Teens concerned about impregnation through clothes

Teens concerned about impregnation through clothes

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Dry Humping, is:

dry humping is the process of two people repeatedly moving up and down and back and forth on top of each other fully clothed( or missing various pieces, but the penis must not come in contact with the vagina with out some sort of fabric separating them ex: boxers,panties, or even sheets!!)

We all know that the basic rule for impregnation is that the sperm must come in contact with the egg, and even be able to fertilize it. While sperm can get through clothes, semen (but this is yet been proven or disproved) gets stuck, thus the sperm dies.

What is your opinion about this? If two people are on top of each other, fully clothed, and the male comes to ejaculation, is there any chance that pregnancy can happen, in the realistic and biological look at it (and not some probability or statistical way)? What advice should be given to teens on the matter?

I am a computer scientist with no biology knowledge, and am very interested in getting the opinion of biologists.

But since I know that the stackexchange community likes to see work done before asking questions, I did my own research (I am used to googling code and algorithms): Very few research has been done on the subject. There is one shining research that concluded, as I recall, that:

If the underwear is completely saturated with semen, and is in direct contact with the woman's vagina, pregnancy is possible statistically, but highly unlikely.

If there has been an ejaculation by the male, and semen is present, there is a chance of getting pregnant. Period. Teens really need to know that.

I think you may have your terms confused - semen is the overall fluid released during an ejaculation, sperm are the cells with tails that are produced in the testes and fertilize the egg. At any rate, according to the WHO, a normal sperm count is over 15 million per milliliter, with some counts much higher (>50e6/ml ), and an average between 20 and 40 million. The volume of the ejeculate tends to be anywhere from 1-6 ml. If you take a healthy young male at the peak of his reproductive capabilities, this equates to a very large number of sperm being released during a sexual encounter. All it takes is for one to reach an egg and fertilize it. Sperm are very very small, much smaller than the pore size of average fabric, so clothing will do very little to stop them. The female is likely sexually aroused during this activity as well, and produces additional fluids and lubricants that promote the survival and motility of sperm, among other things.

So, it depends on many factors. If both parties are fully clothed (at least 4 layers of clothing between their respective reproductive organs) and there is a minumum of soaking through, the chances of pregnancy are correspondingly quite low. On the other hand, if only one partner is wearing just their underwear, it's essentially like there is no clothing present at all, and the relative chances go up significantly.

Safe sex practices can't be emphasized enough to young people, as education and awareness is so much better than ignorance and myths. Even aside from pregnancy, if condoms are not utilized properly to contain all the semen there is the chance of sexually-transmitted diseases, ranging from herpes and gonorrhea to AIDS. None of these require penetration to be passed along, and one might argue that the additional presence of potentially irritating fabrics could open up raw areas or cuts and enhance their transmittal.

Take home message

Now, all this being said, the chances of impregnation through clothing without direct penetration of the penis into the vagina is quite low compared to "typical" unprotected fully-penetrating intercourse, especially depending on where the female is in her fertility cycle. According to this study, a woman's most fertile day is two days before ovulation (as had been postulated before), and the chances of pregnancy on that day are about 25% (assuming penetrating intercourse). Overall, the chance of pregnancy throughout the month is about 5%.

I don't have any hard numbers on the pregnancy chances when one or both partners have at least some clothing on, as obviously it will vary greatly depending on who is wearing what, the volume of ejaculate, contact time after ejaculation, etc. Just for fun, let's assume it's 100 times lower. That means the chances of impregnation two days pre-ovulation would be 0.25%, or 1 in 400. While rather low, this is still a non-zero chance.

Condoms are about 98% effective if used properly during penetrative vaginal intercourse. Various other birth control methods such as contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, implants and injections are quoted as being 99% effective on their own, although they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. I'm certainly not one for preaching abstinence, but done properly it should be 100% effective. Ultimately, it is up to both partners to decide what their risk tolerances are, together. It is much better to seriously talk about it beforehand than to be panicked and unsure afterwards.

Hopefully this addresses your concerns, please leave comments if you have additional questions.

It is effectively impossible to get pregnant by dry-humping because the conditions that would have to be met for sperm to pass through multiple layers of clothes, survive on skin, find the vaginal opening, survive in the vaginal environment and finally impregnate an egg are simply unrealistic.

The barrier of clothing that we can assume present during 'dry humping' is significant. Semen begins to die as soon as it begins to dry out and any clothes you're wearing are likely to draw water away from the sperm cells through adhesion of water to the fabric. One layer is absolutely not "like there is no clothing present at all".

Assuming some sperm cells made it through all that and onto skin, their motion isn't directed towards the vaginal opening, so a sizable fraction will be literally lost at that step. Skin is also a toxic environment on its own, so these improbable sperm have a very limited time to find their way.

That last battle buddy team of sperm has very little chance of surviving the vaginal environment. A lot of sperm need to enter the vaginal environment together to ensure that just a few survive.

As far as dry humping is concerned, there's no realistic reason to worry about pregnancy.

7 Ways Narcissists Retaliate Through Children

Divorcing a narcissist doesnt solve everything. While the day-to-day distance can elevate the stress, anxiety, depression, and frustration of living with a narcissist, it doesnt stop them from being narcissistic. The next party on the victimization list is often the children. But really, the narcissist is just using the children to attack the ex-spouse (ES). Heres how:

  1. Projection Ex-Narcissists (EN, this is not to say that the narcissist is no longer an ex, merely that they are an ex-spouse as well) tells children that it is really the ES who is the narcissist. Any negative narcissistic traits are projected onto the ES, while the positive traits are preserved. For instance, an EN will claim the ES has no empathy and doesnt understand what the children are feeling. However, the house they have is because of the ENs achievements, not the joint effort of the prior marriage. It doesnt matter what the truth is to the narcissist, it only matters how they can twist the truth to look superior.
  2. Unnecessary Generosity When a narcissist can be recognized or admired for their generosity, they can be very lavish with gifting. This is usually done at random times so as to draw even greater amounts of attention. The recipient children, in turn, feed the ENs ego with gratitude and feel a sense of obligation to be on the ENs side. However, once the devotion has dried up, the EN becomes angry and sometimes takes the gift back. The EN will say, The child never thanked me, even when they did. This statement is said to elicit more praise, adoration, and keep the child committed to the EN.
  3. Excessive Discipline On the opposite extreme of generosity is disproportionate discipline for minor infractions. The oscillating tactics of extravagant generosity versus excessive discipline keep the child on edge. While the generosity inspires devotion (pulling the child in closer), the discipline sparks fear (pushing the child away). This mental abuse tactic is called push-pull. No doubt, this aggravates the ES who experienced and now despises witnessing it through the children. The EN knows this bothers the ES but does it anyway to maintain control of both the children and the ES.
  4. Dream Stealer If the ES expressed a wish to take a European vacation, the EN will make it happen with the children and probably the new spouse. The EN will claim that the dream was theirs but it wasnt. This tactic is done to show off to the ES. It also serves as a reminder that had they stayed, they too could be going on the trip. Of course, the ES wont deny their children such a trip so they are forced to concede and let the children go. Any complaining by the ES comes off as sour grapes and only makes the EN look better. This is a checkmate maneuver.
  5. Gaslighting A favorite line of the EN is, That never happened, your mother/father (the ES) is making that up, they are crazy. Without the filter of the ES present, the EN literally rewrites history and uses the push-pull tactic to cement the revision. When the ES protests the alteration, the EN blames the child for exaggerating. The confused child feels stuck between both parents, unsure which one to believe. This is a precursor to future anxiety issues in the child.
  6. Silent Treatment Most ENs are talented in utilizing the silent treatment to get what they want by withholding love or affection. In a divorce situation, this tactic changes slightly. Now the EN will demand the ES contact them when the child is away from the EN. However, the EN will not do the same thing in return. When confronted, the EN makes excuses, blames the children, and deflects responsibility. Then the EN states the ES is just being demanding, controlling, manipulative, and overbearing. This silence is a constant reminder and fear that the ES has little to no control when the children are with the EN.
  7. Wrongful Punishment When the EN becomes angry with the ES, the EN unjustly punishes the undeserving and unprotected children. This attack is so blatant that the ES and the children easily recognize it. But since the ES is out of reach of the EN, the EN goes after the closest target, the children. The children know they are being punished for the ESs behavior. Sadly instead of becoming angry with the EN, the children become resentful of the ES for the lack of protection. This further alienates the ES from their kids.

Recognizing these seven ways can help an ES regain some amount of control over the situation. Better yet, having a therapist point out these methods to the children can prevent years of unnecessary anxiety.


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Sensible sun exposure has numerous benefits besides vitamin D, a lot of them listed by Marc Sorenson, above. Even a cursory survey of scientific papers shows these benefits.

