Study: males likely to prize commitment, love with sex

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Men are more likely than women to be satisfied from sex motivated by a relationship based on love and commitment, according to a study by UT psychology researchers.

The study, released Oct. 22 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior journal, found women who have sex to increase love or commitment in a relationship are less likely to be satisfied.

Headed by psychology graduate student Kyle Stephenson, the study analyzed the correlation between sexual motives and satisfaction. The research involved a 30-question survey administered to 93 college-aged males and 451 females, asking them to evaluate their motivations in sexual situations.

Stephenson said some of the results surprised him, such as the fact that pleasure was not a motive associated with men’s sexual satisfaction. Pleasure was associated with sexual satisfaction in women, according to the study.

“The point was that even after counting for all these other factors, there are other subjective factors that may be important,” Stephenson said.

He said the next step is to analyze reasons for the different responses in men and women, such as why some factors have a stronger effect on one sex.

While love and commitment were stronger factors for men, they were positive motivation for women also. Both sexes had less positive experiences when having sex to gain self-esteem or favors.

Astronomy graduate student Rodolfo Santana said he had similar experiences in real life, comparing the sex he had in committed relationships to one-night stands.

“With a one-night stand, I don’t have any feelings for her,” Santana said. “Sex is a really emotional process, and it’s weird to be that intimate with someone I don’t know that well.”

Women also had a wider range of motives than men to have sex — from love and commitment to self-esteem and pleasure. The study found that men primarily had sex based on motivations of love and commitment as well as self-esteem or favors.

Adjunct assistant psychology professor and sex expert Nancy Daley said this is because of the relatively recent sexual revolution for women.

“At different ages, people are experiencing different aspects of their sexuality,” Daley said. “For women, it’s not like it was before, where they could just have sex with their husband. Now women are believing they have a right to explore their sexuality outside of that.”