a hefty dictionary!


Come upon a word or term here you don't understand or haven't heard of before? Want to figure out what someone else is talking about, or find a word for that feeling, activity, identity or something else you're experiencing?  Maybe you're a word nerd who just loves to read a dictionary! Whatever the reason, you've landed on our always-expanding glossary, and we hope it serves you well and answers all of your elucidatory desires!

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The false belief that able-bodied people are what’s normal or superior.

This usually appears by way of bias or discrimination against people with disabilities. It can take the form of negative beliefs or actions against people with disabilities or individual, structural or institutional favoring of able people.


A drug, herb, or device that can terminate pregnancy.


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


The choice not to have sex.


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 whose age in years exceeds the legal age of majority, people considered to be adults by law, or people who a culture or individual considers to have reached an adult stage of life.


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

#age of consent

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 assumption that everyone does or should experience sexual attraction.


Someone who experiencesthe desire to be sexual with other people.


Someone who is on your side. Is often used to describe someone who takes a stand against discrimination when they are not a part of the group being discriminated against.


The assumption that everyone does or should experience romantic attraction, and the ways society delegitimizes the experiences of aromantic people.


 The ability to experience and enjoy both monogamous and polyamorous relationships.

#anal intercourse

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 sex

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


Oral sex for, on or to the anus.


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


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


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


Hatred or discrimination directed towards asexual or aromantic people on account of their identities. Acephobia and arophobia are kinds of aphobia.


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.

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#bacterial vaginosis

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. (BV)


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.


Attitudes, behaviors, and policies that marginalize or harm gender nonconforming, intersex, and/or nonbinary people.


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


A garment designed to create the appearance of a flatter chest by compressing chest tissue.


Prejudice against bisexuality and bisexual people.

#birth control

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


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.


Also called puberty blockers or puberty inhibitors. They block the release of hormones from the pituitary gland, thus putting a pause on puberty. Used by young trans individuals to prevent elements of puberty that may cause dysphoria.

#blue balls

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 image

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


Either a colloquial term for buttocks or even the whole genital area, or someone who wants to consensually relinquish control or active leadership during sex to a partner and follow their lead.

#bottom surgery

A general term for a variety of genital surgeries that some transgender individuals may choose to better align their physical body with their gender identity.


Leaving someone with just barely enough sporadic communication, affection or other expressions of interest or connection to keep them interested, but not actually seeking to connect with them in real, ongoing ways.


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


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, and is often, and historically, a lesbian or queer identity, but can refer to people of any orientation.

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

#cervical barrier

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.


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


Methods for keeping track of fertility and/or menstrual cycles.

Charting is often used by people who are trying to conceive, by those who like to keep track of this information to help them understand their bodies or moods better, and for other reasons. Charting is also an integral part of most kinds of natural family planning methods of birth control, also called FAM or "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. For instance, someone who was assigned male at birth who identifies as a man. Often used in relation to transgender.


A system of beliefs, attitudes, and structures that assumes everyone is cisgender until “proven” otherwise, and that holds up being cisgender as what is normal.


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 a person doesn’t currently have anysexually transmitted infections. That term, however, stigmatizes people with illness. Less stigmatizing choices are "negative," "clear" or "STI-free."


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


Various ways we express ourselves to others, such as through speech, written words or symbols, sign language, body language, touch or art.


Feeling happiness because of someone else's happiness. Most often a term used in poly/ethical nonmonogamy to express feeling joy from a partner also finding joy with another partner, but it can be used outside this context, too.


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


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.


To freely and actively agree to do a specific thing with someone else with all the information about what that thing is, and the right to change your mind.

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.

#contraceptive sponge

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

#conversion therapy

An abusive and, in some cases, illegal intervention based on the false belief that queer people can be turned straight or that trans people can be turned cis. It is sometimes referred to as "reparative therapy" or "exploratory therapy."


Engaging with someone in the present primarily to try and keep them on hold as a backup plan for future relationships, hookups or other romantic or sexual interactions.


