Sexual intercourse, or copulation or coitus, is the insertion and thrusting of a male's penis into a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. Other sexual penetrative acts, such as anal sex, oral sex, fingering, or use of a strap-on dildo, can also be considered sexual intercourse.
Sexual intercourse commonly plays a strong role in human bonding, usually being used solely for pleasure and often leading to stronger emotional bonds, and there are a variety of views concerning what constitutes sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. For example, non-penetrative sex (such as non-penetrative cunnilingus) has been referred to as "outercourse", but may also be among the sexual acts contributing to human bonding and considered intercourse. The term sex, often a shorthand for sexual intercourse, can be taken to mean any form of sexual activity. Because individuals can be at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections during these activities, though the transmission risk is significantly reduced during non-penetrative sex, safe sex practices are advised.
In human societies, some jurisdictions have placed various restrictive laws against certain sexual activities, such as sex with minors, incest, extramarital sex, position-of-trust sex, prostitution, sodomy, public lewdness, rape, and bestiality. Religious beliefs can play a role in decisions about sex, or its purpose, as well; for example, beliefs about what sexual acts constitute virginity loss or the decision to make a virginity pledge. Some sections of Christianity commonly view sex between a married couple for the purpose of reproduction as holy, while other sections may not. Modern Judaism and Islam view sexual intercourse between husband and wife as a spiritual and edifying action. Hinduism and Buddhism views on sexuality have differing interpretations.