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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.
In the context of sexuality, an abbreviation for asexual.
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.
A state or demonstration of fondness or care for someone, which may or may not be sexual.
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.
When two people are of different ages or life stages, usually with a substantial difference.
A chosen or felt lack of gender identity.
Behaving in a pushy, forceful or violent way.
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.
The body, parts of the body, or physical structure of organisms like people, animals or plants.
The external opening to the rectum, located between the buttocks.
Not having an interest in romantic relationships.
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.
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.
To be self-assured, self-confident. To stand up for oneself in a positive, nonviolent way.
The state or condition of being independent and/or having the right to independence.
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.
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.
Made up of two things or parts; a system with only two possible options or parts.
Prejudice against bisexuality and bisexual people.
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.
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.
Our sense, awareness and perception of our body in appearance and function as it relates to our sense of self.
Glandular tissue, fat, connective tissue and skin on the chest.
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.
Describes someone who does not engage in sexual activity, usually by choice.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prejudice, discrimination and oppression based on social or economic status/class or perceived or assigned social or economic status.
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."
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.
Various ways we express and share feelings or thoughts, such as through speech, written words or symbols, sign language, body language, touch or art.
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).
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.
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.
Heather's pug, Sofia.
Virtual (as in, not in person) sexual experiences or encounters which involve text conversations and/or visual exchanges via the Internet.
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.
How well something works.
To put something into action: to actively do something, not just think or feel it.
The lining of the uterus.
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.
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).
Something that is not divided or shared with others; which excludes others based on a given criteria.
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.
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.
Describes something society associates with or attributes to women and girls or a state, experience or assignment of being female.
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.
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".
In humans, the stage of prenatal development after an embryo, usually from about the eighth-ninth week after fertilization.
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.
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.
A small fold of skin at the posterior (bottom) end of the vulva.
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.
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.
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.
The way people externally communicate gender identity to others through their behavior and their outward, chosen appearance.
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.
People who do not adhere to or who protest cultural rules or norms about dress, behaviors or activities for people based on their sex.
External sexual or reproductive organs.
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.
(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".
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
Prejudice against homosexuality and homosexual people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A sexual partner who is inserting a part of their bodies into a partner's body in some way.
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.
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.
Describes the sexual orientation of a woman who is sexually and emotionally attracted only or mostly to other women.
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.
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).
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.
Describes something society associates with or attributes to men and boys or a state, experience or assignment of being male.
Having to do with menstruation.
The shedding of the uterine lining as part of the menstrual cycle.
When a pregnancy ends before birth all by itself, often without anyone having done anything to make that happen.
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.
The system of cells, tissues and organs that regulate our body's responses to internal and external stimuli.
Describes something which does not exclude others in some way, which is open.
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.
Hormonal medications, taken by mouth daily, used to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Birth control pills.
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.
The reproductive organs that contain and release ovum.
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.
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).
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.
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.
One of the two external reproductive organs of male-assigned people.
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."
Around the anus.
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!"
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.
Something intimate or affectionate but not sexual.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
A steroid hormone in people's bodies, which is also included synthetically in hormonal birth control methods.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Prejudice, discrimination and oppression based on race or perceived or assigned race.
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.
The internal passage between the anus and the colon; stores solid waste until it leaves the body through a bowel movement.
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.
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.
Of, or relating to, sexual or courtly love or interest.
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.
A skin disease caused by a mite which can be transmitted sexually or by nonsexual contact. It requires medical treatment.
The act of satisfying only your own desires or only seeking pleasure for and/or about oneself.
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.
A responsiveness to internal or external stimulus.
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.
About or relating in some way to sex or sexuality.
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.
An idea, thought or pattern of thoughts and/or ideas that creates or enhances sexual feelings.
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.
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.
When people reach orgasm at the same time, which is generally rare.
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.
An equitable distribution of advantages, assets, and benefits among all members of a society.
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.
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.
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.
Reproductive glands of male-assigned people outside the body, contained within the scrotum.
A steroid hormone in people's bodies which is often blamed for a whole lot of things it isn't actually responsible for.
Usually, a hormonal contraceptive implant, a long-term from of birth control which is inserted beneath the fat layer of the arm.
A hormonal form of birth control that is a stick-on patch put on the skin (anywhere except on the breasts) once a week.
Usually, a depo-provera injection, a long-term progestin-only hormonal from of birth control.
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.
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.
A serious or critical physical and/or emotional injury or physically and/or emotionally painful experience.
Another term for tribadism.
In the context of behavior, a trigger is an experience that triggers a traumatic memory in someone who has experienced trauma.
Something which triggers -- elicits or creates -- a traumatic memory or reaction in/for someone who has experienced trauma.
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.
The external opening to the vagina.
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.
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.
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.)
A gender-neutral pronoun. Can be used instead of he or she.
A gender-neutral pronoun. Can be used in place of his or her.