Talk:Sex (activity)

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 Definition An activity generally involving genital contact, such as when the penis enters part of another person's body, most commonly the vagina, for the purposes of pleasure and sometimes reproduction. [d] [e]
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I made this the default page for the word because... well, isn't that what everyone thinks of first, really? Alternatively, we may decide to follow Wikipedia and make the default page about biological sex/reproduction. John Stephenson 23:16, 26 April 2008 (CDT)

Due to our new disambiguation conventions, this article won't stay at Sex. I propose (a) moving it to Sex (activity); and (b) having sex redirect there as it's the more common meaning. John Stephenson 02:32, 11 June 2008 (CDT)
Technically speaking, the name of the article should be Sexual Intercourse. I would suggest that the article be renamed that, and either having a search for "Sex" redirect there, or have it on the Disambiguation page, if Sex is going to be referring to the Biological meaning. --Eric Clevinger 04:33, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
More accurately, Sexual intercourse, unless the all-Caps version is the name of a band, which, of course, wouldn't surprise me. Is it an absolutely flat-out, sur et certain, PROVEN scientific fact, that human beings are "monogamous"? Is this 100% accurate to state it so dogmatically in this article? What, for example, about all the serial monogamists out there? Is there no authority in the world, Hugh Hefner, for instance, who might dispute this "fact"?Hayford Peirce 23:19, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that ought to be rewritten, and we can probably dig up studies that show rates of monogamy. As for the title: that's not the common name, and to me it refers more to the physical act rather than the act + all the emotions/issues/significance in culture etc, though Googling you may find you disagree (ignore the Wikipedia article involving goats). John Stephenson 04:22, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

I toned down the monogamy claim; the original statement struck me as absurd.

There's much else that needs rewriting, and things that should obviously be added. How on Earth can we discuss sex without mentioning foreplay, or marriage, or prostitution, or ...? Sandy Harris 14:34, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Or all the alternate terms — copulation, coitus, fornication, ...? Sandy Harris 14:36, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Mostly as an experiment, with terminology in general and also with the issue of illustrations (or not) in articles, I wrote pornography. Pin-up art, while a legitimate article, also is an experiment, this time with the use of illustrations. Perhaps these can be considered as examples of splitting to subarticles. --Howard C. Berkowitz 17:29, 29 August 2010 (UTC)


I decided that having a page about sex is not outside the family-friendly policy, as long as it doesn't include graphic language etc. John Stephenson 23:16, 26 April 2008 (CDT)


Maybe the rape section is more than is needed; I'm not sure. I tried to reference everything but I was mainly working from Pinker's book. The roots of rape are a deeply controversial topic and I can understand people steering clear of this until now. John Stephenson 23:16, 26 April 2008 (CDT)

Yes, it is far too much. The controversy over the reasons for it could be discussed in a rape article, but it does not belong here. On the other hand, statutory rape and age of consent should probably be mentioned. Sandy Harris 14:03, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Some thoughts

I have been a sexuality researcher for some decades (yes, I have a doctorate), publishing extensively in the professional, scholarly, peer-reviewed literature since the 1970s. My work includes animal and human sexuality. My wife Martha Cornog and I have published several professional books on human sexuality alone and together, and I have been on editorial masthead of several scholarly sexuality journals and encyclopedias, including the 4-volume International Encyclopedia of Sexuality, edited by Robert T. Francoeur, PhD and Ray Noonan, PhD. 2001-ongoing. NY: Continuum. (available online from the Kinsey Institue: I am also a member, for some decades, of several professional sexuality research and therapy organizations. (You can find out more about my books on

The question is how do I contribute to the articles on sexuality on Citizendium? The answer is less simple than saying, "Well, just plunge in and start writing!" Before that, it's necessary to establish a tone and an approach, and answer the question, "What do you want for articles that deal with sexuality?" Who are you writing for, and what do you want to convey to that audience?

I just recently heard of Citizendium and decided to check out the articles and approach here. So I'd like some opinions and reactions to the question "What do you want in this area?"

