CHAPTER 5: WHAT IS SEX?


Defining 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.
In bed with symbols for sex types

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:

Interesting Fact: according to statistics educated white women are more likely to engage in anal sex than any other group.(Karmak.org)
Lips background with gender symbols intertwined

Sexual Activities

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:

Different nations flags on a map

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.

Bed on a globe

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:

Sexual Behavior
Age & Sexual Activity
Condom Use
Masturbation
Orgasm
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).
Sexual Orientation
Pornography

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.