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Bases and homeruns

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Anonymous asks:

My boyfriend recently started kissing my breasts and sucking on them. How far is that? Is that considered "sex", first base, second, third, or fourth. By the way, what do they all stand for?

Sarah replies:

You know, if you went out on the street and asked 100 people what the "bases" were, I bet you'd get a TON of different answers. One of the issues with the old "baseball" analogy to describe sexual activities is that it is a culturally defined and influenced set of ideas. So different people define it very differently, which really makes it a not so useful term. So how about throwing that idea out all together, eh? The better question to ask is whether you feel comfortable with what is happening sexually in your relationship and whether you want to be engaging in those activities. If you are comfortable and wanting what is happening, then why worry about "how far" something is?

As to whether it is "sex," again that's a term that lots of people define differently (unfortunately). Our general feeling around here is that a) anything with "sex" in the title (oral sex, manual sex, etc.) is "sex," and b) activities that you undertake for the purpose of sexual pleasure is "sex." Not all "sex" is exactly the same, of course, nor do they all have exactly the same pregnancy and STI risks. (While the activity that you describe does not really have STI or pregnancy risks, other types of sex do carry risks and necessitate letting your health care provider know that you are "sexually active" and seeking sexual health care on a regular basis.) But again, as long as you and your partner are comfortable with and wanting what you are doing sexually and you are taking appropriate precautions to keep yourselves safe, why worry about exactly what term to apply?

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written 19 Dec 2007 . updated 19 Jan 2009

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