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Human sexuality refers to the expression of sexual sensation and related intimacy between human beings, as well as the expression of identity through sex and as influenced by or based on sex.



Alphabetized by author
  • Although humans tend to view sex as mainly a fun recreational activity sometimes resulting in death, in nature it is a far more serious matter.
    • Dave Barry, "Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys"
  • As Darwin puts it in The Descent of Man, 'Male snakes, though appearing so sluggish, are amorous.' Isn't that just like Darwin? It was one of his main ideas, you know, that the males of almost all animals have stronger passions than the females. Since then we've learned a thing or two. At any rate, the female snake is right there when spring arrives in the woods.
  • Appropriate patterns of reproductive, gender, and sexual conduct are all products of specific cultures and all can be viewed as examples of socially scripted conduct. Western societies now have a system of gender and sexual learning in which gender differential scripts are learned prior to sexual scripts, but take their origins in part from the previously learned gender scripts... There are two important points: The first is that both gender and sexuality are learned forms of social practice, and the second is that looking to "natural differences" between women and men for lessons about sexual conduct is an error.
    • John Gagnon, "The Eplicit and Implicit Use of the Scripting Perspective in Sex Research", 1990
  • It is precisely because I believe it is not possible to neatly separate the sexual from other sorts of relations that I find the movement to bar the sexual from pedagogy not only dangerous but supremely impractical.
  • The dilemma of traditional sex research lay in the unconscious, but unquestioningly assumed division into opposing drives and hereditary factors. . . The division into heterosexuality and homosexuality, into heterosexuals and homosexuals, is also an artifact that rests on a grave mistake, namely, on the assumption that a fundamentally different model is necessary to explain heterosexual and homosexual behavior. The entire investigation of etiology was ideologically loaded beforehand because it separated a segment of the sexual continuum and attempted to make analyses with the help of fundamentally different concepts.
    • Rolf Gindorf, "Scientific ideologies in change: Fear of Homosexuality as an Intellectual Event", 1977
  • Where do babies come from? Don't bother asking adults. They lie like pigs. However, diligent independent research and hours of playground consultation have yielded fruitful, if tentative, results. There are several theories. Near as we can figure out, it has something to do with acting ridiculous in the dark. We believe it is similar to dogs when they act peculiar and ride each other. This is called "making love". Careful study of popular song lyrics, advertising catch-lines, TV sitcoms, movies, and T-Shirt inscriptions offers us significant clues as to its nature. Apparently it makes grown-ups insipid and insane. Some graffiti was once observed that said "sex is good". All available evidence, however, points to the contrary.
  • When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned. Do not have sex with the authorities.
    • Matt Groening, From "Basic Sex Facts For Today's Youngfolk" In Life In Hell
  • Maybe God isn't the sex police, Richard. Sometimes I think Christians get all hung up on the sex thing because it's easier to worry about sex than to ask yourself, am I a good person? […] It makes it easy to be cruel, because as long as you're not fucking around, nothing you do can be that bad. Is that really all you think of God?
  • There is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large.
  • When I was 13, I was flat as a board and totally unhappy about it. I would write in my diary every day, Oh, if I could just have a B cup by summer! I actually prayed for big boobs. So I developed at about 14, and then I was 15, 16, 17, and they kept going.
    • Katherine Heigl discussing her bust in an interview with Maxim (June 2000)
  • Oh God — I look back now, and it seems so gross. At just 14 years old, I had to wear a thong bikini. And then they used that scene in the trailer, so my entire school saw it! There are still men who come up to me today and say, "You were really hot in that film!" I was 14, for God's sake!
  • Nobody knows what "causes" homosexuality any more than they know what "causes" heterosexuality. (Of course, there is far less interest in what causes the latter.) Overtly, the old psychoanalytic bugaboos are dead; there is no evidence, according to the Kinsey Institute, that male homosexuality is caused by dominant mothers and/or weak fathers, or that female homosexuality is caused by girls' having exclusively male role models. Furthermore, children who are raised by gay and lesbian couples are no more likely to be homosexual than children of heterosexual couples. Nor do people become adult homosexuals because they were seduced by older people or went to same-sex boarding schools...
