From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Sexuality and sensuality
There is no clear borderline between sexual and nonsexual enjoyment of touching someone else's body. For example, holding hands may or may not have a sexual connotation, depending on culture, situation and other factors. There are, however, actions that are clearly sexual by almost anyone's definition but which have been argued by an accused as not having sexual relations since the most common form of heterosexual sexual intercourse had not occurred. The distinction between sexual and nonsexual behavior can be relevant due to social rules.
Some criteria that may be applied are:
- the body parts involved (see also intimate parts)
- physical signs of sexual arousal
- subjective feeling
While enjoying touching the body of someone else implies enjoying one's own body also, the latter may also happen without another person; enjoying one's own body also may or may not be of a sexual nature. If it is, it is called autoeroticism.