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Sexual Intercourse, Human

  1. John Paul McKinney

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0859

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

McKinney, J. P. 2010. Sexual Intercourse, Human. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. Michigan State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Human sexual intercourse, or coitus, is one of the most common sexual outlets among adults. Sexual intercourse generally refers to penile penetration of the vagina, the most common sexual expression between opposite-sexed partners practiced in the United States. In a large national survey study of more than 3,000 participants, Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, and Michaels (1994) found that 95% of men and 97% of women report that they have experienced vaginal intercourse. Other sexual techniques with opposite-sex partners include mutual masturbation, anal intercourse, and oral sex (both cunnilingus, i.e., male mouth on female genitalia, and fellatio, i.e., female mouth on male genitalia). Although less common than vaginal intercourse both in terms of life incidence and most recent experience, these sexual expressions are more openly discussed in the media and more frequently practiced than in the past, especially among adolescents (Weiss & Bullough, 2004).


  • coitus;
  • intimacy;
  • sexual standards