What is sex? What do you count as having sex? What does sexual intercourse mean to you? Suggesting that penetration equals sex is as outdated as it is heteronormative. We now live in a world where sexuality and gender is no longer defined as a binary, so consequently, our views on what constitutes as sex have become less defined, too. Perhaps Sex Ed taught you that sex is when a penis penetrates a vagina, plain and simple. But that’s all changed.
A straight couple’s definition of sex will differ entirely from a gay couple’s, and a gay couple’s will differ from a lesbian couple’s. Therefore, our definitions have become ever less clear and much less strict. Sex is more often than not defined as a heterosexual cis-gendered couple’s definition of sex, and that’s just not the world we live in anymore.
However, defining sex is not only about various genders and sexualities. There’s a social element to sex, too. It’s this social aspect of sex that I’ve noticed recently, and it’s the something that applies to everybody, no matter your sexuality or gender. Sex has become a much more abstract concept than it used to be. It can’t be defined so simply anymore. It’s a complex concept that deserves a complex definition. Although, I’m not going to try to define it, and maybe that’s the point.
What sex is to you is incredibly personal, and only you can define what it means to you. If you’ve had an experience that sounds like sex on paper, but it is not how you experience sex, then it’s not sex. If what you experience as sex does not match somebody else’s definition of sex, then it’s still sex. Only you can determine what sex means to you, and you don’t have to justify your definition to anyone else, either. This goes back to my argument in my article ‘Don’t Kiss and Tell;’ you don’t have to tell anybody you get up to, therefore, you don’t need to define it.
Perhaps sex doesn’t even need a definition. What you get up to is your business and your business alone. Go ahead and define sex for yourself, if you’d like. But know that it doesn’t need a definition, especially not anybody else’s. Don’t be constrained by society’s definitions and ideas of sex, because they mean nothing. It’s bizarre that something so intimate and personal can be policed by external forces– by trying to define acts and place people into concrete categories.
We as a generation are a lot more open in our attitudes towards sex and sexuality, so the language we use to discuss it should be equally as open. Choosing our vocabulary in our discourse of sex allows us to control the conversation on sex, and will ultimately free us from being obliged to adhere to somebody else’s conceptions. Sex is so personal, let’s do it on our own terms.