Legal Dictionary

sexual intercourse

Legal Definition of sexual intercourse


  1. Penetration of a man's penis into a woman's vagina.

Definition of sexual intercourse


sexual intercourse (plural sexual intercourses)

  1. Sexual interaction, usually involving genital and/or anal and/or oral penetration, between at least two organisms.

Further reading

Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract.[1][2] The two entities may be of opposite sexes or not, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails. In recent years, penetration of non-sexual organs (oral intercourse, anal intercourse) or by non-sexual organs (fingering, fisting) are also sometimes included in this definition.[2] Traditionally, intercourse has been viewed as the natural endpoint of all sexual contact between a man and a woman.[2]

Non-penetrative sex (oral sex may or may not be penetrative) and mutual masturbation have been referred to as "outercourse".[3][4][5][6] "Outercourse" is something of a misnomer, as it contrasts "outer" with "inter" but the "inter" in "intercourse" means "between two people" or beings. It does not describe being inside or outside of the body. The word sex, in the context of sexual intimacy, is often, if not universally, understood to include any mutual genital stimulation, i.e. both intercourse and outercourse.[7]

Mating is the term most often used to refer to sexual intercourse between animals other than humans; for most, mating occurs at the point of estrus (the most fertile period of time in the female's reproductive cycle),[8][9] which increases the chances of successful impregnation. However, bonobos,[10] dolphins,[11] and chimpanzees are known to engage in sexual intercourse even when the female is not in estrus, and to engage in sex acts with same-sex partners.[12] In most instances, humans have sex primarily for pleasure.[13] This behavior in the above mentioned animals is also presumed to be for pleasure,[14] which in turn strengthens social bonds.

Modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam view sexual intercouse between husband and wife as a spiritual and edifying action, while extra-marital sex is viewed as immoral. The limits of marriage and concubinage within these traditions has changed over time, along with corresponding views of acceptable sexual behavior. The teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism on sexuality have differing interpretations, though mostly they are associated with marriage. Buddhism's injunction to "refrain from sexual misconduct" finds its interpretation and practical definitions within the particular Buddhist communities. However, within each of these major religious traditions exists subgroups with varying stances on acceptable sexual practices, and some religious groups prohibit their members from engaging in sexual intercourse altogether.


  1. Sexual intercourse Britannica entry.
  2. a b c d "Sexual Intercourse". Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  3. Kate Havelin (1999). Dating: "What Is a Healthy Relationship?". Capstone Press. pp. 64. ISBN 0736802924.
  4. Isadora Alman (2001). Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex. Conari. pp. 280. ISBN 1573245208.
  5. Ann van Sevenant (2005). Sexual Outercourse: A Philosophy of Lovemaking. Peeters. pp. 249. ISBN 9042916176.
  6. Ian Kerner (2004). She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. HarperCollins. pp. 240. ISBN 1573245208.
  7. Klein, Marty. "The Meaning of Sex". Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 1 August 10, 1998:. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  8. "Females of almost all species except man will mate only during their fertile period, which is known as estrus, or heat..." Helena Curtis (1975). Biology. Worth Publishers. pp. 1065. ISBN 0879010401.
  9. Pineda, Leslie Ernest McDonald (2003). McDonald's Veterinary Endocrinology and Reproduction. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 597. ISBN 0813811066.
  10. a b Frans de Waal, "Bonobo Sex and Society", Scientific American (March 1995): 82-86.
  11. a b Dinitia Smith, "Central Park Zoo's gay penguins ignite debate", San Francisco Chronicle (February 7, 2004). Article is mainly about gay penguins but also mentions homosexuality in dolphins, and also says 'In bonobos, she noted: "you see expressions of sex outside the period when females are fertile."' Available online at
  12. a b Bruce Bagemihl, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (St. Martin's Press, 1999). ISBN 0-312-19239-8
  13. a b c d e Jared Diamond (1992). The rise and fall of the third chimpanzee. Vintage. ISBN 978-0099913801.
  14. John, Gartner (2006-08-15). "Animals Just Want to Have Fun". Wired. Retrieved 2007-10-15.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Translation of sexual intercourse in Malay


  1. hubungan seksual


1.     landed property
2.     common stock
3.     lex situs
4.     lex causae
5.     lex fori
6.     status quo
7.     buggery
8.     conclusive presumption
9.     interlocutory
10.     writ of seizure and sale