Would You Say You "Had Sex" With Someone If You...
A study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University concludes that people have no idea what it means to have "had sex."
After asking a sample of 18- to 96-year-olds whether they considered certain intimate acts as having "had sex," the researchers saw no uniform consensus. Of the respondents, 95% consider penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) as having had sex, but only 89% still think PVI is sex if there is no ejaculation.
Around 30% of the study participants did not consider oral sex as sex. A mere 20% thought anal sex was sex. Asked about oral contact with a partner's genitals (OG), 71% of men and 73% of women considered it to be sex. Whether or not OG was sex was no different if the respondent was performing or receiving.
Kinsey Institute research associate Brandon Hill warned, "Researchers, doctors, parents, sex educators should all be very careful and not assume that their own definition of sex is shared by the person they're talking to, be it a patient, a student, a child or study participant."
William L. Yarber, senior director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, co-authored the study at the Kinsey Institute in conjunction with the RCAP. Yarber emphasizes the need to be specific about behaviors when talking about sex.
"There's a vagueness of what sex is in our culture and media," Yarber said. "If people don't consider certain behaviors sex, they might not think sexual health messages about risk pertain to them. The AIDS epidemic has forced us to be much more specific about behaviors, as far as identifying specific behaviors that put people at risk instead of just sex in general. But there's still room for improvement."
Images Courtesy of Indiana University