If your parents or gynecologist asks you whether you are sexually active, you may be confused about what they mean. There are many different definitions of sexual activity, but generally it refers to intimate actions between partners that can lead to pleasure and emotional connection with each other. These can include kissing, touching, oral sex, manual stimulation, and intercourse. Some people also use sex toys, such as vibrators or dildos, for arousal and pleasure.
Typically, doctors and nurses want to know if you have ever had sexual contact with someone other than your partner so they can provide appropriate services for your health and well-being. For example, if you have not been using protection, unprotected sexual activity puts you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancy. It is important to practice safe sex and talk about your feelings and concerns with your partner.
There is a lot of confusion about what exactly sexual activity means, and it is not always easy to explain. For example, some people consider kissing or touching to be sexual activity, while others consider it not to be. From a medical perspective, sexual activity is defined as any physical contact between the penis and the vagina or anus. This includes penetration of the vagina with the penis and anal sex. It does not include genital self-pleasure, such as masturbation.
Masturbation does not count as sexual activity from a medical standpoint because there is no exchange of body fluids, but it is important to remember that masturbation can still lead to arousal and sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STIs). If you are not sure what to do, talk to your doctor or gynecologist, get regular STI testing at a Planned Parenthood or other clinic, and use condoms every time you have sex.