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Sexual Practices and Sociocultural Influences

Sexual practices vary widely among individuals and are often significantly shaped by social and cultural phenomena. Understanding an individual’s culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, and religion is important for conceptualizing both healthy sexuality and sexual dysfunction. Thus, an overview of sexual practices and some of the variables that shape behaviors is important for those who diagnose, treat, and make referrals for clinical services. Definitions of sex, the diversity of sexual practices, and sexual disorders and dysfunction are important considerations for clinicians.

Defining Sex

Sexual behaviors vary widely among individuals, both within and across cultural contexts. Sex may include genital contact (e.g., vaginal-penile or penile-anal contact), oral-genital contact (e.g., fellatio or cunnilingus), and oral or manual (hand) contact with genitals and other parts of the body. ...

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