Vitamin D has been produced by animals almost since they first evolved – there are almost no natural sources of D in natural food, except for livers of some fish, seals, polar bears, etc. In edible plants, D sources are limited mainly to sun-exposed live mushrooms.

So people cannot get the necessary levels of D through their foods unless the foods are supplemented, like in milk, or through nutritional supplements. From an evolutionary biology standpoint (I’m a biologist), doesn’t this seem suspicious?

As Marc stated above, there are many other benefits to sensible sun exposure besides just vitamin D: for example lower blood pressure due to increased nitric oxide and mitigation of the renin/angiotensin pathway.

Plus, correlational data (yes, correlation is not causation) shows that certain diseases like multiple sclerosis, heart disease and many common cancers are inversely correlated with latitude: these diseases are more prevalent the higher in latitude one lives (the further you get from the equator). Many studies show that the increased risk of skin cancer from sensible sun exposure is far less than the decreased risk of other internal cancers and heart disease.

There is also the issue of some sunscreens possibly aiding in cancer formation and other illnesses. Go back and look at the last 60 years of sunscreens that were determined to have health issues that have been discontinued (remember PABA?).

While one should certainly not overdo their exposure, especially if you have certain fair skin types, some sun is absolutely necessary for decent health. Our ancestors did just fine for millions of years, otherwise we wouldn’t be here!

Should we avoid fresh air because oxygen is a component in the production of damaging free-radicals? Is it possible that other things in our diet or environment are interacting with excessive sun exposure to produce increased skin tumors?

We’ve become a generation of heliophobic troglodytes (sun-fearing cave dwellers). Time to re-examine this topic more objectively.

Thank you, Randy Green, for your great comment that lists many of the
arguments for (moderate, sensible, gradual …) sun exposure.
Dr. Shmerling’s blog reflects the still prevailing view of most dermatologists who disregard stubbornly the scientific findings of the
past ten to fifteen years that support reasonable (skin-type and location-
specific) sun exposure such as can be found in the work of Profs. Holick,
Vieth, Garland et al. Of course, much depends on the skin type: if you are
type 1 stay out of the sun and cover up. If you are skin type 2-3 take it easy
and build up a tan slowly and enjoy your sunbath (still “in moderation”).
Beyond skin type 3 the precautions and rules barely apply even though
a dark-skinned person may get skin cancer once in a blue moon.
Which leads us to another hardly ever mentioned aspect of this controversial discussion: The (IMO ill-advised) opinions and warnings
by the Dermatology establishment apply mainly/almost exclusively to
“fair”-skinned populations, it is a problem of “white” people that live in or
came from Northern latitudes. The great majority of the world population
does not experience the skin cancer problem (“epidemic”?) of Caucasians because their skin is brown or black …pre-tanned by Nature.
Skin cancer is rampant among the (white) immigrant population of
Australia, but certainly not among Aborigines. There seems to be a certain rather narrow (racially prejudiced?) view of the “tanning problem”.
Tanned skin is desirable in many but certainly not all cultures. Where I live,
in Hawaii, it is a natural result of our environment (unless you hide from the sun and heed Dr. Shmerling’s advice, which results in Vitamin D deficiency as in the majority of Hawaii residents – rather ridiculous !).
I like to blend in with the rest of the totally mixed Hawaiian population
that shows all healthy skin pigmentation shades from white to black.
Ola La (Hawaiian for “Health from the Sun”)

Sunburns will give you skin cancer guaranteed, and the dead from it is fast and very painful. So go and catch some sun you idiots. You will look good in your casket.

Is There Sperm in Precum?

The precum fluid itself does not contain sperm, but sperm can leak into it as it travels down the urethra, where residuals may be present from previous ejaculations, and can be released with precum prior to semen. (FYI, semen contains sperm and is the ejaculate that is emitted during orgasm.) "Normal semen fluid from ejaculation contains greater than 40 million motile sperms compared to pre-ejaculate fluid, which has anywhere from no sperm to less than 5 million swimmers," says Dr. Hsieh.

One 2013 study done on sperm counts of precum in 27 men found that 41 percent of the men had sperm in their precum, 37 percent which was motile (healthy) sperm, while a similar 2016 study on sperm count in precum found healthy sperm in about 17 percent of men.

8 Different Types Of Vulvas&mdashIllustrated

Every day for the last year and a half, Hilde Atalanta has painted a picture of one vulva. At first, inspiration came from her imagination then, from the internet and, most recently, from women who send her photos of their goods.

For the Amsterdam-based illustrator who also paints full bodies and faces, vulvas are compelling portrait subjects. &ldquoYou have some people who have big noses, some have small noses, but in all those standard sizes, you have a lot of these tiny differences in character&mdashit&rsquos the same with vulvas,&rdquo she says.

A vulva, by the way, is the name for the visible part of what most people just dub "vagina." It encompasses all the external parts of the female nether regions including the mons pubis (fatty patch perched atop your pubic bone), the labia (inner and outer lips framing the vaginal opening), the clitoris and its protective hood, and more.

Together, Atalanta's colorful sketches make up The Vulva Gallery, an Instagram phenomenon showcasing more than 550 vulva illustrations. Her gallery, she hopes, will help people celebrate their down-there diversity, whether or not they identify as women. &ldquoWe seem to strive for some kind of normal or perfect, but normal doesn&rsquot really exist, so every vulva is normal in its uniqueness,&rdquo she says.

So true. "Some are wrinkly, and some are really tout, and some sort of gape a little some completely close up the entrance to the vagina, and all of that is variations of healthy and normal," says Lee Roosevelt, Ph.D., a midwife and clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing who just happens to see about 35 patients (and thus vulvas) per day.

Here's a sampling of some of Atalanta's awesome vulva illustrations, with expert commentary about what you're looking at, exactly. Full disclosure: After checking these out, you just may wind up deciding your vulva should be immortalized, too.

Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 U.S. women and found that 83.8 percent of them did at least some grooming, according to a 2016 JAMA Dermatology study. Young, white, and educated women, as well as women whose partners preferred it, were most likely to tend their gardens.

Perhaps that's why more women seem to be concerned about the size, shape, and color of their vulvas these days. "If you've got a forest, you can't see the rocks," says Lauren Streicher, M.D., an ob-gyn in Chicago and the medical director of the Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause at Northwestern University Memorial Hospital, "and now everyone's looking."

Of course, not everyone's baring all. In her clinical practice, Roosevelt finds the bush is coming back. For some women, that's a good thing since it can mean avoiding shaving- and waxing-induced folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles), razor burn and other complications.

One study even found that the more frequently and completely folks groomed, the more likely they were to have STIs. (That may have to do with the little nicks hair removal can create in the skin, allowing bacteria and viruses to infect, but the study authors point out there's still no evidence that shaving causes the increased STI risk.)

While Roosevelt doesn't judge any grooming habits (or lack thereof), &ldquothe more we talk about vulva and its variations," she says, "the more accepting women are of their bodies and the more accepting they are of it in its natural state.&rdquo

Do your labia minora hang low? Own it, advocates Atalanta, who started what turned into The Vulva Gallery after learning about the global rise in labiaplasties.

&ldquoCutting away a body part that is so sensitive, a very important part of your erogenous zone, something so delicate, just because you are afraid that your partner might not like it really hit me,&rdquo she says. (She&rsquos cool, by the way, with such surgeries for physical comfort or medical reasons.)

Women&rsquos health experts concur: Labia minora that aren&rsquot so, well, minor aren&rsquot only totally normal in Roosevelt&rsquos words, &ldquothey&rsquore these pretty little wings.&rdquo

Just like one boob is often bigger than the other, one side of the labia minora can be longer than the other. Nothing to worry about, experts say, although when both sides are super long, some women can experience issues like discomfort biking, embarrassment wearing yoga pants, or trouble peeing straight.

"There are some theoretical health concerns," of long or asymmetrical labia minora, says Karen Horton, M.D., a plastic surgeon in San Francisco who specializes in female cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, including labiaplasties. "But in the medical community, it&rsquos normal and natural."

Roosevelt can make a good guess about a woman's BMI and age just based on the looks of her mons pubis&mdashthe patch beneath the pubes. "It may be rounder, it may be thinner, how far it extends down before the labia split varies," she says, but women with more body fat tend to have plumper patches.

Women who've gone through menopause, on the other hand, may find theirs slimming, thanks to hormonal changes. "After menopause, you loose fat in your external genitalia," Horton says. In Asia, fat grafting procedures to fluff that deflated pillow are trending, she adds.

