CHAPTER 5: WHAT IS SEX?
Sex is either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures. -Merriam Webster.
Sex is also a term used to describe the action of reproduction in species regardless of gender, but the technical word for sex actions is Sexual Intercourse. The most common type of sexual intercourse is heterosexual Intercourse, also known as the act of penetration of the vagina by a penis.
Interesting Fact: Intercourse by itself is defined as physical sexual contact between individuals that involves the genitalia of at least one person (Merriam Webster) and doesn’t require penetration of a male’s member into the female. This is where most sexual acts get categorized when there is no goal for reproduction.
Types of Sex
There are many different types of sex and sexual activities. While the most generally accepted is heterosexual sex (male and female sex), the others are also quite common in today's world even if they are not as talked about openly. The following list is a few of the most common types of sex:
- Vaginal Sex: commonly referred to as heterosexual sex, is the act of a penis entering the vagina.
- Anal Sex: The stimulation or penetration of the anus by another person.
Interesting Fact: While many people believe there are only a few different positions for sex, there are in fact over hundreds of different positions. A commonly used reference for these positions is the Kama Sutra an Ancient Indian Text originally written about love, but later new versions focused more on the physical acts of sex instead.
- Oral Sex: The stimulation of sexual organs by use of another person’s mouth or tongue.
- Sex Toys: The act of using an object on sexual organs to produce climax in sexual response.
- Penetrative Sex: When something goes inside someone else’s body, this includes objects, genitalia, and other body parts entering another’s body.
Interesting Fact: according to statistics educated white women are more likely to engage in anal sex than any other group.(Karmak.org)
Sex is not only Penetrative into another’s body, it can be divided into acts which involve one person, also called autoeroticism (the sexual gratification obtained solely through stimulation by oneself of one's own body.), two or more people having sex or mutual masturbation, or if there are more than two participants in the sex act it may be referred to as group sex.
Sexual activity is slightly different than sex because it can be classified into sexual orientations, relationships, and genders of the participants. A quick look at how they categorize sexual activity is listed below:
Sexual activity can be regarded in terms of cultural as conventional or alternative. Where a sexual activity in one culture may be regarded as conventional, in a separate culture that same activity could be considered alternative. This is seen regularly in places with different ages of consent for sex. Besides cultural differences, sexual activity can be categorized as fetishism, paraphilia, or BDSM activities. For more information on fetishes, BDSM and kinks please visit– Chapter 12: Kinks & Fetishes.
Finally sexual activity has different levels of consent. If all parties agree to the sexual activity it is regarded as consensual. However, in the event where one or more does not consent it becomes regarded as sexual assault or rape, and different laws can criminalize the aggressor. For more information of Sexual Assault or Sexual Rape please visit the following chapter– Chapter 13: Sexual Harassment, Assault, & Rape.
Who is Having Sex?
In many cultures sex is a less talked about or even taboo subject. However, in the U.S.A area a few studies have been published showing the results of who is having sex. The information below is from the Kinsey Institute, but for a more worldwide perspective the GuttMacher Institute also has some studies on sex and sexual matters.
According to the Kinsey Institute studies statistics for:
Age & Sexual Activity
- The first intercourse for males average was 16.8yrs old and for females it was 17.2yrs old.
- 28% of Americans over age 45 report they had sexual intercourse once a week or more in the last six months, and 40% report having intercourse at least once a month.
- More than one in five Americans over age 45 (22%) say they engage in self-stimulation at least once a week.
- Among ages 18-59, the older aged men associate a lower likelihood of their own orgasm; but for women it is associated with a higher likelihood of her own orgasm.
- 56% of american women and 66% of men report using a condom use for their first sex experience. 72% of females and 78% of male teenagers 15-19 years reported using a condom during their first sex experience.
- 28.1% of men reported that they had lost their erection while putting on a condom at least once during the last three times they used a condoms. Men who reported erection loss with condoms were almost twice as likely to report having removed a condom prematurely during the last three condom uses.
- About 85% of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64% of women who report having had an orgasm at their most recent sexual event.
- Men are more likely to orgasm when sex includes vaginal intercourse; women are more likely to orgasm when they engage in a variety of sex acts and when oral sex or vaginal intercourse is included.
- Women are much more likely to be nearly always or always orgasmic when alone than with a partner. However, among women currently in a partnered relationship, 62% say they are very satisfied with the frequency/consistency of orgasm.
- It is possible to experience both genital and non-genital orgasm, even for some individuals with spinal cord injuries. (Functional MRI of the brain during orgasm in women, 2005).
Interesting Fact: Some penguins engage in prostitution, researchers have repeatedly observed female penguins exchanging sexual favors with male penguins that aren’t their mates in exchange for pebbles they will use to build nests for their babies (BBC news).
- An estimated 3.5% of adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
- .5-1% of the United States population is estimated to be asexual (no attraction to anyone)
- In an analysis of national survey results from 2006-2008, the percentage reporting their sexual identity as homosexual ranged from 2–4% of males, and about 1–2% of females.
- In a survey of adolescent (10-17 y/o) internet users found 42% had been exposed to internet pornography in the past year, with 66% of those exposures reported as unwanted.
- In a national study, 14% of people reported having used a sexually explicit website. Additionally, 25% of men reported visiting a pornographic site in the previous 30 days; and 4% of women reported visiting pornographic sites in the same timeframe.
For more statistical information on sexuality, sex, or love please visit the Kinsey Institute or GuttMacher Institute. They are both dedicated to providing data in a well-balanced format for most cultures.