Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

SexScience: Doping Out Desire

A new study from the University of Texas has discovered 237 reasons why people have sex. This may come as a revelation to the benighted who always thought there was only one major incentive for people who care for each other--because, to paraphrase Willie Sutton about banks and money, that’s where the mutual pleasure is.

Not so. Turn-ons include the desire to burn calories, express gratitude, enhance one’s reputation, get revenge on a rival, keep a partner from straying, cure headaches and “feel closer to God.”

The last may explain another study that finds evangelical teenagers start sex earlier than their mainline Protestant peers, an upsetting conclusion for Michael Gerson, President Bush’s pious former speech writer, who disputes the headline, “Evangelical Girls Are Easy.”

In any case, all this weighing of motives for what used to be called the act of love may produce new ice-breakers at singles bars and even some insight into a generation born long after the widely heralded death of romance.

But men and women who value the closeness that comes with commitment will find the lists, the self-absorption and the statistics—as well as those who compile them--more than a little silly.

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