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    New Survey Claims to Have Answers to What Women Want From Sex Lives

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    They also found some interesting but quite controversial differences when they analyzed survey responses along racial lines. They found that sexual response was the most important predictor for sexual well-being among all black women in the survey, but it was only seventh among all white respondents. "The black women were more likely to report feeling positive about their own sexuality. The white women attached considerable importance to 'feeling emotionally close' to their partner; the black women felt that 'feeling comfortable talking about sex" was more important to their sexual happiness," says Bancroft in a written statement.

    Although the racial differences should be interpreted with caution, Bancroft says, they "are consistent with the idea that women's sexuality is substantially shaped by socio-cultural factors, and that white and black women in the United States have experienced different socio-cultural histories."

    That conclusion drew a few sharp notes of criticism from Bancroft's audience, however. One physician cautioned "that one has to be careful that the study isn't overinterpreted to come up with racist conclusions." Another physician pointed out that because the survey asked women only about their experiences over the previous month, the survey represented only "a snapshot of sexual experiences," whereas over time, relationships come and go, ardor waxes and wanes, and women's moods, sexual needs, and energies change as well.

    Bancroft acknowledges that whatever their race, there is a great deal of variability from one woman to the next in the factors that they consider to be important to their sexual happiness. He says that the researchers will continue to analyze the data they have gathered thus far to see if it is possible to further categorize women based on their sexual well-being, regardless of race. "For example," he says in a written statement, "we'll be interested to see how those women who do attach great importance to experiencing orgasm differ from those who don't."

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