Human sexual activity

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Sex is a part of love. You shouldn't go around doing it unless you are in love. ~ Betty Paige
A man can fuck a whore but, unless his wife is a whore, he cannot fuck his wife….fuck is a…dysphemism….there is no love in it. ~ Anthony Burgess

Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality.

Quotes[edit]

  • While God created Adam, who was alone, He said, 'It is not good for man to be alone'. He also created a woman, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.' Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.' But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air.
  • And just as the use of food is directed to the preservation of life in the individual, so is the use of venereal acts directed to the preservation of the whole human race. Hence Augustine says (De Bono Conjug. xvi): "What food is to a man's well being, such is sexual intercourse to the welfare of the whole human race." Wherefore just as the use of food can be without sin, if it be taken in due manner and order, as required for the welfare of the body, so also the use of venereal acts can be without sin, provided they be performed in due manner and order, in keeping with the end of human procreation.
  • [N]ecessary sexual intercourse for begetting is free from blame, and itself is alone worthy of marriage. But that which goes beyond this necessity, no longer follows reason, but lust.”
  • The sexual organs would have been brought into activity by the same bidding of the will as controlled the other organs. Then, without feeling the allurement of passion goading him on, the husband would have relaxed on his wife’s bosom in tranquility of mind and with no impairment of his body’s integrity… so the two sexes might have been united for impregnation and conception by an act of will, instead of by a lustful craving.
    • Augustine, City of God, Book 14, Chapter 26.
  • For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny.
  • For necessary sexual intercourse for begetting [children] is alone worthy of marriage. But that which goes beyond this necessity no longer follows reason but lust. And yet it pertains to the character of marriage . . . to yield it to the partner lest by fornication the other sin damnably [through adultery].... [T]hey [must] not turn away from them the mercy of God . . . by changing the natural use into that which is against nature, which is more damnable when it is done in the case of husband or wife. For, whereas that natural use, when it pass beyond the compact of marriage, that is, beyond the necessity of begetting [children], is pardonable in the case of a wife, damnable in the case of a harlot; that which is against nature is execrable when done in the case of a harlot, but more execrable in the case of a wife. Of so great power is the ordinance of the Creator, and the order of creation, that . . . when the man shall wish to use a body part of the wife not allowed for this purpose [orally or anally consummated sex], the wife is more shameful, if she suffer it to take place in her own case, than if in the case of another woman.
  • By abstention from incontinence, energy is acquired. Incontinence is usually regarded as the dissipation of the vitality or the virility of the animal nature. The power to create upon the physical plane & to perpetuate the race is the highest physical act of which man is capable. The dissipation of the vital powers through loose living & incontinence is the great sin against the physical body. It involves the failure to recognize the importance of the procreative act, the inability to resist the lower desires & pleasures, & a loss of self control. The results of this failure are apparent throughout the human family at this time in the low health average, in the full hospitals, & the diseased, enfeebled & anemic men, women & children everywhere to be found. There is little conservation of energy, & the very words "dissipation" & dissipated men" carry a lesson.
  • One of the things which should definitely emerge in our studies is the fact that disease is seldom of individual origin, unless a man misspends his life and definitely misuses his body (through drink or sexual dissipation)...
    • Alice Bailey in A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 4: Esoteric Healing (1953) Chapter I - The Psychological Causes of Disease - Part 1
  • Sex: the thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.
  • I've tried several varieties of sex, all of which I hate. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic; the others give me a stiff neck and/or lockjaw.
  • Yes, I haven't had enough sex.
    • Sir John Betjeman, British poet laureate. He had been asked whether he had any regrets, in an interview for the television documentary Time With Betjeman (February 1983).
  • "Natural" is a very dangerous word to use about sexuality … Our society's notions of normality are completely fake and meta-trendy, since they rely on the changing standards of superstition, religion, Christianity and gender bias to define themselves. Americans, in particular, exhibit very childish reactions to sexual practices that are new to them, much like little kids who are offered a vegetable they haven't seen before: "That's disgusting!" "But darling, you haven't even tried it!" "I don't care, I hate it, I hate it!"
  • Sexual acts that intentionally disregard either the unitive or the procreative goods of marriage are non-marital and therefore wrongful acts. Intercourse between non-married partners violates the unitive good, as do all coercive sexual acts. Contraceptive acts will against the procreative good; they are therefore non-marital, even if between married persons, and so wrongful. They are wrongful precisely because by definition they entail a will against the procreative good of marriage. Let me repeat: all non-marital sex is wrongly chosen, both inside and outside of marriage. Fornication is sex between non-married persons. Masterbatory acts are non-unitive. Contraceptive acts are non-procreative and non-unitive, insofar as rejecting the procreative meaning of sexual intercourse they do not realize between couples an integral one-flesh union.
  • Sex surveys are notoriously unreliable, but the top complaint about marriage on Google is lack of sex, with ‘sexless marriage’ entered into the search box eight times more often than ‘loveless marriage’.
  • Do you know why they call it a blowjob? So it'll sound like it has kind of a work ethic attached to it. Make you feel like you did something useful for the economy.
  • Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity
  • Among the most important of man's faculties is the sexual power. Its chief purpose is the generation of new life. This purpose pertains to the social order; it concerns the common good rather than the individual good. When husband and wife perform their marital functions in the natural manner, they are concurring in the designs of God toward the preservation and the propagation of the human race. The full import of this objective is perceived only by those who admit the eternal destiny of mankind. To them parenthood means, not merely the procreation of another member of society, but primarily coöperation with the Almighty in the creation of an immortal soul that is destined to be happy with God forever.
    However, when husband and wife deliberately and positively frustrate the procreative purpose of sexual intercourse, they pervert the order of nature and thus directly oppose the designs of nature's Creator. And since the reproductive function is so vital to the upkeep of the race, and since any exception to this law would be multiplied indefinitely, every act of contraceptive frustration is a gravely immoral act, or, in Catholic terminology, a mortal sin.
  • I have said that contraception is opposed to the chief purpose of sexual intercourse. Certainly there are other ends to which nature ordains conjugal relations, especially the alleviation of sexual craving and the fostering of a deep and abiding love between husband and wife. It is absurd to imagine that the Catholic Church regards conjugal coition as nothing more than a physical medium for the generation of offspring. Its psychological value as an expression of mutual self-surrender, its innate power to arouse a generous idealism in a married couple, are readily acknowledged by Catholic moralists. But these ends are manifestly subordinated to the Creator's primary purpose in endowing men and women with sexual potency -- the conservation and the propagation of the human race. Indeed, there is an acknowledgment of this primary purpose of sexual relations in the principle, admitted by all civilized nations, that conjugal intercourse is lawful only between husband and wife. The basic reason is that only in the permanent union of marriage can a child be properly reared; consequently, the child is the main object of sexual intercourse. In the words of Dr. Alexis Carrel: “Whether conscious or unconscious, the reproductive urge is the source of love….The sex act has been deprived of its natural consequences by the technical progress of contraception. However, the biological law of reproduction remains imperative. And transgressors are punished in a subtle manner. It is a disastrous mistake to believe we can live according to our fancy. Being parts of nature, we are submitted to its inexorable laws” (Reader's Digest, July 1939).
  • God is love and the Author of life and human sexuality. Authentic religion is concerned with sex because sex is concerned with love and with life. God is truth, and it is Catholic belief that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth about love--including sexual love. "If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples you will learn the truth, and the truth will make you free." Jn 8:31-32
    • Couple to Couple League, “Church Teaching on Birth Control“, from a brochure titled "What Does the Catholic Church REALLY Teach about Birth Control?", (1981); John F. Kippley,Imprimatur: Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, V.G. Archdiocese of Cincinnati February 25, 1981 Cincinnati, Ohio
  • If this secret [of sexual magic], which is a scientific secret, were perfectly understood, as it is not by me after more than twelve years' almost constant study and experiment, there would be nothing which the human imagination can conceive that could not be realized in practice.
    • Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography, ed. John Symonds (New York: Hill and Wang, 1969), 767.
  • It is a terrible error to let any natural impulse physical or mental stagnate. Crush it out, if you will, and be one with it; or fulfill it, and get it out of the system; but do not allow it to remain there and putrefy. The suppression of the normal sex instinct, for example, is responsible for a thousand ills. In Puritan countries one inevitably finds a morbid preoccupation with sex coupled with every form of perversion and degeneracy.
