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What Constitutes
Jun 14, 2002

Hi Doc,

Can you tell me what constitutes sex? Is it the actual act of intercourse or would pressing head of the penis against vagina for about 10-15 seconds without really inserting into vagina be enough for it to be "sex"? I had an episode like this and having anxiety about it due to some symptoms even though I never inserted into vagina. Please answer this, I need help! Is this enough for transmission to occur?

sincerely,

desperate

Response from Mr. Kull

Complicated question. Sex means many different things to many different people.

When "sex" is talked about in this forum in terms of risk (like vaginal, anal, and oral sex), the concept of insertion/reception is implied. The penis is inserted into the anus, the anus is receptive to the penis. The only area where this gets confusing is with oral sex performed on a woman: in this case, the persons mouth is "inserted" and the woman's vagina is "receptive". Technically, if there is no insertion/reception, the risk of sexual transmission is unlikely and theoretical only.

This does not mean that mutual masturbation, kissing, or grinding couldn't be considered sex, in the broader sense of the term. What we're talking about is the language we use when talking about risk IN THIS FORUM. When other sexual activities besides anal, vaginal, and oral sex are discussed in here, the name of the specific activity will be used; for example, we'll discuss the risk associated to "mutual masturbation" and not "mutual sex".

I know this is confusing. Hope this paints a clearer picture.

RMK



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