Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivation from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)” as Want to Read:
Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivation from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivation from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  654 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Why do women have sex? Is it purely for pleasure or the desire to reproduce?

In their ground-breaking book, clinical psychologist Cindy Meston and evolutionary psychologist David Buss investigate the underlying sexual desires of women and identify 237 distinct motivations for sex. Drawing on more than a thousand intensive interviews conducted solely for the book, as well as
Paperback, 306 pages
Published 2010 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Why Women Have Sex, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Why Women Have Sex

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sexuality
Apparently two of my coworkers were wondering why I was reading this book. Why would you wonder that? Human sexuality is a fascinating subject, touching on biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, culture, history, religion, ethics, and several other disciplines that I am no doubt forgetting. So, of course I'd read this book.

First off, the title is apt. The core of the book is a survey of 1,006 women who shared their own sexual experiences. Quotes from these responses, giving the ages and o
Петър Стойков
Сред феминистите има две големи групи, разделени идейно по въпроса за проституцията. Едните твърдят, че проституцията е следствие от патриархалното подтискане на жените от страна на мъжете и че жените стават проститутки само ако са принудени по някакъв начин – физически или икономически и че нито една свободна жена не би проституирала, следователно проституцията е неморална и е акт на експлоатация. Другите смятат, че в свят, в който жената притежава собственото си тяло, какво ще прави с него е и ...more
Chris Webber
Having just read Bonk, it was hard not to compare the two books. Why Women Have Sex is loaded with some very interesting statistics and I appreciated getting something less anecdote and trivia, although the informational data appeared to be less focused or within a general thesis. A lot of the book drives back to the core evolutionary advantages for a woman to have sex and it was interesting to see the bottom line exposed in such a way. The writers had an effective way of dressing down the sex e ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
I have read many bad books about sex and manage to say something good about them, but not this one. This book found its way into my book shelf after I heard it mentioned in several professional lectures. It interprets the views of women in an online survey using evolutional psychology. The views are from a single point of time in the lives of these women, many of whom are barely in their teens, without contextual information. The interpretation is not evidence based and comparisons are loosely m ...more
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Turns out, there are 237 reasons to read this book.
I wanted to like this book more. It's a good book. I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't learn anything new. So....... I guess I already knew why women have sex? haha.
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My wife checked this out from the library. I started reading it and found it interesting enough to complete. Much of the more interesting claims seemed a little flimsy on the evidence. In addition, biases in all the social sciences are difficult to overcome, and the section on ethnic differences made me cringe because of its political correctness. They conveniently avoided controversy by not stating what everyone with even a modicum of understanding about the subject already knows based on a boa ...more
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a book that you can afford to ignore by my opinion. It is different from many books sharing the subject in having a scientific (evolutionary and physiology) methodology by a well know author citing his lab's many experiments in the book.

Using personal anecdotes and quotes by many women about the subject made it more alive to me. I finished the book in just two days and I love to read the book (listen to audiobook) again.

The only downside to the book is too much confidence in association s
Joe Robles
Good book with some great insights into women's sexual motivations. I'm not a fan of the style of study they did for this book, which is to use self-reports and interviews. I think people have a tendency to rationalize actions they take when they don't fully understand them. But I will say that Meston and Buss do a fairly good job of pairing the interviews they conducted with women to studies that show a similar result, which gives statistical credence to the self-report. I'll be honest, I'm jus ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sex-therapy
Read it for a sex therapy group. A member of Meston's research team came and talked to us... Why Women Have Sex a big research paper on a huge survey. Like most sex research, they utilized a sample of convience--young 18-22 year old white girls. This book does not give an adequate view of women's need/desires. It felt like reading an undergraduate psychology primer. Not very insightful. The authors would say that it was written to help people make better mating choices, but this book fails to de ...more
While this book gave a lot of insight into the scientific side of motivations for sex, I think the authors overestimate the role of biology and picking mates for evolutionary advantage. One part I especially liked, though, was the huge amount of unedited anecdotes from real women. Interesting book, not really my jam.
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was quite young when this study came out...but like most pre-pubescent girls I was on my way to figuring out everything about my body, for all the answers I wouldn't get or couldn't get from my old fashioned Italian Mother, I would read instead in my usual no non-scene know how.
William S
shud of bin subtytled "in the hoap that maybe won day, they will be lukky enuff to hav a rawmp in the sheets with parsell"
Arash Narchi
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sex, 2017
Great overview of the many variables the lead women to engage in sex. From a biological, psychological and modern cultural lens.