  • Catholic teaching has “absolutized” the biological or physical aspect of the sexual act. One can never interfere with the physical act of marital intercourse; hence, artificial contraception is always wrong. Many people have claimed that the problem with the Catholic condemnation of artificial contraception is the pronatalist Catholic position, but this is not the real problem. Hierarchical Catholic teaching also opposed artificial insemination even with the husband’s semen, because the physical act of sexual intercourse between married people is the only acceptable means of achieving human procreation. In other areas, the catholic approach has not identified the moral with the physical. Catholic teaching distinguishes between the physical act of killing, which may be acceptable in certain circumstances, and the moral act of murder, which is always wrong.
  • Nothing is better than sex and anyone who says so has never had a good woman.
  • When we speak of the body, we must recognize two realities, as St. Paul did through the use of two different words. On the one hand there are passing functions which must guarantee our existence on earth; these are imperfect, perishable. St. Paul ascribed those to the flesh (sarx). On the other hand there is sexuality, its purposeful goal created by God ("man and woman He created them,"Gen. 1,27). This sexuality should express the uniqueness of the whole person - and it should pass on life, thanks to love. Here St. Paul speaks of the body (soma). It constitutes the human being with his dignity as a person. "While the flesh returns to dust, the body is consecrated to the Lord: hence his incomparable dignity"- and his eternal goal.
    Therefore, the bodily union in marriage cannot be equated with the biological function of animals. Bodily union it the starting point and must be an expression of oneness between married persons. The marriage act must take place in a way that manifests deep honour for the other person, an honour that involves the body with its most natural functions.
    The purpose of the marriage act is thus not equivalent to the biological reproduction of animals; it is not merely the "propagation of the race." The goal of the marital act is to express mutual love by a total giving of oneself. This love naturally bears fruit in the creation of new life because fruitfulness is proper to love. Fruitfulness is first and foremost spiritual, but it can also manifest itself physically and bring forth another person - the child who is more than the sum of what the parents contribute. If the child were merely the sum, then the fruitfulness of the husband and wife would be purely worldly and biological.
    • Thierry Dejond, S. J., “Contraception”, “Contraception”, This article originally was printed by Emmaus under the title "Contraception: a social problem.", ‘’ETWN’’, (1996)
  • Coition is a slight attack of apoplexy. For man gushes forth from man, and is separated by being torn apart with a kind of blow.
  • It is very hard for a man to ask questions about sex. The smart ones do.
    • Betty Dodson [5]
  • "Can a woman not keep her lover without she study to always please him with pleasure? Pew! then let her give up the game. Or shall my lover think with pleasing of me to win me indeed? Faugh! he payeth me then; doth he think I am for hire?"
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, ranging from the serious to the fatal, are a fact of life in high schools and neighborhoods across the country. Misinformation and scare tactics about common sexual practices like masturbation are rampant. Despite these facts, and despite parents' overwhelming desire for their children to receive detailed sex education at school as well as at home, our society remains unwilling to make sexuality part of a comprehensive health education program in the schools and anxious to the point of hysteria about young people and sex...Hysteria about sex has hindered attempts to address these pressing concerns, and the people hurt most are those who most need the information—our young people, the poor, and the uninformed. Ignorance is not bliss.
  • No one warns young people to follow Adam's example. He waited till God saw his need. Then God made Adam sleep, prepared for his mate, and brought her to him. We need more of this 'being asleep' in the will of God. Then we can receive what He brings us in His own time, if at all. Instead we are set as bloodhounds after a partner, considering everyone we see until our minds are so concerned with the sex problem that we can talk of nothing else when bull-session time comes around. It is true that a fellow cannot ignore women — but he can think of them as he ought — as sisters, not as sparring partners!
    • Jim Elliot as quoted in Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty (1989), Chapter 4
  • Marriage is the appropriate context for sexual intercourse. This continues to be the position of this church. We affirm that the goodness of sexual intercourse goes beyond its procreative purpose. Whenever sexual intercourse occurs apart from the intent to conceive, the use of contraceptives is the responsibility of the man and of the woman.
  • The sex life of the working class is nasty, brutish and short. Every survey of behaviour, whether it's sexual offences or marital behaviour or premarital behaviour shows that. I had a dear friend who used to say 'tell me how a man makes love and I'll tell you how he votes', and that is absolutely justified in terms of what we know about class attitude and conduct in sexual matters.
  • Always fatuity, vulgarity, as soon as human passion is touched. [...] Just as some poetry is of the eye (form, colour) and some of the ear, so Keats is of the palate. Not only has he constant reference to its pleasures, but the general sensation after reading him is one of tasting. 'What's the harm?' Well, taste for some reason or the other can't carry one far into the world of beauty—that reason being perhaps that though you don't want comradership there you do want the possibility of comradership, and A cannot swallow B's mouthful by any possibility:....and this exclusiveness (to maunder on) also attaches to the physical side of sex though not the least to the spiritual.
    • E. M. Forster, Selected Letters: Letter 162, to Malcolm Darling, 1 December 1916
  • This article examines cognitive links between romantic love and creativity and between sexual desire and analytic thought based on construal level theory. It suggests that when in love, people typically focus on a long-term perspective, which should enhance holistic thinking and thereby creative thought, whereas when experiencing sexual encounters, they focus on the present and on concrete details enhancing analytic thinking. Because people automatically activate these processing styles when in love or when they experience sex, subtle or even unconscious reminders of love versus sex should suffice to change processing modes. Two studies explicitly or subtly reminded participants of situations of love or sex and found support for this hypothesis.
  • Health professionals are starting to recognize that sexual activity in humans could be an important aspect on their overall health and quality of life since this activity is practiced regularly by most individuals throughout their lifetime. However, due to the intimate and sensitive nature of sexuality, few studies have investigated if sexual activity could be considered as an exercise which involves a significant amount of energy expenditure. For example, in 1966, Masters and Johnson were one of the first authors to examine the physiological responses of sexual activity albeit in a laboratory setting.
  • Sexual activity is an important and relevant activity to human life and appears to impact on the mental, physical and social health as well as on the quality of life of the individual. In the next decade, we will continue to see advances in the field of human sexuality and its relationship with overall health. Considering that sexual activity may be one of the most regularly practiced activities throughout an individual’s life time, it seems important to conduct research on this topic.
  • The present study indicates that energy expenditure during sexual activity appears to be approximately 85 kcal or 3.6 kcal/min and seems to be performed at a moderate intensity in young healthy men and women. These results suggest that sexual activity may potentially be considered, at times, as a significant exercise. Moreover, both men and women reported that sexual activity was a highly enjoyable and more appreciated than the 30 min exercise session on the treadmill. Therefore, this study could have implications for the planning of intervention programs as part of a healthy lifestyle by health care professionals. Future studies may want to examine the relationship between psychosocial/qualitative factors with sexual activity and energy expenditure which could explain how these variables could affect overall health and quality of life.
  • Imagine that we didn't know the chimpanzee, that all we knew were those bonobos who have sex all the time and are peaceful and female-dominated and that people would say that this is our only close relative. I think we would have totally different theories about ourselves and our background. But, of course, it didn't happen that way.
  • “Why do they call them love-spells, anyway?" he added bitterly. “It isn't love, you know.”
    “Maybe because some people can't tell the difference.…Or if they suspect there's a difference, they don't want to know.”
  • Sex is a sure cure of boredom and an antidote to violence that is so American. Power to the People!
  • The major civilizing force in the world is not religion, it is sex.
  • I don't see why human people make such a heavy trip out of sex. It isn't anything complex, it is simply the best thing in life, even better than food.
  • I think that sex is necessary and bankers are not.
    • Lancelot Hogben, in Twentieth Century Authors, A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature, Edited by Stanley J. Kunitz, and Howard Haycraft. New York, The H.W. Wilson Company, 1950, (pp. 658-59)
  • It is only when it takes the form of physical addiction that sex is evil. It is also evil when it manifests itself as a way of satisfying the lust for power or the climber's craving for position and social distinction.
  • But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?
  • A rational point of view would seem to be that to rely on coitus interruptus as a contraceptive method adds tension and anxiety to the sexual act, that it deprives the partners of the natural gradual subsidence from climax, that it requires great skill and awareness especially in the male partner to bring the wife to orgasm and still withdraw in time to prevent ejaculation of some semen within the vagina.
    • Eric Johnson, quoted from The Encyclopedia of Christian Marriage (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1984), p. 226.
  • The great thing about sex is that everybody has an opinion about it and you can't say "Oh you're not an expert."
  • The Vatican argument is that sexual intercourse need not be for procreation but it must always be open to procreation. This is based on an appeal to natural e deduced from function. Since the sexual organs are by nature generative, to close off the possibility of transmission of life in their use is to go against nature. However, the function of the sexual organs is not exclusively procreative. They are a source of pleasure and a means of mutual self-giving expressive of the love and union of the couple. They are always relational, whereas they are not always generative.
    • David Clyde Jones, Biblical Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1994), p. 165.


