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Glossary

abortionsearch for term

A procedure to intentionally end a pregnancy before a birth. Miscarriage is also sometimes called "spontaneous abortion," even though it is usually not intended.

abusesearch for term

Purposeful harm or mistreatment of another person, which can be verbal, emotional, physical or sexual. An ongoing pattern or cycle of such mistreatment or harm can characterize an abusive relationship.

acesearch for term

In the context of sexuality, an abbreviation for asexual.

adultssearch for term

People older than you who probably drive you batty. Or, people whose age in years exceeds the legal age of majority; people considered to be adults by law.

affectionsearch for term

A state or demonstration of fondness or care for someone, which may or may not be sexual.

age of consentsearch for term

The age at which a person is considered in law to be able to consent to sexual activity. Someone above this age who has sex with someone below it can often be charged with statutory rape, even if the younger person wants to consent.

age-disparatesearch for term

When two people are of different ages or life stages, usually with a substantial difference.

agendersearch for term

A chosen or felt lack of gender identity.

aggressivesearch for term

Behaving in a pushy, forceful or violent way.

AIDSsearch for term

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a very serious and often deadly disease of the immune system caused by HIV. AIDS itself can not be caught from another person, but those with AIDS have HIV, which is sexually transmissible. AIDS requires medical treatment.

anal intercoursesearch for term

When a penis is inserted into and held by the anus while partners move their bodies as feels good to them for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

anal sexsearch for term

Sexual activity involving the anus. Anal sex may include stimulation with fingers, the mouth, a penis, sex toys, or other objects or body parts.

analingussearch for term

Oral sex for, on or to the anus.

anatomysearch for term

The body, parts of the body, or physical structure of organisms like people, animals or plants.

androgynysearch for term

Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine (or a mishmosh of both), in dress, appearance, behavior or identity, either by choice or by circumstance.

anussearch for term

The external opening to the rectum, located between the buttocks.

aromanticsearch for term

Not having an interest in romantic relationships.

arousalsearch for term

A state of sexual excitement and interest that sends messages to the brain which create physical changes and sensations, such as increased blood pressure, erection, lubrication, loosening of the vaginal or anal muscles, and increased physical sensitivity.

asexualsearch for term

In the context of human sexuality, someone who either does not experience or has not yet experienced any sexual desires at all, or who has experienced/does experience sexual desires, but not a desire to enact them with other individuals.

assertivesearch for term

To be self-assured, self-confident. To stand up for oneself in a positive, nonviolent way.

autonomysearch for term

The state or condition of being independent and/or having the right to independence.

Bacterial vaginosissearch for term

An imbalance in the vaginal environment, including pH changes, that occurs when different types of bacteria outnumber the normal, needed and healthy bacteria. It often requires some from of treatment, but sometimes will go away on its own.

BDSMsearch for term

Describes sexual play and/or relationships involving exchanges of power and pain. B = bondage, D = discipline and/or dominance, S = submission and/or sadism, M = masochism.

binarysearch for term

Made up of two things or parts; a system with only two possible options or parts.

biphobiasearch for term

Prejudice against bisexuality and bisexual people.

birth controlsearch for term

Any number of methods people use to intentionally prevent unwanted pregnancy, including the condom, the cervical barrier, the implant, the patch, the pill, the rhythm method, the ring, the shot, the IUD, spermicide and withdrawal.

bisexualsearch for term

A term for sexual orientation which either describes a person who can be sexually and emotionally attracted to both men and women or merely to people of more than one gender.

blastocystsearch for term

A stage of very early fetal development. If cell development continues and a blastocyst implants in the uterus, it will become an embryo and create a pregnancy.

blue ballssearch for term

A slang term for a state of vasocongestion that becomes temporarily painful. Called "blue balls" because in those with testes, discomfort is also felt there, but people with vulvas can experience this too, and discomfort then is often felt in the uterus or clitoris.

body imagesearch for term

Our sense, awareness and perception of our body in appearance and function as it relates to our sense of self.

bottomsearch for term

This term may refer to the person taking the more submissive role during a sexual encounter, or sometimes to refer to the "receptive" partner during penetrative sex. It can also be used as a verb- "to bottom" is to act as the bottom in a sexual encounter.

breastsearch for term

Glandular tissue, fat, connective tissue and skin on the chest.

butchsearch for term

Describes a person who is intentionally masculine in appearance, behavior, dress, identity or sexual attitude. Often used in relation to femme. Most often used in the LGBT community, but can refer to people of any orientation. However, some people see use of the word "butch" as an insult.

celibatesearch for term

Describes someone who does not engage in sexual activity, usually by choice.

cervical barriersearch for term

A birth control device which is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix and prevent sperm from entering. Diaphragms, cervical caps and contraceptive sponges are kinds of cervical barriers.

cervixsearch for term

The opening to the uterus, the bottom of which is at the back end of the vagina.

chartingsearch for term

A method of keeping track of fertility by keeping careful notes on the dates of a woman's period, as well as her temperature and cervical mucus. This is often used by people who are trying to get pregnant but is NOT an effective birth control method, as it fails frequently due to fluctuations in a woman's cycle and the fact that sperm can live in a woman's reproductive tract for several days. Also called "fertility awareness".

cherrysearch for term

A slang term used to describe either the hymen/corona or something which signifies someone has not done something for the first time. "Popping the cherry" often describes doing something sexual for the first time, even though with first-time sex, there are not usually cherries or the popping of anything.