Vulvas don&rsquot only differ in color person by person, but they often sport various shades in and of themselves. One of the most common patterns? Inner lips that are a shade&mdashor 50 shades&mdashdeeper than the outer lips.

&ldquoA lot of women complain that their labia minora are too dark&mdashthey&rsquore picturing these teeny little pink things,&rdquo Streicher says. But darker inner lips are totally normal.

Attempting to bleach them (or any part of your vulva) is a bad idea, Horton says. "Creams and lasers can create harm," like burns or increased sensitivity, she says. And some can even cause more pigment to form.

This clit don't hide, and that's no big deal since the size and visibility of the clitoris varies as widely as the vulva's other parts, experts say. The clitoral hood can be large or small or in between, says Horton, who occasionally performs clitoral hood reduction surgeries.

"The hood is basically folds of drapery, and a lot of women feel like they have fold after fold after fold of skin there," she says. But none of that matters when it comes to pleasure, Roosevelt says.

Plus, most women&rsquos clitorises look more or less the same during arousal, when it swells and emerges from under the hood. "There&rsquos not sexual response difference in women who have a smaller clitoral hood," Roosevelt says.

Whether the idea of a below-the-belt piercing arouses you or makes you cringe, &ldquoas long as they&rsquore done by safe, experienced, clean piercers, there&rsquos absolutely no risk,&rdquo says Roosevelt, who&rsquos had patients who&rsquove loved their piercings, and others who&rsquove wanted them removed.

The key is understanding your anatomy. If, for example, your clitoral hood&mdashthe bit that&rsquos often pierced&mdashhas always been fiercely protected by your your labia, a jewel may be jarring, for better or worse. Some women, Roosevelt says, &ldquodon&rsquot want their clitorises stimulated when they&rsquore sitting in a meeting.&rdquo

As for this vulva owner: &ldquoI like how it shines and how it surprises everyone who sees it," she writes. "My vulva shines, I shine and this is an awesome feeling!&rdquo

Interview Highlights: Larry Steinberg

On adolescence lasting longer

“If we look at the average of age of puberty now in the United States, girls are starting puberty around 11 or 12 years old. If you look at when young women are getting married in the United States, the average age is 27 or 28 years old. So we’re talking about a pretty long span of time and the same time interval lengthwise for boys as for girls. We know that when people go through puberty the sex hormones associated with that affect the brain as well as the rest of the body. We can mark the beginning of adolescence in one way by looking at when that’s happening, so that really is determined when someone goes through puberty. On the other hand, we can look at the end of adolescence in terms of when the brain is not maturing so much anymore and that seems to be going on until people are in their mid-20s or so. Roughly speaking, we can look at this period and bracket it as going from age 10 to age 25.”

On how education should change in light of this

“One thing that we should do in school is to focus more on what experts are referring to as non-cognitive skills and that would include things like perseverance, determination and grit. If you think about the challenge about becoming an adult now, you need to be able to stay in school for a very long time. You need to be able to stay in school through the completion of a four year college degree to get a decent-paying job, and that requires that we help young people develop the capacity to delay gratification and to persevere, even at tasks that they’re maybe not so crazy about.”

On the 'opportunity' of adolescents' malleable brains

“One of the main themes of the book is that we’re discovering that the brain during adolescence is very malleable or very plastic. What that means is that the brain has a heightened capacity to change in response to experience. That cuts both ways: on the one hand it means that the brain is especially susceptible to toxic experiences that can harm it, but on the other hand it means that the brain is also susceptible to positive influences that can promote growth. That’s the kind of opportunity that I think we need to think about in relation to adolescence and it’s an opportunity I think we’re squandering.”



Sexual intercourse may be called coitus, copulation, coition, or intercourse. Coitus is derived from the Latin word coitio or coire, meaning "a coming together or joining together" or "to go together", and is known under different ancient Latin names for a variety of sexual activities, but usually denotes penile–vaginal penetration. [19] This is often called vaginal intercourse or vaginal sex. [2] [20] Vaginal sex, and less often vaginal intercourse, may also denote any vaginal sexual activity, particularly if penetrative, including sexual activity between lesbian couples. [21] [22] Copulation, by contrast, more often denotes the mating process, especially for non-human animals it can mean a variety of sexual activities between opposite-sex or same-sex pairings, [23] but generally means the sexually reproductive act of transferring sperm from a male to a female or sexual procreation between a man and a woman. [23] [24] [25]

Although sex and "having sex" also most commonly denote penile–vaginal intercourse, [26] sex can be significantly broad in its meaning and may cover any penetrative or non-penetrative sexual activity between two or more people. [7] The World Health Organization (WHO) states that non-English languages and cultures use different words for sexual activity, "with slightly different meanings". [7] Various vulgarisms, slang, and euphemisms are used for sexual intercourse or other sexual activity, such as fuck, shag, and the phrase "sleep together". [27] [28] [29] The laws of some countries use the euphemism "carnal knowledge." Penetration of the vagina by the erect penis is additionally known as intromission, or by the Latin name immissio penis (Latin for "insertion of the penis"). [30] The age of first sexual intercourse is called sexarche. [31] [32]

Vaginal, anal and oral sex are recognized as sexual intercourse more often than other sexual behaviors. [33] Sexual activity that does not involve penile-vaginal sex or other sexual penetration might be used to retain virginity (sometimes called "technical virginity)" or labeled "outercourse". [34] One reason virginity loss is often based on penile–vaginal intercourse is because heterosexual couples may engage in anal or oral sex as a way of being sexually active while maintaining that they are virgins since they have not engaged in the reproductive act of coitus. [35] Some gay men consider frotting or oral sex as a way of maintaining their virginities, with penile-anal penetration used as sexual intercourse and for virginity loss, while other gay men may consider frotting or oral sex as their main forms of sexual activity. [13] [36] [37] Lesbians may categorize oral sex or fingering as sexual intercourse and subsequently an act of virginity loss, [13] [38] or tribadism as a primary form of sexual activity. [39] [40]

Researchers commonly use sexual intercourse to denote penile–vaginal intercourse while using specific words, such as anal sex or oral sex, for other sexual behaviors. [41] Scholars Richard M. Lerner and Laurence Steinberg state that researchers also "rarely disclose" how they conceptualize sex "or even whether they resolved potential discrepancies" in conceptualizations of sex. [38] Lerner and Steinberg attribute researchers' focus on penile–vaginal sex to "the larger culture's preoccupation with this form of sexual activity," and have expressed concern that the "widespread, unquestioned equation of penile–vaginal intercourse with sex reflects a failure to examine systematically 'whether the respondent's understanding of the question [about sexual activity] matches what the researcher had in mind'". [38] This focus can also relegate other forms of mutual sexual activity to foreplay or contribute to them not being regarded as "real sex", and limits the meaning of rape. [42] [43] It may also be that conceptually conflating sexual activity with vaginal intercourse and sexual function hinders and limits information about sexual behavior that non-heterosexual people may be engaging in, or information about heterosexuals who may be engaging in non–vaginal sexual activity. [42]

Studies regarding the meaning of sexual intercourse sometimes conflict. While most consider penile–vaginal intercourse to be sex, whether anal or oral intercourse are considered sex is more debatable, with oral sex ranking lowest. [44] [45] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that "although there are only limited national data about how often adolescents engage in oral sex, some data suggest that many adolescents who engage in oral sex do not consider it to be 'sex' therefore they may use oral sex as an option to experience sex while still, in their minds, remaining abstinent". [46] Upton et al. stated, "It is possible that individuals who engage in oral sex, but do not consider it as 'sex', may not associate the acts with the potential health risks they can bring." [44] In other cases, condom use is a factor, with some men stating that sexual activity involving the protection of a condom is not "real sex" or "the real thing". [47] [48] This view is common among men in Africa, [47] [48] where sexual activity involving the protection of a condom is often associated with emasculation because condoms prevent direct penile–to–skin genital contact. [47]


Sexual intercourse or other sexual activity can encompass various sexually stimulating factors (physiological stimulation or psychological stimulation), including different sex positions (such as the missionary position, the most common human sex position [49] ) or the use of sex toys. [50] [51] Foreplay may precede some sexual activities, often leading to sexual arousal of the partners and resulting in the erection of the penis or natural lubrication of the vagina. [52] It is also common for people to be as sexually satisfied by being kissed, touched erotically, or held as they are by sexual intercourse. [53]

Non-primate females copulate only when in estrus, [54] but sexual intercourse is possible at any time of the menstrual cycle for women. [55] [56] Sex pheromones facilitate copulatory reflexes in various organisms, but, in humans, the detection of pheromones is impaired and they have only residual effects. [57] Non-primate females put themselves in the crucial lordosis position and remain motionless, but these motor copulatory reflexes are no longer functional in women. [54]

