Sexual health is a broad term that encompasses many aspects including sexual activities. “Sex” relates to the sexual activities that people engage in. What people do sexually is as diverse as the many activities that are out there. Sex will mean different things to different people based on things such as their values, beliefs, preferences, desires, comfort level, partners, clients, etc. For instance, sex for one person might be oral sex. For another person ‘oral sex’ might not mean sex but might mean ‘fooling around’. One person may include ‘phone sex or sexting’ in their definition of sex, while another person might say, even if we sent sexy pictures to each other it does not mean ‘sex’ to me unless we are physically touching. There is no right or wrong in this…it all depends on how you define sex for you.
The pleasure of sex arises from many factors including the release of neurochemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine, which flood the system during orgasm, as well as the sense of connection communicated by touching, massaging, and cuddling. Given the enormous variability in activities that people find arousing, there is no one way to be sexual. Men are especially stimulated by visual imagery, and about 90 percent of young men report using pornography with some regularity, often because they lack a partner or don't know how to bridge the differences in sexual appetite and interest that can occur between partners in the absence of discussion of their sexual pleasures. Many people engage in behaviors that were once perceived as atypical, such as dominance play and anal intercourse. Researchers know that flexibility in sexual repertoires is healthy and generally enhances relationships; they regard a specific behavior as problematic only when it creates harm or distress for one or both partners or when the behavior is compulsive—that is, it becomes the only means of arousal. "Sex addiction" is a label often used to suggest excessive interest in sex, but studies show it may be more related to the moral/religious environment in which a person lives.