Chlamydiasearch for term

A very common bacterial infection/STI. It can infect the cervix, urethra, testicles, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. It can also infect the throat when acquired through oral sex. Chlamydia requires medical treatment.

circumcisionsearch for term

A surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis, most often done in infancy, and most often done because of cultural or religious beliefs, parental aesthetic preferences or concerns about health. In some cases, circumcision is done at other times of life and/or for medical reasons.

cis gendersearch for term

Describes people who have a gender identity which is traditionally thought to “match” their assigned sex, and thought to “match” many or most of the roles, behaviors and appearances culturally expected of that sex. For example, someone who was sexed male at birth and whose gender identity is masculine; who also feels male. Often used in relation to transgender.

classismsearch for term

Prejudice, discrimination and oppression based on social or economic status/class or perceived or assigned social or economic status.

cleansearch for term

In a sexual context, usually a word used to suggest not having any sexually transmitted infections. "Clean" is a poor choice of term, however, since it stigmatizes people with illness. Better choices are "negative," "clear" or "STI-free."

clitorissearch for term

A sexual organ both external and internal on the vulva and inside the pelvis of female sex-assigned people that is similar to the penis, but serves no other known purpose besides providing sexual pleasure.

communicationsearch for term

Various ways we express and share feelings or thoughts, such as through speech, written words or symbols, sign language, body language, touch or art.

conceptionsearch for term

The onset of pregnancy, marked by implantation of the blastocyst into the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).

condomsearch for term

A thin sheath or tube of latex or another material, worn over the penis during sex to prevent or reduce the risk of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections.

consentsearch for term

To agree to do something or give permission. In the context of sex, a person is giving full consent/is consenting when they freely and actively agree to do something sexual with someone else; however, the person still has the right to change their mind at any point. A person is NOT consenting if they do not actively agree, have been forced or pressured in some way or are in a state where they are incapable of full consent (such as when asleep, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or below the age of consent).

contraceptionsearch for term

Devices, medications or behaviors used to intentionally aim to prevent pregnancy, including the condom, the cervical barrier, the implant, the patch, the pill, the rhythm method, the ring, the shot, the IUD, spermicide and withdrawal.

Contraceptive spongesearch for term

A method of birth control that consists of a spongy device filled with spermicide that provides a barrier at the entrance of the cervix.

coronasearch for term

A newer name for the hymen, a thin membrane without nerve endings that most female-assigned people are born with that is just inside the vaginal opening. It gradually wears away over time due to hormones, vaginal discharges, general physical activity, sex and masturbation and/or childbirth. It does not snap, crackle or pop.

crurasearch for term

The internal "legs" of the clitoris, which are within the outer labia (labia majora).

cunnilingussearch for term

Oral sex for, on or to the vulva.

cute little dogsearch for term

Heather's pug, Sofia.

cybersexsearch for term

Virtual (as in, not in person) sexual experiences or encounters which involve text conversations and/or visual exchanges via the Internet.

Cytomegalovirussearch for term

CMV is one member of a group of herpes-type viruses. It is an STI transmitted through body fluids, and requires medical treatment.

dental damsearch for term

A barrier used for safer sex during cunnilingus or analingus, usually a thin sheet of latex. Dental dams can also be self-made by altering a condom or latex glove with scissors.

desiresearch for term

A feeling of strongly wanting something. In the context of sex, desire can be a strong feeling of a physical and psychological want for any kind of sex.

dildosearch for term

An insertive sex toy that usually looks more or less like a penis (but can sometimes bear little resemblance) and is usually made from silicone or rubber, but can also be made with glass, wood, metal, or any number of innovative materials. Come in an endless variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

dischargesearch for term

In the context of sex and sexual health, any number of fluids which come from the genitals. Plenty of genital discharge is healthy, while some discharges can be symptoms of illness.

dry sexsearch for term

A kind of sex where people have clothes on, but are pressing their genitals together. This can also be called frottage, grinding or dry humping.

effectivenesssearch for term

How well something works.

ejaculationsearch for term

In a sexual context, a discharge of genital fluid, usually (but not always) as a result of sexual stimulation and/or orgasm.

embryosearch for term

During a pregnancy, the term for the developing cells of an organism until around eight-nine weeks after an ovum was fertilized. After this time, the organism would then be called a fetus.