During coitus, the partners orient their hips to allow the penis to move back and forth in the vagina to cause friction, typically without fully removing the penis. In this way, they stimulate themselves and each other, often continuing until orgasm in either or both partners is achieved. [10] [59]

For human females, stimulation of the clitoris plays a significant role in sexual activity 70–80% of women require direct clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm, [60] [61] [62] though indirect clitoral stimulation (for example, via vaginal intercourse) may also be sufficient (see orgasm in females). [63] [64] Because of this, some couples may engage in the woman on top position or the coital alignment technique, a technique combining the "riding high" variation of the missionary position with pressure-counterpressure movements performed by each partner in rhythm with sexual penetration, to maximize clitoral stimulation. [58] [65]

Anal sex involves stimulation of the anus, anal cavity, sphincter valve or rectum it most commonly means the insertion of a man's penis into another person's rectum, but may also mean the use of sex toys or fingers to penetrate the anus, or oral sex on the anus (anilingus), or pegging. [66]

Oral sex consists of all the sexual activities that involve the use of the mouth and throat to stimulate genitalia or anus. It is sometimes performed to the exclusion of all other forms of sexual activity, and may include the ingestion or absorption of semen (during fellatio) or vaginal fluids (during cunnilingus). [50] [67]

Fingering (or digital penetration or digital intercourse) involves the manual manipulation of the clitoris, rest of the vulva, vagina or anus for the purpose of sexual arousal and sexual stimulation it may constitute the entire sexual encounter or it may be part of mutual masturbation, foreplay or other sexual activities. [22] [68] [69]


Natural human reproduction involves penile–vaginal penetration, [71] during which semen, containing male gametes known as sperm cells or spermatozoa, is expelled via ejaculation through the penis into the vagina. The sperm passes through the vaginal vault, cervix and into the uterus, and then into the fallopian tubes. Millions of sperm are present in each ejaculation to increase the chances of fertilization (see sperm competition), but only one reaching an egg or ovum is sufficient to achieve fertilization. When a fertile ovum from the female is present in the fallopian tubes, the male gamete joins with the ovum, resulting in fertilization and the formation of a new embryo. When a fertilized ovum reaches the uterus, it becomes implanted in the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) and a pregnancy begins. [71] [72]

Pregnancy rates for sexual intercourse are highest during the menstrual cycle time from some 5 days before until 1 to 2 days after ovulation. [73] For optimal pregnancy chance, there are recommendations of sexual intercourse every 1 or 2 days, [74] or every 2 or 3 days. [75] Studies have shown no significant difference between different sex positions and pregnancy rate, as long as it results in ejaculation into the vagina. [76]

When a sperm donor has sexual intercourse with a woman who is not his partner and for the sole purpose of impregnating the woman, this may be known as natural insemination, as opposed to artificial insemination. Artificial insemination is a form of assisted reproductive technology, which are methods used to achieve pregnancy by artificial or partially artificial means. [77] For artificial insemination, sperm donors may donate their sperm through a sperm bank, and the insemination is performed with the express intention of attempting to impregnate the female to this extent, its purpose is the medical equivalent of sexual intercourse. [78] [79] Reproductive methods also extend to gay and lesbian couples. For gay male pairings, there is the option of surrogate pregnancy for lesbian couples, there is donor insemination in addition to choosing surrogate pregnancy. [80] [81]

Safe sex and birth control

There are a variety of safe sex methods that are practiced by heterosexual and same-sex couples, including non-penetrative sex acts, [12] [82] and heterosexual couples may use oral or anal sex (or both) as a means of birth control. [83] [84] However, pregnancy can still occur with anal sex or other forms of sexual activity if the penis is near the vagina (such as during intercrural sex or other genital-genital rubbing) and its sperm is deposited near the vagina's entrance and travels along the vagina's lubricating fluids the risk of pregnancy can also occur without the penis being near the vagina because sperm may be transported to the vaginal opening by the vagina coming in contact with fingers or other non-genital body parts that have come in contact with semen. [85] [86]

Safe sex is a relevant harm reduction philosophy [87] and condoms are used as a form of safe sex and contraception. Condoms are widely recommended for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). [87] According to reports by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization (WHO), correct and consistent use of latex condoms reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission by approximately 85–99% relative to risk when unprotected. [88] [89] Condoms are rarely used for oral sex and there is significantly less research on behaviors with regard to condom use for anal and oral sex. [90] The most effective way to avoid sexually transmitted infections is to abstain from sexual intercourse, especially vaginal, anal, and oral sexual intercourse. [87]

Decisions and options concerning birth control can be affected by cultural reasons, such as religion, gender roles or folklore. [91] In the predominantly Catholic countries Ireland, Italy and the Philippines, fertility awareness and the rhythm method are emphasized while disapproval is expressed with regard to other contraceptive methods. [11] Worldwide, sterilization is a more common birth control method, [11] and use of the intrauterine device (IUD) is the most common and effective way of reversible contraception. [11] [92] Conception and contraception are additionally a life-and-death situation in developing countries, where one in three women give birth before age 20 however, 90% of unsafe abortions in these countries could be prevented by effective contraception use. [11]

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) indicated in 2010 that "1 of 4 acts of vaginal intercourse are condom-protected in the U.S. (1 in 3 among singles)," that "condom use is higher among black and Hispanic Americans than among white Americans and those from other racial groups," and that "adults using a condom for intercourse were just as likely to rate the sexual extent positively in terms of arousal, pleasure and orgasm than when having intercourse without one". [93]


Penile–vaginal penetration is the most common form of sexual intercourse. [2] [20] Studies indicate that most heterosexual couples engage in vaginal intercourse nearly every sexual encounter. [20] The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) reported in 2010 that vaginal intercourse is "the most prevalent sexual behavior among men and women of all ages and ethnicities". [20] Clint E. Bruess et al. stated that it "is the most frequently studied behavior" and is "often the focus of sexuality education programming for youth." [94] Weiten et al. said that it "is the most widely endorsed and practiced sexual act in our society." [40]

Regarding oral or anal intercourse, the CDC stated in 2009, "Studies indicate that oral sex is commonly practiced by sexually active male-female and same-gender couples of various ages, including adolescents." [46] Oral sex is significantly more common than anal sex. [40] [45] The 2010 NSSHB study reported that vaginal intercourse was practiced more than insertive anal intercourse among men, but that 13% to 15% of men aged 25 to 49 practiced insertive anal intercourse. Receptive anal intercourse was infrequent among men, with approximately 7% of men aged 14 to 94 years old having said that they were a receptive partner during anal intercourse. The study said that fewer women reported engaging in anal sex than other partnered sexual behaviors. It was estimated that 10% to 14% of women aged 18 to 39 years old practiced anal sex in the past 90 days, and that most of the women who engage in anal sex said they practiced it once a month or a few times a year. [20]

Age at first intercourse

The prevalence of sexual intercourse has been compared cross-culturally. In 2003, Michael Bozon of the French Institut national d'études démographiques conducted a cross-cultural study titled "At what age do women and men have their first sexual intercourse?" In the first group of the contemporary cultures he studied, which included sub-Saharan Africa (listing Mali, Senegal and Ethiopia), the data indicated that the age of men at sexual initiation in these societies is at later ages than that of women, but is often extra-marital the study considered the Indian subcontinent to also fall into this group, though data was only available from Nepal. [95] [96]

In the second group, the data indicated families encouraged daughters to delay marriage, and to abstain from sexual activity before that time. However, sons are encouraged to gain experience with older women or prostitutes before marriage. Age of men at sexual initiation in these societies is at lower ages than that of women this group includes south European and Latin cultures (Portugal, Greece and Romania are noted) and such from Latin America (Brazil, Chile, and the Dominican Republic). The study considered many Asian societies to also fall into this group, although matching data was only available from Thailand. [95] [96]

In the third group, age of men and women at sexual initiation was more closely matched there were two sub-groups, however. In non-Latin, Catholic countries (Poland and Lithuania are mentioned), age at sexual initiation was higher, suggesting later marriage and reciprocal valuing of male and female virginity. The same pattern of late marriage and reciprocal valuing of virginity was reflected in Singapore and Sri Lanka. The study considered China and Vietnam to also fall into this group, though data were not available. [95] [96] In northern and eastern European countries, age at sexual initiation was lower, with both men and women involved in sexual intercourse before any union formation the study listed Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic as members of this group. [95] [96]

