What Is This Thing Called Sex?

Hollander, Dore
March 1999
Family Planning Perspectives;Mar/Apr99, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p54
Academic Journal
This article provides information on a survey of 353 female and 245 male US. college students, conducted in 1991, which concerned their views on penile-vaginal intercourse. All of the students said that penile-vaginal intercourse counts as having sex, but substantially few said that penile-anal intercourse and oral-genital contact qualify. Only 14-15 percent of respondents considered manual genital stimulation to meet the criteria, and just 2-3 percent said that deep kissing and oral or manual stimulation of the breasts or nipples can be called having sex. Among students whose most intimate sexual experience was oral-genital contact, 75 percent did not classify such an activity as having sex. Such findings, according to the researchers, offer empirical evidence of the need for behavioral specificity when collecting data on sexual histories and sexual partners.


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