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Why We Do “It”

Larry lost his house in the Fourmile fire. Everything was gone—art, clothes, and furniture. Everything expect for Rebecca. Rebecca and Larry have been married for 33 years and have three kids and five grandkids. They feel blessed to have the most important thing to them—their family and each other.

Larry and Rebecca evacuated to a friend’s house in Denver. That night they made love. That evening, sex signified comfort, connection, and reassurance. It was the best sex Larry has experienced in over 20 years. For him, sex always means closeness and showing love to Rebecca. For Rebecca, however, sex oftentimes feels like a sense of duty. She wants to give him a gift and knows that sex feels good to him. But Rebecca doesn’t define sex in the same manner as Larry.

Sex means different things to all of us, and thus, we all have various motives for engaging in it. A study in Sexuality & Culture found 237 reasons people stated for having sex. The classic top three include procreation, pleasure, and to show love to a partner.

The study illuminates the concept of body-centered sex versus person-centered sex. Body-centered sex accentuates having sex for corporal pleasure while lacking an emotional backdrop. Person-centered sex emphasizes the relationship and the emotional connection with a partner. Regarding gender differences, body-centered sex is found to be manifested more by men, while person-centered sex is more common with women. It’s like the old adage: women fall in love with people; men fall in love with genitals.

The redemption in this overstated stereotype is that as we age, the relationship becomes more important to men, while women learn to fully accept physical pleasures of the body. Sex therapist David Schnarch similarly points out that during adolescence and young adulthood we may hit our genital prime where hormones are in the driver seat. Yet in later adulthood, we awaken to our sexual prime whereupon we assign more meaning to sex.

David, 30 years old, notes that he is initially drawn to have sex based on a visceral attraction for another. Yet when that attraction settles in deeper, sex becomes love making.

On the other hand, Shanna Katz, Resident Sexuality Educator at Fascinations, is deeply connected to her bodily pleasure.  Others have sex because they like being naked with someone else, or for the connection and to remind a spouse that he is adored.

Scientist Jared Diamond, and author of “Why Sex is Fun,” explains that human beings are the only species having regular sex for reasons beyond procreation. We have sex with various partners irrelevant of breeding, whether with the opposite gender, same gender, or alone. We have sex although we have no idea when we are ovulating. We have sex although we have stopped ovulating (menopause).  At the end of the day, as Jared Diamond says, sex is fun.

Have a Sexy Shabbos!

Note: Meet Dr. Jenni in person at Ignite Chanukah on December 2. Visit IgniteChanukah.com for info and tickets!

About Dr. Jenni Skyler

Jenni Skyler, PhD, MSEd is a sex therapist and board certified sexologist. She is the Director of The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy in Boulder, Colorado. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Sexology and a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology - Marriage and Family Therapy track. She has worked in the field of sexual health as a therapist, educator, and public health consultant since 2005. In addition, Jenni is a PAIRS® certified instructor and hosts workshops and retreats to help couples emotionally enrich their relationships.

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