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Sexual Behavior

Updated: JUNE 9, 2017

Sexual behavior is any activity of a sexual nature that an individual engages in. Sexual behavior generally describes foreplay and intercourse, but a broader definition may also include courtship and other activities designed to attract a mate. Sexual arousal often accompanies sexual behavior.

Sexual behavior is also known as sexual activity.

More About Sexual Behavior

People engage in a wide range of sexual behavior such as oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, masturbation, role playing, and BDSM practices. These behaviors may be practiced with others or, in some cases, alone. Sexual behavior helps people bond with others, facilitate reproduction, share their emotions, and more.

Generally, a person’s sexual orientation and sexual behavior align, but this isn’t always the case. Any person can engage in a sexual act with any other person, regardless of their preferences. A gay man may engage in sexual activity with a straight woman particularly if he is struggling with his sexuality. Similarly, some individuals are not sexually active in any way; so, their sexual orientation does not impact their sexual behavior.

Healthy sexual behavior is an important part of life. However, risky sexual behavior, which exposes individuals to sexually transmitted diseases and harm, and compulsive sexual behavior, can negatively impact an individual and their loved ones.

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