Concerning United States data, tabulations by the National Center for Health Statistics report that the age of first sexual intercourse was 17.1 years for both males and females in 2010. [97] The CDC stated that 45.5 percent of girls and 45.7 percent of boys had engaged in sexual activity by 19 in 2002 in 2011, reporting their research from 2006 to 2010, they stated that 43% of American unmarried teenage girls and 42% of American unmarried teenage boys have ever engaged in sexual intercourse. [98] The CDC also reports that American girls will most likely lose their virginity to a boy who is 1 to 3 years older than they are. [98] Between 1988 and 2002, the percentage of people in the U.S. who had sexual intercourse between the ages of 15 to 19 fell from 60 to 46 percent for never-married males, and from 51 to 46 percent for never-married females. [99]


In humans, sexual intercourse and sexual activity in general have been reported as having health benefits as varied as increased immunity by increasing the body's production of antibodies and subsequent lower blood pressure, [100] [101] and decreased risk of prostate cancer. [100] Sexual intimacy and orgasms increase levels of the hormone oxytocin (also known as "the love hormone"), which can help people bond and build trust. [101] [102] Oxytocin is believed to have a more significant impact on women than on men, which may be why women associate sexual attraction or sexual activity with romance and love more than men do. [6] A long-term study of 3,500 people between ages 18 and 102 by clinical neuropsychologist David Weeks indicated that, based on impartial ratings of the subjects' photographs, sex on a regular basis helps people look significantly chronologically younger. [103]


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are bacteria, viruses or parasites that are spread by sexual contact, especially vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse, or unprotected sex. [104] [105] Oral sex is less risky than vaginal or anal intercourse. [106] Many times, STIs initially do not cause symptoms, increasing the risk of unknowingly passing the infection on to a sex partner or others. [107] [108]

There are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections every year in the U.S., [109] and, in 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 448 million people aged 15–49 were infected per year with curable STIs (such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia). [110] Some STIs can cause a genital ulcer even if they do not, they increase the risk of both acquiring and passing on HIV up to ten-fold. [110] Hepatitis B can also be transmitted through sexual contact. [111] Globally, there are about 257 million chronic carriers of hepatitis B. [112] HIV is one of the world's leading infectious killers in 2010, approximately 30 million people were estimated to have died because of it since the beginning of the epidemic. Of the 2.7 million new HIV infections estimated to occur worldwide in 2010, 1.9 million (70%) were in Africa. The World Health Organization also stated that the "estimated 1.2 million Africans who died of HIV-related illnesses in 2010 comprised 69% of the global total of 1.8 million deaths attributable to the epidemic." [113] It is diagnosed by blood tests, and while no cure has been found, it can be controlled by management through antiretroviral drugs for the disease, and patients can enjoy healthy and productive lives. [114]

In cases where infection is suspected, early medical intervention is highly beneficial in all cases. The CDC stated "the risk of HIV transmission from an infected partner through oral sex is much less than the risk of HIV transmission from anal or vaginal sex," but that "measuring the exact risk of HIV transmission as a result of oral sex is very difficult" and that this is "because most sexually active individuals practice oral sex in addition to other forms of sex, such as vaginal or anal sex, when transmission occurs, it is difficult to determine whether it occurred as a result of oral sex or other more risky sexual activities". They added that "several co-factors may increase the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex" this includes ulcers, bleeding gums, genital sores, and the presence of other STIs. [46]

In 2005, the World Health Organization estimated that 123 million women become pregnant worldwide each year, and around 87 million of those pregnancies or 70.7% are unintentional. Approximately 46 million pregnancies per year reportedly end in induced abortion. [115] Approximately 6 million U.S. women become pregnant per year. Out of known pregnancies, two-thirds result in live births and roughly 25% in abortions the remainder end in miscarriage. However, many more women become pregnant and miscarry without even realizing it, instead mistaking the miscarriage for an unusually heavy menstruation. [116] The U.S. teenage pregnancy rate fell by 27 percent between 1990 and 2000, from 116.3 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 15–19 to 84.5. This data includes live births, abortions, and fetal losses. Almost 1 million American teenage women, 10% of all women aged 15–19 and 19% of those who report having had intercourse, become pregnant each year. [117]

Sexual activity can increase the expression of a gene transcription factor called ΔFosB (delta FosB) in the brain's reward center [118] [119] [120] consequently excessively frequent engagement in sexual activity on a regular (daily) basis can lead to the overexpression of ΔFosB, inducing an addiction to sexual activity. [118] [119] [120] Sexual addiction or hypersexuality is often considered an impulse control disorder or a behavioral addiction. It has been linked to atypical levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. This behavior is characterized by a fixation on sexual intercourse and disinhibition. It was proposed that this 'addictive behavior' be classified in DSM-5 as an impulsive–compulsive behavioral disorder. Addiction to sexual intercourse is thought to be genetically linked. Those having an addiction to sexual intercourse have a higher response to visual sexual cues in the brain. Those seeking treatment will typically see a physician for pharmacological management and therapy. [121] One form of hypersexuality is Kleine–Levin syndrome. It is manifested by hypersomnia and hypersexuality and remains relatively rare. [122]

Sexual activity can directly cause death, particularly due to coronary circulation complications, which is sometimes called coital death, coital sudden death or coital coronary. [10] [123] [124] However, coital deaths are significantly rare. [123] People, especially those who get little or no physical exercise, have a slightly increased risk of triggering a heart attack or sudden cardiac death when they engage in sexual intercourse or any vigorous physical exercise that is engaged in on a sporadic basis. [124] Regular exercise reduces, but does not eliminate, the increased risk. [124]

Duration and genital complications

Sexual intercourse, when involving a male participant, often ends when the male has ejaculated, and thus the partner might not have time to reach orgasm. [125] In addition, premature ejaculation (PE) is common, and women often require a substantially longer duration of stimulation with a sexual partner than men do before reaching an orgasm. [52] [126] [127] Scholars, such as Weiten et al., state that "many couples are locked into the idea that orgasms should be achieved only through intercourse [penile-vaginal sex]," that "the word foreplay suggests that any other form of sexual stimulation is merely preparation for the 'main event'" and that "because women reach orgasm through intercourse less consistently than men," they are likelier than men to fake an orgasm to satisfy their sexual partners. [52]

In 1991, scholars from the Kinsey Institute stated, "The truth is that the time between penetration and ejaculation varies not only from man to man, but from one time to the next for the same man." They added that the appropriate length for sexual intercourse is the length of time it takes for both partners to be mutually satisfied, emphasizing that Kinsey "found that 75 percent of men ejaculated within two minutes of penetration. But he didn't ask if the men or their partners considered two minutes mutually satisfying" and "more recent research reports slightly longer times for intercourse". [128] A 2008 survey of Canadian and American sex therapists stated that the average time for heterosexual intercourse (coitus) was 7 minutes and that 1 to 2 minutes was too short, 3 to 7 minutes was adequate and 7 to 13 minutes desirable, while 10 to 30 minutes was too long. [20] [129]

Anorgasmia is regular difficulty reaching orgasm after ample sexual stimulation, causing personal distress. [130] This is significantly more common in women than in men, [131] [132] which has been attributed to the lack of sex education with regard to women's bodies, especially in sex-negative cultures, such as clitoral stimulation usually being key for women to orgasm. [132] The physical structure of coitus favors penile stimulation over clitoral stimulation the location of the clitoris then usually necessitates manual or oral stimulation in order for the woman to achieve orgasm. [52] Approximately 25% of women report difficulties with orgasm, [20] 10% of women have never had an orgasm, [133] and 40% or 40–50% have either complained about sexual dissatisfaction or experienced difficulty becoming sexually aroused at some point in their lives. [134]

Vaginismus is involuntary tensing of the pelvic floor musculature, making coitus, or any form of penetration of the vagina, distressing, painful and sometimes impossible for women. It is a conditioned reflex of the pubococcygeus muscle, and is sometimes referred to as the PC muscle. Vaginismus can be hard to overcome because if a woman expects to experience pain during sexual intercourse, this can cause a muscle spasm, which results in painful sexual intercourse. [132] [135] Treatment of vaginismus often includes both psychological and behavioral techniques, including the use of vaginal dilators. [136] Additionally, the use of Botox as a medical treatment for vaginismus has been tested and administered. [137] Painful or uncomfortable sexual intercourse may also be categorized as dyspareunia. [136]

Approximately 40% of males reportedly suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence, at least occasionally. [138] Premature ejaculation has been reported to be more common than erectile dysfunction, although some estimates suggest otherwise. [126] [127] [138] Due to various meanings of the disorder, estimates for the prevalence of premature ejaculation vary significantly more than for erectile dysfunction. [126] [127] For example, the Mayo Clinic states, "Estimates vary, but as many as 1 out of 3 men may be affected by [premature ejaculation] at some time." [139] Further, "Masters and Johnson speculated that premature ejaculation is the most common sexual dysfunction, even though more men seek therapy for erectile difficulties" and that this is because "although an estimated 15 percent to 20 percent of men experience difficulty controlling rapid ejaculation, most do not consider it a problem requiring help, and many women have difficulty expressing their sexual needs". [128] The American Urological Association (AUA) estimates that premature ejaculation could affect 21 percent of men in the United States. [140]

