Portal:Human 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 with historical contexts 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 is their pattern of sexual interest in the opposite or same sex. 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. Although no single theory on the cause of sexual orientation has yet gained widespread support, there is considerably more evidence supporting nonsocial causes of sexual orientation than social ones, especially for males. Hypothesized social causes are supported by only weak evidence, distorted by numerous confounding factors. This is further supported by cross-cultural evidence, because cultures that are very tolerant of homosexuality do not have significantly higher rates of it.

Evolutionary perspectives on human coupling, reproduction and reproduction strategies, and social learning theory provide further views of sexuality. Sociocultural aspects of sexuality include historical developments and religious beliefs. 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.

Selected article

19th-century erotic interpretation of Hadrian and Antinous, by Paul Avril

Anal sex or anal intercourse is generally the insertion and thrusting of the erect penis into a person's anus, or anus and rectum, for sexual pleasure. Other forms of anal sex include fingering, the use of sex toys for anal penetration, oral sex performed on the anus (anilingus), and pegging. Though the term anal sex most commonly means penile-anal penetration, sources sometimes use the term anal intercourse to refer exclusively to penile-anal penetration, and anal sex to refer to any form of anal sexual activity, especially between pairings as opposed to anal masturbation.

While anal sex is commonly associated with male homosexuality, research shows that not all gay males engage in anal sex and that it is not uncommon in heterosexual relationships. Types of anal sex can also be a part of lesbian sexual practices. People may experience pleasure from anal sex by stimulation of the anal nerve endings, and orgasm may be achieved through anal penetration – by indirect stimulation of the prostate in men, indirect clitoral/G-spot stimulation in women, and associated sensory nerves (especially the pudendal nerve). However, people may also find anal sex painful, sometimes extremely so, which may be primarily due to psychological factors in some cases.

Selected image

Early condom package, Spain, ca 1894-1939
Early condom package, Spain, ca 1894-1939

Did you know

The Washington Court Building in Seattle, former site of Lou Graham's brothel.
Monument to Mother Featherlegs near Lusk, Wyoming

July-December 2006

Human sexuality in the news

8 August 2020 – LGBT rights in Poland
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatović urges Polish authorities to "immediately release" an LGBT rights activist detained on Friday. The activist was arrested on charges of hooliganism and vandalism. Yesterday, 48 pro-LGBT protesters were also arrested when they tried to stop police from detaining the activist. (The First News)
Thousands of protesters march in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, demanding the release of the activist. (Reuters).
25 July 2020 – 2020 Thai protests, LGBT rights in Thailand
An LGBT group gathers at the Democracy Monument, Bangkok, to call for legalization of same-sex marriage in addition to the three demands stated by Free Youths. (Prachatai)
23 July 2020 – LGBT rights in Israel
Israeli MPs pass a bill to begin the process to outlaw conversion therapy, being the first Middle Eastern country to do so. The bill was passed as two of the main coalition parties joined the opposition in supporting it. It must pass two more approvals to become a new law. (BBC)

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