Sexual norm

A sexual norm can refer to a personal or a social norm. Most cultures have social norms regarding sexuality, and define normal sexuality to consist only of certain sex acts between individuals who meet specific criteria of age, consanguinity (e.g. incest), race/ethnicity (e.g. miscegenation), and/or social role and socioeconomic status.

In most societies, the term normal identifies a range or spectrum of behaviors. Rather than each act being simply classified as "acceptable" or "not acceptable", many acts are viewed as "more or less accepted" by different people, and the opinion on how normal or acceptable they are greatly depends on the individual making the opinion as well as the culture itself. Based on information gained from sexological studies, a great many ordinary people's sex lives are very often quite different from popular beliefs about normal, in private.[1]

If non-restrictive sexual norms are regarded positively, they may be called "sexual freedom", "sexual liberation" or "free love". If they are regarded negatively, they may be called "sexual licence" or "licentiousness". Restrictive social norms, if judged negatively, are called sexual oppression. If the restrictive norms are judged positively, they may be regarded as encouraging chastity, "sexual self-restraint" or "sexual decency", and negative terms are used for the targeted sexuality, e.g. sexual abuse and perversion.


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