How Do You Define Sex?

Sex is not and never has been the narrow definition of penile/vaginal intercourse. (And honestly, how boring is that, anyway?)

If sex were an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, too many people focus on the Kung Pao chicken. Nothing against the Kung Pao—it’s spicy, it’s satisfying, it’s delicious—but why neglect the egg rolls, the sweet and sour shrimp, the Egg Foo Young?

Like most people, I used to think of sex as your basic heterosexual penile/vaginal intercourse.

I say I used to because I no longer think of it that way. When I began doing research for my upcoming novel—a book about a young man who is struggling to put his life back together after a car accident leaves him a paraplegic—I discovered many men who sustain a Spinal Cord Injury are impotent. As I explored that further, the question kept coming back to me: Do you need a functional penis to have sex? And if yes, then what about all the men who don’t? Are they automatically discounted as sexual partners?

The more research I did, the more I considered those questions, the more I came to one very simple conclusion: Sex is how you approach it.

Change your definition, open it up, and suddenly sex includes a myriad of ways two bodies can pleasure each other. It is finding pleasure in the whisper-soft touch of a fingernail against the tender skin along your neck; the wet silkiness of a tongue along the ridge of an ear; the passion of a slow, exploring kiss. Sex is mental. It’s how you approach it and the pleasure you find in each intimate act.

Christopher Reeve had a C1-2 Spinal Cord Injury, which means he was injured at the very top of his spine at the first and second cervical vertebrae. He once said on Larry King, he and his wife, Dana, were “just as intimate as we ever were, and that’s what really counts.” They changed their definition of sex and decided to find pleasure in each other.

Furthermore, when you decide to focus on all the wonderful things sex has to offer, rather than the few things you can’t do, sex becomes adventure, exploring, enjoying, discovering. It is the slow, languorous build-up, the explosive release, and everything in between.

Sex is not and never has been the narrow definition of penile/vaginal intercourse. (And honestly, how boring is that, anyway?) Sex is oral. Sex is anal. Sex is getting naked and having fun with someone who wants to get naked and have fun with you.

What is sex? Sex is the whole damn buffet! If you give yourself permission to try it, you may wind up way more satisfied than you ever thought possible.

A native Texan, Leesa Freeman enjoys escaping the chill of New England, if only in her imagination, often setting her novels in the places she loved growing up. She lives in Connecticut where she is also an artist, a self-proclaimed music snob, and recovering Dr. Pepper addict. Visit her website to find out more about her debut novel, The Wisdom to Know the Difference, available on Amazon.

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