I was talking to a friend the other day over dinner.

“So I had sex all day yesterday,” she said with a grin. While I was suitably impressed, I was left wondering what exactly she had done for the entire day.

According to the common definition of “sex,” she’d been penetrated vaginally by a man for 24 hours straight. Guys, you’re great and I’m sure you’re all models of stamina and virility, but I think we all know that’s not very likely.

So really, what in the name of all that’s wet and sticky is sex anyway? I think most people agree that if a male puts his ding dong inside of a female’s person’s hoo hoo, that’s sex.

What if the person he’s inside of is a man? What if it’s in a woman’s butt instead of her va-jay-jay? What if it’s all about the penetration, but neither the man nor the woman orgasm? Is it still sex?

Then, of course, there’s the stuff that doesn’t involve a penis at all. A man could go down on a woman, she could have dozens of orgasms without ever going near his whoosie-whatsit, and would that be sex?

What about two women fooling around together? Does what they do even count? If they’re only operating with fingers and mouths, why do they still talk about having sex together?

I’m not talking about using strap-ons here. I guess that would make lesbian sex “official” since there’s a fake man-part involved. Even without the purple plastic dildos, though, people still call it “lesbian sex.”

So, I guess we have a complicated issue here. If you’ve ever had anyone ask you the question, “How many people have you had sex with?” you know that it can be tricky to figure out what kinds of sex should count on that list.

I’ve tried to keep track, just so I have an answer during the awkward questions in “Never Have I Ever”. It took me a while to decide who I wanted to keep in my little black book.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that if I’d tried to have an orgasm with another person it counted as sex. If I’d tried to give another person an orgasm that counted, too.

I know that’s a more lenient definition than most people use, but I didn’t think it made sense to leave off some of those encounters where there was no penetration, or even oral, to make it officially sex.

Sliding my hands into someone’s pants to bring them off while I rode their thigh definitely felt like sex, even if only my fingers came into contact with their genitals. If one of us was trying to have an orgasm (whether through penetration, oral sex or whatever else), even if we didn’t succeed, that deserved the moniker of sex.

I won’t tell you what my number is (at least not on the first date!) but every name scrawled on that page in the back of my notebook stands for an encounter that was definitely sex, to me.

By the end of our dinner, I’d gotten all the juicy details from my friend. Now I do know what she did all day, and I’m jealous.

It was some combination of kissing and touching and penetration and cuddling and using toys and hanging out naked in a bed.

She and this guy didn’t leave her room at all, and they did things to make each other feel good for the whole day. Honestly, that sounds like sex to me, and it sounds lovely.

Waddill is a member of the class of 2009.

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