Women Want Emotionally Connected Sex. Why?

105464-103886Women want emotionally connected sex.

Not all women, all the time.

But University of Texas psychologists, Cindy Meston and David Buss interviewed over 1,000 women around the world for their book, Why Women Have Sex, and here’s what they found:

Both women and men have sex because they are physically attracted, for pleasure, because they are in love, or just because they’re horny… the list goes on. But most women want emotionally bonded sex.

Men prefer emotionally bonded sex, too, by the way. But women are less likely to want it any other way.


Men need to spread their seed, but women don’t?

Conventional wisdom looks to evolutionary psychology which says that women are genetically driven to be more monogamous so that fathers will stick around and provide resources, helping children to survive.

So women pass up casual sex with “whomever” in favor of connected sex that provides those good-for-baby resources.

Yet not all women are terribly monogamous. And women who belong to tightly-knit, interdependent tribal groups often have sex with many men, often outside their marriages or partnerships. In these places the entire tribe raises children so paternity is unimportant and women’s sexuality is not guarded. These cultures produce women who are highly orgasmic and who greatly enjoy sex.

But when these societies are destroyed (as with the Cherokee and Iroquois) women’s sexuality can turn around quick.

Avoid punishment; gain reward

Today sexually interested and active American woman are still slut-shamed. And since women are objectified, they often become focused on how they look (whether good or bad) instead of enjoying anything erotic.

But women are less punished in some circumstances. They are often taught that “sex is okay if you love him.” So in the arms of someone she loves she’s freed from worries over slut-shaming.

And if she is with someone who loves her, she’s less likely to worry over how she looks.

And if she has difficulty achieving orgasm, she can still revel in her man’s love-filled attentions.

And here’s one more reason why both women and men usually prefer bonded sex. Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University, observes that,

Having deep relationship with someone can be really magical and people all over the world experience that… (it) can really change someone’s life.

Of course, women have varieties of social experiences and personalities, so despite the culture, some will certainly be up for trysts with anonymous others.

But for many, sex-for-fun may not be so fun.

I’m on vacation, this is a rerun.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 6, 2017, in relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post, I agree that women pick to have emotionally connected sex. Women want to feel loved and connected to their partners, not just a one night stand where the connection was only physical. Well for some women, not all because there are women that don’t want the emotional connection and that is fine there is no reason to judge or shame someone for the choices that they make with their own body. I do believe that in today’s society it has become hard to find a real connection, because hook ups seem to be normalized.

  2. I think it depends on what life stage you are in and I also think that in my generation there is slut shaming for both men and women. We use terms like “fu$K boy” and “man whore” all of the time. Guys are shamed online as much as girls these days. Birth control has totally leveled the playing field in terms of choosing to have multiple partners or not. I agree that monogamy is some sort of preferred social and genetic goal during the mid part of life when child rearing is important and even more so in old age when a partner is more valuable than just for sex. With all of the changes in gender and sexuality mindset, there is no longer any way to simply define pleasure and satisfaction down gender lines with women being more touchy feely than men. People want satisfying relationships most of the time. In my opinion, some people with emotional or sexual issues choose to connect on shorter terms with more partners, but that doesn’t make them weird.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I agree completely with the fact that women want emotionally connected sex. Sex is better when there is not only a physically attraction but something deeper. It also gives the sexual act meaning so women don’t feel like it was pointless or unjustified. Women are judged and labeled as sluts if we have sex openly without meaning. I think that has a lot to do with the reason why women have a preference in emotionally connected sex. Our society has put out an image of what an ideal woman should be like and that includes being monogamous. Growing up, I knew that I have always wanted to be an mother. In my cultural upbringing, having too many sexual partners degrades you as a mother and a woman. Bringing brought up this way really affected my sexual life. I am now a mother of two and I can say that I have never ventured far when it comes to my sex life.

  4. After reading about this article i understand why women would want emotionally connected sex. In my opinion women want to feel loved and not just like an object thats why they look for something more. This also helps out the relationship by not just being physically attached but motional attached. This helps gain a special kind of bond with your partner. It helps gain confidence and trust. I learned that this can help the relationship grow and can have a better understanding about your partner.

