|Part of the series on|
|A baker's dozen on sex|
Sex can refer to three things:
- Sex is part of the process of reproduction in some species, involving gene recombination.
- Commonly a creature's sex is synonymous with their gender (e.g. whether they are male or female), or perhaps intersex (in the case of many plants.[note 1]) With the exception of the status (and sometimes even the very existence) of transgender individuals, this is the only family-friendly definition of "sex" that one will find. The rest are kept secret and secure in case children get corrupted by ideas.
- Sexing is the term for identifying the sex of creatures (e.g. sexing chicks). As such "sex" is the non-participle form of the word.
Sexual reproduction is when two different critters of approximately the same species each contribute roughly half of their genetic information in the form of gametes, which are then combined to be the genetic information of their offspring, in an embryo or seed of some sort. Closely related species, such as horses and donkeys, are capable of interbreeding, although the offspring are generally sterile. Asexual reproduction is basically cloning. Sexual reproduction, although a simple biological concept, is swaddled in fear and loathing by many odd subsets of the human race.
 Asexual reproduction
|“|| "Can someone tell me who first suggested the idea of reproduction without sex?"
"Um, your wife?"
—David Lightman (Matthew Broderick), in WarGames
The opposite of sexual reproduction is asexual reproduction, which is reproduction without sexual intercourse.
Parthenogenesis is the production of offspring by the female of the species without fertilization of the ovum. Some insects and, rarely, reptiles or amphibians have been known to use this method of reproduction.
- Another main meaning of the term is the act of bumping nasties, having a bit of the old in & out, dancing the matrimonial polka, getting your rocks off... This can be done either alone or with other consenting members of one's species. This is the meaning of the term we shall explore in this article.
- Also, in Latin, the word sex is used to refer to the number 6 (six). Some view this as the minimum number of participants for successful sexual adventures. And 666 is Diabolical.[note 2]
 Squirting vs. thinking
Without mincing words or resorting to bad euphemisms, "sex" refers to the act of sexual intercourse, wherein the man's penis is placed inside the woman's vagina, usually until the male ejaculates (afterwards it tends to go limp, which may be a bummer for the female). Although every human who has ever lived prior to the modern development of artificial insemination techniques was conceived by this process,[note 3] sex is often seen as dirty, bad or sinful, and is often censored and information on it restricted, resulting in social awkwardness whenever it comes to mentioning it or teaching about it for the first time. But despite all this most Americans do the dirty deed before getting married and this has been true since at least the 1940's. 
Sex leads to many things that ultra-conservatives despise, such as pregnancy outside of wedlock, birth control, abortion, serial monogamy or promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, science (particularly evolutionary biology) to develop vaccinations (such as the HPV vaccine), sex education, health insurance for the masses to cover those cases where a disease has no cure or treatment, and fun. Because ultra-conservatives dislike all of these things, it is highly recommended that they abstain from all forms of sex and reproduction. Therefore, fundies only find out if they are sexually incompatible after getting hitched - then they have to live unhappily together, or divorce (which the Bible says is naughty and forbids them from doing - except for cases of sexual impropriety, which is more likely to happen because of their incompatibility). Advocates against abstinence until marriage often compare the practice to buying a car without a test drive.
It should be noted that both recent and longstanding studies have shown that (as the saying goes) "people are alike all over". A person's political or religious views usually tend to have very little impact on whether they practice what is seen by social conservatives as "negative" sexual activities, including homosexuality, a high lifetime number of partners, promiscuity, and pre-marital sex. In fact, some studies have shown that the social conservatives engage in them more -- certainly anyone who's ever watched Sexcetera will have the opinion that the kinkiest bastards are all in red states.
 Do Roman Catholics squirt or think?
Roman Catholic priests, monks, and nuns are supposed to avoid sex all their lives. They are not supposed to squirt[note 4], if they’re male (and especially not if they're female! Tee hee!). They are not supposed to let anyone squirt into (or onto) them if they are either gender. Sometimes this makes them very miserable. Not all of them have the willpower to remain celibate. (Episcopal/Anglican and Orthodox priests who are married before becoming Catholic priests are allowed to stay married, so are allowed to have sex with their wives.)
Lay Roman Catholics are allowed to have sex, provided they are married, and provided they don’t use contraceptives. (This is not, however, the source of the term "lay Catholics.") Of course, many Roman Catholics regularly have sex outside of marriage and regularly use contraceptives in or out of marriage. If they’re good Catholics they go to confession after every time. Lay Catholics may think about other subjects but they don’t think very much about religion. They’re taught to believe what the priests tell them, and not to think for themselves.
In addition, actual negative sexual activities, such as adultery (relating not to promiscuity or so-called "open relationships," but to emotional betrayal), unprotected sex, and especially sexual abuse, are practiced by equal (or increasing, depending on the study) numbers of social and political conservatives.
 Naughty pictures
Pictures of sex are often included in medical textbooks. If you can, get your hands on a cheap used one that doesn't have the relevant pages stuck together.
Other pictures of sex, that are usually much more interesting, are what the internets are for.
Here at RationalWiki, we strongly encourage all you impressionable kids to remember to wrap the salami before you deliver it.
“”We do not even in the least know the final cause of sexuality; why new beings should be produced by the union of the two sexual elements... The whole subject is as yet hidden in darkness.
|—Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1862|
The evolution of sexual reproduction has been a mystery to scientists ever since Darwin mentioned the mysteries and problems of it in The Origin of Species. However, since that time, advances in genetics have shone light on how, and perhaps why, the evolution of reproduction occured. Firstly, a shuffled genetic deck is harder for viruses to latch on to; viruses typically look for stretches of DNA with a specific sequence, and if that sequence happens to cross a recombination boundary in a sexually-reproducing species the virus will be out of luck. Secondly, organisms engaging in sexual reproduction can evolve at a faster rate, being able to create more variations based on sexual recombination of genes. This has been indicated with micro-organisms, where those capable of sexual reproduction adapted more effectively and at a faster rate than asexual organisms. Thirdly, asexual reproduction is at a disadvantage, because any beneficial mutation can only be passed on through direct descendents. With sexual reproduction, the beneficial mutations have a greater ability to spread and the potential to combine with other, complementary mutations.
The very first sexual reproduction is considered to have occurred around 2 billion years ago, sparking an increase in bio-diversity. It is thought that in the first form, sexual reproduction was "optional", a way of reproducing when the organism was experiencing harsh conditions. This is seen today in many species of yeast. Due to the advantages of sexual reproduction described above, sexual reproduction eventually took over asexual reproduction in many species, resulting in the mandatory - and extremely entertaining - activity that we know today.
 See also
- Birth control
- Gender dysphoria
- Sex education
- Tetrahymena thermophila[wp], the single-celled organism with 7 different sexes that can reproduce in 21 different combinations.
- ↑ Yes, we do understand there is a difference between "gender" and "sex", but right now, it's not relevant.
- ↑ The New Zealand accent also makes the "i" in "six" sound like an "e." Australians never get tired of this joke.
- ↑ With the possible exception of a few individuals held by various religions to have been born from a virgin.
- ↑ For the purpose of this article, Nocturnal emissions don't count.
- ↑ "Richard & Kitty's World of Sex Euphemisms". Starma.com. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080822052050/http://www.starma.com/penis/richardkitty/richardkitty.html. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- ↑ Jayson, Sharon (19 December 2006). "Most Americans have had premarital sex, study finds". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-12-19-premarital-sex_x.htm. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- ↑ Zimmer, Carl (5 June 2009). "On the Origin of Sexual Reproduction". Science 324 (5932): 1254-1256.