Wednesday, November 10, 2010

News Roundup: How to Have the Most Satisfying Sex (Hint: Don't Do It for Money)

Gawker recently posted on what seems like the biggest waste of tax dollars ever commissioned--apparently some people in Texas (and by “people” we mean University of Texas at Austin) studied “college-aged” men and women to figure out what made for the most satisfying sex.

First of all, let’s talk about how satisfying the sex lives of college students are. This is the period in life when most people lose their virginities, engage in drunken hookups, and spend a lot of time trying to impress their peers and partners with their sexual prowess.

So they’re drunk newbies who don’t want to admit that they don’t know what they’re doing. Couldn’t we, perhaps, survey 30-somethings, who’ve probably figured a few more things out?

We’d argue that very few women have satisfying sex lives at this point in their lives, mostly because they’re still getting over 18 years of upbringing that taught them that female sexuality was icky. They’re too shy to ask for what they want, some don’t’ even know what they want, and a large majority have probably never had an orgasm.

But, OK, here’s the list of dos and don’ts Gawker compiled.


-have sex for love and commitment. This probably showed up on the list because, as we mentioned before, so many college kids are having one-night stands or hookup buddies with whom it’s hard to achieve the level of trust and comfort required to really figure out the mechanics of sex (penetration aside). It’s probably less that these people are finding sexual satisfaction in love and commitment and more that they’re comfortable having sex with people they love and are committed to. When you have a boyfriend, you can talk about what is and isn’t working for you, and you can create a sexual to-do list. But when you bring a guy home from a bar and you’re convinced that the only way to get him to stick around is to be the best he’s ever had, you’re probably not going to get a lot out of it.

 -have sex to "express something to [your] partner, like gratitude or apology."
Apparently women were more satisfied when they used sex as a way to say “thank you” or “I’m sorry.” We would love someone to explain this study to us in terms of the scientific method, but if we had to guess, we’d say, again, you’re more likely to be thanking or apologizing to someone you know pretty well. So it’s less about getting in fights to have better make-up sex and more about finding a relationship, which usually involves arguments and presents.


-have sex to raise your self-esteem. This is actually probably the only interesting/relevant point this study makes. College women in particular seem to use sex as a method of validation (or, yes, a quick-and-easy self-esteem boost). After all, if someone has sex with you (or even makes out with you), that means you’re doing something right, right?

Actually, no. Men (and women) have sex for a variety of reasons that include things like being horny and taking too many shots of tequila. So if a guy’s having sex with you, it doesn’t even mean that he likes you, but, more importantly, sex is one of the worst forms of validation out there.

If you’re having sex for self-esteem, it’s no wonder you feel unsatisfied, because after you have sex, you’re not magically a more confident, out-going person who loves herself and is totally comfortable in her own skin.

Sex is pretty good at delivering physical pleasure and babies, and that’s it. So if you’re trying to use to for something else, it’s not going to work, and you’re just asking for disappointment.

-have sex "to get goods, favors or other resources." What college kids are having sex for money?? Or a boost on their chem exams? Apparently a lot has changed since we universitied, but we’re not surprised that literally whoring yourself out might not make your toes curl. But when you’re having sex to get something, sexual satisfaction probably isn’t your top priority.

-have sex "to have a new and exciting experience." This one is kind of surprising, and, we’re calling it, kind of bullshit. Neither Gawker nor the original article provide any specifics on this, and our question is, who’s having sex to have a new experience?

If you’re having sex for the sake of having sex, you’re probably losing your virginity, and research that suggests that the first time is rarely the best time isn’t exactly groundbreaking.

Or maybe you’re trying keeping a to-do list. Maybe you’ve always wanted to have sex with a rock star, or a European, or a redhead. Again, it’s not surprising that the pay-off is rarely as good as the build-up.

But what people looking to experiment with role-playing or having sex in an unusual location are also after a new and exciting experience, and a lot of them like the thrill that they get from pretending to be someone else or taking sex outside of the bedroom.

So if any of this research is “news” to you, maybe you need to go back and read our archives. 


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  2. First of all, great analysis of a ridiculous study. However, I have to point out that I can't be the only woman out there who does feel pretty awesome and confident after sex if it's a one-night stand or a boy toy fling. I'm in my late twenties and have had my share of these experiences and haven't regretted it yet. While on what may seem as the troubled path to find "Mr. Right" why can't us women have fun along the way? As long as you know what you're getting into, and don't expect that sex will magically make this random person fall in love with you, what is wrong with knowing that both of you are using each other for a night of fun? If you're safe about it and stay realistic, what's wrong with feeling good and enjoying it?

  3. Nice post!

    Here's a question for you: I just started dating a guy who's significantly taller than me. What do you think are the best sex positions and/or sex positions that should be avoided with large height differences?