    Though the causes of sexual orientation are unknown and the definitions fluid, the likelihood of converting a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation, or vice versa, is very slight. Some homosexual men and women voluntarily come for therapy to change from same-sex to opposite-sex partners, but it is not clear whether the limited "success" rate refers to a change in their feelings and the pattern of their desire, or just in their ability to consciously restrict their sexual contact to members of the opposite sex.
  • Social and cultural factors very broadly channel and limit sexual variation in human populations. Sexual laws, codes, and roles do restrict the range and intensity of sexual practices, as far as we can judge from the cross-cultural literature (Herdt and Stoller 1990). Kinsey lent his support to this view; Ford and Beach (1950) documented it in surveys; and Margaret Mead (1961) did so in her ethnographic studies. But biosocial, genetic, and hormonal predispositions also broadly limit and channel. Each culture's theory of the combination of these social and biological contraints we could call its theory of human sexual nature. Yet none of these broad principles, nor the local theory of human sexual nature, entirely explains or predicts a particular person's sexual desires or behaviors. A sexual behavior, that is, does not necessarily indicate an erotic orientation, preference, or desire. The homosexual is not the same as the homoerotic; whether in our society or one very exotic, I will claim, we can distinguish the homosexual from the homoerotic, as Oscar Wilde's case first hinted.
    • Gilbert Herdt, "Bisexuality and the Causes of Homosexuality: The Case of the Sambia"
  • Professors rarely speak of the place of eros or the erotic in our classrooms. Trained in the philosophical context of Western metaphysical dualism, many of us have accepted the notion that there is a split between the body and the mind. Believing this, individuals enter the classroom to teach as though only the mind is present, and not the body.
  • The very general occurrence of the homosexual in ancient Greece, and its wide occurrence today in some cultures in which such activity is not taboo suggests that the capacity of an individual to respond erotically to any sort of stimulus, whether it is provided by another person of the same or opposite sex, is basic in the species.
  • The history of medicine proves that in so far as man seeks to know himself and face his whole nature, he has become free from bewildered fear, despondent shame, or arrant hypocrisy. As long as sex is dealt with in the current confusion of ignorance and sophistication, denial and indulgence, suppression and stimulation, punishment and exploitation, secrecy and display, it will be associated with a duplicity and indecency that lead neither to intellectual honesty nor human dignity.
  • Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheeps and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior, the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.
  • Sex isn't disgusting unless you make it disgusting!
  • Sexual play was a regular practice among the children from the earliest period. The adult attitude toward it, if not one of active encouragement, was at least that of mild amusement. [...] Regular intercourse began before puberty with patterns of group sexual play, two or three girls in the gang serving a number of boys in rapid succession with the other boys looking on. Occasionally there were individual affairs. Sexual techniques were learned through imitation of the adults. [...] Homosexuality was present in the form of mutual masturbation, but I have no data as to its frequency. [...] The gap between adults and children was such that it was impossible for an adult to win the child’s confidence. Relations between them were amiable but entirely dissociated.
    • Ralph Linton [Linton, Ralph. Marquesan Culture (July 1925), American Anthropologist Volume 27. Issue 3 (p. 474-478)]
  • The next day, as soon as it was light, we were surrounded by a still greater multitude of these people. There were now a hundred females at least; and they practised all the arts of lewd expression and gesture, to gain admission on board. It was with difficulty I could get my crew to obey the orders I had given on this subject. Amongst these females were some not more than ten years of age. But youth, it seems, is here no test of innocence; these infants, as I may call them, rivalled their mothers in the wantonness of their motions and the arts of allurement.
  • It is the night-black Massachusetts legendry which packs the really macabre 'kick', Here is the material for a really profound study in group neuroticism; for certainly, no one can deny the existence of a profoundly morbid streak in the Puritan imagination....The very pre-ponderance of passionately pious men in the colony was virtually an assurance of unnatural crime; insomuch as psychology now proves the religious instinct to be a form of transmuted eroticism precisely parallel to the transmutations in other directions which respectively produce such things as sadism, hallucination, melancholia, and other mental morbidities. Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity. This was aggravated, of course, by the Puritan policy of rigorously suppressing all the natural outlets of excuberant feeling--music, laughter, colour, pageantry, and so on. To observe Christmas Day was once a prison offence....
