?

Log in

No account? Create an account
So What Exactly Is Sex? In fiction and in real life - Mo's Journal Page 2
January 12th, 2008
02:43 pm

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
So What Exactly Is Sex? In fiction and in real life
This was kestrelsparhawk's idea. I hope she doesn't mind that I ran with it. It's another terminology post. I'm looking to see what people's views are of what "counts" as having sex. In all cases, assume that the behavior is occurring within a sexual context. So, the kissing should be assumed to be of a sexual nature (whether or not you consider it "having sex") and not just friendly/platonic. Similarly, penetration with fingers or objects in the course of a medical examination would not be what we're talking about with those scenarios.

It's check boxes, not radio buttons, so check off as many as you think count, as long as each one would be sufficient for you to label the activity as "having sex."

I'd like to get as many respondents as I can, so please send people here. The icon is a virtual truffle to thank you for participating.

What is Sex?Collapse )

Tags: ,

(117 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
Page 2 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
[User Picture]
From:red_day_dawning
Date:January 13th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
(Link)
I guess I would describe an activity as sex if it involves the genitals and/or orgasm, regardless of the participants. If further differentiation were required, I suppose I could divide it between penetrative and non-penetrative sex.
Who the participants are - male, female, married, single, is irrelevant.
[User Picture]
From:neotoma
Date:January 13th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
(Link)
A kissed B on other parts of her body, but not genitals.

I'd say no for this because it's fairly general; kissing someone's *hand* could be counted under that description, and that's not necessarily foreplay, let alone sex.

I say sex is anything done intended to end in orgasm, whether or not it is actually achieved. But then, I like stories featuring Non-Penetrative Nookie.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
(Link)

I'd say no for this because it's fairly general; kissing someone's *hand* could be counted under that description, and that's not necessarily foreplay, let alone sex.


Well I did say that whether or not you consider the specific acts "having sex" you should assume they are occurring in a sexual context between two people. So it's not kissing a hand in greeting - it's erotic kissing of one kind or another, but it could be sucking on someone's finger...

I say sex is anything done intended to end in orgasm, whether or not it is actually achieved.

One of the themes that's emerging is intent. Some, like you, think the intent needs to be orgasm for it to be sex. Others think the intent needs to be giving pleasure as well as receiving.

If the couple specifically intended to stop whatever they were doing before orgasm, would you then consider it not sex, regardless of what they were doing? I think lots of people factor in intent, but it's not the be-all and end-all.
[User Picture]
From:differente
Date:January 13th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
(Link)
(i have to admit to not having read the other comments...)

i don't believe sex without coming isn't sex. however, if someone has an orgasm through an act not usually considered as sex (like being kissed on the mouth, or the hand), well, it does become sex to me...
and it can still be logical, it only adds other variables to the equation.

the heterosexual married politician made me think, though... my definition of sex probably changes in that case (so to be more lenient with him and perhaps lessen the repercussions?) but then there's having sex and cheating...

and then, the old question (which was probably raised in the comments) what is sex for f/f? caressing someone can become sex. or not. usually, it's true that coming helps in the act becoming sex...

in any case, i'd say if you think it's sex, then it probably is.
(same as if you consider yourself gay/straight/queer/transgendered/boi/femme/latino/geek/nerd/bookish/sporty-ish/cool/any different culture, then, good for you.)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
(Link)

i don't believe sex without coming isn't sex. however, if someone has an orgasm through an act not usually considered as sex (like being kissed on the mouth, or the hand), well, it does become sex to me...


So... are both people "having sex" or just the one who comes, in a scenario where someone has an orgasm during an activity that doesn't usually lead to it? I'm not expecting you necessarily to have an answer to that, just musing on how every answer to this leads to more questions iykwim.
[User Picture]
From:midnitemaraud_r
Date:January 13th, 2008 06:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
While I don't consider kissing, kissing non-genital areas, masturbating together without touching each other, and phone sex to be "having sex", I do consider those people to be engaging in sexual behavior(s). And I do make a distinction.

You didn't list it, but I would also consider frotting to be the equivalent of having sex.


[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
(Link)

You didn't list it, but I would also consider frotting to be the equivalent of having sex.