emergency contraceptionsearch for term

A method of contraception used to prevent pregnancy after sex or rape has already occurred, rather than used before or during, like most types of contraception.

enactsearch for term

To put something into action: to actively do something, not just think or feel it.

endometriumsearch for term

The lining of the uterus.

entrysearch for term

In a sexual context, when a kind of sex involves someone putting one body part inside the body part of another person, such as with intercourse. Some people use the word "penetration" instead.

erectionsearch for term

When a body part, such as the penis or parts of the vulva, becomes filled with blood and enlarges and/or becomes more firm.

erogenous zonessearch for term

Various areas of the body with a greater number of sensory nerve receptors than other areas, which people may find particularly sexually stimulating, such as (but by no means limited to) the lips, tongue, palms, fingers, feet, inner thighs, anus, nipples, neck, collarbone, nose, ears, armpits and/or the genitals.

eroticasearch for term

Written, visual or other kinds of media either expressly designed to elicit feelings of sexual desire and/or which people use to elicit those feelings.

estrogensearch for term

A steroid hormone found in the bodies of all people which has several jobs. Like testosterone, people often say it's responsible for things it doesn't usually have much to do with (like mood).

exclusivesearch for term

Something that is not divided or shared with others; which excludes others based on a given criteria.

fallopian tubessearch for term

Two tubes that lead from the ovaries to the uterus. If and when an ovum is fertilized by a sperm, fertilization typically happens within the fallopian tube.

FAMsearch for term

Fertility awareness methods of birth control, achieved by charting of fertility, ideally daily via cervical mucus and basal body temperatures, and interpreting that charting to determine when fertility is most and least likely, then abstaining or using a backup method during most fertile times.

fellatiosearch for term

Oral sex for, on or to the penis.

female condomsearch for term

A barrier method of contraception somewhat similar to a male condom, but inserted into the vagina rather than put on the penis. It has a flared base that sits on the outer parts of the vulva to hold it in place.

femininesearch for term

Describes something society associates with or attributes to women and girls or a state, experience or assignment of being female.

femmesearch for term

Describes a person who is intentionally feminine in appearance, behavior, dress, identity or sexual attitude. Often used in relation to butch. Most often used in the LGBT community, but can refer to people of any orientation.

fertility awarenesssearch for term

A method of keeping track of fertility by keeping careful notes on the dates of a woman's period, as well as her temperature and cervical mucus. This is often used by people who are trying to get pregnant but is NOT an effective birth control method, as it fails frequently due to fluctuations in a woman's cycle and the fact that sperm can live in a woman's reproductive tract for several days. Also called "fertility charting" or just "charting".

fetussearch for term

In humans, the stage of prenatal development after an embryo, usually from about the eighth-ninth week after fertilization.

fistingsearch for term

A term used to describe deep manual sex, where many fingers or a hand are gradually inserted into the vagina or anus.

foreplaysearch for term

What some people call sexual activities that are not intercourse which they may do before intercourse or as a "warmup" to intercourse, such as kissing, manual sex or oral sex. However, all kinds of "foreplay" can also be or are kinds of sex, and may sometimes be the only sex people choose to or can engage in at a given time, or altogether.

foreskinsearch for term

A loose tube of skin with nerve endings that extends from shaft of the penis to below the glans and which normally covers the head of the penis when it is not erect. Those born with penises are also born with a foreskin, but some foreskins are removed (circumcised) in infancy or later in life for any of a variety of different reasons.

fourchettesearch for term

A small fold of skin at the posterior (bottom) end of the vulva.

friends with benefitssearch for term

People who have a sexual relationship that is not romantic, but where they are also (and are supposed to behave like) friends. Often a casual relationship, but not always. FWBs may or may not be exclusive.

frottagesearch for term

Rubbing against the body of another person -- usually with clothes on -- to express sexual feelings or seek out sexual pleasure. "Dry humping" is a form of frottage.

FWBsearch for term

Friends with benefits.

G-spotsearch for term

A portion of the internal clitoris 1-3 inches within the vagina on the anterior (front) wall which can be sexually stimulating and which is often associated with female ejaculation.

gaysearch for term

In the context of sexuality, a word for sexual orientation which either describes a man who is sexually and emotionally attracted to other men, or a person of any sex or gender who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same or a similar sex or gender. Often used alongside lesbian.

gendersearch for term

Characteristics that are seen or presented as distinguishing between male and female. Gender may or may not include assigned or chosen: sex, social roles, feelings, behaviors and/or presentation or appearance.

gender dysphoriasearch for term

Discomfort with an assigned sex and/or gender and/or the gender norms and roles associated with either.

gender expressionsearch for term

The way people externally communicate gender identity to others through their behavior and their outward, chosen appearance.

gender identitysearch for term

A person's own sense of whether and in what sense they feel they might be a man, a woman, a boy, a girl or gender nonconforming.

