Sexual partner  

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 This page Sexual partner is part of the human sexuality series Illustration: Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray
This page Sexual partner is part of the human sexuality series
Illustration: Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray

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A sexual partner is a person with whom one engages in sex acts. Note that it is possible to have a sexual partner without having an intimate relationship, or even an acquaintanceship with that person; viz., casual sex, or sex with a prostitute.

A person may have one, none, or more than one sexual partners at any one time, and this pattern may change throughout life.

Terms related to sexual partners include:

  • virginity: the state prior to having a sexual partner; a small minority of people remain virgins throughout life
  • monogamy: having a single long-term sexual partner
  • marriage: a socially binding commitment to a partner
  • sexual infidelity: having a sexual relationship outside of a relationship that includes a commitment to have no other sexual partners
  • sexual fidelity: not having other sexual partners other than one's committed partner, even temporarily
  • serial monogamy: having a series of monogamous relationships, one after the other
  • polygamy: having multiple long-term sexual partners
  • polyandry: having multiple long-term male sexual partners
  • polygyny: having multiple long-term female sexual partners
  • polyamory: encompasses a wide range of relationships, including those above: polyamorous relationships may include both committed and casual relationships
  • sexual promiscuity: having casual sexual partners at will (compare with chastity)

Variations between cultures

Different cultures have different viewpoints and levels of tolerance for the different patterns of sexual activity.

The most common patterns in Western society are monogamy, serial monogamy and marriage. Polygamous and/or polyandrous marriage is typically not found in Western culture, except in specific minority religions, and is illegal in many places. However, sexual promiscuity is commonly accepted, and a minority have open relationships or practice polyamory.

Polygamy is permitted in Islamic culture, and both polygamy and polyandry are found in African culture.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sexual partner" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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