Sexuality refers to sexual behavior in all sexual organisms. It is the primary method of reproduction for the vast majority of visible organisms, including almost all animals and plants.
Sexuality is the means by which Nature achieves the continuity and evolution of these species through reproduction and genetic recombination of DNA, allowing a more rapid generation of genetic diversity.
The corresponding adjective is sexual.
Sexual and asexual reproduction
In sexual reproduction, every individual has two parents. There is also asexual reproduction, which takes only one parent. It is the primary form of reproduction for single-celled organisms such as archaea, bacteria, and protists. Many plants and fungi reproduce mostly asexually as well. Many forms of asexual reproduction, for example budding or fragmentation, produce an exact replica of the parent (a clone). This genetic similarity may be beneficial if the genotype is well-suited to a stable environment, but disadvantageous if the environment is changing. Asexual reproduction is relatively rare among multicellular organisms. It exists in some species of insects, amphibians and reptiles. It does not exist in mammals.
In mammalian sexuality, the period of time during which the fetus develops in the female is called gestation. In placental mammals, offspring are born as juveniles: complete animals with the sex organs present although non-functional. After several months or years, the sex organs develop further and the animal becomes sexually mature.
Most female mammals are only fertile during certain periods and during those times, they are said to be "in heat". At this point, the animal is ready to mate. Individual male and female mammals meet and carry out copulation. For most mammals, males and females exchange sexual partners throughout their adult lives.
Note: in humans, different terms are used for the same things. Copulation is called sexual intercourse. Gestation is called pregnancy. The period at which a juvenile reaches sexual maturity is called puberty.
A few other specifics of mammals:
- females have breasts to feed their youngs with milk. Males have nipples too, although nonfunctional
- hair (usually in the form of fur) growing from the skin
- the anus (amphibians, reptiles and birds have a cloaca only)
- different types of teeth (reptiles have one type of teeth only). Exceptions: whales, dolphins
- the ossicles
- the neocortex in the brains
Human sexuality is how humans experience and express themselves as sexual beings. Human sexuality is much more complex than animal sexuality and its study comprises a broad range of behaviors, processes, and societal topics. Biologically, it can encompass sexual intercourse and sexual contact in all its forms, as well as medical concerns about the physiological or even psychological aspects of sexual behaviour; sociologically, it can cover the cultural, political, and legal aspects; and philosophically, it can span the moral, ethical, theological, spiritual or religious aspects.
- Sexuality on Wikipedia
- Sexual reproduction on Wikipedia
- Asexual reproduction on Wikipedia
- Human sexuality on Wikipedia
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