gender nonconformingsearch for term

People who do not adhere to or who protest cultural rules or norms about dress, behaviors or activities for people based on their sex.

gendernormativesearch for term

What is considered "normal" for a given gender or sex, even if it's not. These ideas may be widespread, or may be specific to a given group, area or historical period of time.

genderqueersearch for term

Describes someone whose chosen gender identity is neither masculine nor feminine, is between or beyond genders, which rejects binary gender, or which is some combination of genders.

genital sexsearch for term

Kinds of sex people have which involve the vulva, vagina, penis, testicles, anus and/or rectum or any immediate areas surrounding those parts.

genitalssearch for term

External sexual or reproductive organs.

glanssearch for term

On the penis, the head of the penis. On the vulva, the external portion of the clitoris, beneath the clitoral hood.

GLBTsearch for term

G = gay, L = lesbian, B = bisexual, T = transgender. Additional letters sometimes added include Q = queer/questioning, U = unsure, I = intersex, P = pansexual, S = straight allies.

gonadssearch for term

The organs that make ovum or sperm cells (the ovaries and testes respectively).

Gonorrheasearch for term

A bacterial infection/STI which can infect the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, urethra, mouth, throat or anus. It requires medical treatment.

gynecological examsearch for term

An exam usually for those with a vulva/vagina that may involve any of the following: a visual exam of the genitals, a breast exam, a bimanual exam, a speculum exam, a pap smear, STI testing, birth control consultation and other education or healthcare services.

gynecologistsearch for term

(Pronounced guy-na-coll-o-jist) A doctor that specializes in the health of the female reproductive tract. They may also be referred to as "OB/GYNs" or, informally, "gynos".

healthcare providersearch for term

A qualified person to provide sound physical and/or mental healthcare, such as a doctor, nurse, clinician, counselor, medical assistant, midwife or other healthcare professional.

Hepatitissearch for term

A chronic infectious liver disease with several different types. Hepatitis A, B and C are the most common and can all be transmitted sexually. All require medical care. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B.

Herpessearch for term

A viral disease caused by both or either herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and/or type 2 (HSV-2). Both can be transmitted via sex or other intimate contact, including between outbreaks. "Cold sores" are a symptom of HSV-1. Herpes cannot be cured, but treatments are available to reduce outbreaks.

heterosexualsearch for term

Someone who is only or mostly emotionally and sexually attracted to people of a different sex or gender than they are themselves.

hickeysearch for term

A bruise or bruise-like mark caused by intense kissing and sucking on the skin. Usually appear in delicate areas such as the neck, breast, or arm. How much sucking is required to cause a hickey will depend on the skin in question- on very delicate skin it may not take much at all. Also called a "love bite".

HIVsearch for term

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that eventually destroys the immune system and weakens the body's ability to fight disease and infection. It usually progresses to AIDS. It is a serious sexually transmitted infection that requires medical treatment, although it cannot be cured.

homophobiasearch for term

Prejudice against homosexuality and homosexual people.

homosexualsearch for term

Someone who is only or mostly emotionally and sexually attracted to people of their same sex or of the same or a similar gender.

HPVsearch for term

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted infection with more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genitals as well as the mouth and throat. Some types of HPV can cause cancers, and some types cause genital warts. There are vaccines for some types of HPV, and those with HPV require medical treatment.

hymensearch for term

A thin membrane without nerve endings that most female-assigned people are born with that is just inside the vaginal opening. It gradually wears away over time due to hormones, vaginal discharges, general physical activity, sex and masturbation and/or childbirth. It does not snap, crackle or pop.

identitysearch for term

The defining character or personality of an individual; who we feel like we are as a person. Identity is often used to talk about sexual identity -- who we are as sexual people, which can include things like our sexual orientation, our preferences and things we like and want in sex and sexuality, our sexual politics -- or gender identity, who we feel we are and identify as (even if only to ourselves) in terms of our gender.

infectionsearch for term

When harmful microbes, or germs, or harmful levels of microbes/germs, enter the body and multiply, causing illness. The common cold, flu viruses, sexually transmitted infections, chickenpox, impetigo, rabies and diphtheria are some kinds of infections.

insertive partnersearch for term

A sexual partner who is inserting a part of their bodies into a partner's body in some way.

intercoursesearch for term

When people interlock their genitals and move together as feels good to them for the purpose of sexual stimulation and/or reproduction.

intersexsearch for term

A socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation. Intersex is a general term used to describe a variety of conditions where a person is born with reproductive and/or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to, or isn't understood to, fit the typical definitions of female or male, and/or is born a chromosomal combination other than XX or XY. Some intersex conditions are Turner Syndrome, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, Klinefelter's Syndrome, MRKH and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.

introitussearch for term

The entrance into a canal or hollow organ, such as the vagina. "Vaginal introitus" is another term for the vaginal opening.

