Sexual intercourse

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Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract.[1][2] The two entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails. The definition may additionally include penetrative sexual acts between same-sex pairings, such as penetration of non-sexual organs (oral intercourse, anal intercourse) or by non-sexual organs (fingering, tonguing), which are also commonly practiced by heterosexual couples.[2]

Sexual intercourse typically plays a powerful role in human bonding, often being used solely for pleasure and leading to stronger emotional bonds.[3] Non-penetrative sex (for example, non-penetrative aspects of oral sex such as varying degrees of cunnilingus) and mutual masturbation have been referred to as "outercourse",[4][5][6][7] but may also be among the sexual acts contributing to human bonding and considered intercourse. The term sex can be taken to mean any mutual genital stimulation (i.e. all forms of intercourse and "outercourse").[2][8] As with most forms of sexual interaction, individuals are at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases,[9][10] and thus safe sex practises are advised.[9]

Modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam view sexual intercourse between husband and wife as a spiritual and edifying action. The limits of marriage and concubinage within these traditions has changed over time, along with corresponding views of acceptable sexual behavior. The teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism on sexuality have differing interpretations. Buddhism's injunction to "refrain from sexual misconduct" finds its interpretation and practical definitions at the level of the individual. However, within each of these major religious traditions exists subgroups with varying stances on acceptable sexual practices, and some religious groups prohibit monks and nuns from engaging in sexual intercourse altogether.

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