When you were younger do you remember learning what sex or “having sex” meant initially? If you do, it possibly had something to do with intercourse. But in practice, as an adult or an adolescent, do you only say you engaged in sex as soon as intercourse was involved? Probably not. Which takes us to an elementary question we seldom talk about, what is involved in partaking in sex and what is not? When does a touch develop into a sexual activity? One description of a sexual activity is any behaviour that someone participates in alone, or consensually with others, that is considered sexual by the people partaking in it. In other words, if every person involved wants to do it, and believes it to be sexual, then it’s rational to call it sex (for them). Two important qualifications. First, consent is crucial here, because if the action isn’t consensual, then it is not sex, it is sexual assault or rape. Next, just because one person thinks an activity is sex doesn’t mean everybody will (silverberg, 2017). Some people consider tickling a portion of sex. Others would say it is torment. Explaining certain actions as sex won’t ever succeed outside of a community and time. Sex doesn’t occur in a vacuum and what is sexual evolves after a while and is manipulated by our culture, gender, class, ethnicity, and more. But since we scarcely talk about this, and majority of us are told that “actual sex” equals intercourse a list of some of the numerous ways young people have sex might be valuable.
Young people begin to have sex at about the same age in most industrialized countries. Adolescent sexual growth is important for the process of identity formation and the establishment of romantic and social relationships among peers. Most young people are sexually active for several reasons, the following are common reasons why people choose to have sex. Some are specific to young people, while others may be found at all age levels. Peer pressure, many young people feel excessive pressure from other teenagers to become sexually active. In fact, this is the number one reason that teens have sex. Teens do not want to be different or be rejected by their friends. Teens with low self-esteem are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure. Another reason is to feel mature, some people think that once you have sex or engage in sexual activities, you have become mature. Other reasons are because they have already had sex, to make their respective partner happy, for intimacy, to keep their partner, curiosity and to boost their self-esteem.
A new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that young adults, particularly heterosexual teens, are much more contented with sexual experimentation than they were 20 years ago. While this might not seem astonishing as attitudes towards sex and sexuality shift, it’s extremely important to know. As more and more young people begin to explore their sexuality, it’s imperative that they have the education and resources to do so safely. In that area, we’re still lagging where we were even 10 years ago. Researchers analysed over 45,000 interviews of British residents between 16 to 24 years old, from three surveys conducted every decade since the 1930s, who were surveyed within the past 22 years. Questions included evidence about personal sexual experiences, attitudes toward specific sex acts, and overall sexual behaviour.
Kissing a type of sexual activity young people engage in, although Most people wouldn’t consider kissing as a sexual activity, a quick kiss on the cheek for most people is not considered to be sexual. Even a short, closed-li kiss on the mouth isn’t particularly sexual. However, a long kiss with open mouths and tongue activity is quite sexual, using lips to trace and sense any part of somebody else’s body, Giving or receiving hickeys (this means using your teeth and mouth to leave momentary marks on a partner’s body) these are also very sexual. Vaginal intercourse using a penis or strap-on and Anal intercourse (the use of a penis or strap-on) Overall, vaginal sex was found to be the most common sex act among teens and young adults throughout the years. That’s not exactly shocking nor additional information. What is, however, is the fact that vaginal intercourse saw a modest decline among 16 to 24-year-olds in the past 20 years. Oral sex, using your mouth to excite a partner’s genitals (cunnilingus, fellatio, analingus) or Using an alternative body part (hands, elbows, feet, whatsoever works) to arouse a partner’s genitals (penis and scrotum, vulva, vagina, and clitoris, anus and rectum, inguinal canals/muffing). The practice of oral sex is highly prevalent among young people, regardless of whether they have previously engaged in penetrative intercourse. For instance, more than half of 1,067 university students aged 17–25 surveyed in Australia reported ever having had oral sex, and 13% had engaged in oral sex but not in vaginal or anal infiltration.
In the United States, an analysis of the 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males found that 55% of men aged 15–19 had ever engaged in vaginal intercourse, 49% had ever received oral sex and 39% had ever given oral sex. A study examining precoitally sexual activities among a sample of U.S. college students found that 70% of males and 58% of females had engaged in cunnilingus at least once before having penetrative sex; 57% of each gender had engaged in fellatio. In a longitudinal study of 580 U.S. ninth graders completing self-administered questionnaires, 20% reported having had oral sex, and 14% vaginal sex. In addition, participants viewed oral sex as significantly less risky in terms of health, social and emotional consequences than vaginal sex. Vaginal, oral, and anal are probably the three sex acts that come to mind when you think of sex. Since more are trying anal sex than ever before, the number of people who’ve done all three has increased, too. In fact, the survey taken in the early 90s found that only one in 10 people have done all three acts over the past year.
Most recently, one in four men and one in five women say they’ve participated in all three over the past year. A study shows that the number of heterosexual people who have had vaginal, oral, and anal sex nearly doubled between 1990 and 2012. The most recently released study shows that between 2010 and 2012, one in five women and one in four men participated in all three forms of intercourse within the past year. The largest increase in sexual activity was found among older teens aged 16 to 19. Although there was a decline in vaginal intercourse, researchers say oral and anal aren’t “replacing” it in any way. Instead, the two are “joining” it as something heterosexual couples just happen to do during sex now. Massage: using any portion of your body to sensually trace and relax any part of your own or a partner’s body, is another sexual act that young people engage in, using sex toys by yourself or with a partner, Dressing up during sex, Doing a striptease, Taking part in sex in the water, Using food during sex performance, Talking dirty to one another, Taking pictures, audios, or videos during sex by themselves or with a partner, Partaking in sex in a public place or in semi-public places, Undertaking role play of sexual fantasies, Any sexual activity with several partners, Partaking In sex with a partner or by themselves while other people watch, Dry humping, fully clothed rubbing your body with somebody else’s body (frottage), Naked body rubbing, rubbing genitals together without penetration (tribadism),Chest, breast, and/or nipple stimulation (silverberg, 2017), Masturbation; this is stimulating yourself for sexual pleasure, Mutual masturbation; means, exciting yourself with one or more person present, Ejaculating during sex and having non-ejaculatory orgasms (silverberg, 2017). All these are sexual activities that young adults partake in.
Many adults are uncomfortable with the idea of teen sexuality and prefer to remain in ignorance or denial. But in the United States, for example, 46 percent of all high school age students, and 62 percent of high school seniors have had sexual intercourse; almost nine million teens have already had sex. It is critically important for adults to address adolescent sexuality realistically and to recognize that many factors, including socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, family structure, educational aspirations, and life experiences, affect young people’s behaviour. Instances like this tell us that sexual education still has a long way to go until it can be considered truly comprehensive. With this latest study confirming that sex acts besides vaginal intercourse are on the rise, it is even more reason to give young people and teens the inclusive sex ed they deserve — sexual education that explains enough for people of all genders and orientations to be practising safe, informed, and consensual sex.
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