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Sex, Definition of

If someone asks the question, “What is sex?” the answer may be surprising. The term sex is a biological term, as well as a socially constructed term that varies by culture, time, and place in history. Among the definitions of the term sex are: (1) a person’s biological sex of being male or female by referencing their reproductive organs (with the possibility of being born with both characteristics, a relatively rare occurrence commonly known as intersex or androgyny); (2) sex as an activity, or sexual behaviors; and (3) sex as it refers to the genitals. These three definitions are discussed in this entry. It is important for individuals, couples, and families to consider the definition of sex, know which definition they are using when they ...

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