An unparalleled exploration of the mysteries underlying women’s sexuality, from two of America’s leading research psychologists

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

Drawing on their pioneering research on physiological response and evolutionary emotions, as well as an intensive survey of more than a thousand women that was conducted solely for the book, Meston and Buss reveal the motivations that guide women’s sexual decisions. In Why Women Have Sex, women divulge:

• “I seduced someone else just to give myself the confidence that, if I were dumped, I would still be able to find another partner.”

• “I was only seeing him because I was bored, new in town, had not met anyone else… I figured, why not? He enjoyed it and I got a good meal.”

• “It was a dream come true… I was able to lose myself and see God.”

• “Sex is for pleasure; he was a sure thing. It was as simple and as complex as ‘I want you.’”

Using women’s own words, and backed by extensive scientific evidence, the authors delve into the use of sex as a defensive tactic against a mate’s infidelity, as a ploy to boost social status, as a barter for household chores, and even as a cure for a migraine headache. Meston and Buss offer a revelatory examination of the deep-seated psychology and biology that drives women to have sex, sometimes in pursuit of joy, and sometimes for darker, disturbing reasons that a woman may not fully recognize.

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

Cindy M. Meston Ph.D., is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she directs the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory, one of the world’s cutting-edge research labs on women’s sexual experience.

David M. Buss Ph.D., a founder of the field of evolutionary psychology, is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of several acclaimed books, including The Evolution of Desire and The Dangerous Passion.

Meston and Buss’s joint research has been named “the most thorough taxonomy of sexual motivation ever compiled” (The New York Times).

Praise for Why Women Have Sex

“Occasionally poetic, always candid. The book is filled with insight 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 a fascinating 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

“Why Women Have Sex gives a wittily written peek into (other) women’s minds and bedrooms. Not only for the lay audience, it provides a thorough – and at this time also probably the most exhaustive overview – of all the aspects that are to female sexual motivation.”

-– American Psychological Association