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An intimate part, personal part or private part is a place on the human body which is customarily kept covered by clothing in public venues and conventional settings, as a matter of decency, decorum, and respectfulness.
- the buttocks, anus and perineum
- for males: the penis and scrotum
- for females: the vulva (including pudendal cleft) and breasts
The term intimate parts may be construed to mean only the external body parts that are visible when naked, rather than the body parts more commonly referred to. For example, when naked, a woman's pudendal cleft is predominantly visible rather than the vagina, and a man's scrotum is visible rather than the testes which are contained within.
Female breasts are considered as parts that would be covered in most contexts, but with a degree of tolerance for toplessness varying in different regions and cultures. For example, Fischtein, Herold and Desmarais (2005) found that acceptance of toplessness in a sample of Canadians varied depending on both personal factors (such as the respondent's gender, age, and religion) and contextual factors (i.e. toplessness in streets, parks, or beaches).
In some periods of European history, female shoulders and legs may have been considered intimate parts. More conservative viewpoints in the West in some contexts still find it appropriate that females should cover their shoulders, particularly when entering a church or other sacred space.
In Islamic traditions, the definition of awrah is similar to the definition of intimate parts in Western culture. The extent of cover for the female body depends upon the situation, but may include the hair, shoulders and neck in addition to the aforementioned "intimate parts". The entire body except the face and hands should be covered in public or in front of unrelated men. The Hanafi school of thought, which is followed by most Muslims in the world, agree that the feet are not part of the awrah and therefore may be revealed.
Exposure of one's intimate parts, particularly unintended exposure, is typically connected with feelings of shame. Such exposure may be subject to strict social rules, social control and criminal justice; see indecent exposure.
Intentionally touching the intimate parts of another person, even through clothing, is often associated with sexual intent. If this is done without legally valid consent of the person being touched, it is considered groping or in some cases sexual harassment or sexual assault.
- "Health Information—Find Articles, Tools, and Tips at MerckEngage.com". Mercksource.com. 2011-06-25. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- Fischtein, Dayna S.; Herold, Edward S.; Desmarais, Serge (2005). "Canadian attitudes toward female topless behaviour: a national survey". The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- "Religions - Islam: Hijab". BBC. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2011-08-21.