close

Definitions of Sex and Sexuality

What is sexuality?

In addition to us all being human beings, we also are all sexual beings! Sexuality is a normal, healthy, natural part of who we are throughout every stage our lives. It is not one defined thing, but a combination of many aspects of our lives. Our sexuality includes not only sexual behavior but also our genders, our bodies and how they work, and our values, attitudes, beliefs and feelings about life, love, and the people our lives touch. Youth learn about their sexuality from the day they are born. It is important to let kids feel good about their sexuality from the beginning. This will make it easier for them to ask questions about sex later on in life.  Parents can initiate conversations about sexuality using many different themes - relationships, communication, respect, body image as well as intimacy and sexual behavior - as a way to share values and factual information enabling young people to take charge of their lives, have loving relationships and make healthier, safer and better-informed decisions related to sexuality.

Sex

  • (Biological) People are born as male, female, or intersexed.
  • (Sexual Behavior) Usually involves touching oneself or another person in ways that stimulate sexual feelings and pleasure. Sexual behavior includes many different ways of touching which can range from holding hands or massage to masturbation or intercourse (vaginal/oral/anal). 

Sexuality

  • Who we are as men and women. Our sexuality changes and grows throughout our lives. Sexuality includes sexual behaviors, sexual relationships, and intimacy; how we choose to express ourselves as males and females (including the way we talk, dress, and relate to others); sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual), values, beliefs and attitudes as they relate to being male and female; changes our bodies go through such stages as puberty, pregnancy or menopause; whether and how we choose to have children; the kind of friends we have; the way we feel about the way we look; who we are as a person; and the way we treat others.

Find A Health Center

or

Or Call
1-800-230-PLAN