A newer name for the hymen, a thin membrane without nerve endings that most people with vaginas 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 internal "legs" of the clitoris, which are within the outer labia (labia majora).


Settling in with or committing to a partner, particularly during the colder seasons.


Oral sex for, on or to the vulva and/or vagina


The act of sending unwanted sexual images to another person through digital means.


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


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

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Someone's deadname is their birth or former name, usually, but not always, when they have transitioned their gender.

Deadnaming is referring to someone by their birth or former name when they have taken a new name for themselves, again, often as as part of a transition.


Part of the asexuality spectrum, people who identify as demisexual generally only feel sexual attraction to people when they have formed an emotional bond with them first.

#dental dam

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.


A feeling of wanting something. In the context of sex or sexuality, desire can be a feeling of a physical and psychological want for any kind of sex or way of being sexual.


An insertive sex toy usually made from silicone or rubber.

A dildo can also be made with glass, wood, metal, or any number of innovative materials. It often looks more or less like a penis in shape but can easily bear little resemblance and comes in an endless variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.


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.


Performance that exaggerates or dramatizes aspects of gender expression — often for art, entertainment, or activism.

#dry sex

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.


Pain, cramping, or discomfort during menstruation


Painful penis-in-vagina sex. Dyspareunia can be caused by vaginal dryness, injury, irritation, infection, skin problems, anxiety, stress, or a history of sexual abuse.

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How well something works.


How well something works under ideal or controlled conditions, like efficacy proven through scientific study.


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


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 contraception

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. Includes emergency contraception pills and IUDs.


The lining of the uterus.


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.


The tube that leads from the testes to the vas deferens. Sperm are stored in the epididymis before ejaculation.


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 zones

Various areas of the body with a greater number of sensory nerve receptors than other areas, which people may find particularly sexually stimulating.

These can include (but are by no means limited to) the lips, tongue, palms, fingers, feet, inner thighs, anus, nipples, neck, collarbone, nose, ears, armpits and/or the genitals.


Something pertaining to sexuality, sexual desire, sexual arousal or sexual power.


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.


A steroid hormone found in the bodies of all people, produced in the ovaries and the adrenal glands.It is involved in puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, mood, bone health, and other things across the body and lifespan .

#ethical nonmonogamy

A kind of relationship or practice where people in any kind of relationship knowingly agree and consent to one or both people having, pursuing, or being open to other romantic or sexual partners. Also called polyamory (poly) or open relationships. (ENM)


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

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#fallopian tubes

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.(oviducts)


Keeping records of periods, body temperature and cervical mucus to try and predict fertility.

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.


Attitudes, behaviors, and policies that stigmatize fat or larger people. (weight stigma)


Oral sex for, on or to the penis.

#female condom

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. Also known as an internal condom.


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.


The ability to become pregnant or other things having to do with becoming pregnant (eg, “the fertility clinic”).

#fertility awareness

Keeping records of periods, body temperature and cervical mucus to try and predict fertility.

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 person's cycle and the fact that sperm can live in the reproductive tract of a person with a uterus 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.


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


A person, often (but not always) nonconsensually, showing their genitals to others in public. Cyberflashing is the digital version of this, like sending unwanted sexual images to someone on their phone.

#fordyce spots

Small yellowish or white bumps or spots on the inside of the cheeks or lips, on the glans or shaft of the penis, or on the vulva. They’re harmless, aren’t sexually transmitted, and aren’t infectious.


What some people call sexual activities that are not genital 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.

#friends with benefits

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.


Rubbing against the body of another person to express sexual feelings or seek out sexual pleasure. "Dry frottage" is done with clothing on ("Dry humping" is a form of frottage).


Friends with benefits.

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A term used for an area inside the vaginal canal which can be sensitive and pleasureable for some. This area is indistinct and has long been argued about, but is most likely a portion of the internal clitoris, the urethral sponge, or both.


A way of manipulating someone – often through lying, denial or diminishment – that makes them doubt their perceptions, memories or understanding of something.


A man who is 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.

