“Did we have sex last night?”
One would think that question would inspire an easy, straight-forward, yes or no response. But it turns out, it’s a little more complicated than that.
A new study published in The Journal of Sex Research seeks to find exactly what queer people consider to be sex and what they consider to be mere “physically intimate behavior.”
The study was conducted by the University of Utah. Researchers interviewed over 700 people over the course of two years. What they learned may surprise you.
According to the findings, about 30% of lesbians said they don’t count oral sex as actual sex; however, throw a dildo into the mix and then 70% said it’s now considered sex.
Among gay men the number was much higher. A majority of them (over 50%) counted both oral sex and rimming as sex, and 90% said penetrative anal sex was the “gold standard” when it came to defining sex.
Gay men also more often than not counted sexual activities performed while another person was present to be sex, and nearly 40% said solo activities, like phone sex and masturbation, also counted as sex.
Just to see how malleable the definitions of sex are, researchers also measured how people’s responses changed when talking about themselves or talking about their partners and potentially cheating.
Spoiler alert: People we’re stricter with their definitions of sex when it came to their partners than they were with themselves.
“Participants who were asked to consider their partner’s behavior outside of their relationship were more likely to endorse the behavior as ‘having sex’ than participants asked to consider their own behavior,” the study says.
So what’s the takeaway from all this? Honestly, we don’t know. Other than the fact that sex can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. So happy humping! Or, um, non-humping!