  • I just think it's double standards the whole time. On the one hand people say, 'Oh, women have equal rights now, women can be as powerful as men and do the same jobs as men', but we're still not allowed to talk about sex, 'cos that's unladylike. It's like that old thing, if a man has slept with loads and loads of women, he's a stud. But if a woman has slept with loads of boys, she's a slag. Well, why? Why? What makes a man a stud 'cos he's pulled loads of women? And what makes me a slag 'cos I've slept with more than 10 men? It's ridiculous!
  • Why should murder be so over-represented in our popular fiction, and crimes of a sexual nature so under-represented? Surely it cannot be because rape is worse than murder, and is thus deserving of a special unmentionable status. Surely, the last people to suggest that rape was worse than murder were the sensitively reared classes of the Victorian era … And yet, while it is perfectly acceptable (not to say almost mandatory) to depict violent and lethal incidents in lurid and gloating high-definition detail, this is somehow regarded as healthy and perfectly normal, and it is the considered depiction of sexual crimes that will inevitably attract uproars of the current variety.
  • Psychic health depends on orgastic potency, i.e., upon the degree to which one can surrender to and experience the climax of excitation in the natural sexual act. It is founded upon the healthy character attitude of the individual's capacity for love. Psychic illnesses are the result of a disturbance of the natural capacity for love.
    • Wilhelm Reich, The Function of the Orgasm (1927), General Survey.
  • Only the liberation of the natural capacity for love in human beings can master their sadistic destructiveness.
    • Wilhelm Reich, The Function of the Orgasm (1927), Ch. V : The Development of the Character-Analytic Technique.
  • Were kisses all the joys in bed, one woman would another wed.
  • Molly Notkin often confides on the phone to Joelle van Dyne about the one tormented love of Nokin's life thus far, an erotically circumscribed G.W. Pabst scholar at New York University tortured by the neurotic compulsion that there are only a finite number of erections possible in the world at any one time and that his tumescence means e.g. the detumescence of some perhaps more deserving or tortured Third World sorghum farmer. . .
  • There are two kinds of sex, classical and baroque. Classical sex is romantic, profound, serious, emotional, moral, mysterious, spontaneous, abandoned, focused on a particular person, and stereotypically feminine. Baroque sex is pop, playful, funny, experimental, conscious, deliberate, amoral, anonymous, focused on sensation for sensation's sake, and stereotypically masculine. The classical mentality taken to an extreme is sentimental and finally puritanical; the baroque mentality taken to an extreme is pornographic and finally obscene. Ideally, a sexual relation ought to create a satisfying tension between the two modes (a baroque idea, particularly if the tension is ironic) or else blend them so well that the distinction disappears (a classical aspiration).
    • Ellen Willis, "Classical and Baroque Sex in Everyday Life" (1979), Beginning To See the Light: Pieces of a Decade (1981)
  • These apparently opposed perspectives meet on the common ground of sexual conservatism. The monogamists uphold the traditional wife's "official" values: emotional commitment is inseparable from a legal/moral obligation to permanence and fidelity; men are always trying to escape these duties; it's in our interest to make them shape up. The separatists tap into the underside of traditional femininity – the bitter, self-righteous fury that propels the indictment of men as lustful beasts ravaging their chaste victims. These are the two faces of feminine ideology in a patriarchal culture: they induce women to accept a spurious moral superiority as a substitute for sexual pleasure, and curbs on men's sexual freedom as a substitute for real power.
    • Ellen Willis, "Lust Horizons: Is the Woman's Movement Pro-Sex?" (1981), No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays (1992)
  • In addition to his bio-physical heresies, Dr. Reich vastly offended many people by his sociological theory, which holds that fascism is just an exaggerated form of the basic structure of sex-negative societies and has existed under other names in every civilization based on sexual repression. In this theory, the character and muscular armor of the average citizen — a submissive and frightened attitude anchored in body reflexes — causes the average person to want a strong authority figure above them. Tyranny, in this model, is not created by tyrants alone but by neurotic masses who want tyrants.
    • Robert Anton Wilson, in Everything Is Under Control : Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-Ups (1998), p. 361; some of Wilson's account of the suppression of Reich's ideas and work are technically exaggerative: though many of Reich's books mentioning his concepts of orgone energy and the "orgone accumulators" of his laboratory were destroyed the destruction of his equipment and books was not actually total.

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