Sexual intercourse (or coitus or copulation) is a sexual activity typically involving the insertion and thrusting of the penis into the vagina for sexual pleasure, reproduction, or both.[1] This is also known as vaginal intercourse or vaginal sex.[2

][3] Other forms of penetrative sexual intercourse include anal sex (penetration of the anus by the penis), oral sex (penetration of the mouth by the penis or oral penetration of the female genitalia), fingering (sexual penetration by the fingers) and penetration by use of a dildo (especially a strap-on dildo).[4]

[5] These activities involve physical intimacy between two or more individuals and are usually used among humans solely for physical or emotional pleasure and can contribute to human bonding.[4


There are different views on what constitutes sexual intercourse or other sexual activity, which can impact on views on sexual health

.[7] Although sexual intercourse, particularly the term coitus, generally denotes penile–vaginal penetration and the possibility of creating offspring,[1] it also commonly denotes penetrative oral sex and penile–anal sex, especially the latter.

[8] It usually encompasses sexual penetration, while non-penetrative sex has been labeled “outercourse


“,[9] but non-penetrative sex may also be considered sexual intercourse.[4]

[10] Sex, often a shorthand for sexual intercourse, can mean any form of sexual activity.[7] Because people can be at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections during these activities, safer sex practices are recommended by health professionals to reduce transmission risk.[11