My only feedback is I wish they had better data that represented cultures outside the western world. Some of the results may have varied due to religious and social norms and it would have been interesting to see.
Yelania Nightwalker
Este es un libro de divulgación y por ende, no puedo decir si es bueno o es malo. Pero sí puedo mencionar que ¡me ha encantado!

Seguramente, entre mujeres, a veces nos hemos preguntado ¿qué te gusta de él? ¿Qué le ves a ese hombre si está feo?

Bien, pues en este libro, los autores nos explican de manera muy coloquial, sin tanta parafernalia ni palabras complicadas de entender, a qué se debe que una mujer se sienta o no atraída por un chico. Que si el olfato, que si los genes, que si tiene que si l
Zbyszek Sokolowski
"Why women have sex" is a pretty interesting book which describes different aspects of women sexual life and motivation. The description takes a few approaches to explain behaviors. Interesting sentence from book that we are product of countless generation of women and their choices. Woman chooses man with several indicators, like gene compatibility which they can asses with smell. Then different men qualities, like height, voice tone, more or less masculine body build. The more guy looks like a ...more
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even I'm a female myself, I usually doubt my knowledge about women (I'm not heterosexual.) Therefore, this book is quite an eye-opener. I regret I didn't read this book 4 years ago (it would have saved me from doing silly things that are against nature of girls/women.) Now I don't need to feel jealous at why girls/women likes handsome/muscular boys/men anymore. I'm also tolerant of men's desires towards women. In general, because almost our daily choices are being made under our consciousness.

May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
I found this book very interesting. Having a particular preference for behavioral and biologic science, I enjoyed the coupling of science and emotion in the female sexual response. I found the stories to be engaging, well articulated, and pertinent. As a Master's in Nursing Education student, nearing graduation, I found the referencing and most of the studies to be concise, plausible, and well documented.

The reader of the audio book was easy to listen to, however I did find her attempts as crea
Mugizi Rwebangira
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this four stars simply for the fact of daring to address something that I am sure a lot of people are interested in but there isn't really a lot of popular books on.

The title might lead you to think this is some self help manual or pick-up guide, but it's actually a pretty dry and academic treatise. Nevertheless, you could still learn a lot that you might apply in your personal life.

A couple of quick takeaways:

(1) Women's motives for having sex are relatively complex and varied, including
Jonathan Yu
I enjoyed reading this book. However I would probably note to you - future reader - ahead of time that much of the information here is anecdotal. The core of this book is a large questionnaire that has been administered to thousands of women. It also uses a wide variety of disciplines from evolutionary theory to social theory to interpret the data.

If you are interested in also learning about why men have sex, this book is not going to be too helpful. This book focuses almost exclusively on wome
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
Who could resist that title? An odd mix of the fascinating & revealing and the mind-numbingly obvious. Evolutionary psychology is a discipline with brutally harsh lessons for those of us men who aren't tall, handsome, rich or famous - (or on the womens' side, those who aren't pretty, of breeding age, with child-bearing hips and good judgment of mens' character) but those are truths we all intuitively understand at some level anyway, and at least it makes a kind of sense of them. And there ar ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was written in a compelling way. I liked the quotes from the women in the study. I feel like they're doing important work and am definitely interested in the subject, I just felt like there was nothing really new here. Sure, maybe science has never looked into why women have sex, but as a woman who has sex, there was nothing in this book that was really a shock. I've pretty much had sex for like 90% of these reasons myself. Not much of a revelation. I would have preferred there be more ...more
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly insightful and interesting read. Study of female sexuality conducted jointly by one sexual psychologist and one evolutionary psychologist. It wasn't as engaging as I'd hoped for (after listening to a KPCC radio interview with the authors). A little too light for my tastes. But I enjoyed reading about possible evolutionary explanations for women's "mating behavior". The authors quote the words of women who participated in an extensive scientific survey. Reading this may help women better u ...more
Donald Powell
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology
Documents how women use sex as a currency. Women need to be empowered so they can overcome the destructive effects their own sexuality imposes. Our culture and "evolutionary" influences regarding sexuality are so negative and divisive! The book starts with the proposition women like sex for the natural/biological benefits but mostly documents the dysfunction of it all. Was hoping as serious students of female sexuality the authors would emphasize the hamster cage dilemma created by prevailing se ...more
Ashley Storey
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating approach to women's sexuality. The evolutionary psychology of the book, along with the research and actual studies completed in the Meston lab make for quite the salacious read. I found myself grinning like a giddy school girl pretty often. And then at times, I felt like I needed to be taking notes.

