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Sex and self-esteem

For some people, sex boosts self-esteem.

Improving self-esteem is just one of 237 reasons people have sex, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. 

To determine this, researchers asked almost 450 people between the ages of 17 and 52 to list the reasons they, or someone they knew, had had sex in the past.  The researchers narrowed the reasons down to 237. 

They then asked over 1,500 undergraduate students to look at the reasons and indicate how frequently each reason applied to them.

Some of the most common reasons involved attraction, physical pleasure, love, and affection.  But other reasons noted higher social status and enhanced reputation as sexual motivations.  Other respondents said, “The person made me feel sexy” and

The person really desired me.”

The study was published in the August 2007 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Improved self-esteem isn’t an automatic benefit of sex, however.  It helps to have good self-esteem to begin with. 

Sex therapist and marriage and family therapist Gina Ogden, PhD told WebMD, "One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves.  Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it."