For those whose impotence is caused by medical conditions, prescription drugs such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are available. However, doctors caution against the unnecessary use of these drugs because they are accompanied by serious risks such as increased chance of heart attack. [141] The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and antidepressant drug dapoxetine has been used to treat premature ejaculation. [142] In clinical trials, those with PE who took dapoxetine experienced sexual intercourse three to four times longer before orgasm than without the drug. [143] Another ejaculation-related disorder is delayed ejaculation, which can be caused as an unwanted side effect of antidepressant medications such as fluvoxamine however, all SSRIs have ejaculation-delaying effects, and fluvoxamine has the least ejaculation-delaying effects. [144]

Sexual intercourse remains possible after major medical treatment of the reproductive organs and structures. This is especially true for women. Even after extensive gynecological surgical procedures (such as hysterectomy, oophorectomy, salpingectomy, dilation and curettage, hymenotomy, Bartholin gland surgery, abscess removal, vestibulectomy, labia minora reduction, cervical conization, surgical and radiological cancer treatments and chemotherapy), coitus can continue. Reconstructive surgery remains an option for women who have experienced benign and malignant conditions. [145]

Disabilities and other complications

Obstacles that those with disabilities face with regard to engaging in sexual intercourse include pain, depression, fatigue, negative body image, stiffness, functional impairment, anxiety, reduced libido, hormonal imbalance, and drug treatment or side effects. Sexual functioning has been regularly identified as a neglected area of the quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. [146] For those that must take opioids for pain control, sexual intercourse can become more difficult. [147] Having a stroke can also largely impact on the ability to engage in sexual intercourse. [148] Although disability-related pain, including as a result of cancer, and mobility impairment can hamper sexual intercourse, in many cases, the most significant impediments to sexual intercourse for individuals with a disability are psychological. [149] In particular, people who have a disability can find sexual intercourse daunting due to issues involving their self-concept as a sexual being, or a partner's discomfort or perceived discomfort. [149] Temporary difficulties can arise with alcohol and sex, as alcohol can initially increase interest through disinhibition but decrease capacity with greater intake however, disinhibition can vary depending on the culture. [150] [151]

The mentally disabled also are subject to challenges in participating in sexual intercourse. Women with Intellectual disabilities (ID) are often presented with situations that prevent sexual intercourse. This can include the lack of a knowledgeable healthcare provider trained and experienced in counseling those with ID on sexual intercourse. Those with ID may have hesitations regarding the discussion of the topic of sex, a lack of sexual knowledge and limited opportunities for sex education. In addition there are other barriers such as a higher prevalence of sexual abuse and assault. These crimes often remain underreported. There remains a lack of "dialogue around this population's human right to consensual sexual expression, undertreatment of menstrual disorders, and legal and systemic barriers". Women with ID may lack sexual health care and sex education. They may not recognize sexual abuse. Consensual sexual intercourse is not always an option for some. Those with ID may have limited knowledge and access to contraception, screening for sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer. [152]


Sexual intercourse may be for reproductive, relational, or recreational purposes. [153] It often plays a strong role in human bonding. [6] In many societies, it is normal for couples to have sexual intercourse while using some method of birth control, sharing pleasure and strengthening their emotional bond through sexual activity even though they are deliberately avoiding pregnancy. [6]

In humans and bonobos, the female undergoes relatively concealed ovulation so that male and female partners commonly do not know whether she is fertile at any given moment. One possible reason for this distinct biological feature may be formation of strong emotional bonds between sexual partners important for social interactions and, in the case of humans, long-term partnership rather than immediate sexual reproduction. [55]

Sexual dissatisfaction due to the lack of sexual intercourse is associated with increased risk of divorce and relationship dissolution, especially for men. [154] [155] [156] Some research, however, indicates that general dissatisfaction with marriage for men results if their wives flirted with, erotically kissed or became romantically or sexually involved with another man (infidelity), [154] [155] and that this is especially the case for men with a lower emotional and composite marital satisfaction. [156] Other studies report that the lack of sexual intercourse does not significantly result in divorce, though it is commonly one of the various contributors to it. [157] [158] According to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), men whose most recent sexual encounter was with a relationship partner reported greater arousal, greater pleasure, fewer problems with erectile function, orgasm, and less pain during the event than men whose last sexual encounter was with a non-relationship partner. [159]

For women, there is often a complaint about the lack of their spouses' sexual spontaneity. Decreased sexual activity among these women may be the result of their perceived failure to maintain ideal physical attractiveness or because their sexual partners' health issues have hindered sexual intercourse. [160] Some women express that their most satisfying sexual experiences entail being connected to someone, rather than solely basing satisfaction on orgasm. [125] [161] With regard to divorce, women are more likely to divorce their spouses for a one-night stand or various infidelities if they are in less cooperative or high-conflict marriages. [156]

Research additionally indicates that non-married couples who are cohabiting engage in sexual intercourse more often than married couples, and are more likely to participate in sexual activity outside of their sexual relationships this may be due to the "honeymoon" effect (the newness or novelty of sexual intercourse with the partner), since sexual intercourse is usually practiced less the longer a couple is married, with couples engaging in sexual intercourse or other sexual activity once or twice a week, or approximately six to seven times a month. [162] Sexuality in older age also affects the frequency of sexual intercourse, as older people generally engage in sexual intercourse less frequently than younger people do. [162]


Adolescents commonly use sexual intercourse for relational and recreational purposes, which may negatively or positively impact their lives. For example, while teenage pregnancy may be welcomed in some cultures, it is also commonly disparaged, and research suggests that the earlier onset of puberty for children puts pressure on children and teenagers to act like adults before they are emotionally or cognitively ready. [163] Some studies have concluded that engaging in sexual intercourse leaves adolescents, especially girls, with higher levels of stress and depression, and that girls may be likelier to engage in sexual risk (such as sexual intercourse without the use of a condom), [164] [165] but it may be that further research is needed in these areas. [165] In some countries, such as the United States, sex education and abstinence-only sex education curricula are available to educate adolescents about sexual activity these programs are controversial, as debate exists as to whether teaching children and adolescents about sexual intercourse or other sexual activity should only be left up to parents or other caregivers. [166]

Some studies from the 1970s through 1990s suggested an association between self-esteem and sexual intercourse among adolescents, [167] while other studies, from the 1980s and 1990s, reported that the research generally indicates little or no relationship between self-esteem and sexual activity among adolescents. [168] By the 1990s, the evidence mostly supported the latter, [168] and further research has supported little or no relationship between self-esteem and sexual activity among adolescents. [169] [170] Scholar Lisa Arai stated, "The idea that early sexual activity and pregnancy is linked to low self-esteem became fashionable in the latter half of the 20th century, particularly in the US," adding that, "Yet, in a systematic review of the relationship between self-esteem and teenagers' sexual behaviours, attitudes and intentions (which analyzed findings from 38 publications) 62% of behavioral findings and 72% of the attitudinal findings exhibited no statistically significant associations (Goodson et al, 2006)." [170] Studies that do find a link suggest that non-virgin boys have higher self-esteem than virgin boys and that girls who have low self-esteem and poor self-image are more prone to risk-taking behaviors, such as unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners. [167] [169] [170]

Psychiatrist Lynn Ponton wrote, "All adolescents have sex lives, whether they are sexually active with others, with themselves, or seemingly not at all", and that viewing adolescent sexuality as a potentially positive experience, rather than as something inherently dangerous, may help young people develop healthier patterns and make more positive choices regarding sexual activity. [163] Researchers state that long-term romantic relationships allow adolescents to gain the skills necessary for high-quality relationships later in life. [171] Overall, positive romantic relationships among adolescents can result in long-term benefits. High-quality romantic relationships are associated with higher commitment in early adulthood, [172] and are positively associated with social competence. [173] [174]


While sexual intercourse, as coitus, is the natural mode of reproduction for the human species, humans have intricate moral and ethical guidelines which regulate the practice of sexual intercourse and vary according to religious and governmental laws. Some governments and religions also have strict designations of "appropriate" and "inappropriate" sexual behavior, which include restrictions on the types of sex acts which are permissible. A historically prohibited or regulated sex act is anal sex. [175] [176]

Sexual offenses

Sexual intercourse with a person against their will, or without their consent, is rape, but may also be called sexual assault it is considered a serious crime in most countries. [177] [178] More than 90% of rape victims are female, 99% of rapists male, and only about 5% of rapists are strangers to the victims. [178]