  • Calculation will show that the difference between one ejaculation in thirty years and mean frequencies of, say, 30 ejaculations per week throughout the whole of thirty years, is a matter of 45,000 times. This is the order of the variation which may occur between two individuals who live in the same town and who are neighbors, meeting in the same place of business, an coming together in common social activities. These sexually extreme individuals may be of equal significance, or insignificance, in the societal organization. They may be considered as very similar sorts of persons by their close friends who do not know their sexual histories. It has been notable throughout our field collections that a sample of as few as a hundred histories is likely to show a considerable portion of this full range of variation.
    These differences in frequency of sexual activity are of great social importance. The publicly pretended code of morals, our social organization, our marriage customs, our sex laws, and our educational and religious systems are based upon an assumption that individuals are much alike sexually, and that it is an equally simple matter for all of them to confine their behavior to the single pattern which the mores dictate. Even in such an obviously sexual situation as marriage, there is little consideration, under our present custom, of the possibility that the two persons who have mated may be far apart in their sexual inclinations, backgrounds, and capacities. Persons interested in sex education look for a program which will satisfy children-meaning all the children-at some particular educational level, overlooking the fact that one individual may be adapted to a particular, perhaps relatively inactive, sort of sexual adjustment, while the next would fine it practically impossible to confine himself to such a low level of activity. In institutional management, there has been almost complete unawareness of these possible differences between inmates. The problems of sexual adjustment for persons committed to penal, mental, or other institutions, the problems of sexual adjustment for men and women in the army, the navy, or other armed forces, are a thousand different problems for any thousand of the persons involved.
  • Pop culture and porn would have us believe women's desire can be ignited by a single sultry gaze, and their genitals are ready to go at a moment's notice — much like those of men. This is not accurate information and can lead to painful or unsatisfying sex.
  • Remember a regular and pleasurable sex life either with yourself or a partner is linked to a youthful appearance, reduced chance of coronary incidents, fewer menopause symptoms and increased energy.
  • A colleague of mine wrote her PhD on women experiencing painful sex. She found often they had seen upwards of 18 different practitioners and spent vast sums of money trying to find a solution.
    Australian data shows 20.3 per cent of women and 2.4 per cent of men have experienced physical pain during sex.
    That's one in five women experiencing painful sex. I think that figure may actually be as high as 25-30 per cent based on my clinical experience.
    An American study revealed about 30 per cent of women and 7 per cent of men reported pain during vaginal intercourse events, and about 72 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men reported pain during anal intercourse events.
    Those figures are high.
  • God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, the genital ['generating'] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring.
  • We found that acute sexual experience increased circulating corticosterone levels and the number of new neurons in the hippocampus. Chronic sexual experience no longer produced an increase in corticosterone levels but continued to promote adult neurogenesis and stimulate the growth of dendritic spines and dendritic architecture. Chronic sexual experience also reduced anxiety-like behavior. These findings suggest that a rewarding experience not only buffers against the deleterious actions of early elevated glucocorticoids but actually promotes neuronal growth and reduces anxiety.
  • Numerous studies have linked experience to changes in adult neurogenesis, dendritic spines, and hippocampal function. In general, stress effects have been associated with negative outcomes in terms of brain structure and function, and elevated glucocorticoid levels seem to be mechanistically involved. The results of the present study, combined with the existing literature, suggest that naturally rewarding experiences are not only beneficial for the brain but also suggest that the hedonic value of an experience plays a more important role than glucocorticoid levels in determining whether the outcome will be beneficial or detrimental. The extent to which fundamentally aversive experiences can be recast as positive through learning, thus minimizing their damaging influence, remains to be determined.
  • The beneficial and well-being effects of human sexual arousal induced by coitus or masturbation are reviewed. Greater sexual satisfaction and some health rewards are given by coitally obtained orgasms even though those from masturbation may be more physiologically intense. The functionality of the circulatory, neural and muscular systems of the male and female genitalia are maintained by arousal and orgasm (maintenance functions) both in the conscious state and when asleep. Prophylactic actions (preventative functions) occur in relation to prostate cancer, implantation and dysmenorrhoea. In the male, ejaculations keep sperm morphology and semen volume within normal ranges while leukocyte numbers are increased. In the female, with coital vaginal deposition of semen mood enhancement occurs, menstrual cycles are more often of the ovulatory (fertile) type and postmenopausal vaginal atrophy is counteracted.
  • Sex is not harmful to children. It is a vehicle to self-knowledge, love, healing, creativity, adventure, and intense feelings of aliveness. There are many ways even the smallest children can partake of it. Our moral obligation to the next generation is to make a world in which every child can partake safely, a world in which the needs and desires of every child—for accomplishment, connection, meaning, and pleasure—can be marvelously fulfilled.
  • Sex appeal is fifty percent what you've got and fifty percent what people think you've got.
  • Intercourse is never without sin; but God excuses it by his grace because the estate of marriage is his work, and he preserves in and through the sin all that good which he has implanted and blessed in marriage.
  • Furthermore, though the fact seems little known, the clitoris of one woman may be stimulated nearly as effectively by the vulva of another woman, as can the penis of a male with the vagina of the female. The female emotion resulting from stimulation of the clitoris by another woman (as apparent in the behavior of women prisoners) seems fully as extensive as the male emotion resulting from stimulation of the penis. In this type of physical relationship, both women most frequently experience simultaneous stimulation of the clitoris with appropriate emotional states following. Neither woman, of course, receives stimulation of the mouth of the vagina.
  • Girls five or six years, or older, are quite likely to experience passive love for other girls of similar age, with or without mutual stimulation of the genital organs, as the case may be....At least two completed love affairs of this type between girls give to seven years old have been brought to my attention. In both cases the children were wholly normal so far as could be determined by medical and psychological examination.
    • William Moulton Marston The Emotions of Normal People p. 303 and p. 318 as quoted in Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter comics, 1941-1948 pp. 146-147 by Noah Berlatsky.
