Portal:Sexuality

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Welcome to the human sexuality portal

Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle. Someone's sexual orientation can influence that person's sexual interest and attraction for another person. Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality include bonds between individuals that are expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of love, trust, and care. Social aspects deal with the effects of human society on one's sexuality, while spirituality concerns an individual's spiritual connection with others. Sexuality also affects and is affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, moral, ethical, and religious aspects of life.

Interest in sexual activity typically increases when an individual reaches puberty. Opinions differ on the origins of an individual's sexual orientation and sexual behavior. Some argue that sexuality is determined by genetics, while others believe it is molded by the environment, or that both of these factors interact to form the individual's sexual orientation. This pertains to the nature versus nurture debate. In the former, one assumes that the features of a person innately correspond to their natural inheritance, exemplified by drives and instincts; the latter refers to the assumption that the features of a person continue to change throughout their development and nurturing, exemplified by ego ideals and formative identifications.

Evolutionary perspectives on human coupling, reproduction and reproduction strategies, and social learning theory provide further views of sexuality. Socio-cultural aspects of sexuality include historical developments and religious beliefs. Examples of these include Jewish views on sexual pleasure within marriage and some views of other religions on avoidance of sexual pleasures.[page needed] Some cultures have been described as sexually repressive. The study of sexuality also includes human identity within social groups, sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), and birth control methods.

Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts, ranging from activities done alone (e.g., masturbation) to acts with another person (e.g., sexual intercourse, non-penetrative sex, oral sex, etc.) in varying patterns of frequency, for a wide variety of reasons. Sexual activity usually results in sexual arousal and physiological changes in the aroused person, some of which are pronounced while others are more subtle. Sexual activity may also include conduct and activities which are intended to arouse the sexual interest of another or enhance the sex life of another, such as strategies to find or attract partners (courtship and display behaviour), or personal interactions between individuals (for instance, foreplay or BDSM). Sexual activity may follow sexual arousal.

Human sexual activity has sociological, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and biological aspects; these include personal bonding, sharing emotions and the physiology of the reproductive system, sex drive, sexual intercourse and sexual behaviour in all its forms.

In some cultures, sexual activity is considered acceptable only within marriage, while premarital and extramarital sex are taboo. Some sexual activities are illegal either universally or in some countries or subnational jurisdictions, while some are considered contrary to the norms of certain societies or cultures. Two examples that are criminal offences in most jurisdictions are sexual assault and sexual activity with a person below the local age of consent.

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Male and female couple holding hands

Heterosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between persons of opposite sex or gender in the gender binary. As a sexual orientation, heterosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to persons of the opposite sex; it "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions."

Heterosexuality is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation along with bisexuality and homosexuality, which are each parts of the heterosexual–homosexual continuum.

The term heterosexual or heterosexuality is usually applied to humans, but it is also observed in all mammals. The word heterosexual is etymologically formed by adding the combining form of Greek έτερος heteros (meaning "different" or "other") as a prefix to "sexuality".

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Novelty urinals in a bar in Brighton, an example of sexual humor
Novelty urinals in a bar in Brighton, an example of sexual humor

Sexuality in the news

6 November 2018 – Colorado gubernatorial election, 2018
Jared Polis becomes the first openly gay person and second openly LGBT person elected as a governor in the United States. (Time)
22 October 2018 – Transgender rights
The Trump administration through the United States Department of Health and Human Services plans to include a legal definition of gender in the federal civil rights Title IX law. The proposed alteration to the law would define gender as an unchangeable anatomical and genetic condition determined at birth. Members of the LGBT community plan to contest the move, which they state would largely end protections for transgender Americans. (The New York Times) (NPR)

Did you know...

German prostitute
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Sada Abe.jpg

 • ... that because of an effort to curb the spread of STDs, prostitution in Germany has been legal since the 1920s? (German prostitute pictured)
 • ... that some people in the BDSM community are sexually aroused by being gagged? (ball gag pictured)
 • ... that a strap-on dildo (pictured) may be used by heterosexual couples for the sexual practice of pegging?
 • ... that the Exotic World Burlesque Museum is located on the site of an abandoned goat farm?
 • ... that the story of Sada Abe (pictured), a woman who cut off her dead lover's genitals and carried them around with her for days, is one of Japan's most notorious scandals?

2004-2005

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