What is sex? I thought I knew…

Yes Means Yes! Visions Of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape

Yes Means Yes! Visions Of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape, Jaclyn Friedman & Jessica Valenti

This book changed my life.

I recommend it strongly! Go get it! Make time to read it! …if it resonates for you!

A big theme in the book is the importance of enthusiastic consent (agreeing and wanting sex with a big YES!) when it comes to sexy time. And if one person doesn’t want it, then sex doesn’t happen. This means that people actually need to communicate their desires to each other, rather than just assuming everything.

“…imagine a world where women enjoy sex on their own terms and aren’t shamed for it.”
~Yes means Yes!

After reading the book I found myself wondering if I even knew what sex was. After all, I had learned the not-so-eloquent “penis goes into vagina” definition growing up, and I held onto some aspect of this sparse anatomical description for sexual intercourse for a long time.

Now I think that sex can or might include genital contact, but also think that it must be more than that. What about spiritually: What is sex spiritually? What about emotionally: What is sex emotionally? And mentally: What is sex mentally? Physically: What is sex physically? What is sex for two female bodies, or two males? What defines sex between a male and female? Or different intersex bodies? Modified bodies? Or bodies without genitals? Can only certain bodies or couplings have sex? Or can everybody do it? Can you have sex by yourself, or is masturbation different from sex?


At Scarleteen’s post What’s Sex?  it says:

“If we say someone is having sex, or doing something sexual, we mean they are acting from their own sexuality, looking to express it in action and/or to try and actively experience or explore a feeling of general or specific sexual desire, curiosity and/or satisfaction.”

This is from a very good online article, from an amazing web site: check it out. I’ll write more later…

We can also talk in the comments section below. Things to consider commenting on:

Have you had to navigate the “penis goes into vagina” definition at any point in your sexual experience including now? Have these words guided your sense of what sex is? Is it a helpful hint? A restrictive definition? Guilt ridden? Pressure causing? Have you had to reject these words? Something else?


Do you have a helpful definition for sex that goes beyond a clinical and prescriptive description of body parts?

Thanks! May you have a healthy pelvis!


3 thoughts on “What is sex? I thought I knew…

  1. ok, so I just looked up the definition according to dictionary.com…. maybe you weren’t so wrong afterall:)
    [seks] Show IPA

    either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions.

    the sum of the structural and functional differences by which the male and female are distinguished, or the phenomena or behavior dependent on these differences.

    the instinct or attraction drawing one sex toward another, or its manifestation in life and conduct.



    verb (used with object)
    to ascertain the sex of, especially of newly-hatched chicks

    • Thanks, dear Ei!
      Yes, the word’s definition can offer some sense of it. I looked at a definition, too. And I am asking what is sex for me, what might be the essence of sex for people, and am hoping that this post will stimulate some personal thought in readers, too! …beyond a definition. …beyond an idea of “what’s correct.”

      And thanks for commenting!!! 🙂 ❤

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