  • The [woman's] captivation stimulus actually evokes changes in the male's body designed to enable the woman's body to capture it physically...[During sex] the woman's body by means of appropriate movements and vaginal contractions, continues to captivate the male body, which has altered its form precisely for that purpose.
    • William Moulton Marston The Emotions of Normal People p. 333 as quoted in Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter comics, 1941-1948 pp. 164-165 by Noah Berlatsky.
  • Previous studies have identified a number of factors that contribute to improved cognitive function, and to memory function specifically, in cognitively normal individuals. One such factor, frequency of penile–vaginal intercourse (PVI), has been reported in a number of animal studies to be advantageous to memory for previously presented objects by increasing neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. However, studies investigating the potential benefits of frequent PVI on memory function in young women are to the best of our knowledge absent from the literature. The current study thus investigated whether the self-reported frequency of sexual intercourse was related to memory function in healthy female college students. To determine whether variation in PVI would be associated with memory performance, we asked 78 heterosexual women aged 18–29 years to complete a computerized memory paradigm consisting of abstract words and neutral faces. Results showed that frequency of PVI was positively associated with memory scores for abstract words, but not faces. Because memory for words depends to a large extent on the hippocampus, whereas memory for faces may rely to a greater extent on surrounding extra-hippocampal structures, our results appear to be specific for memory believed to rely on hippocampal function. This may suggest that neurogenesis in the hippocampus is higher in those women with a higher frequency of PVI, in line with previous animal research. Taken together, these results suggest that PVI may indeed have beneficial effects on memory function in healthy young women.
  • Because the sexual dyad is considered a sacred bond by most religious Americans, exploring the sexual lives of older adults may also provide a window into their religious lives as well. Research connecting sex and religion in older adulthood, however, remains slim. Much more is known about it at earlier stages of the life course. Most of this has been conducted among adolescents, and the majority of these studies find a negative association between heightened religiosity and a variety of sexual outcomes, including the timing of first sex, number of sexual partners, and the propensity to have premarital sex (Regnerus 2005; Rostosky, Wilcox, Wright, & Randall, 2004; Uecker 2008). Studies of religion and sex among adults are rarer and have tended to focus primarily on retrospective accounts of premarital or extramarital sexual behavior. Evidence from the 1993–2002 General Social Surveys (GSS) indicates that never-married adults with higher religiosity report fewer sexual partners than their less religious counterparts (Barkan 2006).
  • While religiosity—or religious commitment—is associated with more sexually restrictive behavior, religious traditions do not appear to uniquely influence sexual behavior. Adolescents from different religious traditions do not exhibit widely varying sexual behavior; religiosity within any religious tradition is what matters (Regnerus 2007).
    Religion may influence sexual behavior (or lack thereof) more for women than men. Many studies find that women are more religious than men and that their religiosity has a stronger impact on their behavior than their male counterparts (Krause, Ellison, & Marcum 2002; Miller & Hoffman 1995; De Vaus & McAllister 1987). Gender socialization suggests that boys are socialized to be competitive, aggressive, and independent, whereas girls are taught to be obedient, sociable, and nurturing. Indeed, Beit-Hallami & Argyle 1997) argue that women are more likely to be attracted to religion because many of the traits valued in religion are considered feminine traits, such as obedience to God and the nurturing of others. Gender socialization and the roles associated with it, may partially explain why women may be more prone to adhere to the sexual scripts emphasized by their religious community than men. Studies of adolescent sexuality regularly find that religiosity is more likely to delay sexual activity among girls than boys (Crockett, Bingham, Chopak, & Vicary 1996; Rostosky et al. 2004). Also, among older adults women tend to be disproportionately single. Sexual activity may not be a viable option if opportunities for it are diminished. As a result, adhering to religious prohibitions on sex outside of marriage may be easier.
  • Sexual activity continues to be valued by older adults and may improve life satisfaction, marital quality, and general health (Yeh et al. 2006; Seldin et al. 2002). Research on the sexual behavior of older adults is in its infancy. We have accentuated the role of religion as one component of social life that impacts sexual behavior and deserves further attention. This study is one of the few to investigate the relationship between religion and sex among older adults and suggests that religion continues to play a large role in shaping the sex lives of older Americans (especially, in the decision to abstain from non-marital sex). Religion becomes more important for adults as they age and sexual relationships remain so, therefore understanding the intersection between these two life domains should not be overlooked.
  • All of us have got some kinds of feelings and thoughts about sex, but the only genre connected to it is this grubby, shameful one. That's a real pity. Sex is glorious, it's how we all got here, and it's most people's favourite activity.
  • Most of the people who get sent to die in wars are young men who've got a lot of energy and would probably rather, in a better world, be putting that energy into copulation rather than going over there and blowing some other young man's guts out.
    • Alan Moore, "The Craft" - interview with Daniel Whiston, Engine Comics (January 2005).
  • Sex is a part of love. You shouldn't go around doing it unless you are in love.
  • Let the husband render to [his] wife her due; but let the wife also do likewise to [her] husband. The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, also, the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but his wife does. Do not be depriving each other [of it], except by mutual consent for an appointed time...
  • In colonial New England, outercourse was encouraged by the custom of “bundling.” Because of the long distances traveled for courtship and the lack of central heating and bedroom space, unmarried couples were “bundled.” They slept together in the same bed, either fully clothed or with a “bundling board” placed in the bed between them. It was assumed that the young people might become physically intimate, but would refrain from vaginal intercourse. However, the dramatic rise in the rates of premarital pregnancy and “illegitimacy” in the middle of the 18thcentury was blamed on bundling, and the clergy successfully denounced the practice in 1770 (D'Emilio & Freedman, 1988).
    Outercourse had a major revival in America during the 1940s and ‘50s. During those years, virginity was considered very important for unmarried women. Outercourse in the back seat of her boyfriend’s sedan at the drive-in movies ⎯they were called “passion pits” by the teenagers of the ‘50s ⎯allowed a young woman to have sex while remaining “technically” a virgin (Kinsey, 1948).