  5. In my opinion, women want an emotional connection in order to feel as though they are fulfilling a purpose during intimacy. An emotional connection can also been seen as a justification for an act, rather, making it appear meaningful and less lustful. An emotional connection with someone for some people signifies that one took out their time to bond with someone or be found by someone who they magically connect with. It appears as though most people like the magic in a connection, because that is what defines it as great chemistry. I view an emotional connection to simply trying to have a more meaningful experience and finding happiness in the long run.

    • You may be onto something. Because women’s sexuality is more punished and repressed it takes more to get them interested and they’re more likely to want it in a situation that is socially acceptable, Like love.

      That said, there must be something else that’s alluring about emotional connection because three quarters of both women and men prefer it.

  6. Women Want Emotionally Connected Sex. Why?

    As I read the title, all I could think of was a conversation I had with my cousins yesterday. I come from Ethiopia and I learned quickly that my peers who grew up in urban areas in particular have increasingly normalized cheating. As young adults from Ethiopia I always imagined that everyone stuck to the status quo. We are a highly religious, proud, traditional society. Yet this made me question the image I was brought up to believe.

    No, we still were the same but it took form in a different manner than the usual ‘women keep your legs closed until we find you a suitor’. My cousins and I listed two reasons why cheating became so common and why don’t people stay single.

    1. If a young woman is single and exercises her freedom to sex with multiple people she is slut-shamed. Since her business becomes exposed far easier than if she were cheating. In that case, everyone keeps it hush hush and she may never be seen as a “slut”. For men in our country, it’s, as you would assume. It doesn’t matter if they are with multiple women when single.
    2. A relationship means regular sex. It means you learn about each others comfort zone and points of pressure, perhaps more effort because you care about one another’s pleasure rather than say a one night stand. Both sexes want emotionally connected sex. It means more.

    These comments are strictly addressing the 20-30 year old range that live in urban Ethiopia. In much of my country, which is rural, early-marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), and arrange marriages are still prevalent. Until I read “women who belong to tightly-knit, interdependent tribal groups often have sex with many men, often outside their marriages”, I almost forgot that other non-westernized communities have different perspectives of women’s sexuality. If not embarrassed that I would think it was universally accepted that women had to be monogamist in developing countries, particularly. I then read the stories of Muria women of India and the Tuareg tribe of the Sahara in amazement.

    Although western society does teach, “sex is okay if you love him” there is still the idea of ‘the right suitor’ being required for women to express themselves sexually. Punished for simply getting pleasure from men who aren’t her partners relates to being thought of as “pure” and that you’re worthy of a partner. With extreme measures such as FGM used to ensure this. In this case, sex-for-fun truly is not fun.

  7. I really enjoyed this post, and I think that it can be attributed to a few main reasons.
    First off, I was pulled in by your use of an opening statistic to grab the attention of the audience. You also used a statistic from a very credible source so that helps with drawing in an audience.
    Next, I liked that you examined other cultures in addition to modern America like the Cherokee and Iroquois tribes.
    In addition, I loved that you did not shy away from examining slut-shaming and all the different aspects that it brings with it. By examining these different aspects I think us as readers can pull a lot more insight out of your piece, in addition to being able to better understand how to avoid double standards and slut-shaming.
    Saving the best for last; I am a huge fan of the way you concluded your piece with a short, meaningful piece of poetry. It really left me wanting to read more.

  8. I believe that this blog makes many valid points. The idea that the reason that many women are more likely to want emotionally connected sex because we are taught that we should love someone before we participate in sexual acts which in turn gives way to why we are taught to make sure that we love a man before we sleep with him and that is slut shaming. I think that women are placed in a difficult position. We are taught to be independent, learn who we are, and be confident within ourselves but I do believe that experiencing different relationships and even having on than more sexual partner in one life time are also ways to know what we are looking for in what may be the ultimate destination for many, which is marriage/life long partner. I don’t believe that I we refrain from having non- emotional sex to keep a man to provide for the seeds he sowed but I think we do not do so to actually get a man because we have bee conditioned that no man wants a woman who has slept with multiple partners.