IUDsearch for term

Intra-uterine device. A long-term birth control method inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. Also called an IUS or IUC.

kinkysearch for term

Describes sexual practices or activities which a person or group of people considers to be outside "the norm", or describes a person who enjoys and/or pursues those practices.

kissingsearch for term

Pressing one's lips against someone else's lips or some other body part to express affection and/or to seek out or provide sexual pleasure. May also include the tongue.

labiasearch for term

On the vulva, both inner (labia minora) and outer (labia majora) sets of skin with sensory nerve endings which surround the vaginal opening.

lesbiansearch for term

Describes the sexual orientation of a woman who is sexually and emotionally attracted only or mostly to other women.

LGBTsearch for term

L = lesbian, G = gay, B = bisexual, T = transgender. Additional letters sometimes added include Q = queer/questioning, U = unsure, I = intersex, P = pansexual, S = straight allies.

LGBTQsearch for term

L = lesbian, G = gay, B = bisexual, T = transgender, Q = queer or questioning. Additional letters sometimes added include U = unsure, I = intersex, P = pansexual, A= asexual, S = straight allies.

libidosearch for term

The physical and emotional urge or feeling of desire for some kind of sex, which may include masturbation.

lubricantsearch for term

A fluid used in order to make kinds of sex (such as masturbation, vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse or manual sex) more pleasant and comfortable, and/or to help prevent condoms from breaking by decreasing friction.

making outsearch for term

A vague term, but often a session of extended activity that includes passionate or deep kissing, some kind of other body contact and may even include other kinds of sex, like manual sex (fingering or handjobs).

manual sexsearch for term

Sometimes also called digital sex. Kinds of sex involving the hands and fingers to sexually stimulate the genitals or other parts of the body. Fingering, handjobs or "fisting" (deep manual sex) are some kinds of manual sex.

masculinesearch for term

Describes something society associates with or attributes to men and boys or a state, experience or assignment of being male.

masturbationsearch for term

Ways that people seek out and/or experience sexual pleasure by themselves, without a sexual partner.

menarchesearch for term

When menstruation begins, usually during puberty; a first period.

mensessearch for term

The flow during menstruation, composed mostly of endometrium, including blood. Sometimes flow contains portions of the endometrium as solid tissue, which is often confused with blood clots.

menstrualsearch for term

Having to do with menstruation.

menstruationsearch for term

The shedding of the uterine lining as part of the menstrual cycle.

miscarriagesearch for term

When a pregnancy ends before birth all by itself, often without anyone having done anything to make that happen.

molluscumsearch for term

A viral infection that can be sexually transmitted and usually causes a mild skin disease. It will often go away on it's own in 6-12 months, but may also be able to be treated in some cases.

monogamoussearch for term

In the context of sex, people choosing to be with each other sexually exclusively; to only have one sexual partner at a time.

monssearch for term

A mound of fatty tissue (skin) covering the upper portion of the vulva. In adult people, this area is usually where much of the pubic hair is.

mutual masturbationsearch for term

When sexual partners masturbate together. Sometimes people also use "mutual masturbation" to mean manual sex (fingering or handjobs) done at the same time.

nervous systemsearch for term

The system of cells, tissues and organs that regulate our body's responses to internal and external stimuli.

non-exclusivesearch for term

Describes something which does not exclude others in some way, which is open.

OB/GYNsearch for term

A physician who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology; in the reproductive and sexual health of people with a vulva, including providing care with pregnancy, contraception, sexually transmitted infections and menstrual, vulval or vaginal issues and concerns.

oral contraceptivessearch for term

Hormonal medications, taken by mouth daily, used to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

oral contraceptivessearch for term

Birth control pills.

oral sexsearch for term

Use of the mouth, lips or tongue for sexual stimulation. Cunnilingus ("going down on"), fellatio ("blowjobs") and analingus ("rimming") are some common kinds of oral sex.

orgasmsearch for term

An event typically in response to physical or intellectual sexual stimulation, controlled by the involuntary nervous system. Orgasm often results in muscle contractions in and around the genitals, other muscular spasms throughout the body, and a feeling of sexual and/or tension release.

ovariessearch for term

The reproductive organs that contain and release ovum.

ovulationsearch for term

The process in the human menstrual/fertilty cycle where a mature ovarian follicle ruptures and releases an ovum.

ovumsearch for term

A reproductive cell, sometimes also called an egg. Ova (plural) are stored in the ovaries and released into the fallopian tubes during ovulation, and can then be fertilized by sperm cells which can result in pregnancy.

pansexualsearch for term

Someone who may be/is attracted to other people of any gender or sex, not just men or women. Pansexual is often used as a more inclusive term than bisexual, which supports or implies that gender is binary (which it isn't).

pap smearsearch for term

A medical test (sometimes called a pap test) done by swabbing the cervix which checks for changes/abnormalities of the cervical cells. It can be used to identify changes to those cells due to HPV or cancer or which could lead to cancer.

