"Sex" may include many things, from intimate touching to vaginal or anal intercourse.

These terms are often used:

  • Sexual contact may involve genital touching, skin-to-skin contact, mutual masturbation, mouth-to-genital contact (oral sex), or sexual intercourse.
  • Sexual intercourse most often refers to vaginal sex (penis into the vagina). But it may also include oral sex (mouth to penis, vagina, or anus) or anal sex (penis into the anus).
  • Having sex may describe sex between a man and a woman, between two men, or between two women.

Sexual intercourse and some types of sexual contact can spread infection. Practicing safer sex, such as using condoms, can reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology