Not long ago, I was talking to a single friend about her recent conquest.'To be honest, I only slept with him out of politeness,' she admitted.I was not surprised - as women's labyrinthine reasons for having sex go, that's pretty basic, stock-in-trade stuff.Perhaps men will find that a little shocking, depressing even. Indeed, they wouldn't if we hadn't all been fed a Utopian myth that men and women have sex purely because they're crazed with lust for each other - or, in a long-term partnership, because they still adore each other.Any woman past the age of 16 knows what idealistic nonsense this is - and finally, there's research to prove it.
(It's striking that there's no mention of 'Because I was drunk', yet millions of men would testify to the fact that their chances sky rocket when a woman has had a few glasses of wine.) Given a choice, girls prefer tall men with symmetrical features and deep voices - which suggests the female sex drive is, above all, evolutionary, because they believe such men will provide them with healthy children.But once we've realised he's lacking in other areas or the passion has ebbed away, the reasons to have sex become far more mundane, or even acquisitive, such as 'So he'll take the rubbish out' or 'Because he took me for a meal'.The key finding of the book is that men are, on some level, physically attracted to most women, yet women are left sexually cold by most men.In this light, feminism's eagerness to persuade women to have sex only when we experience knee-trembling desire seems naive.Endless books and articles have been written extolling our right to enjoy earth-shaking orgasms amid a whirring Rolodex of thrilling positions.But they overlook the elephant in the room - long-term, a woman's sex drive is rarely equal to a man's.On the whole, we are not instantly aroused by a glimpse of Calvin Klein waistband.We seldom engage in heated fantasies over semi-naked strangers.Pornographic magazines for women have invariably failed, because we don't respond visually or instantly to crass sexual stimuli.Instead, female sexual response is as intricate as a weaver bird's nest - a complex interlacing of disparate feelings, needs and promises.Initial physical attraction may be driven by simple hormones - but later in a relationship, the primary sexual mover for many women is a desire for emotional connection.