What fuels sexual desire? A new study reveals eye-opening findings about our expectations in bed

Nope, orgasms are not the most sought-after result

Men and woman holding hands during sex
(Image credit: Image credit: Getty Images)

Sexual desire is far more complicated than it might seem. Our motivation between the sheets extends beyond orgasms, but what makes us seek out intimacy in the first place? 

According to a new study in the The Journal of Sex Research, Gen Y and Z—particularly those ages 18 to 27—have certain expectations upon a sexual encounter. Although it seems everyone is anxious to hit those pleasure points, there's something that outshines big O. (Believe it!)

Sexual desire and our expectations

Dr. Shari Blumenstock conducted a college campus sample and an online community-based sample of roughly 300 participants each to uncover what fuels the desire for sex. 

Emotional closeness was the strongest predictor for men and women's sexual desire. Expectations for orgasm are not as significant, which is a relief for those who are feeling a bit stressed about sex

However, it's certainly interesting that nearly half the men in both samples expected to orgasm whereas only 4.8% of college women and 23.8% of online women expected to reach peak satisfaction during a romantic encounter.

The takeaway

Talking about sex could be the key for both parties to experience exactly what they're looking for—closeness, intimacy, orgasms and all. 

While it's comforting to know that both sexes are more interested in the connection than the act itself, women should not feel as though they're not entitled to an orgasm. In order to up those statics found in the study, we suggest women should be frank about their needs and embark on some solo exploration. After all, self love is the reason for women's most intense orgasms.  

All in all, we might have plenty of thoughts about the deed, how long should sex last, what we should feel and what the end result should be. However, the most important thing to remember is to do what works well for you and your partner.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.