Interesting...What's your definition of Sex?

Sara - posted on 03/09/2010 ( 61 moms have responded )

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- When people say they "had sex," what transpired is anyone's guess. A new study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that no uniform consensus existed when a representative sample of 18- to 96-year-olds was asked what the term meant to them.

Is oral sex considered sex? It wasn't to around 30 percent of the study participants. How about anal sex? For around 20 percent of the participants, no. A surprising number of older men did not consider penile-vaginal intercourse to be sex. More than idle gossip, the answers to questions about sex can inform -- or misinform -- research, medical advice and health education efforts.

"Researchers, doctors, parents, sex educators should all be very careful and not assume that their own definition of sex is shared by the person they're talking to, be it a patient, a student, a child or study participant," said Brandon Hill, research associate at the Kinsey Institute.

The study, conducted in conjunction with the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, delves deeper into a question first examined in 1999 -- in the midst of a presidential sex scandal where the definition of sex was an issue. Researchers from The Kinsey Institute asked college students what "had sex" meant to them, taking the approach, which was unique then, of polling the students on specific behaviors.

No consensus was found then, either. The new study, published in the international health journal Sexual Health in February, examined whether more information helped clarify matters -- study participants were asked about specific sexual behaviors and such qualifiers as whether orgasm was reached -- and researchers also wanted to involve a more representative audience, not just college students.

"Throwing the net wider, with a more representative sample, only made it more confusing and complicated," Hill said. "People were even less consistent across the board."

The study involved responses from 486 Indiana residents who took part in a telephone survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research at IU. Participants, mostly heterosexual, were asked, "Would you say you 'had sex' with someone if the most intimate behavior you engaged in was ...," followed by 14 behaviorally specific items. Here are some of the results:

Responses did not differ significantly overall for men and women. The study involved 204 men and 282 women.
95 percent of respondents would consider penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) having had sex, but this rate drops to 89 percent if there is no ejaculation.
81 percent considered penile-anal intercourse having had sex, with the rate dropping to 77 percent for men in the youngest age group (18-29), 50 percent for men in the oldest age group (65 and up) and 67 percent for women in the oldest age group.
71 percent and 73 percent considered oral contact with a partner's genitals (OG), either performing or receiving, as having had sex.
Men in the youngest and oldest age groups were less likely to answer "yes" compared with the middle two age groups for when they performed OG.
Significantly fewer men in the oldest age group answered "yes" for PVI (77 percent).
Hill said it is common for a doctor, when seeing a patient with symptoms of sexually transmitted infections, to ask how many sexual partners the patient has or has had. The number will differ according to the patients' definitions of sex.

William L. Yarber, RCAP's senior director and co-author of the study, said its findings reaffirm the need to be specific about behaviors when talking about sex

"There's a vagueness of what sex is in our culture and media," Yarber said. "If people don't consider certain behaviors sex, they might not think sexual health messages about risk pertain to them. The AIDS epidemic has forced us to be much more specific about behaviors, as far as identifying specific behaviors that put people at risk instead of just sex in general. But there's still room for improvement."

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Exactly what Sharon said, but I would go further and say not just when a penis and a body part is involved. If a penis OR a vagina is involved or if there is some kind of sexual stimulation and arousal involved, then it is sex.

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61 Comments

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Krista - posted on 05/05/2010

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Baby feet are the best. My little guy slept in two-piece, footless pyjamas for the first time last night, and when I went in to check on him, I couldn't get over how absurdly cute he looked with his little bare feet poking out, and his diaper sticking out the back of his pyjama pants. I'd love to take a picture, but his room is dark, so I know it wouldn't turn out.

I'm just now reading the rest of this thread, and it's highly entertaining. LOL@ skullfucking!

C. - posted on 05/05/2010

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That's why I had to keep reassuring my husband that our son's feet were innocent :) It's so funny to see so many adult women grossed out by feet! LOLOL!! *sigh* These conversations are really getting fun!



'Badabababa.. I'm lovin it.'

C. - posted on 05/05/2010

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HA! Carol.. My husband did the same thing when he saw me touch my son's feet! I kept telling him "he's still got innocent feet, so it's Ok!"



