Sexual intercourse (or coitus or copulation) is, broadly, the insertion and thrusting of a male's penis, usually when erect, into a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction; also known as vaginal intercourse or vaginal sex. Other forms of penetrative sexual intercourse include penetration of the anus by the penis (anal sex), penetration of the mouth by the penis or oral penetration of the vulva or vagina (oral sex), sexual penetration by the fingers (fingering), and sexual penetration by use of a strap-on dildo. These activities involve physical intimacy between two or more individuals and are usually used among humans solely for physical or emotional pleasure and commonly contribute to human bonding.
A variety of views concern what constitutes sexual intercourse or other sexual activity and their effects on health. While the term sexual intercourse, particularly the variant coitus, most commonly denotes penile-vaginal penetration and the possibility of creating offspring (the fertilization process known as reproduction), oral sex (especially when penetrative) and particularly penile-anal sex are also commonly considered sexual intercourse. Non-penetrative sex acts (such as non-penetrative forms of cunnilingus or mutual masturbation) have been termed outercourse, but may additionally be among the sexual acts contributing to human bonding and considered sexual intercourse. The term sex, often a shorthand for sexual intercourse, can mean any form of sexual activity. Because people can be at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections during these activities, though the transmission risk is significantly reduced during non-penetrative sex, safe sex practices are advised.
Human sexuality is the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. A person's sexual orientation may influence their sexual interest and attraction for another person. Sexuality can have biological, emotional/physical or spiritual aspects. The biological aspect of sexuality refers to the reproductive mechanism as well as the basic biological drive that exists in all species, which is hormonally controlled. The emotional or physical aspect of sexuality refers to the bond that exists between individuals, and is expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of emotions of love, trust, and caring. There is also a spiritual aspect of sexuality of an individual or as a connection with others. Sexuality impacts and is impacted by cultural, political, legal, and philosophical aspects of life. It can refer to issues of morality, ethics, theology, spirituality, or religion. Some cultures have been described as sexually repressive.
Interest in sexual activity typically increases when an individual reaches puberty. Some researchers assume that sexual behavior is determined by genetics, and others assert that it is molded by the environment. This is the nature versus nurture debate, in which one can define nature as those behavioral traits that are due to innate characteristics, such as instincts and drives. The concept of nurture can be defined as the environmental factors or external stimuli that influence behavior, emotions, and thinking. Biological and physical differences include the human sexual response cycle among men and women.
Animal sexual behaviour takes many different forms, even within the same species. Among animals, researchers have observed monogamy, promiscuity, sex between species, sexual arousal from objects or places, sex apparently via duress or coercion, copulation with dead animals, homosexual sexual behaviour, heterosexual, bisexual sexual behaviour, situational sexual behaviour, and a range of other practices.
When animal sexual behaviour is reproductively-driven, it is often termed mating or copulation; for most non-human mammals, mating and copulation occur at the point of estrus (the most fertile period of time in the female's reproductive cycle), which increases the chances of successful impregnation. However, the study of animal sexuality (especially that of primates) is a rapidly developing field. While it used to be believed that only humans and a handful of other species performed sexual acts other than for reproduction, and that animals' sexuality was instinctive and a simple response to the "right" stimulation (sight, scent), current understanding is that many species that were formerly believed to be monogamous are promiscuous or opportunistic in nature; a range of species appear both to masturbate and to use objects as tools to help them do so; in many species, animals try to give and get sexual stimulation with others where reproduction is not the focus, and homosexual behaviour has been observed among 1,500 species, with 500 of those being well-documented.
Artificial insemination (AI) is the deliberate introduction of semen into a female's vagina or oviduct for the purpose of achieving a pregnancy through fertilisation by means other than copulation. It is the medical alternative to sexual intercourse, or natural insemination.
Artificial insemination is a fertility treatment for humans, and is a common practice in the breeding of dairy cattle and pigs. Artificial insemination may employ assisted reproductive technology, donated sperm, and/or animal husbandry techniques.
Sperm donation is the provision (or ‘donation’) by a man (known as a sperm donor) of his sperm (known as donor sperm) for the purpose of inseminating or impregnating a woman who is not necessarily his sexual partner. The woman may be inseminated by either natural or artificial insemination methods. Sperm may be donated privately and directly to the intended recipient, or through a sperm bank or fertility clinic. The primary recipients of donor sperm are heterosexual couples suffering from male infertility, lesbian couples and single women.
When going through a sperm bank, the recipient may select donor sperm on the basis of the donor's looks, personality, academic ability, race, and many other factors. Sperm banks or clinics are subject to varying state regulations, including restrictions on donor anonymity and number of offspring, and there may be other legal protections of the rights and responsibilities of both recipient and donor. Some sperm banks, either by choice or regulation, limit the amount of information available to potential recipients; a desire to obtain more information on donors is one reason why recipients may choose to use a known donor and/or private donation.
In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.
Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.
Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task, but is more likely to be one of the activities or events that have developed over thousands of years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audience's attention. Although people's attention is held by different things, because individuals have different preferences in entertainment, most forms are recognisable and familiar. Storytelling, music, drama, dance, and different kinds of performance exist in all cultures, were supported in royal courts, developed into sophisticated forms and over time became available to all citizens. The process has been accelerated in modern times by an entertainment industry which records and sells entertainment products. Entertainment evolves and can be adapted to suit any scale, ranging from an individual who chooses a private entertainment from a now enormous array of pre-recorded products; to a banquet adapted for two; to any size or type of party, with appropriate music and dance; to performances intended for thousands; and even for a global audience.
The experience of being entertained has come to be strongly associated with amusement, so that one common understanding of the idea is fun and laughter, although many entertainments have a serious purpose. This may be the case in the various forms of ceremony, celebration, religious festival, or satire for example. Hence, there is the possibility that what appears as entertainment may also be a means of achieving insight or intellectual growth.