partnersearch for term

In a sexual context, a person with whom someone is having some kind of sex. The term "partner" can be used for all kinds of relationships, not just serious ones. "Partner" can also mean the person someone is with in a romantic or familial partnership.

penissearch for term

One of the two external reproductive organs of male-assigned people.

penis-in-vagina intercoursesearch for term

When a penis is inserted into and held by the vagina while partners move their bodies as feels good to them for the purpose of either sexual stimulation and/or reproduction.

perfect usesearch for term

When a birth control method is used correctly and reliably, the whole time, every time, in accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Many birth control methods will state an effectiveness for "perfect use" vs. "typical use."

perianalsearch for term

Around the anus.

perineumsearch for term

The general region of the body between the anus and the testes or the anus and the vaginal opening. Some people call the perineum the "tain't."

periodsearch for term

The fluid, which contains blood, from the shedding of the uterine lining usually at the end of each fertility cycle. Or, that flow you perhaps may have experienced once while shouting, "Oh thank GAWD!"

pettingsearch for term

Affectionate or sexual stroking and touching. Petting historically has also meant any kind of sex besides intercourse. When it includes kinds of genital sex, it's sometimes called "heavy petting."

phone sexsearch for term

Sexual encounters or experiences in which people talk about sex or role-play sexually via the telephone, often paired with masturbation.

PIDsearch for term

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a serious infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs, most often caused by an untreated STI like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Douching has also been associated with PID. It is often associated with ectopic pregnancy and infertility, and those under 25 are more likely to develop PID than those over 25.

platonicsearch for term

Something intimate or affectionate but not sexual.

PMSsearch for term

Short for "premenstrual syndrome". A varying set of symptoms that many women experience just prior to their period. Possible symptoms may include irritability, fatigue, cramps, headaches, backaches, nausea, moodswings, feeling bloated, breast tenderness, and a huge number of other physical and emotional symptoms.

polyamoroussearch for term

People choosing to have more than one sexual or romantic partner at a time. Polyamory usually implies that this is wanted by all parties, negotiated and agreed upon. Polyamory is not "cheating," unless someone breaks the agreements they have made in polyamorous relationships.

pornographysearch for term

Written, visual or other kinds of media either expressly designed to elicit feelings of sexual desire and/or which people use to elicit those feelings.

pre-ejaculatesearch for term

A fluid which the penis usually emits with or around erection and before ejaculation, sometimes more than once. Pre-ejaculate itself does not contain sperm, but in some cases, can pick up traces of sperm left in the urethra.

pregnancysearch for term

The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the uterus. Medically, someone is considered to be regnant when an egg has been fertilized by sperm, cells divide, and the fertilized egg is implanted within the lining of the uterus.

pregnancy testsearch for term

What we tell you to take when you ask us if you're pregnant. A test that can be done at home or by a healthcare provider to determine pregnancy. Usually a urine test, a pregnancy test measures for a specific hormone, hCG, only produced with pregnancy.

premenstrual syndromesearch for term

A varying set of symptoms that many women experience just prior to their period. Possible symptoms may include irritability, fatigue, cramps, headaches, backaches, nausea, moodswings, feeling bloated, breast tenderness, and a huge number of other physical and emotional symptoms. Frequently called "PMS"

progesteronesearch for term

A steroid hormone in people's bodies, which is also included synthetically in hormonal birth control methods.

prostate glandsearch for term

A highly sensory, walnut-sized gland inside the body, below the bladder and between the rectum and urethra at the base of the penis.

pubertysearch for term

The process of physical and sexual changes from childhood to adulthood, initiated by hormone signals from the brain to the gonads. Puberty usually takes several years to complete -- sometimes even more then five or six -- and changes the brain, bones, muscles, skin, breasts and reproductive organs.

pubic hairsearch for term

The hair that grows around the genital and anal regions (often extending a ways up the front or back and onto the inner thights) and usually first appears around puberty. It may vary in color, texture, length, and thickness.

queersearch for term

In the context of sexuality, a broad term for sexual orientation that can describe any number of orientations which are not heterosexual. People who identify as queer may be bisexual or pansexual, gay or lesbian, questioning, asexual or more.

QUILTBAGsearch for term

An acronym used to express the following sexual and gender identities/groups: Q, Queer and/or Questioning, U, Unidentified, I, Intersex, L, Lesbian, T, Trans, B, Bisexual, A, Asexual (and/or) Allies, G, Gay and/or Genderqueer (GQ).

racismsearch for term

Prejudice, discrimination and oppression based on race or perceived or assigned race.

rapesearch for term

When one person does a sexual act to, on or inside another person who does not want to participate; who refuses to participate and/or who does not or is unable to fully and freely consent to take part in that activity.

receptive partnersearch for term

A sexual partner who is having something done to them, or who is taking a part of a partner's body or a sex toy into their bodies.

rectumsearch for term

The internal passage between the anus and the colon; stores solid waste until it leaves the body through a bowel movement.

relationshipsearch for term

Some kind of ongoing interaction or association with another person, place or thing.

