Sexual activity is a topic that has always been a mystery to many individuals in the society. Some people see it as a taboo topic and avoid discussing it altogether, while others consider it as a natural part of human existence, and are open to talking about it. In general, the definition of sexual activity varies from person to person, society to society, culture to culture, and even country to country. Many people are not fully aware of what sexual activity entails, what it means to be sexually active, the benefits and risks involved, and how they can enjoy it without harming themselves or others. That’s why in this article, we will help you understand the mystery of being sexually active, and how you can do it the right way.
The Definition of Being Sexually Active
Being sexually active means engaging in different types of sexual activities that involve physical contact or intimacy with another person. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual activity includes any activity that involves sexual arousal, such as kissing, touching, hugging, and oral, vaginal or anal sex. Sexual activity can take place between individuals of the opposite or same sex, and can be consensual or non-consensual. The legal age of sexual activity varies depending on the country, with some countries allowing it at the age of 16, while others at 18 or older.
Reasons Why People Engage in Sexual Activity
There are several reasons why people engage in sexual activity, which include:
- Expressing love and affection towards their partner
- Seeking pleasure and orgasm
- Procreation, and the desire to have children
- Peer pressure or the need to conform to societal norms
- Cultural or religious practices or beliefs
- Reducing stress, anxiety or depression
- Exploring their bodies and sexuality
- As a means of communication or bonding
- Curiosity or experimentation
- As a form of transaction or compensation
Benefits of Being Sexually Active
Sexual activity has several benefits that can improve your physical, emotional and mental well-being. These benefits include:
- Boosting your mood and reducing stress: When you engage in sexual activity, your brain releases dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin, which are feel-good hormones that help you relax and feel happy.
- Improving your immune system: Sexual activity can help boost your immune system by increasing the levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is important for fighting infections in your body.
- Burning calories: Sexual activity can help you burn calories and lose weight, especially when you engage in vigorous activities such as dancing, foreplay and intercourse.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease: According to research, regular sexual activity can lower your risk of heart disease by improving your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.
- Strengthening your pelvic muscles: Sexual activity can help strengthen your pelvic muscles, which can improve your sexual satisfaction, prevent urinary incontinence, and enhance your sexual health.
Risks of Being Sexually Active
Sexual activity also has some risks that can have negative impacts on your physical, emotional and mental health. These risks include:
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Engaging in sexual activity with an infected partner can put you at risk of contracting STIs such as HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, HPV, Gonorrhea, and Herpes.
- Pregnancy: Engaging in sexual activity without protection can lead to unwanted pregnancy, which can have major consequences on your life.
- Sexual dysfunction: Sexual activity can lead to sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and pain during intercourse.
- Unwanted emotional and psychological effects: Sexual activity can have unwanted emotional and psychological effects such as guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression, especially when it is done without consent or in a non-consensual manner.
- Breaking the law: Engaging in sexual activity with minors or in public places can lead to legal consequences such as imprisonment, fines or a criminal record.
How to Practice Safe Sex
Safe sex refers to the practice of engaging in sexual activity while minimizing the risks of STIs, unwanted pregnancy, and emotional and psychological harm. Here are some ways to practice safe sex:
- Use condoms or dental dam: Condoms and dental dams are effective in reducing the risks of STIs and unwanted pregnancy, especially when used correctly and consistently. They can be used during oral, vaginal and anal sex.
- Choose your partner wisely: Engage in sexual activity with partners who are willing, informed, and trustworthy, and who have been tested for STIs.
- Get tested regularly: Go for regular STI tests, especially if you’re sexually active, have multiple partners, or engaging in casual sex.
- Practice communication and consent: Talk openly with your partner about your sexual history, preferences, and boundaries, and obtain their consent before engaging in sexual activity.
- Use contraception: If you’re not ready to have children, use a reliable form of contraception such as birth control pills, contraceptive injections, or IUDs.
Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Sexual Activity
Sexual activity is a topic that is heavily influenced by religious and cultural beliefs and practices. Some religions and cultures view sexual activity as a sacred act that should only be reserved for married couples, and only for procreation. Others see it as a natural and pleasurable act that can be enjoyed between consenting adults, regardless of their marital status or gender. For instance, in Islam, sexual activity is viewed as a form of worship, and the Quran encourages Muslims to engage in it responsibly, with their spouses or lawfully wedded partners.
Sexual activity is a natural and normal part of the human experience, and it can have both positive and negative impacts on your life. To enjoy sexual activity, you need to understand what it means to be sexually active, the benefits and risks involved, how to practice safe sex, and how it is impacted by religious and cultural beliefs. Remember that sexual activity should always be consensual, responsible, and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Here are some of the most common questions and their answers related to the topic of sexual activity:
- What is sexual activity?
Sexual activity refers to any activity that involves sexual arousal, such as kissing, touching, hugging, and oral, vaginal or anal sex.
- What are the benefits of sexual activity?
Sexual activity can boost your mood, improve your immune system, burn calories, reduce the risk of heart disease, and strengthen your pelvic muscles.
- What are the risks of sexual activity?
Sexual activity can put you at risk of contracting STIs, unwanted pregnancy, sexual dysfunction, emotional and psychological harm, and breaking the law.
- How can I practice safe sex?
You can practice safe sex by using condoms, choosing your partner wisely, getting tested regularly, practicing communication and consent, and using contraception.
Here are some sources that were used to create this article:
- World Health Organization. (2021). Sexual health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/sexual-health#tab=tab_1
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Sexual health. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/basics/sexual-health-basics/hlv-20049403
- Planned Parenthood. (2021). Sexual activity. Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sex-and-relationships/sexual-activity
- National Health Services UK. (2021). The benefits of sex. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/the-benefits-of-sex/
- Healthline. (2021). Safe sex: What it is and how to practice it. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/safe-sex