    Outercourse took a back seat to vaginal intercourse when the pill became available during the sexual revolution of the ‘60s (Brandt, 1985; Valdiserri, 1988). By the time the ‘80s rolled around, vaginal intercourse was a pretty matter-of-fact event in the heterosexual “dating game” (Coontz, 1992). But as the sexual revolution began to lose some of its charm with the spread of AIDS in the early ‘80s, many women and men began to wonder if they weren’t missing something by passing up the other pleasures of other kinds of sex. Yearning for romance, and aware of the significant risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, women and men of the 21stcentury are rediscovering the pleasures of courtship, seduction, and outercourse (Cordes, 1988).
  • Sex is an antidote to death, or at least, an adequate placebo.
    • Tim Pratt, Cup and Table (originally published in 2006 in David Moles & Susan Marie Groppi (eds.) Twenty Epics) and reprinted in Mike Ashley (ed.), The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy (p. 385)
  • Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
  • 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.
  • [T]he science of the sexual magic is the key to the development and the underlying secret of all Masonic symbols.…[I]t is certain that the sexual question has become the most burning question of our time.
  • Sex is difficult; yes. But those tasks that have been entrusted to us are difficult; almost everything serious is difficult; and everything is serious. If you just recognize this and manage, out of yourself, out of your own talent and nature, out of your own experience and childhood and strength, to achieve a wholly individual relation to sex (one that is not influenced by convention and custom), then you will no longer have to be afraid of losing yourself and becoming unworthy of your dearest possession.
  • What we refuse to believe is that it was intended by nature as a manufacturing process. In order to make certain the race would continue, nature made it the most exciting and alluring of experiences; thus, we have turned it into a diversion and an entertainment. Nonetheless, it is a manufacturing process.
  • Venereal: From Venus, the goddess of love, this word refers to the reality of desire. With the rise of Protestantism and science, the word "disease" was tacked on in a revealing combination of categorization and moralizing. "Which disease?" "The disease of love."
  • During the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, when Republicans and religious conservatives controlled the federal government and were doing everything in their power to harm the sick and dying, queers organized and protested and volunteered and mourned. We also made music and theater and art. We took care of each other, and we danced and loved and fucked. Embracing joy and art and sex in the face of fear and uncertainty made us feel better—it kept us sane—and it had the added benefit of driving our enemies crazy. They couldn’t understand how we could be anything but miserable, given the challenges we faced—their greed, their indifference, their bigotry—but we created and experienced joy despite their hatred and despite this awful disease. We turned to each other—we turned to our lovers and friends and sometimes strangers—and said, "Fuck them. Now fuck me."
  • Imagine what would happen if instead of centering our beliefs about heterosexual sex around the idea tat the man "penetrates" the woman, we were to say that the woman's vagina "consumes" the man's penis. This would create a very different set of connotations, as the woman would become the active initiator and the man would be the passive and receptive party. One can easily see how this could lead to men and masculinity being seen as dependent on, and existing for the benefit of, femaleness and femininity.
    • Julia Serrano Whipping Girl: A Transexual Woman on Sexism and The Scapegoating of Feminimity. p. 330 as quoted in Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter comics, 1941-1948 p. 164 by Noah Berlatsky.
  • What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be a human. One would be a monster.
  • For all that she’d had no great expectations for it, sex was turning out to be even more squalid, tawdry, and cynical than she had suspected it would.
  • אמר רבי יוחנן בן דהבאי, ארבעה דברים סחו לי מלאכי השרת: חיגרין מפני מה הויין? מפני שהופכים את שולחנם. אילמים מפני מה הויין? מפני שמנשקים על אותו מקום. חרשים מפני מה הויין? מפני שמספרים בשעת תשמיש. סומין מפני מה הויין? מפני שמסתכלים באותו מקום
    • R. Johanan b. Dahabai said: The Ministering Angels told me four things: People are born lame because their parents overturned their table; dumb, because they kiss 'that place'; deaf, because they converse during cohabitation; blind, because they look at 'that place'
    • Talmud, Tractate Nedarim, 20a.
  • I lose my respect for the man who can make the mystery of sex the subject of a coarse jest, yet when you speak earnestly and seriously on the subject, is silent.
    • Henry David Thoreau, journal entry (April 12, 1852); in Odell Shepard, ed., The Heart of Thoreau's Journals (1927), p. 126.
  • The language we use to refer to these forms of stimulation is a stumbling block, Hancock said. By referring to and regarding these activities as "foreplay" rather than a form of sex, we are reinforcing this notion that penis-in-vagina is the only valid route to sexual pleasure. "If sex education, more broadly, was teaching that there were many different kinds of sex that might be enjoyable (both solo and with someone else) then more people might be able to experience pleasurable sex more often," Hancock explained.
  • The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
    • Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canadian minister of justice, remark to newsmen, Ottawa, Canada (December 21, 1967), as reported by The Globe and Mail, Toronto (December 22, 1967), p. 1. He was commenting on the government's proposal to overhaul Canadian criminal law, giving new recognition to individual rights in several areas, including sexual behavior.
  • In dealing with penitents on the matter of responsible procreation, the confessor should keep four aspects in mind: a) the example of the Lord who "is capable of reaching down to every prodigal son, to every human misery, and above all to every form of moral misery, to sin"; b) a prudent reserve in inquiring into these sins; c) help and encouragement to the penitents so that they may be able to reach sufficient repentance and accuse themselves fully of grave sins; d) advice which inspire all, in a gradual way, to embrace the path of holiness.
  • Sexual intercourse consumes time, requires much effort, absorbs a huge part of energy. But it gives such dose of pleasure, that all of these defects don't matter.
    • Jerzy Vetulani, Mózg, seks i nagrody, „Charaktery” 2008, nr 1(5), pages 41–43
  • Before the Reformation, the value of sexual intercourse was viewed almost exclusively through the lens of procreation. After the Reformation, the lens widened to embrace the unique joys and pleasures of the covenant companionship marriage provides. Thus, sex could be wholeheartedly enjoyed even if performed without the express intention of conceiving children. This view helped paved the way for acceptance of what are now known as “naturalbirth control methods. Yet, neither the Catholics nor the Reformers could ever have fathomed the numerous other options that would arise in light of modern medical advances.
  • All this fuss about sleeping together. For physical pleasure I'd sooner go to my dentist any day.
  • 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)
  • The problem is that sex is the most dangerous way of trying to achieve personal growth, because the life force has mixed it so liberally with a string sense of "magic", which, in the attempt at possession turns out to be an illusion. The attempt to possess a woman through an act of sex is as frustrating as trying to possess the scent of a rose by cooking and eating it.
  • 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.