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 in a society. Gender may or may not include assigned or chosen: social roles, feelings, behaviors and/or presentation or appearance.

#gender dysphoria

Discomfort with an assigned sex, or feeling like ones assigned sex or body doesn't match wih ones' gender.

#gender euphoria

Significant joy or comfort with one’s biological sex, gender identity, or expression.

#gender expression

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

#gender identity

A person's own sense of whether and in what sense they feel they might be a man, a woman, neither, a mixture of genders, or another gender entirely.

#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.


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.


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 sex

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

#genital warts

Soft, flesh-colored growths on or near the penis/vulva, caused by some types of HPV (human papilloma virus).


Body parts that are generally, culturally, scientifically or personally considered to be external sexual or reproductive organs.


Good, giving, game. A term coined by sex writer Dan Savage, that means someone aims to be good in bed, to give "equal time and equal pleasure" to a partner, and game for anything within reason.


When someone disappears from someone’s life or communication with them, whether it happens when people are dating, have matched online with, or are in some other kinds of relationship or interaction with.


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


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


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


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

#gynecological exam

A physical examination usually for those with a vulva/vagina.

It 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 uterus, ovaries, vagina, and vulva. . They may also be referred to as "OB/GYNs" or, informally, "gynos".

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A garment that holds a packer, dildo, or other sex toy against the wearer’s body. (strap-on)

#healthcare provider

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 common symptom of HSV-1. Herpes cannot be cured, but treatments are available to reduce outbreaks.


A system of beliefs, attitudes, and structures that assume everyone is heterosexual (straight) until “proven” otherwise and that heterosexuality is the “default” or norm. Heteronormativity delegitimizes the experiences of people that aren’t heterosexual.


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


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".

#hierarchal polyamory

A framework for open/ethically nonomonogamous/poly relationships that involves one partner being a "primary," centered above any other partners, the rest of whom are considered secondaries, tertiaries or comets.


A virus that attacks cells of the immune system, weakening the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases.

If untreated it can progress to AIDS, but most people who receive effective medical treatment soon after an HIV diagnosis can live long and healthy lives. Treatment can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels, which can also prevent transmission of the virus to partners.


Prejudice against homosexuality and homosexual people.


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


Chemicals – via our endocrine system – that send messages across our bodies and brains. They both naturally exist and can also be made in a lab.


Human papillomavirus, a very common sexually transmitted infection with more than 40 HPV types.

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 people with vaginas 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.


A surgical procedure to remove the uterus. In some cases, it may remove the cervix as well. 

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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.

#impact play

Doing things like wantedly, consensually and safely being part of hitting, slapping or other ways of striking for pleasure. It can but doesn't have to be part of BDSM.


When fertilized ovum attach to the lining of the uterus during the process of human reproduction.


Sexual abuse within the family, by parents or guardians, grandparents, uncles or aunts, siblings or extended family.


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 partner

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


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


Having reproductive and/or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to, or isn't understood to, fit typical definitions of female or male, and/or chromosomal combinations other than XX or XY.

Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation. Some intersex conditions are Turner Syndrome, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, Klinefelter's Syndrome, MRKH and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.

#intimate partner violence (IPV)

Emotional, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse in the context of intimate relationships. Also known as "domestic violence," "partner abuse," "relationship abuse," or "dating violence."


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


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

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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.


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.

#kitchen table polyamory

A way of being polyamorous where regular, comfortable, and informal social connection and interaction between everyone in a polycule, is desired.

This doesn't mean or even often include everyone being sexually involved, though it could. Often it also includes the extended family of all or some partners.

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


A healthy bacteria found in the vagina that helps prevent vaginitis by limiting the growth of candida, a yeast.


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


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


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.


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

#love bombing

The practice of showering a person with a lot of affection and attention, often in order to gain control or significantly influence their behavior.


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.

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#making out

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).

#mandated reporter

A person who is legally required, usually due to their profession, to report observed or suspected abuse to the relevant authorities. Common mandated reporters are teachers, therapists, and healthcare providers.

