Sex

"Sex" may include many things, from intimate touching to vaginal or anal intercourse.

These terms are often used:

  • Sexual contact may involve genital touching, skin-to-skin contact, mutual masturbation, mouth-to-genital contact (oral sex), or sexual intercourse.
  • Sexual intercourse most often refers to vaginal sex (penis into the vagina). But it may also include oral sex (mouth to penis, vagina, or anus) or anal sex (penis into the anus).
  • Having sex may describe sex between a man and a woman, between two men, or between two women.

Sexual intercourse and some types of sexual contact can spread disease. Practicing safe sex, such as using condoms, can reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.

Last Updated: July 2, 2008

Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease

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