There are all kinds of relationships: family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships and sexual relationships are a few, and sometimes those will overlap where we have more than one kind of relationship with someone. Sometimes people use the word relationship to only mean a romantic, "serious" or committed relationship, even though that's not all this word means.

reproductive rightssearch for term

Legal or practical rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The right to choose when and if to become a parent for ourselves or to become or remain pregnant or not are some kinds of reproductive rights.

romanticsearch for term

Of, or relating to, sexual or courtly love or interest.

safer sexsearch for term

Practices which aim to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, such as use of condoms and other latex/nonlatex barriers, regular testing for infections and limiting the number of sexual partners. It's "safer" instead of "safe" because these practices can reduce risks greatly, but cannot remove all risk.

Scabiessearch for term

A skin disease caused by a mite which can be transmitted sexually or by nonsexual contact. It requires medical treatment.

self-gratificationsearch for term

The act of satisfying only your own desires or only seeking pleasure for and/or about oneself.

semensearch for term

Fluid which comes from the urethra of the penis during ejaculation, and which usually contains sperm. Sperm cells are only about 2-5% of hat's in semen: semen also contains amino acids, enzymes, flavins, fructose, prostaglandins, proteins, acids and other elements. In human reproduction, semen both helps sperm "swim," and counteract the acidic nature of the vagina, which would otherwise be hostile to sperm.

sensitivitysearch for term

A responsiveness to internal or external stimulus.

sexsearch for term

Different things people choose to do to actively express or enact sexuality and sexual feelings; often this involves genitals, but not always. The word sex also means a way people, animals or plants are classified based on their chromosomes, genitals or reproductive organs.

sexismsearch for term

Prejudice, discrimination and oppression based on sex or gender or perceived or assigned sex or gender.

sexualsearch for term

About or relating in some way to sex or sexuality.

sexual assaultsearch for term

When someone is attacked, or attacks someone else, in a sexual way. Doing something sexual to someone who does not want that done to them, often by force or threat, or having something done to you sexually by someone else that is not wanted and/or which you have not consented to.

sexual fantasysearch for term

An idea, thought or pattern of thoughts and/or ideas that creates or enhances sexual feelings.

sexual orientationsearch for term

A term -- like homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, queer, straight, lesbian, gay, asexual -- used to describe a person's usual or current pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to other people in terms of gender.

sexually activesearch for term

Someone who has had or is currently having some kind of genital sex with a partner or partners.

sexually transmitted infectionssearch for term

STIs: illness, infection and/or disease which is often or can be transmitted through sexual or other intimate contact, like HIV, Chlamydia or Herpes. Some people call STIs STDs.

shaftsearch for term

On the penis, the portion of the penis extending from below the head to the base of the penis, where it is attached to the body. On the vulva, an internal portion of the clitoris behind and beneath the clitoral glans.

simultaneous orgasmsearch for term

When people reach orgasm at the same time, which is generally rare.

slutsearch for term

Usually a slur that judges women (and sometimes others) by their known or assumed sexual history, or puts it in question in order to harass her. Sometimes, people will refer to themselves as sluts to try and reclaim the word and give it a positive meaning.

social justicesearch for term

An equitable distribution of advantages, assets, and benefits among all members of a society.

sodomysearch for term

A vague term which either means any kind of genital sex other than vaginal intercourse, or any kind of sex a given group or person considers "unnatural" or sinful.

spermsearch for term

Reproductive cells of male sex-assigned people which can fertilize an ovum and create pregnancy.

spermicidesearch for term

A chemical agent used for birth control which works by immobilizing or "killing" sperm.

stereotypesearch for term

A fixed, commonly held notion or image of a person or group, usually based on an oversimplification of some observed or imagined trait of behavior or appearance among all members of that group.

STIsearch for term

Sexually transmitted infections: illness, infection and/or disease which is often or can be transmitted through sexual or other intimate contact, like HIV, Chlamydia or Herpes. Some people call STIs STDs.

stonesearch for term

In the context of sexuality, stone -- usually attached to "butch" -- describes someone who gets pleasure from pleasing/touching a partner, but does not themselves like to be touched sexually.