#manual sex

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.


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


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


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.


Having to do with menstruation.

#menstrual cup

A small device inserted into the vaginal canal to catch menstrual flow. Can be reusable or single-use depending on the brand.  

#menstrual cycle

The whole of the phases of menstruation, which include, but are not limited to, the menstrual period.

#menstrual period

The shedding of the uterine lining as part of the menstrual cycle. This often appears as a bloody liquid, but sometimes is more solid, and is made of numerous components, of which blood is only one.


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


In polyamory/ethical nonmonogamy, a partner's partner who a person themselves has no sexual or romantic relationship with.


The everyday, subtle, intentional or unintentional, interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward marginalized groups.


One of two drugs currently used for medication (or medical) abortion.


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


To assign someone a gender that isn’t their own, like by addressing someone with incorrect pronouns or directing someone to a bathroom that doesn’t match their gender identity.


One of two drugs currently used for medication (or medical) abortion.


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.


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


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 masturbation

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

#Mycoplasma genitalium

A type of bacteria that lives and grows on the surface cells the urinary tract. An STI that requires medical treatment. Also called Mgen.

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A category of pronouns other than “she,” “he,” and “they.” Examples include “ze,” “xe,” or “ey.”


The medical term for a vagina that is created surgically for people who weren't born with one.


A type of bottom surgery. Neovaginoplasty, or vaginoplasty, is a surgical procedure to create a vagina for someone who wasn’t born with one.

#nervous system

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

#nesting partner

A partner someone lives with, may have or be creating a family with, and is also usually in a romantic or sexual relationship with. Usually a term used in poly/ethical nonmonogamy settings.

#new relationship energy

How it often feels in a brand new intimate relationship when people's feelings are more intense, excited and otherwise zingy than they usually will be once people have settled more into the relationship. Also known as NRE.


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


Being interested in or pursuing intimate relationships (emotional and/or sexual) with more than one person at the same time, in a consensual, open, informed setting.


A gender identity that is outside the gender binary. Enby is the phonetic spelling of “NB,” and is a shorthand word for nonbinary.

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A physician who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology; in the reproductive and sexual health of people with a vulva.

This includes providing care with pregnancy, contraception, sexually transmitted infections and menstrual, vulval or vaginal issues and concerns.

#open relationship

When people in a relationship agree that they can have other sexual or romantic partners. (see ‘polyamorous’)

#oral contraceptives

Hormonal medications, taken by mouth daily, used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Another name for birth control pills.

#oral sex

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.


When a person has broken up with or otherwise cut contact or the possibility of a future relationship with someone but still, often passively, interacts with that person on social media or keeps an eye on that person's socials media.


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.


Short for ‘out of the closet’. When someone’s LGBTQ+ identity is known to other people.


Disclosing someone’s gender identity, sexual orientation, HIV status etc. without their permission.


The reproductive organs that contain and release ova.


The process in the human menstrual/fertility cycle where a mature ovarian follicle ruptures and releases ova.


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.

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A soft, realistic looking penis made out of materials like silicone. For some people, packing can create a sense of confidence, comfort, or gender euphoria.


Someone who may be/is attracted to other people of any gender or sex, not just men or women.

#pap smear

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.

#parallel polyamory

The opposite of kitchen table polyamory. In parallel polyamory, everyone's relationships run parallel to each other, and don’t interact or interconnect. In parallel polyamory, people may not even know or meet each other's other partners.


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.


Being perceived as a member of a non-marginalized group when you’re a member of a marginalized group.


One of the two external reproductive organs of people often assigned male at birth.

#penis-in-vagina intercourse

A kind of sex (or assault) where a penis is within a vagina, either for the purpose(s) of pleasure, procreation, or both. (PIV)


Post-exposure prophylaxis. Medication that can be taken to prevent HIV after an exposure happens, usually within 72 hours of an exposure and continued for 28 days.

PEP is not used for routine HIV prevention but in unexpected situations like sexual assault, blood exposures, or broken condoms.

