You Answered: How Do You Define "Sex"?

Illustration by Amber Vittoria

In the old days, the word “sex” generally meant penetrative sex between a man and a woman, which left out a whole host of scenarios, identities, and emotions. Mercifully, times have changed. Depending on who you are, “sex” can mean anything from missionary pivving, oral sex, and digital stimulation to anal play, mutual mastubation, and using sex toys with each other. It can refer to an act, an orgasm, and an intangible vibe or feeling.

After one of our Dame Labs members posed the question on Facebook, we decided to ask our Instagram community a seemingly simple (but endlessly layered) question: How do you define “sex”? 

Some of our followers were wonderfully abstract, describing “sex” as simply “intensity” or “pleasure 😊” or “the ultimate connection” or “discovery.” For these people, “sex” can be anything you want it to be—even a state of mind.

"The closest you can get...emotionally and physically."

Others narrowed it down, specifying that “sex” must involve our bodies. “Intimacy between two or more people that involves physical stimulation,” our Art Director, Emma Olswing, offered. This respondent was even more inclusive: “Any kind of touch between partners, I think especially out of bed.” Sex is “the closest you can get...emotionally and physically,” another person said. One message said “Skin against skin with mouths involved and a desire for closeness”—for this person, it ain’t sex if there ain’t kissing. “Consensual physical contact of 2+ people that makes them feel fucking amazing,” another person said. (If it doesn’t feel good, in other words, it doesn’t count.) 

Still others felt that a climax is necessary to truly count as sex. One person wrote that sex was “anything with a partner, ending in an orgasm.” Another went so far as to say that “sex,” as a term, “makes no sense! We should say ‘orgasms.’ Let’s have orgasms!”

After our callout, one thing was clear: the Dame community has evolved way beyond the restrictive boundaries of the past. Definitions of sex are highly individual and creative. The possibilities are endless!