What does it mean when a civilization engages in extensive research about what makes for good sex? In all likelihood, it means that the civilization is working its way toward decadence.
Which would not be a bad thing, were it not for the fact that if you spend your time seeking pleasure for the sake of pleasure, you are less likely to feel satisfied.
If I have read the national conversation correctly, it seems that people have concluded that sexual satisfaction is enhanced by considerable sexual experience, to say nothing of sexual acrobatics.
This is not a bizarre idea. It makes to sense to say that the more you have done it, the better you are at it, and that the better you are at it, the more satisfying you will find it.
This raises an interesting point, however. Doesn’t this imply that the people who experience the greatest sexual satisfaction are porn stars?
And yet, a recent study has shown that having sex for monetary gain or even for the pure pleasure of it does not provide the most enjoyable sex.
The study from the University of Texas suggests that sex is more satisfying when it is more meaningful. When sex is part of a loving relationship, it is more satisfying. For both sexes.
This implies that the most mind-blowing orgasms are more satisfying when they occur within a relationship between two people who love each other, and are committed to each other.
The original report is here. A news summary is here. Via Instapundit.
A caveat is in order. The study involved mostly white heterosexual college students. None of the couples was married. Therefore, the authors ignore the issue of whether sexual satisfaction is enhanced by a relationship in which conception is, was, or will be part of the equation.
It is probably politically correct to say so, but surely a relationship that will involve or has involved conception would qualify as meaningful.
The politically correct view says that sex is just another form of pleasure. And that all ways of seeking pleasure are created equal.
The study, however, demonstrates that people who have sex because they are going for the pleasure (or the gusto) have less satisfying sex.
This proves that political correctness can damage your sex life.
Anyway, sex for the sake of pleasure is less satisfying than sex in a relationship.
The implications are interesting.
Compared with sex in a committed relationship:
Sex for the sake of getting off, where two people have agreed to use each other for that purpose alone, is less satisfying.
Sex for the sake of acquiring goods or influencing a person is less satisfying.
Sex for the sake of showing off or gaining experience is less satisfying.
And, sex for the sake of increasing self-esteem is also less satisfying.
Basically, this means that when the emotional investment is higher, sexual satisfaction is higher too. The more of yourself you put into a relationship the more satisfaction you are likely to get out of it.
You invest more emotionally in a committed relationship than you do when you are friends with benefits. And the latter involves a greater investment than hooking up. A hookup involves a greater emotional investment than masturbation.
Perhaps this explains why the kinds of sexual activity described in New York Magazine's "Sex Diaries" so often sounds frenetic, and so rarely sounds satisfying.