#perfect use

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 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."


The fluid – or flow – which contains blood, from the shedding of the uterine lining usually at the end of each menstrual cycle. Sometimes periods may be less fluid and more globby; this is the state that is often mistaken for blood clotting.


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 sex

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


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.


An abbreviation for penis-in-vagina intercourse.

#Plan B

A brand of emergency contraception pill.


Something intimate or affectionate but not sexual.


Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder: a severe form of PMS.


Short for "premenstrual syndrome". A varying set of symptoms that many people who menstruate 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.


Having more than one sexual or love partner at a time.

Polyamory usually implies that this is wanted and known by everyone involved, as well as negotiated and agreed upon. Polyamory is not "cheating," unless someone breaks the agreements around it they have made in their relationships or interactions.


A network of people and relationships who are polyamorous/ENM and connected to various degrees through their relationships.


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.


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 pregnant when an egg has been fertilized by sperm, cells divide, and the fertilized egg is implanted within the lining of the uterus.

#pregnancy test

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 syndrome

A varying set of symptoms that many people who menstruate 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.


Pre-exposure prophylaxis. A daily medication that is taken regularly (before and after exposure) to prevent HIV. It is meant to prevent HIV exposures that occur on an occasional to frequent basis.

People who take PrEP might decide to take it for months or years.


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

#prostate gland

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


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 hair

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

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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 ongoing intimate relationship that is not romantic in nature, and which may or may not be sexual or otherwise physical. E.g, a queer-platonic partner or relationship


Having questions about or actively exploring one’s gender identity or sexual/romantic orientation with the aim of finding out 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: Transgender, B: Bisexual, A: Asexual (and/or) Allies, G: Gay and/or Genderqueer (GQ).

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


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 partner

A sexual partner who is experiencing having something done to them, or who is taking a part of a partner's body or a sex toy into an orifice of their body. Opposite of "insertive" partner.


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


An ongoing interaction or association with another person, place or thing.

There are all kinds of relationships: family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships, and sexual relationships. Sometimes there is an 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, but that's not what this word means.

#relationship anarchy

A framework for intimate relationships that draws from anarchist ideas, like anti- hierarchy, non-exclusivity, autonomy, community building, invention and other non-normative ways of creating and engaging in intimate relationships. 

Relationship anarchy rejects predetermined types of relationships and established or typical ways of engaging in them. In relationship anarchy, for example, a platonic friend may be a domestic partner while a romantic or sexual partner isn't. It is also usually non-hierarchal and non-exclusive. Relationship anarchy is basically creating and building all of your relationships and your systems of relationships very uniquely based on you and the other people involved, rather than on already-written scripts or categories (like monogamous marriage, romantic relationships being held above all others, and the idea of primary or secondary partners).

#reproductive rights

Legal or practical rights and freedoms relating to sex, 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, intimate or passionate love or interest.

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#safer sex

Practices which aim to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, such as use of 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.

#sanitary pad

An absorbent reusable or disposable lining made of cotton or similar materials that is worn in one’s underwear to absorb menstrual flow.


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 what'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.

#service top

A person whose sexual behaviour and activity is centered on what pleases their bottom, and who derives their own pleasure from providing those things.


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.


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


About or relating in some way to sex or sexuality.

#sexual assault

When someone is attacked, or attacks someone else, in a sexual way.

This includes 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 fantasy

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

#sexual grooming

Building a relationship with someone through manipulation with the intent to sexually abuse them.  It is often shorted to "grooming."

#sexual harassment

Unwanted and inappropriate sexual attention from someone. Includes suggestive gestures, language, or touching.

#sexual orientation

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 as it relates to or is about gender.

#sexual partner

Someone besides yourself you have intentionally, actively and physically explored your sexual feelings with in some way, like via sexual activity such as intercourse, oral sex or manual sex.

#sexually active

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

#sexually transmitted infections

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.


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 orgasm

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


A romantic or sexual relationship where no one is communicating clearly to define the relationship.