“The long sexual revolution: English women, sex and contraception 1800-1975” (2004)[edit]

Cook, Hera, “The long sexual revolution: English women, sex and contraception 1800-1975”, Oxford University Press, (2004)

  • As a result of shared ignorance, and not infrequent male insensitivity, women’s first experience of intercourse was a potentially frightening experience. These fears were not baseless. Breaking the hymen was, and still is today, a painful experience for some women. More importantly, if haste on the part of the husband or lack of desire on the part of the wife meant she was not sexually aroused, her vagina would not be lubricated and intercourse would be quite straightforwardly painful. Where their first experience of intercourse was an unpleasant shock, women with little expectation of pleasure would have been provided with no reason to become physically aroused and produce vaginal lubrication on future occasions, increasing the likelihood of further unpleasant physical experiences.
    • Sexual Emotion and Sexual Ignorance, p.199
  • Stopes argued that ’no union should ever take place unless the woman also desires it and is made physically ready for it’. Her insistence that the woman must be courted (or persuaded, seduced, wooed, etc.) before sexual intercourse in order that she will enjoy the experience provided the woman with a veto, if she still did not wish to have intercourse. Thus accepting Stopes’s advice necessitated the rejection of the male conjugal right, which the husband acquired on marriage, to have sexual intercourse with his wife whenever he desired it. Nineteenth-century feminists in Britain and America had argued that marriage should not give the husband the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife on demand. The rejection of these ‘conjugal rights’ was well established in the radical, nineteenth-century American discourse on sexuality of which some of the sex manuals had been a part.
    • Sexual Emotion and Sexual Ignorance, p.199
  • Married women…are deprived of the full orgasm through the excessive speed of the husband’s reactions….[I]t may even take as much as from ten to twenty minutes of actual physical union to consummate her feeling, while two to three minutes often completes the union for a man who is ignorant of the need to control his reactions so that both may experience the added benefit of a mutual crisis to love.
    This argument that husbands must alter their sexual behavior to be more aware of their wife’s sexual needs was one of the points most widely accepted by other manual authors. Husbands were told repeatedly in manuals that their wives’ sexual pleasure was vital to their own, and that they must learn how to delay their own orgasm to extend the duration of intercourse.
    However, for most men to continue intercourse for as long as ten to twenty minutes seems to have been a considerable demands. Stopes repeated the estimate of two to three minutes, average duration of intercourse in ‘’Enduring Passion’’ (1928) but mentioned that use of different positions had enabled some men to continue for much longer periods of time, such as forty-five minutes. Dr Eustace Chesser (1902-73), who was not a sexually conservative author, estimated in 1941 that the ‘average duration of the stay of the penis in the vagina is about five minutes. Many regularly exceeded that time. The actual union sometimes lasts between five and ten minutes. Extreme cases of longer duration also occur.’ Durations of intercourse over ten minutes would not now be considered extreme but they evidently were in the early twentieth century, as all the authors who discuss the topic assume that the duration of intercourse is usually brief.
    • Stopes, Married Love, (1937), 69-70; & Chesser, Love, 129-130; as qtd. on p.203

“Men versus women on sexual brain function: prominent differences during tactile genital stimulation, but not during orgasm” (Oct 30, 2009)[edit]

Janniko R Georgiadis, A A T Simone Reinders, Anne M J Paans, Remco Renken, Rudie Kortekaas; “Men versus women on sexual brain function: prominent differences during tactile genital stimulation, but not during orgasm” Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 Oct;30(10):3089-101.

