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According to research by Beth Montemurro, associate professor of sociology at Penn State University, USA, sex is more satisfying for women when they are in love and in a committed relationship.
Between September 2008 to July 2011 she interviewed 95 women aged between 20 and 68 years from a range of social backgrounds about sex and their relationships. The majority of the women were heterosexual and all were involved in heterosexual relationships, although some said that they had had sexual relationships with women in the past.
Many of the women said that love made sex physically more pleasurable. Being in love enhances the physical experience of sex, intensifying feelings of pleasure, arousal and satisfaction. Women who were in love with their sexual partners trusted them, making them less inhibited and more willing to explore their sexuality to find ways to increase both their sexual pleasure.
Of the 95 women interviewed, 50 said that love was not necessary for sex but only 18 believed that love was not necessary in a sexual relationship. It is not known if these women were the younger interviewees in the group and had never been in love as many of the older women indicated that the connection between love, sex and marriage remained throughout their lives, not just during certain eras of their lives.
Even after many years of the women’s rights movement and an increased awareness of women’s sexual desire, the media still portrays sex with love and for society to look down on women who have sex outside of committed relationships. The media sends out conflicting messages by showing that casual sex is OK but then portray women having sex outside relationships in a negative manner. Similarly, marriage is often shown to be largely sexless, even though much research has been done to demonstrate that many married couples have extremely satisfying sex lives compared to younger or single people.
Montemurro concluded that many of the women interviewed seemed to be indicating that you need love in sex and sex in marriage. This sample size was very small and it would be interesting to get the views of a larger group of women, both heterosexual and lesbian, to find out if sexual orientation has any influence on love and sex.
We are all different and some women find sex with the one they love extremely satisfying, whereas other women enjoy the thrill of casual sex and do not need the emotional connection of love to experience great sex.