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Two examples that are criminal offences in most jurisdictions are sexual assault and sexual activity with a person below the local age of consent.Sexual activity can be classified in a number of ways: acts which involve one person (also called autoeroticism) such as masturbation, or two or more people such as vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex or mutual masturbation.A 2007 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior 36, (no.3 (June 2007): 357–68) reported that sexual behavior with a partner on one day significantly predicted lower negative mood and stress, and higher positive mood, on the following day.Sexual activity usually results in sexual arousal and physiological changes in the aroused person, some of which are pronounced while others are more subtle.Sexual activity may also include conduct and activities which are intended to arouse the sexual interest of another or enhance the sex life of another, such as strategies to find or attract partners (courtship and display behaviour), or personal interactions between individuals (for instance, foreplay or BDSM). Human sexual activity has sociological, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and biological aspects; these include personal bonding, sharing emotions and the physiology of the reproductive system, sex drive, sexual intercourse and sexual behaviour in all its forms.Sexual dysfunction is the inability to react emotionally or physically to sexual stimulation in a way projected of the average healthy person; it can affect different stages in the sexual response cycles, which are desire, excitement and orgasm.
In different cultures and countries, various sexual activities may be lawful or illegal in regards to the age, gender, marital status or other factors of the participants, or otherwise contrary to social norms or generally accepted sexual morals.
In some cultures, sexual activity is considered acceptable only within marriage, while premarital and extramarital sex are taboo.
Some sexual activities are illegal either universally or in some countries or subnational jurisdictions, while some are considered contrary to the norms of certain societies or cultures.
People engage in sexual activity for any of a multitude of possible reasons.
Although the primary evolutionary purpose of sexual activity is reproduction, research on college students suggested that people have sex for four general reasons: physical attraction, as a means to an end, to increase emotional connection, and to alleviate insecurity.
In evolutionary psychology and behavioral ecology, human mating strategies are a set of behaviors used by individuals to attract, select, and retain mates.