Types[ edit ] Gerda Wegener 's artwork "Les delassements d'Eros" "The recreations of Eros" , which depicts sexual activity by two women Sexual activity can be classified in a number of ways: If there are more than two participants in the sex act, it may be referred to as group sex.
Autoerotic sexual activity can involve use of dildos , vibrators , anal beads , and other sex toys , though these devices can also be used with a partner. Sexual activity can be classified into the gender and sexual orientation of the participants, as well as by the relationship of the participants.
For example, the relationships can be ones of marriage, intimate partners , casual sex partners or anonymous. Sexual activity can be regarded as conventional or as alternative , involving, for example, fetishism , paraphilia , or BDSM activities. The object of desire can often be shoes, boots, lingerie, clothing, leather or rubber items.
Some non-conventional autoerotic practices can be dangerous. These include erotic asphyxiation and self-bondage. The potential for injury or even death that exists while engaging in the partnered versions of these fetishes choking and bondage , respectively becomes drastically increased in the autoerotic case due to the isolation and lack of assistance in the event of a problem.
Sexual activity can be consensual, which means that both or all participants agree to take part and are of the age that they can consent, or it may take place under force or duress, which is often called sexual assault or rape. In different cultures and countries, various sexual activities may be lawful or illegal in regards to the age, gender, marital status or other factors of the participants, or otherwise contrary to social norms or generally accepted sexual morals.
Stages of physiological arousal during sexual stimulation[ edit ] This Indian Kama sutra illustration, which shows a woman on top of a man, depicts the male erection, which is one of the physiological responses to sexual arousal for men.
The physiological responses during sexual stimulation are fairly similar for both men and women and there are four phases. Men and women experience a " sex flush " on the skin of the upper body and face. Typically, a woman's vagina becomes lubricated and her clitoris becomes swollen. During the plateau phase, heart rate and muscle tension increase further. A man's urinary bladder closes to prevent urine from mixing with semen. A woman's clitoris may withdraw slightly and there is more lubrication, outer swelling and muscles tighten and reduction of diameter.
Though generally reported that women do not experience a refractory period and thus can experience an additional orgasm, or multiple orgasms soon after the first,   some sources state that both men and women experience a refractory period because women may also experience a period after orgasm in which further sexual stimulation does not produce excitement.
From a biochemical perspective, sex causes the release of endorphins and increases levels of white blood cells that actually boost the immune system. A study published in the journal Biological Psychology described how men who had had sex the previous night responded better to stressful situations, it suggested that if a person is regularly sexual, they're regularly relaxed, and when the person is relaxed, they cope better with stressful situations.
Motivations[ edit ] "Pity sex" redirects here. For the American rock band, see Pity Sex. People engage in sexual activity for any of a multitude of possible reasons. Although the primary evolutionary purpose of sexual activity is reproduction, research on college students suggested that people have sex for four general reasons: Sexual arousal can also be experienced from foreplay and flirting, and from fetish or BDSM activities,   or other erotic activities.
Most commonly, people engage in sexual activity because of the sexual desire generated by a person to whom they feel sexual attraction ; but they may engage in sexual activity for the physical satisfaction they achieve in the absence of attraction for another, as in the case of casual or social sex.
A person may engage in sexual activity for purely monetary considerations, or to obtain some advantage from either the partner or the activity. A man and woman may engage in sexual intercourse with the objective of conception. Some people engage in hate sex, which occurs between two people who strongly dislike or annoy each other. It is related to the idea that opposition between two people can heighten sexual tension , attraction and interest. Joan Roughgarden , in her book Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People, postulates that this applies equally to humans as it does to other social species.
She explores the purpose of sexual activity and demonstrates that there are many functions facilitated by such activity including pair bonding, group bonding, dispute resolution and reproduction. The self-determination theory can be applied to a sexual relationship when the participants have positive feelings associated with the relationship. These participants do not feel guilty or coerced into the partnership.
The purpose of this model is to connect self-determination and sexual motivation. This model also links the positive outcomes, satisfying the need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness gained from sexual motivations. When this need was satisfied, they felt better about themselves.
This was correlated with greater closeness to their partner and higher overall satisfaction in their relationship.
It was concluded that females had more motivation than males to engage in sexual activity for self-determined reasons. You may improve this article , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new article , as appropriate. June See also: Sexually active life expectancy The frequency of sexual activity might range from zero sexual abstinence to 15 or 20 times a week. According to the Kinsey Institute , the average frequency of sexual intercourse in the US for individuals who have partners is times per year age 18—29 , 86 times per year age 30—39 , and 69 times per year age 40— Adolescent sexuality The age at which adolescents tend to become sexually active varies considerably between different cultures and from time to time.
See Prevalence of virginity. The first sexual act of a child or adolescent is sometimes referred to as the sexualization of the child, and may be considered as a milestone or a change of status, as the loss of virginity or innocence. Youth are legally free to have intercourse after they reach the age of consent.
This figure rises with each grade. Males are more sexually active than females at each of the grade levels surveyed. Sexual activity of young adolescents differs in ethnicity as well. A higher percent of African American and Hispanic adolescents are sexually active than White adolescents. Female adolescents tended to engage in more sexual activity due to positive mood. In female teenagers, engaging in sexual activity was directly positively correlated with being older, greater sexual activity in the previous week or prior day, and more positive mood the previous day or the same day as the sexual activity occurred.
Sexual experiences help teenagers understand pleasure and satisfaction. In a rural upstate New York community, a cross-sectional study of teenagers was completed in and Teenagers who had their first sexual experience at age 16 revealed a higher well-being than those who were sexually inexperienced or who were first sexually active at a later age of There are four main types of risks that may arise from sexual activity: Unintended pregnancy Any sexual activity that involves the introduction of semen into a woman's vagina, such as during sexual intercourse, or even contact of semen with her vulva, may result in a pregnancy.
Sexually transmitted infections[ edit ] Main article: Sexually transmitted infection Sexual activity that involves skin-to-skin contact, exposure to an infected person's bodily fluids or mucosal membranes  carries the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. People may not be able to detect that their sexual partner has one or more STIs, for example if they are asymptomatic show no symptoms.
Both partners may opt be tested for STIs before engaging in sex. Crab lice typically are found attached to hair in the pubic area but sometimes are found on coarse hair elsewhere on the body for example, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, mustache, chest, armpits, etc. Pubic lice infestations pthiriasis are spread through direct contact with someone who is infested with the louse.
Sexuality in older age Typically, older men and women maintaining interest in sexual interest and activity could be therapeutic; it is a way of expressing their love and care for one another. Factors such as biological and psychological factors, diseases, mental conditions, boredom with the relationship, and widowhood have been found to contribute with the common decrease in sexual interest and activity in old age.
National sex surveys given in Finland in the s revealed aging men had a higher incidence of sexual intercourse compared to aging women and that women were more likely to report a lack of sexual desire compared to men. Regression analysis, factors considered important to female sexual activity included: Both aging genders agreed they needed good health, good sexual functioning, positive sexual self-esteem, and a sexually skilful partner to maintain sexual desire.