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Normal sex is also known as "vanilla sex." Normal sex can be categorized as regular sexual intercourse between two individuals without using sexual aids, toys, or including additional partners. Normal sex does not involve extreme practices such as group sex or BDSM. People who indulge in normal sex can be homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. This practice does not involve sexual activities that are considered by mainstream society as sexual perversions. The definition of normal sex changes in response to society’s acceptance of certain activities. It can also vary according to different cultures, ethnicities, and countries.
Same-sex intimacy, for example, is widely accepted as normal sex in most Western society. However, this same practice can be regarded as abnormal in more conservative countries like those located in Asia, the Middle East, and Israel.
According to sex researchers Virgina Johnson and William Masters, defining sexual normalcy can be extremely problematic because there are so many ways to express human eroticism. For instance, some religious institutions like the religious Hindu ISCKON society considers normal sex to be for only procreation purposes. Alternatively, most Christian societies consider regular, heterosexual sex between married couples to be perfectly normal and acceptable.
Theorists such as Firestone and Catlett (2006) claim that normal sex involves relationships where consensual parties receive satisfaction from whichever sexual activity they choose to indulge in without experiencing nagging, feelings of shame, fear, or guilt. These same theorists state that the concept of ‘normal sex’ among men is often formed within childhood and very rarely changes at adulthood. On the other hand, the same notion of ‘normal sex’ among women often varies according to many external issues including situational, social, and cultural factors. The female definition of female sex can also be influenced by peer attitudes, parental attitudes, and religions.
While sexual normalcy is understandably varied, activities like bestiality, rape, incest, and pedophilia are often shunned by most cultures and considered as abnormal practices. In many countries, those activities are punishable by the law.