And I am the same way about getting pedicures and not wanting my feet touched otherwise.. And me touching feet.. Forget it. You're not alone :)

Johnny - posted on 05/04/2010

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Okay, and I realize that getting pedicures but not wanting my feet touched is a total contradiction. I never claimed to be consistent.

Johnny - posted on 05/04/2010

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If my hubby had a thing for feet, it would have been a deal breaker. That is one thing that I can not handle. I have such an aversion to feet that when our daughter was born and I was cooing over her adorable little toes, my hubby stood there in stunned silence. He could not believe that I was willing to touch and kiss her toes, because I won't even give him a foot massage. It's not that I'm bothered by people wearing sandals, and I love getting pedicures (although giving one would be on my worst jobs list). I just don't want to touch other people's feet or have mine touched. Ugh! And besides, my hubby's feet look like Froddo's from Lord of the Rings (but bigger).

C. - posted on 05/04/2010

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Haha.. That's interesting. No, my husband doesn't really have a thing for feet.. He just does things (like puts his feet all over my arm, by my face, etc) b/c he thinks it's funny to watch me flip out.. Little turd. LOL

Rosie - posted on 05/04/2010

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my hubbys got the thing for feet as well! sometimes that's all he wants is to kiss my feet, lol!! i politely oblige of course, but i was a little freaked out at first..

C. - posted on 05/04/2010

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I just tried it and I can do it, too! That's freaky.. I don't think I'll be doing that very often :)

Isobel - posted on 05/04/2010

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I can too...my dad calls them my monkey feet, and my mom can move her baby toe in circles without moving the rest of them :D

C. - posted on 05/04/2010

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HA! My husband and I do that, too (take our socks off with our toes.. And I have been known to pinch a fallen item of dirty laundry and hobble to the laundry room with it in toe (get it? LOL.. instead of tow) while my arms are full of laundry).. And despite that, I still hate feet! Totally off topic.. But what freaks my mom out is that I can spread my toes far apart w/o putting my hands to them.. She always tells me it makes my feet look like hands lol! I do it just to give her the willies..

Jocelyn - posted on 05/04/2010

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Eeeew you guys; I have a thing about feet...I will touch them if they are clean, but other than that feet can stay the hell away from me... Jordan's got freaky feet tho, they are like hands; he pinches me and takes his socks off with his toes o_0 gawd lol
and ROFL@ foot breath!

C. - posted on 05/04/2010

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Oh gross! That's just nasty, Sharon.. I'm with Jodi.. I think I might have to go throw up as well.

Jodi - posted on 05/04/2010

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Ew, Sharon, that's even worse than the thought of foot breath!!!! I think I'm going to have to throw up now!!!

Sharon - posted on 05/04/2010

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Lmao@footbreath... oh gross... can you get foot fungus in your mouth?

Emma - posted on 05/04/2010

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LOL
Foot fetish is actually so common i don't know why its a fetish any more...

C. - posted on 05/03/2010

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HAHAHA!! He would, too! And then he'd come after me, trying to kiss me w/ foot breath!

C. - posted on 05/03/2010

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Good Heavens.. What has this thread come to? Having a foot phobia, I could never suck someone's toes for any amount of money. My husband likes me to rub his feet and I find it hard just doing that most of the time.. But I do it.. Out of love. I could never put my mouth to even a freshly scrubbed foot, though.

Isobel - posted on 05/03/2010

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For the record, I don't think it's possible to get your toes sucked without making noise...you should try it some time ;P

Sharon - posted on 05/03/2010

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Oh I meant to add... if I have to make noise or wiggle my toes its $10K...



you know whats scary? that this stuff is coming to mind and I can come up with scenarios and conditions off the top of my head.. damn...

Sharon - posted on 05/03/2010

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ok, toe sucking? $5000, at the least. and um damn what does the woman do in the meantime?

Charlie - posted on 05/03/2010

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A guy once asked my cousin if he could do it to her for a thousand dollars , she declined :X

Charlie - posted on 05/03/2010

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Some people get their kicks simply by having their toes sucked !!

I have some very crude guy friends /:o

Charlie - posted on 05/03/2010

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I believe when engaging in the before mentioned any orifice of the head is acceptable .

I dont know its what i hear ................LOL

Jodi - posted on 05/03/2010

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Thank you Loureen for clarifying that.....you've all corrupted my innocence!!! Geez, that's kind of......fucked up.

