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An intimate or private part is a place on the human body which it is usually customary to keep covered with clothing in public areas, as a matter of decency.

Definitions vary, but in Western cultures they are primarily the parts involved in sexual arousal, procreation, and elimination of excreta and related matter, including:

Female breasts are considered as parts that would be covered in some contexts, with degree of tolerance for uncovered breasts varying in different regions. In many contexts in the United States, breasts are typically considered as not appropriate to be exposed in public, but is sometimes considered sufficient that the nipples alone be covered. However, in Europe, it is common in some countries for women to have their breasts exposed in beaches and certain swimming pools and for mothers to breastfeed their very young children in public.

In some periods of European history, female shoulders and legs were included. More conservative viewpoints in the West in some contexts still find it appropriate that females should cover their shoulders, particularly when entering a church or other sacred space.

In Islamic traditions, the definition of intimate parts is similar to its definition in Western culture. Muslims believe that females should cover most of their body, hair, shoulders, neck, and the "intimate parts" mentioned above. Specifically, in females, the entire body, except the face, hands and feet must be covered in public. It is often stated that these parts are likely to arouse excitement in males, and for reasons of chastity and modesty, should be covered. Men are required to cover from the navel to the knee inclusive.

Exposure of one's intimate parts, particularly unintended exposure, is typically connected with feelings of shame. Such acts may be subject to strict social rules, social control and criminal justice; see nudity and indecent exposure.

Intentionally touching the intimate parts of another person, even through clothing, is often associated with sexual intent. If this is done without legally valid consent of the person being touched, it is often considered sexual harassment or sexual assault.

See also


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