What counts as sex, anyway? There was a time when most people though sex only happened when a penis entered a vagina (vaginal sex). Some people still believe this is true for a variety of reasons – including religious reasons.
But, in recent years, particularly as society has become more open about sex and more accepting of a variety of sexual preferences, additional definitions of sex have surfaced. Small wonder that there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to answering the question, “What counts as sex?”
While all kinds of sexual activities can be fun and connective, some can also still lead to pregnancy and put you at risk for sexually transmitted infections (called STIs or sometimes STDs). Yes, STIs can happen even when people aren’t having vaginal sex. Sex can also create emotional ties that can end in serious heartbreak. So, it’s important to talk about the sexual acts that can put people at risk both physically and emotionally.
Before getting busy with a sexual partner, it’s always a good idea to know the risks and understand the steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are a few definitions and what you should know:
When the penis goes into the vagina (sometimes also literally called penis-in-vagina – or PIV – sex online). Can lead to pregnancy and STIs. Many people associate having vaginal sex with losing one’s virginity.
When the penis goes into the anus (butthole). This can put you at risk for STIs.
Mouth to genitals. This can put you at risk for STIs.
Fingering and Hand Jobs:
Hands to genitals. Even though the risk of STI transmission is lower, fingering and hand jobs (such as with an open sore) could possibly increase one’s risk for contracting an STIs.
Dry Sex/ Dry Humping / Grinding:
When people rub up against one another to stimulate themselves or act out the motions of sex while keeping articles of clothing on and avoiding skin-to-skin contact and/or penetration.
When an individual gives her/himself sexual pleasure. No risk of STIs or pregnancy.