Sex Ed
Sex Ed

How Do You Define Sex?

And what do we really mean?

How Do You Define Sex?

Ever wonder… what is sex? We live in a society that is saturated with references and euphemisms for sexual activity. It’s everywhere, and is present in most areas of our lives. Sex is on the brain for lots of people, and not just men.

Most people treat sex like the secret society no one talks about. Talking about sex can be embarrassing, and we get a lot of mixed messages about when it’s OK to bring it up or not. From a young age, most of us receive the message that it’s not an open subject, and tend to get negative reactions when we asked about it… What does this mean? Most of us never got a good sex education. If this is you… don’t worry. You are not alone!

How Do People Define What Sex Is?

When asked, most people aren’t really able to clearly articulate what sex is. Everyone will give you a different definition based on their experiences. Many people view sex as fun, intimate, passionate, emotional, and between two people or more people. When most people think about sex, they think about intercourse between a penis and a vulva. Sex covers much more than that. It can include anal sex, oral sex, or the use of just the hands in someone’s genital area. Sex can occur between two people, or multiple at a time. Sexual activity can occur between people of any gender.

The world health organization defines sexual health by looking at the whole picture of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. This incorporates all the different aspects of our health that can be impacted by sex.

Defining Sex By the Whole Picture

The best way to look at defining sex is by taking a cue from looking at sexual health, and incorporating all the different ways we interact with it in our lives. This can be broken down into five main areas: physical, emotional, mental, social, and moral.

The physical aspect of sex represents the physical act itself. Here we talk about things like different positions, physical gratification, sexual health, and more. The emotional aspect covers our feelings and attachments to sex, and our sexual partners. It is here where we consider love and emotional well being.

The mental aspect holds our thoughts and knowledge about sex. It is here where we would talk about our experience, history, and prejudice. The social aspect helps us relate our sex lives to those of others. Here we consider how others in our social circles, and society, perceive sexual activity, and how it impacts our choices. Lastly, the moral aspect is where we look at our spiritual and moral beliefs about sex. It holds space for our beliefs surrounding sex in and out of relationships, as well as what a satisfying and healthy sex life looks like.

With all the different ways of thinking about sex, no wonder it can be hard to define! How you choose to define it will depend on which parts are more important to you. Everyone will define it differently.

Join the Conversation and Discover More About Sex

Sex is not the be all, end all of life. There is more to life than just sex, and that doesn’t change that sex can be a fulfilling part of your life. Part of our journey through this world is figuring out what things mean to us, and how we fit in with the grand scheme of things. Sex is another piece of the puzzle. Don’t be afraid of that. As our friends from the streets established, sex is fun. Why shouldn’t talking about it be? Post your comment below with your definition of what sex is!

Check out the other great articles, games, and more on my website.

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Teela Hudak

Teela is a Vancouver-based Sex Educator & Relationship Expert. Learn more at:

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