Sex is NOT a universal term in a relationship. When it comes to sex we assume that everyone is talking about the same thing. However, what you will learn very quickly is that what we assume and what is true are not the same. Sex definitions are something different for each person. It comes with a history steeped in morality, familial interaction and understanding, legality, emotionality, physical ability, and spirituality. What sex is to each person is not simple. 

When I learned about sex it was some magical experience between a male and a female. As a kid I thought about it as the ultimate connection. While I pictured bodies touching, what I did not understand is what that meant, how they got to that point, or which part was considered the sex. Needless to say, I know now that ALL of it was sex and that sex is not restricted by gender or function. 

Sex definitions…so what is sex?

Sex is the connection between two people defined by a shared consensual experience of pleasure, intimacy, eroticism, vulnerability, safety, and intentionality. It may or may not include touching and genitalia. Sex starts as a need for connection in one’s mind, desire. How that shows up may vary. 

What is important to understand is how you define sex and why you go towards sex. Questions that are meant to be explored with each interaction, with each partner, each time. If Alex defines sex as penetration and Taylor defines sex as using one’s mouth on the other’s gentials the couple is misaligned in what they are seeking and therefore in a space where one partner may be more likely to reject sex more often or feel unsatisfied in the sexual encounters. This is also true in regard to the purpose of sex. Gray uses sex to orgasm, while partner Shay uses sex as quality time. Again, this misalignment creates unhealthy sexual scenarios when not communicated to a partner.  

Sex is meant to be a shared experience rather than a continuous synchronous experience. We will not all experience the same type of pleasure at the same time all of the time. That does not mean that two people can not enjoy the pleasure that can be a part of body exploration, fantasy, toy play, wordplay, or intimacy. When it comes to sex leave the guessing out. Focus on giving meaning, being specific, and providing or asking for clarity. Don’t assume!

What is sex to you?When you say you have tried anal sex does that mean giving or receving? Was that partnered or alone? Was that with a toy, finger, hand, toe, penis, or other object?
What do you like about sex?When does frequency become an issue for you?
Has your body experienced trauma?How would you like me to express consent to a sexual act or scene?
Do you talk about your sex life with others?How did you learn about sex?
Let’s talk about how to make decisions around sex when one or both of us are under the influence.Do you have moral beliefs around sex?
Questions to ask each other to understand each others sex definitions

These are just some ways to start connecting with your partners around sex as a consensual informed experience. This is true no matter the relationship dynamic. Even more true if you are a couple that has not had sex yet. If you are a couple that is seasoned, conversations around sex and expressions are meant to be had throughout the lifespan of a relationship. And much like sex you can have this conversation solo or in a partnered experience! Both are always best. Sex definitions will change and evolve throughout your relationship with yourself and your partners.

Kiss & Tell Magazine discusses sexual health and women’s issues. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and join the K&T community. 

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