I didn't know how to describe it :-) so that it fit in. I mean if I just said "rubbing bodies against each other" it covers a multitude of activities, from dirty dancing on. I thought of saying "frottage" and/or "tribadism" but then I still had to define, and I wanted to be able to speak in terms of which body part is in contact with which other one. So I realize I'm leaving out a category (and it's not the only one - I also didn't cover rimming, for different reasons, and didn't cover a whole lot of kinds of kinky sex) but I'm okay with it not being complete.
[User Picture]
From:libgirl
Date:January 13th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
(Link)
It's the middle of the night and I'm doing this off the cuff, so please bear with me ;).

Generally speaking, for me to count mouth-genitalia contact as sex, it has to be in a reciporcal situation. That is to say, if A gives B a blow job, in the context of marriage, it's a sex act, but not sex. It's still cheating if A and B are in relationships with other people, but it's not Sex. That's odd, maybe. I've marked that as being sex in this poll because I've cued it as being a reciprocal situation, but that is a qualifier of my responses. Actually, I may need to think about this more when I'm actually awake and get back to you. ;)

Sorry.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That's an interesting wrinkle, and one I haven't heard before.
[User Picture]
From:ion_bond
Date:January 13th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
(Link)
This is interesting. When I was answering the first questions, I didn't hesitate to categorize phone sex and tandem masturbation as sex, but when it came to the politician, I had to think more. I feel like these acts should count as sex in terms of his personal life -- his relationship with his lover and his wife. Still it seems that, as a public figure, the discovery that he had extramarital phone sex would (even should?) be less of a political scandal than a revelation that he penetrated someone anally or vaginally.

I don't know why I think this.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's interesting how context affects the answers for some people. And how the effects are different. If you look at the comments you'll see that for some who think it makes a difference if he's married or not there are those who think "lesser" acts are sex if he's married (because there's an ethical responsibility and a lower threshold) and those who think there's a higher threshold if he's married, which is sort of related to what you say above.

And I think your conjecture was true in the Clinton scandal. There were explicit descriptions of phone sex sessions in the Starr Report and they just did not get the attention that the physical sex did.

I'm going to hold off at least a couple days on the What I Learned post, since I want more people to participate, but the main thing I'm learning so far is that for a lot of people context determines whether some acts at the margin (like phone sex) count as sex. And among the contextual issues are: married or not, real or fictional, age of participants, experience level (general) of participants, experience level with each other (e.g. one could argue that phone sex in an established relationship while apart counts as sex, but calling up a phone sex line does not - I think many people would feel that that was not "having sex" and "buying sex" in the way that paying a prostitute for physical sex would be), intent (very few seem to think that orgasm is required for sex, but an intent to have an orgasm or to give your partner one seems to be required by more people).

I can't tell what the picture is in your icon. Can you explain?
From:shadowkate
Date:January 13th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I had some problems coming to a decision regarding the A and B masturbated together, but did't touch each other's genitals.

For the fanfic couples I said it wasn't sex, but for the real couples I said it was (and that my answer would be different if they weren't married). I wanted to explain.

In the case of the real people, I still don't think it is actually sex. However, I do think that two people masurbating together is generally foreplay or an abstance technique. In the case of one of them being married, it shows premediation to cheat. Most people looking from the outside in will say "Oh they had sex together". I know this poll was 'what you view as sex' but for me this question was a very fine line.

No, I agree, it isn't 'technically' sex. But if my husband came home and confessed that he and some of his work friends masturbated together without touching? I'd feel just as hurt as if he came home and said he had penetrated them. In the case of single people or couples? No, I don't think it is sex. It is something that might lead to sex, but it itself isn't.

(Sorry, I know it wasn't very clear)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's interesting how context affects the determination, isn't it?

[User Picture]
From:melty_girl
Date:January 13th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Am I just simplistic? I checked off everything except the first two for every question. Orgasms, gender and marital status are irrelevant. I think if one or more person's genitals are involved -- even if the two people don't touch each other -- then it's sex. Not touching just makes it 100% safe sex.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That's how I answered as well but - as you can see - it's in no way a universal opinion.

Edited at 2008-01-13 10:07 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 14th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)
(Link)

I was taught that if you could get gonorrhea or chalmydia from it then it should count as sex.


Interesting to judge in terms of disease. So phone sex then would not be sex? Or parallel masturbation or mutual masturbation?
[User Picture]
From:sholio
Date:January 14th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
(Link)
I checked off everything except the first two for all the sex questions.

