Excerpted from "Sex in the Romance: A Review of Romantic Encounters of the Close Kind".

(copyright John L. Ferri 1994, jlferri@epix.net)


If any single act is ever equated with sex, it is the act of penetration, the consummation of all the previous social maneuverings of conversation and dating and kissing and whatever other precursors there may be. From first meeting to ground zero can span from under an hour to years. But it's the point of no return. The relationship has taken new direction, positive or negative, never again to return to its former circumstances. It seems so complicated to get to an act that evolved simply to propagate the species.

Evolving "simply" to propagate the species doesn't mean that propagating the species is simple. Different species use different tactics. Some use quantity, where through sheer volume sufficient offspring survive to fulfill their genetic prophecy. Others use quality, where few offspring are produced but, because of a high investment of parental nurturing, a significant percentage survive. Some use a combination of the two. The human species is among those that use the quality mode.

But the quality scenario has a potential serious side effect. Fewer offspring require fewer matings, and fewer matings provide more time for other activities -- like looking for someone else to mate with. Fortunately, humans have evolved to be the only species known that has sex for a purpose other than procreation -- pleasure.

Non-human females are receptive to mating only when they have a high probability of being impregnated. The male receives this message through odors and obvious external physical signs so that he knows when the female is receptive. Unfortunately she is receptive for only a few days a month.

The human female gives no such obvious signs. Chemists haven't yet detected any chemicals given off by receptive females nor are there any obvious external signals. But the human female is potentially receptive most of the time and with no correlation to the probability of impregnation.

Unfortunately, men are basically not too smart and need to be told about this. So, women if you want us, please let us know.

The most frequent reference to the act of penetration is some form of "thrust" at 14%. Others commonly used were "entered" at 9%, "slid into" or "slipped into" at 8%, "plunged" at 7%, "drove into" at 6%, and "filled" at 5%.

The complete list is:

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