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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, perineum and mons pubis
- 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". Majority of the scholars agree that the entire body except the face and hands should be covered in public or in front of unrelated non-Muslim women and in front of unrelated men. The exceptions are the scholars from Hanafi school of thought, which has the largest number of followers, which agree that the feet are not part of the awrah and therefore may be revealed. Meanwhile, majority of scholars consider every parts of body from navel to knees as awrah for male.
Exposure of one's intimate parts, particularly unintended exposure such as a wardrobe malfunction, 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.
Naturism is an ethical and lifestyle choice that is characterized by the practice of nudity both alone and in groups. It holds that nakedness is not automatically a sexual state and that the norms of society can be upheld even when all are nude. It holds that covered areas of the body are in fact a social construct.
- "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.
- International Naturist Federation Welcome page. Retrieved Jan 2015