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Welcome to the human sexuality portal

Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, psychological, physical, erotic, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied with historical contexts 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 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. (Full article...)

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Alfred Kinsey in 1955
Alfred Kinsey in 1955
Alfred Charles Kinsey (June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) was an American biologist, professor of entomology and zoology, and sexologist who in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, now known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. He is best known for writing Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), also known as the Kinsey Reports, as well as the Kinsey scale. Kinsey's research on human sexuality, foundational to the field of sexology, provoked controversy in the 1940s and 1950s. His work has influenced social and cultural values in the United States, as well as internationally. (Full article...)

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Early condom package, Spain, ca 1894-1939
Early condom package, Spain, ca 1894-1939
Early condom package, Spain, ca 1894-1939

Did you know

Au Salon de la rue des Moulins, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Nicolas Chorier Académie des Dames.jpg
Catherine Grand
Shuvalov Painter erotic scene Antikensammlung Berlin F2414 full.jpg

 • ... that the French lawyer and historian Nicolas Chorier was also a writer of erotic fiction (work pictured)?
 • ... that Charles de Talleyrand described his wife, Catherine Grand (pictured), as "an Indian, very beautiful, very lazy, the most idle woman he had ever known"?
 • ... that before becoming King of the United Kingdom, Edward VII was a frequent visitor to the luxurious Belle Époque brothel Le Chabanais in Paris and had himself built a special "love seat" there? (painting of Le Chabanais by Toulouse-Lautrec pictured)
 • ... that some birds, including flamingos, display homosexual behavior?
 • ... that more than 200 species of mammals display homosexual behavior including oral sex, genital stimulation, and urolagnia?
 • ... that the erotic depiction on the Oinochoe (pictured) by the Shuvalov Painter is one of the most frequently illustrated works of Greek vase painting?

August - December 2007

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