Syphilissearch for term

A bacterial infection/STI which is transmitted when someone touches a sore on a person who has syphilis. These sores are can be on the mouth, penis, vagina, anus or skin. It requires medical treatment.

testessearch for term

Reproductive glands of male-assigned people outside the body, contained within the scrotum.

testosteronesearch for term

A steroid hormone in people's bodies which is often blamed for a whole lot of things it isn't actually responsible for.

the implantsearch for term

Usually, a hormonal contraceptive implant, a long-term from of birth control which is inserted beneath the fat layer of the arm.

the patchsearch for term

A hormonal form of birth control that is a stick-on patch put on the skin (anywhere except on the breasts) once a week.

the pillsearch for term

A common term for birth control pills/oral contraceptives. A hormonal medication used to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

the rhythm methodsearch for term

One method of fertility awareness contraception, but often the least effective since it assumes all women have a similar fertility patterns, which often is not so.

the ringsearch for term

The Nuvaring, a hormonal form of birth control which is a ring inserted into the vagina once each month.

the shotsearch for term

Usually, a depo-provera injection, a long-term progestin-only hormonal from of birth control.

threesomesearch for term

A term to describe a sexual experience or relationship in which there are three people actively participating together.

topsearch for term

This term may refer to the person taking a more dominant role during a sexual encounter, or sometimes to refer to the insertive partner during penetrative sex. It can also be used as a verb- "to top someone" is to act as the "top" with regard to your encounter with them.

trans sexualsearch for term

A medical term for trans people usually used to describe someone who has has sexual reassignment surgery/surgeries (SRS). Sometimes used interchangably with trans gender, whether or not a person has had or plants to have SRS.

transgendersearch for term

Describes people who have a gender identity other than that traditionally thought to “match” their assigned sex, and other than that thought to “match” many or most of the roles, behaviors and appearances culturally expected of that sex. For example, someone who was assigned male sex at birth but who feels like/identifies as a woman.

transphobiasearch for term

Prejudice against trans gender and trans women and men. Transphobia may also include prejudice against any kind of gender nonconformity or gender nonconforming people.

traumasearch for term

A serious or critical physical and/or emotional injury or physically and/or emotionally painful experience.

tribadismsearch for term

Rubbing one's genitals against another person's genitals directly, usually without clothing, to express sexual feelings and seek out sexual pleasure. Used most often in the context of lesbian sex.

tribbingsearch for term

Another term for tribadism.

Trichomoniasissearch for term

One of the most common STIs, due to a microscopic parasite which usually lives in the vagina, urethra, or bladder. It requires medical treatment.

triggersearch for term

In the context of behavior, a trigger is an experience that triggers a traumatic memory in someone who has experienced trauma.

triggeringsearch for term

Something which triggers -- elicits or creates -- a traumatic memory or reaction in/for someone who has experienced trauma.

typical usesearch for term

When a birth control method is not used perfectly, every single time, the entire time. Many birth control methods will state their effectiveness rates with either "typical use" or "perfect use".

urethrasearch for term

The urinary tract, where people pee from. On a penis, the opening to the urethra is at the head of the penis; on a vulva, the opening is above the vaginal opening and below the external clitoris.

uterussearch for term

In female-assigned people (unless it has been surgically removed or was not formed in utero), an internal, muscular reproductive organ in the pelvis. During pregnancy, this is where a fetus will develop. When not pregnant, it is the lining of the uterus, when shed each cycle, that provides a menstrual period.

vaginasearch for term

The internal passage leading from the opening of the vulva to the cervix of the uterus.

vaginal intercoursesearch for term

When a penis or sex toy is inserted into and held by the vagina while partners move their bodies as feels good to them for the purpose of either sexual stimulation and/or reproduction.

vaginal openingsearch for term

The external opening to the vagina.

vanillasearch for term

A term used by someone or others to describe conventional or "normal" sexual activities (even though there is no normal), or what a given culture or group generally considers to be "normal" or common sexual activities.

vasocongestionsearch for term

A swelling of body tissues caused by increased vascular blood flow and a localized increase in blood pressure. Vasocongestion plays a part in erection of the penis and clitoris, vaginal lubrication and menstruation.

vestibular bulbssearch for term

Two portions of erectile tissue that are part of the internal clitoris. As with the penis, erection can occur within the vulva due to these bulbs. Sometimes called the clitoral bulbs.

vibratorsearch for term

A sex toy that, true to its name, provides stimulation by vibrating. They come in every imaginable shape, size, and color, and can be operated by regular batteries, electrical cords, or rechargeable batteries (like a cell phone.)

vulvasearch for term

The name for the external genitals of female people or people who were assigned female sex at birth. The vulva includes the mons, external clitoris, inner and outer labia, fourchette and perineum.

wet dreamsearch for term

(or nocturnal emission) An ejaculation during sleep that can occur for people with penises, often most frequently during puberty.

withdrawalsearch for term

A method of birth control which involves the person with the penis "pulling out" of a vagina well before ejaculation and ejaculating away from a partner's genitals.

XXsearch for term

In the XY sex-determination system, a combination of chromosomes identified as female.

XYsearch for term

In the XY sex-determination system, a combination of chromosomes identified as male.

zesearch for term

A gender-neutral pronoun. Can be used instead of he or she.

zirsearch for term

A gender-neutral pronoun. Can be used in place of his or her.

zygotesearch for term

The initial cell formed when a sperm has fertilized an ovum, which then travels down the fallopian tube for a few days, dividing into a larger cluster of cells to become a blastocyst.

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