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J Sex Res. 2017 Nov-Dec;54(9):1166-1170. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2017.1289362. Epub 2017 Feb 23.

Heterosexual Women's and Men's Labeling of Anal Behaviors as Having "Had Sex".

Author information

a School of Population Health , University of Toledo.
b Department of Women's and Gender Studies , University of Toledo.
c Department of Gender Studies , Indiana University , Bloomington.
d Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.
e Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3), Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology , University of Chicago.
f Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction , Bloomington.
g Institute of Preventive Medicine, Danish Epidemiological Science Center , University of Copenhagen; and Museum of Sex , New York City.


This study explored labeling of penile-anal intercourse (PAI), manual-anal (MA), and oral-anal (OA) behaviors as having "had sex" among heterosexual men and women with such experience residing in the United States (n = 3,218). Adult men and women completed an online questionnaire assessing sexual behaviors and whether each counted as having had sex. With the exception of anal intercourse, there was high variation in whether a behavior was labeled having had sex. There was not consensus on which anal sexual behaviors constituted having had sex, with attitudes varying across age, gender, and behavioral experience. Those who were older, male, and had the specific behavioral experience were more likely to label it as having had sex. Behaviorally specific assessments of the various anal behaviors as part of the sexual repertoire is critical to more accurate evaluation of sexual histories and assessment of risks to sexual health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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