But the one thing that does make a difference to me (which is why I marked "explain in comments") is that I think some of these might vary for an established couple vs. two people who have never before advanced that far in their relationship. For example, I think that touching each other's genitals in any way would fall under the heading of "sex" for two people who have been platonic up to that point, or for, say, a married person with a prostitute. However, two people who've been together for years have a much greater intimacy with each other's bodies and are going to be more casual about it. I think the definition of what, exactly, constitutes sex becomes a bit more fluid there (ouch, sorry, no pun intended!).
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 14th, 2008 11:29 am (UTC)
(Link)
The main thing I'm learning is that context matters to a lot of people on whether it would count as sex, but the way they judge the context differs. So for some, lack of prior sexual experience together makes a particular act (like a hand job) less likely to count as sex - i.e. they're doing that because they're not yet ready for sex, but an established sexually active couple who mutually masturbate as a variation on their sex life are having sex, just a particular kind of sex. You're the first I've heard from (albeit I'm sure not the only one who feels this way) who thinks the opposite: if they have not yet had sex the threshold is *lower* and acts that wouldn't count as sex in an established couple do.
[User Picture]
From:litotease
Date:January 14th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oooh, I have a double standard I wasn't aware of.

For me, non-genital kissing isn't necessarily sexual; I've had too many circles of friends for whom a peck on the lips was a casual sign of affection, or an appropriate way to say "hello," or "goodbye." Or a kiss to the shoulder of someone who was up to their elbows in dishwater.

EXCEPT for the married, putatively straight man kissing another man. That's sex. I think I think this because straight male culture has very strict rules about how and when men are allowed to physically express affection for each other, and kissin' ain't anywhere on that list (except on the cheek, allowed in certain subcultures). I just can't see a married straight guy breaking that taboo without a very deliberate sexual intent.

Huh.

[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 14th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's really interesting to me how people are finding out things about their own boundaries through doing this.

As to the specific thing you mentioned, I noticed long ago that (at least in the social circles I travel in) everybody kisses socially (as opposed to sexually) except for straight men. Women kiss their friends as greeting regardless of gender or sexual orientation, gay men do the same. Straight men kiss female friends socially, no sexual undercurrents. But Straight. Men. Do. Not. Kiss. Men. They might hug; they might do the thing where they clap each other on the shoulder that's not a hug but they don't kiss. Of course that's specific to a particular culture...

[User Picture]
From:arwensommer
Date:January 14th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Since it's probably relevant for your statistics... I got sent here through minisinoo's journal.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 15th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks. I think I got a lot of people from her. She is read by so many and it was very kind of her to push this one.
[User Picture]
From:angiepen
Date:January 14th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
For purposes of Ruining A Political Career, any sexual or sexually suggesting contact with a person not one's spouse or fiance(e) can do it. I still don't think just kissing on the mouth, or kissing, say, someone's neck is "having sex," but if the press catches a politician kissing someone not their spouse anywhere but the hand or maybe the cheek, the shit's gonna fly, you know? Whether or not it's "having sex" is irrelevant. I'm not sure what your purpose is here, but what the press can flay you for is completely different from what counts as "sex" in a piece of fic.

Angie
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 15th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks for responding!

I'm not sure what your purpose is here, but what the press can flay you for is completely different from what counts as "sex" in a piece of fic.

My purpose is to see what people's view of what is sex. And, for some, it did seem to matter whether the people were real (and married) or fictional. For others it doesn't.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 14th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I am a heterosexual girl.

Two categorical comments: For the first question, I would also say A being penetrated by B's penis as sex, but I guess you assumed that would be a vis-versa thing.

Last question: I think I would say that if a man is penetrating someone, that he would have to come for it to be sex.

I guess my "pure" definition of sex is penetration with orgasm by at least the penetrator (though this is a little unclear when it comes to f/f). Other stuff to me falls under "sexual acts", not necessarily sex.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 15th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Interesting distinction between sexual acts and sex.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 15th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That's an interesting distinction. I don't think it's universal, though. For example, most people did not consider kissing on parts of the body other than the genitals to be "having sex." But I think it's a very rare person who would kiss his/her lover's nipples in front of his/her parents.

LOL on "creepy, Norman Bates territory."
Mofic Powered by LiveJournal.com