Portal:Human sexuality

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Welcome to the human sexuality portal

Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle. Someone's sexual orientation is their pattern of sexual interest in the opposite or same sex. Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality include bonds between individuals that are expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of love, trust, and care. Social aspects deal with the effects of human society on one's sexuality, while spirituality concerns an individual's spiritual connection with others. Sexuality also affects and is affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, moral, ethical, and religious aspects of life.

Interest in sexual activity typically increases when an individual reaches puberty. Although no single theory on the cause of sexual orientation has yet gained widespread support, there is considerably more evidence supporting nonsocial causes of sexual orientation than social ones, especially for males. Hypothesized social causes are supported by only weak evidence, distorted by numerous confounding factors. This is further supported by cross-cultural evidence, because cultures that are very tolerant of homosexuality do not have significantly higher rates of it.

Evolutionary perspectives on human coupling, reproduction and reproduction strategies, and social learning theory provide further views of sexuality. Sociocultural aspects of sexuality include historical developments and religious beliefs. Some cultures have been described as sexually repressive. The study of sexuality also includes human identity within social groups, sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), and birth control methods.

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Scientific illustration of a flaccid, circumcised penis, with pubic hair and testicles visible

The human penis is an external male sexual organ. It is a reproductive, intromittent organ that additionally serves as the urinal duct. The main parts are the root (radix); the body (corpus); and the epithelium of the penis including the shaft skin and the foreskin covering the glans penis. The body of the penis is made up of three columns of tissue: two corpora cavernosa on the dorsal side and corpus spongiosum between them on the ventral side. The human male urethra passes through the prostate gland, where it is joined by the ejaculatory duct, and then through the penis. The urethra traverses the corpus spongiosum, and its opening, the meatus /mˈtəs/, lies on the tip of the glans penis. It is a passage both for urine and for the ejaculation of semen.

The penis is homologous to the clitoris. An erection is the stiffening and rising of the penis, which occurs during sexual arousal, though it can also happen in non-sexual situations. The most common form of genital alteration is circumcision, removal of part or all of the foreskin for various cultural, religious, and more rarely, medical reasons. There is controversy surrounding circumcision.

While results vary across studies, the consensus is that the average erect human penis is approximately 12.9–15 cm (5.1–5.9 in) in length with 95% of adult males falling within the interval 10.7–19.1 cm (4.2–7.5 in). Neither age nor size of the flaccid penis accurately predicts erectile length.

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Fanny Murray

January - March 2013

Human sexuality in the news

7 September 2019 –
Joichi Ito steps down as the director of the MIT Media Lab and as a member of the board of directors of The New York Times Company. Yesterday, The New Yorker wrote that the lab hid its financial links with Jeffrey Epstein after Epstein had pleaded guilty of procuring a minor for prostitution in 2008. (NPR)
29 August 2019 – Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal
Six Pakistani men are found guilty of abusing and raping teenage girls between 1998 and 2002 in Rotherham, England. The National Crime Agency believes as many as 1,510 teenagers were sexually exploited in the town during the same period. (BBC)
28 August 2019 – LGBT rights in the United States
Forty-eight members of the US Congress from the Republican Party – eight from the Senate and 40 from the House of Representatives – file a joint amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that the Civil Rights Act does not protect LGBT+ people from discrimination. They argue the law "does not prohibit discrimination because of an individual's actions, behaviours, or inclinations". (The Independent)
21 August 2019 – Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in Australia
The Supreme Court of Victoria rejects an appeal made by Cardinal George Pell against a six-year jail sentence for child sexual abuse. (The Guardian)

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