  • Biological differences in male and female sexuality are obvious in the behavioral domain, but the central mechanisms that might explain these behavioral gender differences remain unclear. In this study, we merged two earlier positron emission tomography data sets to enable systematic comparison of the brain responses in heterosexual men and women during sexual tactile genital (penile and clitoral) stimulation and during orgasm. Gender commonalities were most evident during orgasm, a phase which demonstrated activations in the anterior lobe of the cerebellar vermis and deep cerebellar nuclei, and deactivations in the left ventromedial and orbitofrontal cortex in both men and women. During tactile genital stimulation, deactivations in the right amygdala and left fusiform gyrus were found for both genders. Marked gender differences were seen during this phase: left fronto-parietal areas (motor cortices, somatosensory area 2 and posterior parietal cortex) were activated more in women, whereas in men, the right claustrum and ventral occipitotemporal cortex showed larger activation. The only prominent gender difference during orgasm was male-biased activation of the periaqueductal gray matter. From these results, we conclude that during the sexual act, differential brain responses across genders are principally related to the stimulatory (plateau) phase and not to the orgasmic phase itself. These results add to a better understanding of the neural underpinnings of human sexuality, which might benefit treatment of psychosexual disorders.
  • Gender differences in sexuality and sexual behavior are often subject to humor and ridicule. Nevertheless, differences in the way the male and female brain produce a sexual response may be clinically relevant, because there is a large group of gender‐specific sexual disorders without a clear somatic cause (psycho‐ or neurogenic sexual disorders). As these sexual disorders are associated with high occurrences of health and relationship problems [Laumann et al.,1999; Lloyd,2005], gaining knowledge about the functional neurobiology underlying human sexual behavior is important. This process is delayed by the lack of neurobiological studies that are actually carried out in human subjects, especially pertaining to more progressed stages of the sexual response, like genital stimulation and orgasm. In previous studies, we have identified regions in the human brain associated with tactile genital stimulation and orgasm in men [Georgiadis and Holstege,2005; Holstege et al.,2003; Georgiadis et al.,2007] and women [Georgiadis et al.,2006]. An outstanding question is how the brain reponses in both gender groups compare during these crucial sexual phases.
    From similar animal studies conducted in male [Baum and Everitt,1992; Coolen et al.,1996; Kollack‐Walker and Newman,1997; Marson et al.,1993] and female [Coolen et al.,1996; Marson,1995; Marson and Murphy,2006], rodents a picture emerges of a shared neuronal substrate for the processing of genital information and the control of genital responses comprising regions in the thalamus, the amygdala, the midbrain, and the hypothalamus. Bridging the gap between animal studies and human sexual activity is not straightforward. For example, animal models exist for the neuronal substrate underlying penile erection and ejaculation, but not for the subjective experience of sexual arousal and orgasm. Other concerns with the relevant animal studies are that the vast majority of them focuses on male sexual behavior, and that the cerebral cortex is usually not investigated despite insights gained from neurological patients about its importance for the integrity of human sexual behavior [Aloni and Katz,1999; Sandel et al.,1996].
    Gender differences in human brain function have been demonstrated for emotional tasks: a meta‐analysis of 65 neuroimaging studies revealed that compared to men, women more frequently activate midline limbic structures, including the subcallosal anterior cingulate, the thalamus, the midbrain, and the cerebellum. Men, on the other hand, showed more hemispheric lateralization and more activation in occipital and left inferior frontal cortices [Wager et al.,2003]. For visually evoked sexual arousal, men had more activation in amygdala [Hamann et al.,2004] and hypothalamus [Hamann et al.,2004; Karama et al.,2002].
  • With our previous within‐gender analyses, we have shown that during stimulation of the erect penis, the right claustrum, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex, and occipitotemporal cortex were recruited [Georgiadis and Holstege,2005], whereas during clitoral stimulation, the main activations were in the left somatosensory area 2 as well as in the left primary somatosensory cortex [Georgiadis et al.,2006]. The amygdala was deactivated in men and in women (on the right in men, on the left in women), as was the area of the left inferior temporal gyrus/fusiform gyrus. For orgasm, the patterns of activation and deactivation were largely similar between both gender groups (activation in the anterior medial cerebellum, deactivation in the left ventromedial and orbitofrontal cortex), except for involvement of the left rostral midbrain and adjacent ventral thalamus in men, which was not found in women [Georgiadis et al.,2006,2007]. As interesting as these observations may be, they lack direct statistical inference about both gender commonalities and differences. The aim of the present study was to perform a formal group comparison using these data sets.
  • This study aimed to investigate gender differences and commonalities with respect to cerebral blood flow changes during two phases of human sexual behavior, namely orgasm and the preceding phase of tactile genital stimulation. The main result of this study was that gender differences were most prominent during tactile genital stimulation, while gender similarities were observed during orgasm.
    It is highly unlikely that differences measured during sexual tactile genital stimulation were caused by sexual dimorphism of cerebral structures. First of all, our spatial brain normalization entailed iterative non‐linear warping which effectively obliterates inter‐individual structural variance. Second, although structural gender differences exist in amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex [Allen et al.,2003; Cahill,2006; Luders et al.,2006], none of these areas were identified in our study as being functionally different between genders. In contrast, we found shared rCBF changes in both the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Interestingly, we observed in our study that part of the occipital lobe was activated more in men than in women, a finding which has been demonstrated previously for emotional tasks [Wager et al.,2003].
  • The conjunction analysis confirmed results of our prior publications demonstrating little overlap between penile and clitoral stimulation with regard to activated brain regions. Only two regions showed a tendency towards activation in both gender groups, the left primary (SI) and secondary (SII) somatosensory cortex. However, the conjunction analysis did not corroborate animal studies which suggest a shared neuronal substrate for the processing of male and female genital afferent information during sexual activity at the level of the brainstem and the diencephalon [Baum and Everitt,1992; Coolen et al.,1996; Kollack‐Walker and Newman,1997; Marson,1995; Marson and Murphy,2006; Marson et al.,1993]. This is intriguing because penis and clitoris derive from the same embryonic tissue and share a common peripheral somatic innervation via the pudendal nerve. Taking this into account, one might assume that common pathways in humans must exist at the subcortical level for the sensory information from the genitalia to reach the cerebral cortex. However, the present study depicts discrepancies which may be based on physiological differences between rodents and humans. Conflicting results may also be due to the experimental set‐up or the restrictions of the scanning technique used.
  • During tactile genital stimulation we observed higher activation of the right posterior claustrum in men than in women. The claustrum has extensive and mostly reciprocal connections with the neocortex [for review, see Crick and Koch,2005], and functionally, has been linked to cross‐modal matching [Hadjikhani and Roland,1998; Horster et al.,1989] and multisensory integration [Naghavi et al.,2007]. Studies using visual sexual stimulation (VSS) have shown a positive correlation between claustrum activity levels and the degree of penile turgidity [Arnow et al.,2002; Redouté et al.,2000,2005]. Arnow and colleagues proposed that claustrum involvement reflects cross‐modal transfer of visual input to imagined tactile (penile) stimulation [Arnow et al.,2002]. Following this line of thinking, claustrum activation during sexual tactile genital stimulation with eyes closed could point to cross‐modal transfer of genital sensory information to a visually imagined situation. Support comes from anatomical studies, showing that the posterior portion of the claustrum is connected to visual cortical areas, at least in cat [Narkiewicz,1964; Olson and Graybiel,1980] and monkey [Pearson et al.,1982]. Although no data were collected from our subjects that could confirm stronger visual imagery in men during tactile genital stimulation than in women, the idea remains attractive: (i) next to the claustrum, men also had stronger activation in the right ventral occipitotemporal region, a visual area that is activated during visual imagery [Ishai et al.,2000; Roland and Gulyas,1995]. This is also consistent with the meta analysis by Wager et al. which speculated about the a higher sensitivity and attention to visual stimuli in men in emotional paradigms [Wager et al.,2003]. (ii) behavioral observations have shown that men have a greater interest in visual sexual stimuli than women [Laumann et al.,1994].
  • Most studies concerning the neurobiology of human sexuality have used visual sexual stimulation (VSS) to elicit a state of sexual desire and arousal in subjects. Gender differences in brain responses to VSS were investigated in only two studies, which basically showed that men activated the hypothalamus and amygdala more than women [Hamann et al.,2004; Karama et al.,2002]. As we have demonstrated here, these effects were not present during later stages of the sexual response. It is important to understand, however, that VSS paradigms differ fundamentally from the paradigm we used, both with respect to the sexual phase under investigation (sexual desire vs. sexual “consumption”) and the type of sexual stimulation used (visual vs. tactile).
    In rodents activation of the amygdala is important for identifying sexual salience in distal olfactory and visual signals [Newman,1999; Parfitt and Newman,1998], after which sexual desire can be established. This is consistent with amygdala activation demonstrated with VSS paradigms [Beauregard et al.,2001; Ferretti et al.,2005; Gizewski et al.,2006]. However, the present data clearly demonstrate that amygdala activity decreases once the sexual act commences. Supporting our finding are studies showing that similar attenuated amygdala activity is characteristic of euphoric mental states such as cocaine rush [Breiter et al.,1997] and romantic love [Bartels and Zeki,2004]. This change in amygdala activity may be crucial for prolonged sexual arousal during the sexual act.
  • Gender differences in brain activity were particularly marked during tactile genital stimulation. Specifically, in men the right claustrum and ventral occipitotemporal cortex were activated more strongly, and in women left fronto‐parietal areas. Gender commonalities were sparse during this phase. For the orgasm phase a different picture emerged: The gender commonalities dominated the picture, most notably in the orbitofrontal cortex, whereas the only prominent gender difference was observed in the midbrain PAG. Translating these neuroimaging results to actual sexual behavior, this could mean that men and women have different ways to reach orgasm while undergoing tactile stimulation, but that their orgasmic experience is largely similar. These results could potentially benefit treatment strategies for psychosexual problems.

