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Summary

An unparalleled exploration of the mysteries underlying women's sexuality that rivals the culture-shifting Kinsey Report, from two of America's leading research psychologists.

Do women have sex simply to reproduce or display their affection? When University of Texas at Austin clinical psychologist Cindy M. Meston and evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss joined forces to investigate the underlying sexual motivations of women, what they found astonished them.

Through the voices of real women, Meston and Buss reveal the motivations that guide women's sexual decisions and explain the deep-seated psychology and biology that often unwittingly drive women's desires - sometimes in pursuit of health or pleasure, or sometimes for darker, disturbing reasons that a woman may not fully recognize. Drawing on more than a thousand intensive interviews conducted solely for the book, as well as their pioneering research on physiological response and evolutionary emotions, Why Women Have Sex uncovers an amazingly complex and nuanced portrait of female sexuality. They delve into the use of sex as a defensive tactic against a mate's infidelity (protection), as a ploy to boost self-confidence (status), as a barter for gifts or household chores (resource acquisition), or as a cure for a migraine headache (medication).

Why Women Have Sex stands as the richest and deepest psychological understanding of female sexuality yet achieved and promises to inform every woman's (and her partner's) awareness of her relationship to sex and her sexuality.

©2009 Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss (P)2012 Audible Ltd

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Trivial but entertaining

David Buss's masterwork, 'The Evolution of Desire' remains one of the books that has most improved not just my understanding of the world, but, quite literally the fabric of my life (being married these 25 years, and trying to understand and sympathise with my significant (macho, pig-headed) other). So, when I noticed this, it was natural to download it and revisit the subject. But whereas the first book starts out with a limpidly clear premise (that woman have larger eggs, and suffer nine months of gestation) to produce startlingly apposite and relevant implications for human mating strategies, this book simply reports the results of extensive and intimate surveys with women. It has two main weaknesses - firstly its logic is often weak: it seems to take correlation for causality, take anecdote for fact and take women's 'reasons' at face value - and secondly it is repetitive. Throughout it reports a finding e.g. 'women sometimes use sex to take revenge', and then backs this up with a banal quote restating the finding, as in 'Woman, 25, mostly heterosexual : Once I had sex with my boyfriend's best friend just to get back at him for cheating on me.' In this way the book bulks up to about twice the length it needs to be.

Still, as a listen-once audiobook it is entertaining to hear what all these woman have been up to.

Narration. American woman - very appropriate, professional, clear and expressive.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Curiosity led me to this book

And the balance fearless honesty of the research participants populating the narrative made me finish it! I have shared it with a female friend and will quote the research in therapy sessions and pastoral training. Highly recommended for any one involved in pastoral work , counselling or those who are seeking to answer the age old enigma of trying to understand women!!

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Excellent

Essential reading for those interested in understanding human sexuality. I found the narration distracting however as the actress attempted to act the words rather than narrate them.

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  • Lisa
  • London, W6 7JP
  • 30-07-13

Informative

What did you like most about Why Women Have Sex?

I liked the fact that it delved into the scientific areas of why women have sex. Its not just about the physical.

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Profile Image for Dubito Ergo Sum
  • Dubito Ergo Sum
  • 28-04-16

Pulling Back The Curtain On Sexual Motivations

What other book might you compare Why Women Have Sex to and why?

Sex at Dawn, where the authors try to expand our concept of female sexuality, but they get the science embarrassingly wrong. Where the writers of Sex at Dawn make the usual mistakes and misunderstandings that come with public misconceptions with evolutionary theory, Meston and Buss get the science right, and back it up with data.

Which scene was your favorite?

Couldn't pick just one, but my favorites were the moments of insight I gained when they hit on the circumstances of my past relationships. I could see many of my past girlfriends described or explained across several motivations they cover. The girlfriend that obsessed over other women and the threat they posed to her, the non-girlfriend that cheated on her husband with me, and the girl that cheated on her previous boyfriend with a celebrity. It's also nice to know I what I did right while pursuing the woman who is now my wife.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes but my bluetooth ran out of juice.

Any additional comments?

I only have two criticisms of the book, the authors rely heavily on self report, questionnaires given to women, and while they get the evolutionary psychology right, it may not be accessible to the layman. Self-reporting is notorious for failing to track the underlying causes of behavior, and really amounts to "How Women Rationilze/Justify Sex" rather than why they really do it. The authors clearly compensate for this by augmenting the data with other studies, independent evaluations and evolutionary psychology, however the distinction between the underlying evolutionary logic and the actual personal logic of the individual woman is not always clear. This can make the book misleading for someone unfamiliar with evolution.

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Profile Image for EugeneKr
  • EugeneKr
  • 08-07-13

Should be called "Why women THINK they have sex"

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The name of David Buss lured me into buying this book. Unfortunately it seems to be composed mainly by Cindy Meston.

Although first part was interesting - based on what characteristics women choose sex partners the rest is outright boring, full of fluffy words, long romantic descriptions.

I was not buying a chick flick!

Besides, whole idea of research - asking women why they had sex seems flawed to me as women tend to lie about reasons (often unconsciously). Their replies are based on context, upbringing, even time of the month!

I would rather see experiments where actual women sexual desire was measured without having to ask them.

Also, very little is described in terms of evolutionary psychology. It seems that name of David Buss is just used to push this on the market.

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Profile Image for Niz
  • Niz
  • 05-03-13

Interesting Read

If you could sum up Why Women Have Sex in three words, what would they be?

Educational, Interesting, Captivating

What other book might you compare Why Women Have Sex to and why?

None

What does Renee Raudman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator allowed me to pay attention to different parts that I may have read through quickly.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I do not have the attention span to listen to any book in one sitting if I intend to gain anything from the book.