Human sexual behavior

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Sexual activity in humans is a natural form of physical intimacy. It may be performed for the purposes of biological reproduction, spiritual transcendence, expressing affection, and/or for pleasure and enjoyment (known in this context as "sexual gratification"). The desire to have sex (libido) is one of the basic motivation/drives of human behavior. Every sexually reproductive animal species, and every human culture, has a range of conduct used in courtship, intimacy, and sexual activity.

Human sexual behavior is therefore the behaviors that human beings use when seeking sexual or relational partners, gaining approval of possible partners, forming relationships, showing sexual desire, and coitus.

It covers at least two major areas: anthropology (common or accepted practices across different cultures), and informational (background which is useful to individuals who may be engaged in, or considering, sexual activity).

Aspects of human sexual behavior


Sexual behavior is a very broad expression. It covers both common and less common behaviors, and includes a wide range of sexual behaviors from marital relationships to sexual abuse. Although in many cases sexual behavior is directed towards or within a relationship, this is not necessarily of the case and much sexual behavior is not.

Sexuality and sensuality

There is no clear borderline between the sexual and nonsexual enjoyment of touching, or grabbing someone else's body. For example, holding hands may or may not have a sexual connotation, depending on culture, situation and other factors. Although the most common form of heterosexual sexual intercourse is universally regarded as sexual contact, there is a wide range of other sexual behaviors that may or may not be socially, legally, or ethically considered as sexual relations. The distinction between the sexual and the nonsexual becomes relevant in judging appropriate behavior, in either a social setting or in the eyes of the law.

Some criteria that may be applied are:

  • the body parts involved (see also intimate parts)
  • physical signs of sexual arousal
  • subjective feeling

Enjoying touching someone else's body implies enjoying one's own body also; the latter may also happen without another person; enjoying one's own body also may or may not be of a sexual nature. If it is, it is called autoeroticism.

The whole of one's sexual activities (including erotic dreams and waking sexual sexual fantasies and daydreams) is called one's sex life.

Sexual relationships

Opinions and norms vary about whether an emotional bond of a certain intensity and durability should be a prerequisite for sex (see also below).

Like other primates, Homo sapiens use sexuality for reproduction and for maintenance of social bonds. It is widely believed that children are capable of feeling sexual pleasure, even if they are not yet able to engage in sexual intercourse with each other, and/or are not yet biologically able to reproduce. Yet, child sexuality has historically been severely limited in western societies; in the late 19th century, the hysteria surrounding so-called "self-abuse" (masturbation) among children reached its peak and in the United-States led to the widespread adoption of circumcision

Many sexual activities can be engaged in by same sex or opposite sex partners. However some, most notably vaginal sexual intercourse, can only be engaged in by partners of opposite sexes, and others (such as tribadism and frictation) can only be engaged in by partners of the same sex.


WikiPedia has many, many articles about Human Sexual Behavior and Sexuality in general:



More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Human_sexual_behavior ]

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