If you look up the word “sex” in the dictionary, most often it is used as a noun to describe the gender of a particular person.

It can be used as an adjective to describe someone as “sexy” referring to a certain appeal or attractive quality that the individual has.

Sometimes it is used in conjunction with other words to show an act of ‘sexing someone up,’ or ‘having sex with someone,’ but as a verb it is almost impossible to break down to a definition which will make sense to everyone.

While some associate it with love making, others view it as something dirty or shameful, while still others see it as a simple necessity to procreate and continue the cycle of life.

Three little letters create a word so powerful that it is almost indescribable, and yet there are still times when it is forbidden by society and seen as something taboo.

Sex, everybody does it, or everybody should as or at least that’s what George Michael argues, but if that is the case, then why is it so hard to describe what sex actually is.

Two (or more) bodies coming together with passion and ecstasy, tension and release, lust and love which can all amount to a single act or trigger a life long bond. Why do we have sex?

Seems like such a simple question, but most people would be surprised about all the reasons behind “doing the deed.”

In fact, a recent study from psychology researchers David Buss and Cindy Meston from the University of Texas uncovered 237 motivations ranging from attraction to revenge as the motives for sexual encounters.

Their study, which will appears in the August issue of Archives of Sexual Behaviour, is just the beginning of an ongoing mission to discover just why people are having sex.

There was once an episode of TV show Designing Women where Delta Burke, playing the naive southern debutante Suzanne Sugarbaker, explained that sex was just a gross act that took place between people to perpetuate the species.

“I mean if you think about it, the whole thing just seems silly.”

If the answer were that simple, then it would not explain the billions of people, both gay and straight, who have sex and do not create new life.

Scientists have been evaluating the question for years, suggesting that asexual reproduction, which involves female organisms cloning themselves, would be much simpler than the act of sexual reproduction.

But since there is sexual reproduction, there has to be a reason for sex in the first place.

Twenty years ago the “mutational deterministic hypothesis,” was created, which suggested that reproductive sex was created to weed out harmful gene mutations that would cause serious negative effects to a population.

There was also a study which suggested that environmental conditions caused genes to mutate and that homosexuals were created as a necessary way for the population to protect itself by preserving the environment and decreasing overpopulation.

Since homosexuals are by nature non-reproductive, there were seen as a next evolution to protect the human race from over-using resources.

Of course the theories haven’t been proven, but that still doesn’t answer the question of why sex is so desirable and prevalent when not linked to reproduction.

While it would be no surprise that attraction and hormones are among the most popular reasons that males engage in sex, the University of Texas study also suggested that attraction was also the number one reason that females participated in the act.

Researchers also created a list of four major factors that were linked to the desire to have sex.

The first category included physical reasons like to help with stress reduction, to feel pleasure, to satisfy curiosity, and the physical attractiveness of their partners.

The second category included goal-based reasons like reproductive reasons, social status and revenge.

Emotional reasons like love and commitment expression of gratitude were, also a factor that participants relayed as reasons behind sexual encounters.

Finally, insecurity-based reasons based on duty and pressure or to help self-esteem, rounded out the four major groups that reasons were broken down into.

“I was driven to do this study because of all the different reasons I hear women give for having sex, but I never expected this richness of answers,” Meston said about her reason behind creating the study.

“Motivation for sex is not as straightforward as people think.”

Answers ranged from having sex to establish power, to a longing to be degraded, to feel pleasure, to make people jealous, to avoid conflict, to relieve menstrual cramps, to cure boredom, to feel closer to God, to express love, even the desire to give others a sexual transmitted disease was sited as a reasoning behind the act.

“Why people have sex is extremely important, but rarely studied,” Buss said explained in the study.

“People have different reasons for having sex, some of which are rather complex.”

Who knows the real reason behind the evolution of sex or can pinpoint an exact definition of it.

The way people view sex is as individual as people themselves, and to limit the definition would be to deprive someone of one of life’s experiences.

Dylan Vox 2007 GaySports.com; All Rights Reserved.