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Sex Type Thing: What is and isn't sex, according to young adults

Janelle Vreeland

A new article suggests that classifications of sex have changed from generation to generation

It goes without saying that young people’s views of what qualifies as “sex” has changed in the last 20 years. It does so naturally from generation to generation. But what a new article entitled “Sex Redefined: The Reclassification of Oral-Genital Contact,” by Jason D. Hans, suggests is that such views have changed more radically that we’d all think.

As The Guttmacher Institute reports, the 2007 survey, upon which Hans’ article is based, reveals that only 20 percent of the young adults surveyed consider oral sex to be “sex”. By contrast, 78 percent consider anal sex to be “sex”, and 98 percent consider vaginal intercourse to be “sex”.

This shifting attitude in what does and does not constitute “sex”, the article suggests, can be attributed to a limited sex education curriculum, wherein abstinence is heavily emphasized; and to widely-publicized sex scandals, such as the revelation of President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, and the scandal that ensued.

Read more about the study here.

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