What Is Sex?

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If you are an adult, asking a question like "What is sex?" may seem silly. There seems to be an unspoken sexual assumption that only kids have sex questions, and by the time you're an adult you know everything you need to know about sex. If you think you're the only one with basic questions, let me tell you that you are not. All of us have questions and challenges when it comes to sex and sexuality. And after speaking and corresponding with thousands of people over the years I’ve come to believe that many of our problems about sex are actually problems of definition. As such every search for information, tips and techniques, or answers to sexual problems can benefit from taking a moment to make sure we know what we’re talking about when we talk about sex.

Definitions of Sex

Dictionary definitions of sex tend to be less literary, offering several definitions including:

  1. Sex is a way of distinguishing male and female members of a species, usually by referencing their reproductive functions.
  2. Sex refers to coitus or intercourse, an act that can result in reproduction.
  3. Sex refers to the genitals.

The answer you get to the question “what is sex” depends largely on who you ask. A doctor might tell you that sex is defined by hormones in your body; a therapist might say that sex is all in your head; a guru may tell you that sex is about getting closer to God. Given such broad definitions, it can be helpful to narrow your focus and figure out what aspect of sex you want to learn more about.

Learn more:

  • Sex Definitions and Glossary
  • Before You Explore: Ideas on Starting a Sexual Exploration
  • Famous Quotes about Sex and Sexuality

Statistics about Sex

Learn more:

  • Where to Find Statistics about Sexual Behaviors
  • How Often Do People Have Sex?
  • Statistics on Teen Sexual Behavior
  • Anal Sex Statistics
  • Average Number of Sexual Partners

Sex Is Our Body

Learn more:

  • Sexual Anatomy and Response
  • Sex How Tos and Sex Tips
  • Sex Beyond Intercourse

Sex Is Our Mind

Learn more:

  • All About Sexual Fantasy
  • Sex and Shame
  • Body Image and Sexuality
  • How to Talk about Sex
  • What Makes a Great Lover?

Sex Is Our Spirit

Learn more:

  • Spiritual Sex

Sex Is Our Health

"...a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled."

Most people think of sexual health as being only about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. But the truth is that sexual health includes both the avoidance of negative outcomes as well as the support for positive outcomes, like feeling good and feeling pleasure.

Learn more:

  • Explore Your Sexual Health
  • Sex Education and Finding Sexual Help