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Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between) Hardcover – September 29, 2009

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bringing together some of the interesting (and some not so interesting) research on women and sex, the author explain how Brown University researchers found that how someone smells is the single most important factor in a woman's choice of lover; Brazilian researchers discovered that women are aroused by men with whom they are genetically compatible. Collating such findings with their own online survey of 1,000 women of diverse backgrounds, the coauthors, psychology professors at the University of Texas at Austin, also discovered that women are sexually motivated by self-confident partners with a good sense of humor. Some women have sex out of feelings of obligation or revenge, to satisfy their curiosity, gain experience and enhance their self-esteem. Sexual activity can also provide health benefits—to relieve migraines and menstrual cramps, reduce the risk of endometriosis and prevent age-related vaginal atrophy. Although solidly researched, this book often treads familiar terrain and comes to fairly obvious conclusions. such as that women have sex to give or get love or a feeling of emotional connection and to enjoy the sensations of sexual arousal and orgasm. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Occasionally poetic, always candid. The book is filled with insights with which to start conversations.”—Psychology Today
"Why Women Have Sex is an endlessly well informed and irresistibly readable book. The candor of the women’s responses and the authors’ knowledge of all that has been happening in the world of sex research for the past few decades combine to make it the most fascinating and illuminating look at female sexuality since Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Female."—Mary Roach, author of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
"What an excellent book! You will come away from reading Why Women Have Sex with a better understanding of what turns women on or off, the physiology underlying desire and arousal, the likely consequences when sex is undertaken to thwart or titillate a partner, and the complexity of sexual desire. There is not much more one can ask for—to be at once enlightened and entertained by two trustworthy and sympathetic experts."—Sandra R. Leiblum Ph.D., author of Getting the Sex You Want
"Why Women Have Sex is full of fascinating research that will help everyone better understand and appreciate their sexual selves."—Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of The Secret Pleasures of Menopause and The Wisdom of Menopause
"Why Women Have Sex is a captivating tour of what psychology and biology can tell us about women’s sexual motivation. Meston and Buss are first-rate scientists and skilled writers who actually answer the question that everyone was afraid to ask."—Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, and author of Stumbling on Happiness



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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; First Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805088342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805088342
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By James R. Holland VINE VOICE on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This "never-before-reported study of why women have sex was conducted online between June 2006 and April 2009.....The survey began by asking the women if they had ever had sex for one of the 237 reasons we identified in our original study." The study involved 1,006 women from a variety of backgrounds.
"The basic biochemistry of attraction is the number one reason women give for why they have sex." Women unconsciously utilize two types of evolutionary instincts to seek out and find their mates--they are "Genetic benefits" that "are the high-quality genes that can endow a woman's children with a better ability to survive and reproduce." "'Resource benefits,' are the second type that include food, shelter from the hostile forces of nature, and physical protection from aggressive men, help a woman and her children survive and thrive."
This is a fascinating non-fiction book. It's full of information that most readers will never have even imagined. One of the book's first examples of this is "the scent of sexiness." Women's sense of smell enables them to help select their best possible mates by the odor of the males "pheromones." A male's scent enables women to identify good hygiene and clues to the male's immune system and body symmetry and whether mating with them will produce superior offspring.
That's only a tiny sample of the fascinating information supplied by this book. What will surprise many readers is many of the secondary 236 reason's women have sex. This book also seems to prove that sex can greatly relieve stress and also cure many of women's headaches. Surprise, surprise-the fact seems exactly opposite of the public's beliefs.
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55 of 66 people found the following review helpful By C. P. Anderson on October 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love David Buss, who I consider one of the fathers of evolutionary psychology (EP). This, though, is not one of his best. Basically, he gives an EP gloss to what seems to be a Shere-Hite-like survey of sexual behavior.

There was very little that was new here. If you've never been exposed to EP before, you'll love it. If you have, though ... That said, it is a good compilation of all the research on a particular topic. There are some good monographs like this one out there these days - Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior, The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill, etc.

One thing that I did not like at all about this book was the emphasis on research subjects who are college students. Every little blurb seemed to be from a female age 19, 23, 21, 25, 20, etc. Very typical of academic research. It just doesn't fit the subject matter for this one though. There's a lot to learn about sex after college. ;^)
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Best Reads on December 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a virtual roadmap to enhanced intimacy. Finally, a book with all the things my mother should have told me (or told me incorrectly!) with the science behind it. I found it to be fascinatingly informative and at the same time, an enjoyable read owing to the authors' somewhat humorous and unorthodox approach to the topic. It's a book my husband would never buy for himself since he thinks he already knows everything on the subject, and yet, every time I put it down, I later found him "just thumbing through it" so hint: buy two copies if you want one just for yourself. Even though we haven't discussed the book, the subtle, but important changes in our overall relationship have been gratifying to both of us. I would highly recommend this book to every couple, both married and unmarried, and everyone otherwise needing to have an appreciation of feminine sexuality.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Art Noble on April 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book makes two important contributions. First, is the title. Dr Meston does not confuse love and sex, although emotional reasons (love and commitment) ranked high in the original study. Second, a man can identify with many of the same reasons!

With the evolutionary psychology input, the book stays within the procreation/pleasure paradigm, yet includes reasons like, "wanting to get close to God": a small percentage.The Sacred Female

Had this book been written by Dr. Buss alone, I would have given it the same credence I gave Gray's "Men are from Mars": zero. Dr. Meston, perhaps subconsciously, brings a feminine balance and authority beyond the numbers.

It is important to note two things while reading: 1. The original study was conducted using college age students as a base line and 2. The study was expanded to the general public with small response, yet expanding the age range. The book is only as definitive as the population studied and there are many cultural variations in reasoning.

I would strongly recommend this book for women who ask, "Am I the only one who feels this way?" And for men who ask, "What the hell is going on with her?" Whatever your motivation for purchasing this title, you will find the book smooth to read and fascinating!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mirau on February 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Clearly someone's academic research that hasn't been fully rewritten for a popular audience, it's a bit dry and formal, and lacks a certain empathy or connection with the research subjects. But the women's individual stories are great reading; they're amazingly frank about why they did what they did. A wide range of motivation is revealed, underscoring the cultural and emotional complexity of this basic human drive.
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