Do yourself a favor and get this book. It is not limited to the female audience. It is very informative and thought-provoking.
Veselin Nikolov
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Добро четиво, разкрива разни неща свързани със сексуалността в детайли - десетки причини за секс, от любов през борба за ресурси до насилие. За съжаление не е предназначено за читанки като мен - под една или друга форма всичко изписано съм го чел вече някъде.

Интересни са десетките интервюта на жени.

Най-доброто четиво по темата досега, на което съм попадал, е Трактата за любовта на Анатолий Протопопов.
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always been interested in motivations around relationships and sexuality and this book really, and the study behind it, really did a fantastic job of digging into the depth and breadth of women's choices in sexuality and relationships. A fascinating read that trashes stereotypes and reinforces some well known truths it was made all the better because, as an audible book, the narrator's quotes from dozens and dozens of women who participated in the study made it entertaining at times.
Lawrence Kurniawan
This is anything but a stereotyping book (e.g. "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" -- absolutely horrible book btw. You just can't and shouldn't generalise the entire human population into two groups based on their genitals). Grounded in facts and research data, also fully referenced, I learned a great deal more about what could potentially drive women (and men) to have sex. What truly surprised me was how much evolution played an important role in this.
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sexology-anthro
I wasn't exactly "in the mood" (pun intended) to read another sexology book when I picked this one up, but I needed something worthy of Book #69 for the year. So there.

This one didn't disappoint. A fascinating research project using over a thousand anonymous women's contributions to and opinions on a variety of topics and situations with the intent of answering the book's ultimate question: Why?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy is as Necessary as Love and Sex
  • Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction
  • A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire
  • What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety
  • The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction
  • Men In Love
  • Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles
  • Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women
  • Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women
  • Psychopathia Sexualis: A Medico-Legal Study
  • Generation S.L.U.T.: A Brutal Feel-up Session with Today's Sex-Crazed Adolescent Populace
  • The Poison That Fascinates
  • The Deviant's Pocket Guide to the Outlandish Sexual Desires Barely Contained in Your Subconscious
  • Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads, and Cashing in on Internet Sexploration
  • The Black Diamond (Black Diamond, #2)
  • Streamline
  • Somewhere in Between (1Night Stand, #35)
  • Stealing Kevin's Heart

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Skin: Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
“WHY WOMEN HAVE sex is an extraordinarily important but surprisingly little-studied topic. One reason for its neglect is that scientists and everyone else have assumed that the answers are already obvious—to experience pleasure, to express love, or—at the very heart of the biological drive to have sex—to reproduce.” 0 likes
“These motives ranged from the mundane (“I was bored”) to the spiritual (“I wanted to get closer to God”), from altruistic (“I wanted my man to feel good about himself”) to vengeful (“I wanted to punish my husband for cheating on me”). Some women have sex to feel powerful, others to debase themselves. Some want to impress their friends; others want to harm their enemies (“I wanted to break up a rival’s relationship by having sex with her boyfriend”). Some express romantic love (“I wanted to become one with another person”); others express disturbing hate (“I wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease”). But none of these reasons conveyed the “why” that hid behind each motive.” 0 likes
More quotes…