Timothy Perper 06:42, 25 September 2008 (CDT)

First, welcome! You bring up some extremely good questions. Between family-friendliness and audience understanding, it's complex. There was an interview, some years ago, with Masters and Johnson, about how they deliberately wrote Human Sexual Response in dry medical language, to avoid the appearance of sensationalism. There might be some merit in using such a technique as a starting level of articles, and then incrementally gaining consensus on how to make it more accessible without setting off red flags. Even some of the earlier writers, such as Kraft-Ebbing and Ellis, may have made acceptance difficult by having more case studies and less unifying discussion. While I personally feel that people like Alex Comfort made valuable contributions to general knowledge, I'd certainly hesitate to borrow his style for initial CZ articles.
As one test case, I looked to see if we had an article on paraphilia. Unfortunately, I don't have a current DSM-IV at hand, but consider this point in the structure: the introduction makes passing reference to the conditions under which a paraphilia becomes pathological, but its two major subheadings are a list of paraphilias and treatment. IMHO, paraphilias that are adjuncts to conventional sexuality and are safe/sane/consensual are not especially in need of treatment, although there might be a bit of guidance about recognizing pathology if and when it comes up.
I'll ask for community opinion, however, if either in this article or independently, that the discussion of two paradigms, even in an academic context, fit CZ: SSC (safe, sane and consensual) as opposed to RACK (Risk-Aware, Consensual Kink). Can we even discuss "kink"? Is it a lay term for "paraphilia", and might or not be pathological, or does even that discussion go beyond the family-friendliness policy, if written professionally? I'm smiling as I write this, thinking that since my mother was a psychotherapist, the first sexually-oriented books I read were professional but not necessarily mainstream (e.g., a more anthropological study like Ford & Beach's Patterns of Sexual Behavior).
Good questions to which I have no simple answers. Howard C. Berkowitz 08:23, 25 September 2008 (CDT)
Thanks for your kind comments. I think you have described the problem very accurately. On one hand, we have the impenetrable jargon of early M&J -- I heard the same story, BTW, that they deliberately wrote it like that to defuse accusations of sensationalism -- and the semi-prurient (or openly pornographic) writing of much of the Web. On the other hand, Alex Comfort set a standard in trade-book publication for writing about sexuality quite openly but without the pornographic overtones, but I think you are right that it is a style and tone inappropriate to CZ. That's not so much an objection to popularization as it is to the imprecision of so much popular writing on sexuality. Your mention of how to discuss kinky sex is a good example: how do we discuss what is and is not pathological? Like you, I don't have any simple answers. It's something that needs to be discussed. Timothy Perper 13:31, 25 September 2008 (CDT)
The circumstances were roundabout, but I happened to have a conversation with several people who, variously, were medically knowledgeable, wanted to do some consensual things that definitely pushed the safety edge, and some fell into both groups. This is a good example, I think, of the RACK: is it ethical and appropriate to say that you personally would regard something as too dangerous to do yourself, but, if the questioner is going to do it, here would be some ways to minimize risk. I answer like that when someone talks about snow skiing.
Seriously, in the sexually-oriented context, most of the focus was on infection control, and in the context of "I wouldn't do that myself. But, if you are going to do it anyway, if it were a surgical procedure, here is what would be done to minimize the risk of infection." Two particular acts, explorations, or whatever were brought up, and the answer was indirect. In one case, someone knowledgeable in trauma didn't directly answer the question about infection control, but asked, in return, "can you show me where the branches of the trigeminal nerve are located? If you can't, that is not an area where you should be playing with sharp objects." Howard C. Berkowitz 13:48, 25 September 2008 (CDT)

Sex is not sexual intercourse or sexuality

It'd be nice if someone were to properly disambiguate this page - surely, given our family-friendly policy (I use a handy heuristic: if you can talk about it in a first-year university biology lecture, it's fine), we are much more likely to be linking to the word 'sex' to the biological backing for gender (given the sex/gender distinction - sex being the biological category, gender being the social role). Any opinions? Wikipedia maps 'Sex' to sexual intercourse, but then on the articles for 'Male' and 'Female', the word 'sex' is used - on the female page it points to gender and on the male page it points to sex. I'd like to avoid that kind of confusion. Do the Biology Workgroup want the biological category of sex to become a 'scientific perspective' on the gender page? I say this as I was considering adding a lemma for male and female. –Tom Morris 17:47, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I still think this should be called sex (activity) with sex forwarding to it because it's the most widely-understood use of the term. I admit I can't stand the phrase 'sexual intercourse', which seems only to be used in naming debates of this kind... John Stephenson 02:13, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, I moved it as no-one else weighed in after nearly three months. John Stephenson 08:05, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad you clarified. There's something strange about the idea of nonmoving sexual intercourse. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:40, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Isn't that Tantric? Anton Sweeney 15:51, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
There is that, isn't there. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:51, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I suppose one could also consider the town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, which isn't far from Blue Balls, Pennsylvania. No, I am not making these up, nor are they recent names. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:25, 29 August 2010 (UTC)