Suzette - posted on 05/03/2010

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Loureen, I'd heard the term before but I didn't know people *actually* did that... so very wrong... lmao!!

Jodi - posted on 05/03/2010

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"Missing eye sex (read that once in a dirty magazine - I didn't believe it, but the image is STUCK in my head)"

Shit Sharon, I nearly spat my cuppa all over the keyboard. LMFAO!!!

Sharon - posted on 05/03/2010

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LOL Suzette, knowing myself so well.... I'm not entirely sure we can base being a virgin on a hymen being intact.



I think with todays' videos and pictures and general talk etc... your hymen can be intact Or in the case of boys, never have known a woman, and yet you're no virgin.



Yeah technically speaking, yes you are, but mentally.... hahahaha

Suzette - posted on 05/03/2010

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Sharon...

You made me laugh with...

Armpit sex, back of the knee sex, belly button sex, and missing eye sex (WTH?!!! GROSS!!!)



I definitely agree with you that if the penis and any part of the body is involved then it is sex. (Or if you're - generally speaking- lesbian/gay then the same applies for your body parts as well.)



I don't know about Masturbation being sex though... if that were the case I don't know that we'd have any virgins in the world. We might have to do a study to find out if all the virgins have masturbated to find out. Now if you're masturbating for someone, maybe that's sex... confusing.



Sex is definitely different from intimacy, I agree.

Sharon - posted on 05/03/2010

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Wow.... considering that so few people know what sex is, its no damn wonder infertility is on the rise.



Sex is....



phone sex

anal sex

oral sex

vaginal sex

armpit sex

back of the knee sex

belly button sex,

Missing eye sex (read that once in a dirty magazine - I didn't believe it, but the image is STUCK in my head)



IF the dick and a part of the body is involved its SEX.



If you are touching yourself to stimulate arousal or climax - its sex.



Sex is different from intimacy.

C. - posted on 05/03/2010

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I feel that being physical (touching privates with hands, being all over each other, etc) is IMO sex. It's not sexual intercourse, and I think we can ALL agree what that entails, but it is sex. And I also feel that any kind of oral or anal sex is still considered sex (in other words if a virgin does those things, IMO she isn't a virgin anymore). I believe sex is sex is sex, no matter how politely you try to put it. A sexual act is a sexual act.

Emma - posted on 05/03/2010

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Well i don't know if its true or just media hype, but they said that more and more Teens where engaging in Anal and Oral sex as to maintain there virginity, as they don't conciser these acts to be Sex . If i remember correctly the belief was if you can not get pregnant its not really sex... Scary thought..

Tah - posted on 03/14/2010

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scares me to think what some young punk is telling my babygirl...so im telling first....

Charlie - posted on 03/13/2010

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Sex to me is any sexual act from penetration to oral even mutual masturbation is a sex act .

And i agree Patricia it wouldnt be called Oral SEX and anal SEX if it wasnt in fact sex or sexual act and this type of thinking that oral and anal is not sex is a very dangerous road to tread especially for young teens who are being taught this ( mainly by their peers ) because these acts are no longer deemed sex in their minds they dont attach the dangers and consequences of doing oral or anal , it is then given out much more freely and willingly without any thought of the sexual and mental health risks associated with sex as a whole for those to young or immature to know any better .

Patricia - posted on 03/11/2010

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If "SEX" is penis within vagina to most,than why are we adding "SEX" after the words oral and anal?

Jess - posted on 03/11/2010

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Do researchers have nothing better to do with their time ? Are we that well educated on everything else, because they are really scrapping the barrel on this one !



I have never had a convesation where anyone has needed me to clarrify what I meant by "sex". Anything else just really isn't sex is it ? Oral is Oral, using your hand/finger(s) is just that and Anal.... well its a form of sex... it really is just something else isn't it. Never seen the appeal on that one personally !

Tah - posted on 03/09/2010

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i guess bill clinton may not have actually known he was lying then...lol

Jocelyn - posted on 03/09/2010

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I just read this in the paper the other day! Sara you beat me too it :P
Anyways, I'm with Kati on this. If I say sex I mean penis/vagina sex. If it's anything other that that I will clarify. But if for some reason I am talking about a gay couple, then when I say sex I mean anal sex; I'll still clarify if it's oral. But it's not too often I go around talking about gay sex lmao.

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