“Why is it that only open-to-life sex fulfils?” (Oct. 10, 1988)[edit]

"Married Love and Contraception", Osservatore Romano, “Why is it that only open-to-life sex fulfils?”, (Oct. 10, 1988)

  • If one deliberately destroys the power of the conjugal act to give life, one necessarily destroys its power to signify love: the love and union proper to marriage.
  • Why is the act of intercourse called the conjugal act, that is, the most distinctive expression of marital love and self-giving? Why is this act - which is but a passing and fleeting thing - particularly regarded as an act of union? After all, people in love express their love and desire to be united in many ways: sending letters, exchanging looks or presents, holding hands... What makes the sexual act unique? Why does this act unite the spouses in a way that no other act does? What is it that makes it not just a physical experience but a love experience?
    Is it the special pleasure attaching to it? Is the unitive meaning of the conjugal act contained just in the sensation, however intense, that it can produce? If intercourse unites two people simply because it gives special pleasure, then it would seem that one or other of the spouses could at times find a more meaningful union outside marriage than within it. It would follow too that sex without pleasure becomes meaningless, and that sex with pleasure, even homosexual sex, becomes meaningful.
    No. The conjugal act may or may not be accompanied by pleasure; but the meaning of the act does not consist in its pleasure. The pleasure provided by marital intercourse may be intense, but it is transient. The significance of marital intercourse is also intense, and it is not transient; it lasts.
    Why should the marital act be more significant than any other expression of affection between the spouses? Why should it be a more intense expression of love and union? Surely because of what happens in that marital encounter, which is not just a touch, not a mere sensation, however intense, but a communication, an offer and acceptance, an exchange of something that uniquely represents the gift of oneself and the union of two selves.
    Here, of course, it should not be forgotten that while two persons in love want to give themselves to one another, to be united to one another, this desire of theirs remains, humanly speaking , on a purely volitional level. They can bind themselves to one another, but they cannot actually give themselves. The greatest expression of a person's desire to give himself is to give the seed of himself . Giving one's seed is much more significant, and in particular is much more real, than giving one's heart. "I am yours, I give you my heart; here, take it", is mere poetry, to which no physical gesture can give full expression. But, "I am yours; I give you my seed; here, take it", is not poetry, it is love. It is conjugal love embodied in a unique and privileged physical action whereby intimacy is expressed - "I give you what I give no one else" - and union is achieved: "Take what I have to give. This will be a new me. United to you, to what you have to give - to your seed - this will be a new you-and-me, fruit of our mutual knowledge and love". In human terms, this is the closest one can come to giving one's self conjugally and to accepting the conjugal self-gift of another, and so achieving spousal union.
  • [W]hat makes marital intercourse express a unique relationship and union is not the sharing of a sensation but the sharing of a power: of an extraordinary life-related, creative, physical, sexual power. In a truly conjugal relationship, each spouse says to the other: "I accept you as somebody like no one else in my life. You will be unique to me and I to you. You and you alone will be my husband; you alone will be my wife. And the proof of your uniqueness to me is the fact that with you - and with you alone - am I prepared to share this God-given, life-oriented power". In this consists the singular quality of intercourse. Other physical expressions of affection do not go
    beyond the level of a mere gesture; they remain a symbol of the union desired. But the conjugal act is not a mere symbol. In true marital intercourse, something real has been exchanged, with a full gift and acceptance of conjugal masculinity and femininity. And there remains, as witness to their conjugal relationship and the intimacy of their conjugal union, the husband's seed in the wife's body.
    Now if one deliberately nullifies the life-orientation of the conjugal act, one destroys its essential power to signify union. Contraception in fact turns the marital act into self-deception or into a lie: "I love you so much that with you, and with you alone, I am ready to share this most unique power..." But - what unique power? In contraceptive sex, no unique power is being shared, except a power to produce pleasure. But then the uniqueness of the marital act is reduced to pleasure. Its significance is gone.
  • The vitality of sensation in sexual intercourse should correspond to a vitality of meaning (remembering - as we have said - that sensation is not meaning). The very explosiveness of sexual pleasure suggests the greatness of the creativity of sex. In each conjugal act, there should be something of the magnificence - of the scope and power - of Michelangelo's Creation in the Sistine Chapel in Rome... But it is the dynamism not just of a sensation, but of an event: of something that happens, of a communication of life.
    A lack of true sexual awareness characterizes the act if the intensity of pleasure does not serve to stir a fuller understanding of the greatness of the conjugal experience: I am committing myself - my creative life-giving power - not just to another person, but to the whole of creation: to history, to mankind, to the purposes and design of God. In each act of conjugal union, John Paul II teaches, "there is renewed, in a way, the mystery of creation in all its original depth and vital power".

Dialogue[edit]

Lucia DeLury: Honey, I don't understand sex. I don't get it, get it? It's just, it seems like, uh… a lot of trouble for not much. Am I the only one that thinks this?
Bill Truit: I don't think you're the tip of an iceberg, frankly.
Lucia DeLury: Well, I- I would rather have a bathrobe. You know, it lasts longer, and there's no fluids. You know, what's so great about that? That's like, "Hi! I'd like to blow my nose on your face."
The Opposite of Sex (1998), with Lisa Kudrow (Lucia) and Martin Donovan (Bill)
[Alvy confronts Annie about having an affair]
Alvy Singer: Well, I didn't start out spying. I thought I'd surprise you. Pick you up after school.
Annie Hall: Yeah, but you wanted to keep the relationship flexible. Remember, it's your phrase.
Alvy Singer: Oh stop it, you're having an affair with your college professor, that jerk that teaches that incredible crap course, Contemporary Crisis in Western Man...
Annie Hall: Existential Motifs in Russian Literature. You're really close.
Alvy Singer: What's the difference? It's all mental masturbation.
Annie Hall: Oh, well, now we're finally getting to a subject you know something about.
Alvy Singer: Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love.
Annie Hall (1977), with Woody Allen (Alvy Singer) and Diane Keaton (Annie Hall)

Verse[edit]

  • Bobby said he did it when he was 13
    Twenty five times take a look at me
    Do it as often as you possibly can
    Give it to me four times!
    Do it a gain (1) and again (2) and again (3) and ag-ga-ain (4)
    Sex!

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Marianne Hunter (ed.), Sex: A Book of Quotations, Barnes & Noble Books, 2003. ISBN 0-7607-4072-0.
  • Baltimore Chronicle: Quotes about Sex

External links[edit]