Unlike most animals (except dolphins), human beings engage in sex for purposes other than procreating the species. Let's examine some of these purposes and motivations that may resonate behind them.
- Release hormone build-up. Not very romantic, eh? During adolescence and young adulthood, our sex hormones are constantly nagging us to have sex, thus resulting in the phenomena we label "horny". This isn't a coincidence as these are the prime reproductive years. Hormone levels decrease with age. People without a viable partner option frequently masturbate to relieve the build-up. The hormones don't know the difference.
- Sex as a weapon. Weapons are designed and built to cause harm. Rape and incest are examples of sex being used as a weapon and causing harm. People who engage in sex for this purpose typically suffer from mental illness that is beyond the scope of this article.
- Sex as addiction. There are people who obsess about sex and act on it compulsively. There is debate as to whether or not sex addiction is a true disease and there is a 12 step recovery program (Sex Addicts Anonymous) to help people who suffer from this condition. The motivation is "more" without regard to consequences or who might get hurt.
- Boredom. One partner says, "I'm bored." The other responds, "Well, what should we do?" First partner says, "We could have sex." Other responds, "Ok." Again, not very romantic, but there you go.
- Ego building. Cheating often lands in this category. Being seen as sexually desirable by someone other than one's partner, can be a huge ego boost. And then after acting on it, the ego becomes further inflated with the excitement of trying not to get caught.
- Obligation. Frequently people in committed relationships will engage in sex when they really don't feel like it, because of a sense of obligation to their partner. This works well for some people and results in resentments for others.
- Fun/pleasure. Exploring different settings, positions or role playing can be intensely pleasurable. People of similar mind sets pleasuring each other can simply be great fun! With as much drudgery as there is in life, pleasure is a powerful balancing motivator.
- Love. Sex as an expression of love is one of the most beautiful experiences life has to offer. Taking off our masks and sharing our sexuality with the person we love is nourishing, healing and profoundly spiritual. People who regularly engage in love-based sex have a glow about them that is highly inspiring.
Sex is an extremely important aspect of our humanness. Our motivations and how we express our sexuality is our choice. Choose wisely.