Most countries have age of consent laws which set the minimum legal age with whom an older person may engage in sexual intercourse, usually set at 16 to 18, but ranges from 12 to 20, years of age. In some societies, an age of consent is set by non-statutory custom or tradition. [179] Sex with a person under the age of consent, regardless of their stated consent, is often considered sexual assault or statutory rape depending on differences in ages of the participants. Some countries treat any sex with a person of diminished or insufficient mental capacity to give consent, regardless of age, as rape. [180]

Robert Francoeur et al. stated that "prior to the 1970s, rape definitions of sex often included only penile-vaginal sexual intercourse." [181] Authors Pamela J. Kalbfleisch and Michael J. Cody stated that this made it so that if "sex means penile-vaginal intercourse, then rape means forced penile-vaginal intercourse, and other sexual behaviors – such as fondling a person's genitals without her or his consent, forced oral sex, and same-sex coercion – are not considered rape" they stated that "although some other forms of forced sexual contact are included within the legal category of sodomy (e.g., anal penetration and oral-genital contact), many unwanted sexual contacts have no legal grounding as rape in some states". [43] Ken Plumber argued that the legal meaning "of rape in most countries is unlawful sexual intercourse which means the penis must penetrate the vagina" and that "other forms of sexual violence towards women such as forced oral sex or anal intercourse, or the insertion of other objects into the vagina, constitute the 'less serious' crime of sexual assault". [182]

Over time, the meaning of rape broadened in some parts of the world to include many types of sexual penetration, including anal intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, and penetration of the genitals or rectum by an inanimate object. [181] Until 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) still considered rape a crime solely committed by men against women. In 2012, they changed the meaning from "The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will" to "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." The meaning does not change federal or state criminal codes or impact charging and prosecution on the federal, state or local level, but instead assures that rape will be more accurately reported nationwide. [183] [184] In some instances, penetration is not required for the act to be categorized as rape. [185]

In most societies around the world, the concept of incest exists and is criminalized. James Roffee, a senior lecturer in criminology at Monash University, [186] addressed potential harm associated with familial sexual activity, such as resulting children born with deficiencies. However, the law is more concerned with protecting the rights of people who are potentially subjected to such abuse. This is why familial sexual relationships are criminalized, even if all parties are consensual. There are laws prohibiting all kinds of sexual activity between relatives, not necessarily penetrative sex. These laws refer to grandparents, parents, children, siblings, aunts and uncles. There are differences between states in terms of the severity of punishments and what they consider to be a relative, including biological parents, step-parents, adoptive parents and half-siblings. [187]

Another sexual matter concerning consent is zoophilia, which is a paraphilia involving sexual activity between human and non-human animals, or a fixation on such practice. [188] [189] [190] Human sexual activity with non-human animals is not outlawed in some jurisdictions, but it is illegal in others under animal abuse laws or laws dealing with crimes against nature. [191]

Romantic relationships

Marriage and relationships

Sexual intercourse has traditionally been considered an essential part of a marriage, with many religious customs requiring consummation of the marriage and citing marriage as the most appropriate union for sexual reproduction (procreation). [192] In such cases, a failure for any reason to consummate the marriage would be considered a ground for annulment (which does not require a divorce process). Sexual relations between marriage partners have been a "marital right" in various societies and religions, both historically and in modern times, especially with regard to a husband's rights to his wife. [193] [194] [195] Until the late 20th century, there was usually a marital exemption in rape laws which precluded a husband from being prosecuted under the rape law for forced sex with his wife. [196] Author Oshisanya, 'lai Oshitokunbo stated, "As the legal status of women has changed, the concept of a married man's or woman's marital right to sexual intercourse has become less widely held." [197]

Adultery (engaging in sexual intercourse with someone other than one's spouse) has been, and remains, a criminal offense in some jurisdictions. [198] [199] Sexual intercourse between unmarried partners and cohabitation of an unmarried couple are also illegal in some jurisdictions. [200] [201] Conversely, in other countries, marriage is not required, socially or legally, in order to have sexual intercourse or to procreate (for example, the majority of births are outside of marriage in countries such as Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovenia, France, Belgium). [202]

With regard to divorce laws, the refusal to engage in sexual intercourse with one's spouse may give rise to a grounds for divorce, which may be listed under "grounds of abandonment". [203] Concerning no-fault divorce jurisdictions, author James G. Dwyer stated that no-fault divorce laws "have made it much easier for a woman to exit a marital relationship, and wives have obtained greater control over their bodies while in a marriage" because of legislative and judicial changes regarding the concept of a marital exemption when a man rapes his wife. [193]

There are various legal positions regarding the meaning and legality of sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex or gender. For example, in the 2003 New Hampshire Supreme Court case Blanchflower v. Blanchflower, it was held that female same-sex sexual relations, and same-sex sexual practices in general, did not constitute sexual intercourse, based on a 1961 entry in Webster's Third New International Dictionary that categorizes sexual intercourse as coitus and thereby an accused wife in a divorce case was found not guilty of adultery. [204] [205] Some countries consider same-sex sexual behavior an offense punishable by imprisonment or execution this is the case, for example, in Islamic countries, including LGBT issues in Iran. [206] [207]

Opposition to same-sex marriage is largely based on the belief that sexual intercourse and sexual orientation should be of a heterosexual nature. [208] [209] [210] The recognition of such marriages is a civil rights, political, social, moral and religious issue in many nations, and the conflicts arise over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to enter into marriage, be required to use a different status (such as a civil union, which either grant equal rights as marriage or limited rights in comparison to marriage), or not have any such rights. A related issue is whether the word marriage should be applied. [209] [210]

Religious views

There are wide differences in religious views with regard to sexual intercourse in or outside of marriage:

  • Most denominations of Christianity, including Catholicism, have strict views or rules on what sexual practices are and are not acceptable. [211] Most Christian views on sexual intercourse are influenced by various interpretations of the Bible. [212] Sexual intercourse outside of marriage, for example, is considered a sin in some churches in such cases, sexual intercourse may be called a sacred covenant, holy, or a holy sacrament between husband and wife. [211][212] Historically, Christian teachings often promoted celibacy, [213] although today usually only certain members (for example, certain religious leaders) of some groups take a vow of celibacy, forsaking both marriage and any type of sexual or romantic activity. [212] The Bible may be interpreted as endorsing penile-vaginal penetration as the only form of acceptable sexual activity, [214][215] while other interpretations view the Bible as not being clear on oral sex or other particular sexual behaviors and that it is a personal decision as to whether oral sex is acceptable within marriage. [214][216][217] Some sects consider the use of birth control to prevent sexual reproduction a grave sin against God and marriage, as they believe that the main purpose of marriage, or one of its primary purposes, is to produce children, while other sects do not hold such beliefs. [218] The Bible also prohibits sexual intercourse during menstruation. [217]
    • In the Roman Catholic Church, if a matrimonial celebration takes place (ratification), but the spouses have not yet engaged in intercourse (consummation), then the marriage is considered to be a marriage via ratum sed non consummatum. Such a marriage, regardless of the reason for non-consummation, can be dissolved by the pope. [219]
    • In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) sexual relations within the bonds of matrimony are seen as sacred. Latter-day Saints consider sexual relations to be ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. Members are discouraged from having any sexual relations before marriage, and from being unfaithful to their spouses after marriage. [220] believe that sexual intercourse is the root of all sin and that all people should therefore be celibate, including married couples. The original Shaker community that peaked at 6,000 full members in 1840 dwindled to three members by 2009. [221]

    In some cases, the sexual intercourse between two people is seen as counter to religious law or doctrine. In many religious communities, including the Catholic Church and Mahayana Buddhists, religious leaders are expected to refrain from sexual intercourse in order to devote their full attention, energy, and loyalty to their religious duties. [239]

    In zoology, copulation often means the process in which a male introduces sperm into the female's body, especially directly into her reproductive tract. [15] [24] Spiders have separate male and female sexes. Before mating and copulation, the male spider spins a small web and ejaculates on to it. He then stores the sperm in reservoirs on his large pedipalps, from which he transfers sperm to the female's genitals. The females can store sperm indefinitely. [240]

    Many animals that live in water use external fertilization, whereas internal fertilization may have developed from a need to maintain gametes in a liquid medium in the Late Ordovician epoch. Internal fertilization with many vertebrates (such as reptiles, some fish, and most birds) occur via cloacal copulation (see also hemipenis), while mammals copulate vaginally, and many basal vertebrates reproduce sexually with external fertilization. [241] [242]

    For primitive insects, the male deposits spermatozoa on the substrate, sometimes stored within a special structure courtship involves inducing the female to take up the sperm package into her genital opening, but there is no actual copulation. [243] [244] In groups that have reproduction similar to spiders, such as dragonflies, males extrude sperm into secondary copulatory structures removed from their genital opening, which are then used to inseminate the female. In dragonflies, it is a set of modified sternites on the second abdominal segment. [245] In advanced groups of insects, the male uses its aedeagus, a structure formed from the terminal segments of the abdomen, to deposit sperm directly (though sometimes in a capsule called a spermatophore) into the female's reproductive tract. [246]

    Bonobos, chimpanzees and dolphins are species known to engage in heterosexual behaviors even when the female is not in estrus, which is a point in her reproductive cycle suitable for successful impregnation. These species are also known to engage in same-sex sexual behaviors. [17] In these animals, the use of sexual intercourse has evolved beyond reproduction to apparently serve additional social functions (such as bonding). [18]

    Adolescence and the Problems of Puberty

    Adolescence and puberty are not the same.