  9. I thought this article was interesting topic because we are often taught in society how women grow more emotionally attached then men. One part of this post I felt was significant was that men too enjoy more emotionally connected sex, because we rarely here about men’s relationship with sex other than how they have more sexual freedom or a much less attachment in the act. The idea that men should not have emotions or attachment regarding sex is what encourages female objectification in our society.

    I thought it was interesting to learn about women who belong to certain tribal groups often have more polygamous sexual partners due to a group effort in raising the children. This shows how are actions are greatly shaped by the environment, even when we often times say they are due to biological standards. In our changing times, women’s role in the workplace is growing significantly, and yet still face major societal pressure to be the primary caregiver of their children, thus limiting and guarding women’s sexuality.

  10. I thought this was an interesting topic, it brought up a couple of points that I had not considered before.
    As a woman I feel that what the author does have to say is pretty true in regards to, “But women are less punished in some circumstances. They are often taught that “sex is okay if you love him.” So in the arms of someone she loves she’s freed from worries over slut-shaming”, I feel that in the society we live in that a woman can engage in sexual activities with her one partner as much as she would like without being slut shamed as she might if she had lots of sex with multiple partners. It is all a big part of the way society views sex and the mindsets we have, because as stated in other religions, races, countries it is often normal for a woman to have multiple partners. I feel that the way we think today is very outdated and always favoring the male side of things.
    Thead are my thoughts in response to this interesting topic.

  11. I totally agree with your post. Some women do like to feel a connection when having sexual intercourse with their partner. In my opinion, I would a million times prefer to emotionally bond during sexual intercourse rather than having a one night stand. When there is a connection things are much more better and like you say on the blog women worry less about how they look. It is true because a women would feel more comfortable with herself around someone who she trusts. So when a women is with someone she trusts she is more likely to be free and not worry about how she looks or being judged by what she is doing because she would be in a safe place. Sex for fun may be fun for a while but ultimately that is not a goal of the women or at least that is not my goal. I would prefer to find someone whom I can trust and emotionally bond with rather than sleeping with different men all the time just for the pleasure. I would rather be comfortable and eventually take further steps in that relationship to make it better and stronger. This was a great blog! At first I thought it was just me feeling these types of emotions but it feels nice to know I am not the only one looking to have an emotional bond with someone else when it comes to sexual intercourse.

    • You are far from alone. While current college culture celebrates hookup culture it turns out that not many people actually enjoy it. Only 11% of those surveyed liked it. And three quarters of both women and men prefer emotionally connected sex!

  12. After reading the above article I could understand why women would enjoy and also prefer emotionally connected sex. I do believe it makes sex better, speaking from my own experience. With us women I also believe we are more mental during sex as well. I am a single mother of one 6 year old boy and I am currently looking too persue a relationship. Getting to know someone and having that emotional connection is very important to me. So it does make total sense that we as women prefer this over just freely laying down with anyone. We have that instinct to choose a provider. I can agree that the “slut shaming” really needs to stop. In other parts of the world if a women had multiple men it was not an issue. So i dont really recall where this “title” came from and how it was excepted into out society.

    • Yeah, I don’t think that women necessarily have an instinct to choose a provider because for most of human history Women and men have contributed equally economically. Our earliest ancestors had women gathering and men hunting, and gathering provided most of the nutrition. But when women’s sexuality is repressed they need more to be interested. And we don’t sexualize/fetishize the male body either, so that sort of visual turn on is less accessible to us, too.

  13. Yet not all women are terribly monogamous. And women who belong to tightly-knit, interdependent tribal groups often have sex with many men, often outside their marriages or partnerships.”

    Yeah but it would seem women still have security and emotional connection to the men. In a tight knit tribe like that. Most likely all or most of the women know most or all of the men pretty well and closely. It may be due to women being smaller thus needing to be in a position to feel safer, that she needs to have promiscuous sex with other men, Like women need this circumstance with small communities that are close, which there arent’t many. Whereas, straight men or gay men don’t need that and want to be and can be promiscuous and desire it regardless of the situation and emotional connection or security. It might be because of men being bigger, but I’d think gay men would not be promiscuous or would be careful too because they are dealing with other men. And another man can rape another man and there size differences amonst men where a big man can over power a small man and sexually assault him. So I think a small gay man could be vulnerable with another man, especially a big guy like women can be vulnerable with men.

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