YSEX? A Replication Study in Different Age Groups

Elia Wyverkens*, Marieke Dewitte, Ellen Deschepper, Joke Corneillie, Lien Van der Bracht, Dina Van Regenmortel, Kim Van Cleempoel, Noortje De Boose, Petra Prinssen, Guy T'Sjoen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: 10 years ago, Meston and Buss (Arch Sex Behav 2007;36:477-507) identified 237 reasons for having sex. Since then, only a few studies have built on the analyses of differences in sexual motivation.

AIM: To replicate the YSEX? in a broader sample of women and men of different ages.

METHODS: Women and men younger than 18 (n = 141), 18 to 22 (n = 1,039), 22 to 55 (n = 2,804), and at least 55 (n = 667) years old completed an online survey about their reasons for engaging in sex during the past year.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The YSEX? inventory was assessed to measure sexual motivation. The taxonomy consists of 4 main factors (physical, goal attainment, emotional, insecurity) and 13 subfactors.

RESULTS: 4,655 participants took part in the survey. The top 5 primary reasons for engaging in sex were identical across age groups and sexes. However, results also showed that the pattern of motivations for sex significantly differed depending on the age and sex of the participant. Older participants reported significantly less physical and utilitarian reasons than younger participants. Young adult men (18-22 years) were particularly motivated to have sex for emotional reasons of love and commitment. Women in this age group engaged more often in sex to express their emotions than older women. Significant sex differences were found, with men preferring physical reasons and women more often expressing emotional and insecurity reasons, except for the group of adolescents.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that most people are driven by the pleasure of sex. With aging, the physical driving force and sexual satisfaction significantly decrease, although sex remains important throughout life. The findings support a biopsychosocial approach to the understanding of people's sexual motivation. Evolutionary differences might explain some of our findings, as might shifting cultural norms. Wyverkens E, Dewitte M, Deschepper E, et al. YSEX? A Replication Study in Different Age Groups. J Sex Med 2018;XX:XXX-XXX.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-501
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of sexual medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Gender
  • Men's Sexual Desire
  • Biopsychosocial
  • Sexual Motivation
  • Generations
  • Age

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