. So, where they have agreed on two children, these women, on their own volition, manipulate or "accidentally" go on to have more children. This hardly works in some cases. You can only keep a man down for as long as he wants to stay down. I intend to write more about this complex situation in subsequent editions. Let's just go through some reasons I found quite interesting in this book which I have practical examples for:

Pity sex: 
Women may sometimes give in to sex for this simple reason, after all, we are women with maternal instincts. Some of the women in the book confessed to have had sex with men just because they felt sorry for them. According to one, she had been dating a guy over two years and he had been pleading with her all through. One day, she said she took pity on him and agreed. However, he was out of the door as soon as he could pull his pants up. A similar scenario happened to one of the young girls I counsel.

She'd been dating the guy for quite some time, and though she'd told him she was no virgin, she'd however decided to go celibate until she was married. The guy had gone on to systematically work on her emotions and soon, broke her down. She said the day she agreed to have sex with him, he had prostrated flat on his stomach, swearing heaven on earth. What kind of desperation is that? However, what happened after the act, almost robbed her of her education as she did not want to return to school.

She said immediately it was over, he jumped up and punched the air with his fist, asking if that was all that she had to offer and that he'd had better lays. He went on to tell her that he had only been acting out a script and never loved her. In fact, he and a couple of guys already placed a bet on her and though she had tried, he had won eventually. To make matters worse, he had ordered her out of his room.

She said she ran away from school and several days was even scared to pick her calls or check the social media as she feared that he had recorded their activities and might post it on the internet. Eventually, he had come to apologise but the damage had already been done. Sex for pity's sake almost always turn out to leave a sour taste in the mouth as you can never be sure of the other person's motives.

Have sex because you want to and not because you feel pressured to, or are sorry for the guy. That way, should things go sour, you can hold your head up, look the a- – in the eye and say "f..k off, you fall me, I fall you, no big deal!" 

Marriage sex: 
This is very different from marital sex. This is simply sex to negotiate for marriage. Some ladies believe that having sex with a guy will provide them the opportunity to show the guys and convince them that they are good and suitable for each other.

To add insult to injury, some of these ladies are prepared to play little housewife roles, they go over to the guy's apartments for chores and even wash their dirty under wears and clothes. Some even cook with their own money to convince the guys that they can support the union financially too. My little sister gave me a gist about one of her friends who played house help for someone she called her fiancé for almost four years, refusing to heed everyone's warning.

As suspected, her generosity and selfless acts did not succeed at the negotiation table as the guy sprung the most unexpected surprise. He married the daughter of his neighbour and co-tenant, the little girl that had been calling his fiancée "aunty" and often came to the apartment to play with her when the guy was not around! My bet is that she had even run errands between the lovers and had benefited from the older lady's generosity too. Eventually, they both betrayed her, her goodness did not help, neither her assumed sexual prowess.

Trade by barter sex: 
Just as the phrase imply, this is when you use what you have to get what you want. The first thing that comes to mind here is prostitution, that age old trade of using the body for financial benefits. The activities of the prostitution ring are a multimillion dollar investment worldwide with tentacles in drugs, violent crimes, human trafficking and many other vices.
Interestingly, the average prostitute in many climes no longer enjoys the liberty of dealing her wares as a one man (sorry, woman) enterprise or sole trader to any interested client today.

To carry on business as usual, she needs protection and this she invests in with the proceeds from her business as well as sex. Again, a drug addict or junkie will exchange sex for drugs naturally and when caught in a tight corner, many women have been known to exchange sex for their freedom.

Negotiation sex: 
If the above seem rather on the dark side, let's bring it down to base. Many things have been written about the power of the female anatomy. I mean, bottom power! Many men, both high and lowly have been known to succumb to the aura of this potent natural endowment. Many women have perfected the art of using their gifts from mother nature to get what they want through intense manipulation and negotiation. Sex is thus used by women to curry favour, to get jobs, promotions, or even maintain status as the case might be.

A friend once told me the trick she uses to get anything she wants from her boyfriend. According to her, he is one of those shy types who can hardly express his thoughts or views on issues, let alone approach women. So, he considers himself very lucky to have found her and perhaps cannot trade the opportunity of the occasional sex for anything. (not yet, at least).

So, for her, most times, She engages in sex to get him to do stuff for her. Her crude method even involves stopping in the middle of the act to get him to agree to her demand. And the poor thing just crumbles like a pack of cards.

Revenge sex: 
This is common with women who have been hurt and who want to get their pound of flesh. Often, a wife might cheat on her cheating husband just to get back at him and probably make him feel the way she felt. It could also be to get back at a partner who has neglected them. Again, she might have sex to reassure herself that she is still pretty and desirable by men after she'd been jilted by one, or to simply walk out of an existing relationship.

Revenge sex may sometimes take a bizarre twist, depending on motive and individual. While working on my book,Youth, Sex and Wellbeing, I spoke with a lady who confessed to having slept with a boyfriend she was no longer interested in and infected him with a STI. According to her, she'd gone to visit on his insistence, thinking that she would seize the opportunity to inform him of her slight indisposition. But to her annoyance, she caught him escorting another girl off.

And though she'd always known she was not his only partner, seeing him that day was just too much and she made up her mind to teach him a lesson. A couple of years back, a National Newspaper published the self confession of a university undergraduate who at the brink of death, afflicted with full blown AIDS, claimed she'd purposely passed on the HIV virus to over 400 men. Her grouse was not with these men but the man who'd given her the virus and she wanted to take her revenge out on the world.

If the men thought she was an easy lay at the time, they definitely would have a change of heart after reading her confession! Cindy Meston and David Buss, aptly summarised the various motives in these words. "Every person brings their own individual history to any sexual situation. The reasons why they are having sex, the way they feel about the sex and the consequences of having sex are all very different across individuals no matter what gender they happen to be". And that includes men too.

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