    Adolescence is that 10- to 12-year period of social and psychological growth that transforms the dependent child (beginning in late elementary or early middle school) into a functionally independent young adult in his or her early to mid-twenties.

    Puberty is the one to three-year process of hormonal and physical change that causes the young person to reach sexual maturity, girls usually entering it about a year earlier than boys.

    Among other changes wrought by puberty, there are growth spurts that create bigger bodies to manage. For girls, hips broaden, breasts swell, menstruation begins, and they can produce eggs. For boys, muscles enlarge, voice drops, ejaculation begins, and they can produce sperm. For both males and females, there is more hair around sex organs, more body odor, and more active skin glands that can create acne.

    Now young people as young as 10 to 14 are capable of participating in sexual reproduction, which doesn't mean that they immediately want to fulfill that potentiality. What it does mean, however, is that parents do need to start educating their son or daughter about socially managing sexual maturity and delaying sexual activity in a popular culture that glamorizes looking and acting sexual in every way.

    This is no time for a young person to be uninformed about what is going on in their bodies because in ignorance they will believe they are unique and wonder what is wrong with them, when nothing is. This is a time for parents to explain the process of puberty that unfolds for everyone and what changes to expect.

    An easy way to do this is for parents to search online for sites explaining puberty, find one that they like, and then read the information with their son or daughter, inviting any questions the young person may have. Normalize the process so the young person doesn't "abnormalize" themselves.

    Adolescence does not depend on puberty to start. In fact, in most cases, adolescence begins first. Parents notice the negative attitude (more criticism and complaining), the passive and active resistance (more delay and arguments), and the testing of limits (more seeing what can be gotten away with) that are the hallmarks of early adolescent change. But when puberty does begin, the adolescent transformation becomes emotionally intensified and more complex.

    Puberty now creates two problems in one. First, it creates a process problem: how to manage the physical changes that are besetting their bodies. This is the problem of self-consciousness. And second, it creates an outcome problem: how to act young manly or young womanly. This is the problem of sex-role definition.

    Start with the problem of self-consciousness. For most young people, puberty catches them at a bad time — during the early adolescent years (around ages 9-13) when they are separating from the shelter of childhood and begin striving for social belonging and place among their society of peers. Already feeling adrift from family and at sea in this brave new world of more social independence, puberty demonstrates how they are also out of control of their bodies.

    Developmental insecurity and early adolescence go hand in hand. For most young people, puberty is the enemy of self-esteem. It changes how they look at a time when physical appearance becomes more important for social acceptance and social standing.

    As body shape and characteristics alter, they feel more vulnerable on that account, whether they are physically maturing too fast or not fast enough. This is the period when self-examination is microscopic, when any new blemish can be a source of misery, when it takes much longer to "get ready" to go out, when what to wear and how to groom absorb protracted attention.

    At home, parents must remember that the changes of puberty are no laughing matter. The rule for parents is there must be no teasing, no joking, no making fun of self-preoccupation, physical appearance, bodily change, or choice of dress. There is enough of this torment from peers who are all suffering from similar insecurities themselves.

    Early adolescence is an age of intolerance, where perceived differences or departures from the dominant or desired norm are not treated kindly. Now a young woman or young man can be teased and picked on for not looking womanly or manly enough. A painfully self-conscious early adolescent can take this social cruelty very personally. "What's wrong with me?" "I hate how I look!" "I'll never fit in!" Self-esteem can plummet when being teased causes a young person to become self-rejecting.

    Or there can be a vulnerability to rumoring that can come from appearing so mature so young — peers gossiping that because you look so sexually mature you are prepared to act that way. So now you have a sexual social reputation.

    At this juncture, parents need to help the young person evaluate this cruelty for what it is. "Being teased or rumored this way shows nothing wrong with you, but it shows a lot wrong about them. They are ridiculing what they fear being attacked about themselves, and they are choosing to at mean. This mistreatment is about them, not about you."

    Now consider the problem of sex-role definition. While adolescence begins growth toward more independence, puberty adds another dimension to this journey — the need to claim one's young manhood or young womanhood. But where are young people supposed to learn these definitions?

    Certainly, there are models in the family if older siblings and parents are available to provide salient examples to follow. Even so, these are not the most commanding images at hand. It is the cultural ideals for being a man and being a woman that young people find most alluring, ideals portrayed in the images and messages and icons that media advertising and entertainment constantly communicate.

    To approximate these young manly and young womanly attributes means incorporating some of them into one's desired appearance. So come puberty, the social/sexual stereotypes kick in as young women worry about weight and thinning down their bodies by dieting, and young men worry about muscle size and strengthening their bodies by lifting weights.

    And now social role definition is added to the mix. According to stereotype, the male is encouraged to be sexual aggressor, the female is encouraged to be sexual attractor. You can literally see these images played out at the middle and high school football games, for example, where young men bulk up to play a collision sport in front of young women who dress and dance in form-fitting clothing to cheer them on. These are very incomplete sex role definitions.

    After puberty, young women who are not deemed attractive enough by their peers, and young men who are not deemed aggressive enough by their peers, can feel punished by being told and shown how they are not measuring up — girls for being too fat, boys for being too weak.

    Hopefully, at this juncture, parents can help their son or daughter escape the pressure of these dehumanizing sex role definitions by explaining a more healthy way to grow. For example, they could say something like this:

    "Don't pay too much attention to what the popular sexual stereotypes have to say about how you should be because when it comes to appreciating human variation they're very restrictive. The truth is, there are as many good ways to be a woman as there are women. There are as many good ways to be a man as there are men. And your job is to discover and develop a good way to be womanly or manly that fits and fulfills the authentic person you want to become."

    A final word needs to be said about early puberty, a reality that affects girls a significant number of girls. When puberty begins prior to the usual onset of adolescence (around ages 9-13) it can put a girl at a serious disadvantage, for several reasons:

    3 Self-Immolation

    Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc&rsquos self-immolation remains one of the most famous examples of gruesome&mdashyet nonviolent&mdashprotest in modern history. The president of the Republic of Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, favored Catholicism and had long persecuted the country&rsquos Buddhist population. Thich Quang Duc took to the streets of Saigon drenched in gasoline, set himself on fire, and burned to death in silence, sitting in the lotus position.

    China&rsquos takeover of Tibet recently sparked an epidemic of public self-immolations. At least 100 individuals have set themselves on fire to protest the actions of the Chinese government. In 2011, 12 did so as a group. By the next year, a group of more than 80 did the same. In Beijing, Tiananmen Square has been outfitted with fire extinguishers to prevent Tibetan activists from self-immolating there.

    Positive and Negative Outcomes

    Observational learning has the potential to teach and reinforce or decrease certain behaviors based on a variety of factors. Particularly prevalent in childhood, observational learning can be a key part of how we learn new skills and learn to avoid consequences. However, there has also been concern about how this type of learning can lead to negative outcomes and behaviors. Some studies, inspired by Bandura's research, focused on the effects observational learning may have on children and teenagers.

    For example, previous research drew a direct connection between playing certain violent video games and an increase in aggression in the short term. However, later research that focused on the short- and long-term impact video games may have on players has shown no direct connections between video game playing and violent behavior.

    Similarly, research looking at sexual media exposure and teenagers' sexual behavior found that, in general, there wasn't a connection between watching explicit content and having sex within the following year.

    Another study indicated that if teenagers ages 14 and 15 of the same sex consumed sexual media together and/or if parents restricted the amount of sexual content watched, the likelihood of having sex was lower. The likelihood of sexual intercourse increased when opposite-sex peers consumed sexual content together.

    Research indicates that when it comes to observational learning, individuals don't just imitate what they see and that context matters. This may include who the model is, who the observer is with, and parental involvement.

    Watch the video: Teen Pregnancy (January 2023).