A sexual or romantic relationship that isn't clearly defined, or where communication isn't happening to make any agreements or boundaries together, like about exclusivity (or not) or what to call each other. 


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

#social justice

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


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.


Teasing at publicly announcing a new relationship by not doing so explicitly, like by posting a photo of each other on socials without any text or other clear communication to say you're in a new relationship.

#solo poly

When a person is polyamorous or wants polyamory/ethical non-monogamy as their framework for intimate relationships, but is themselves independent,  not part of a nesting or other established couple.


Reproductive cells of people with penises which can fertilize an ovum and create pregnancy.


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


Going stealth is when a queer or trans individual conceals their identity for safety and survival purposes.


When a condom is removed during sex without the other person’s knowledge or consent.


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.


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.


A dominant lesbian, often described similar to butch. The term originated with the lesbian Black/African-American community.


A bacterial infection/STI, 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.

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A firm, disposable roll of absorbent cotton or other fiber that goes inside the vagina to absorb menstrual blood.


Reproductive glands of people with penises. They sit outside the body and are contained within the scrotum.

#testicular system

One way of describing a reproductive system that includes (or originally included) testes and a penis.


A steroid hormone produced in the testes and in the ovaries. Is responsible for sperm production, and influences sexual desire, arousal and bone health. Is also blamed for for a lot of things it isn’t actually responsible for.

#the implant

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

#the patch

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 pill

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

#the rhythm method

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

#the ring

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

#the shot

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


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


In sexuality, this is someone who wants to take the/a lead during sex with a partner or partners, or to consensually take the role of being in charge of sexual actions.

#top surgery

Surgery to change the shape of the chest in order to reduce gender dysphoria and cause gender euphoria. May involve reducing/removing chest tissue, implanting chest tissue, and/or changing the location of the nipples.


Someone who wants to touch others sexually, but does not themselves want to be a recipient of touch.


Describes people who find that the gender applied to them because of the sex they were assigned at birth is incorrect.


In the context of gender the process of exploring, expressing and affirming your gender, particularly if and when it doesn’t align with a sex you were assigned at birth.

This can include any combination of social processes like change of name, pronouns or social roles, changing outward presentation like with how you dress or wear your hair, medical or surgical interventions, and legal changes like updating or changing official documents.


Prejudice against transgender individuals. Transphobia may also include prejudice against any kind of gender nonconformity or gender nonconforming people.


Someone who experiences dysphoria, a sense of discomfort and tension with their bodies that can be quite extreme.

When they can, these individuals usually pursue hormones or reconstructive surgery. This term is sometimes used interchangably with transgender, whether or not a person has had or plants to have surgery or pursuse hormones.


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


A relationship between three people, sometimes called a throuple or threesome.


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.


Another term for tribadism.


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


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.

#tubal sterilization

Surgical blocking of the fallopian tubes for permanent birth control.


Adjusting the penis and testicles so that they are less visible from the front of the body. 


A term used by First Nations/Indigenous people to describe Indigenous ways of being outside the gender binary.

#typical use

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".

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“Undetectable = Untransmissible”, a slogan that reminds us that when the amount of HIV present in a person’s blood is too low to detect, it is also too low to transmit during sex.

This means that HIV positive people, who keep up with treatment and testing, can absolutely have sex lives that contain no risk of passing on the virus.


Until recently, a mythical one-horned woodland creature. In the context of sex and dating, someone an established couple, and usually a couple made of a cisgender man and woman, is seeking to add as a third for sexual play or as an ongoing partner.


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.

#utero-ovarian system

One way of describing a reproductive system that includes (or originally included) a uterus and ovaries or ovatestes, and also usually, though not always, an accompanying vagina and vulva.


An internal, muscular reproductive organ in the pelvis. During pregnancy, this is where a fetus will develop. The lining of a person’s uterus is also the thing that sheds every menstrual cycle in what we call a period.

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

#vaginal intercourse

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 opening

The external opening to the vagina.


Painful muscle spasms in the vagina as a response to pressure/contact. Sometimes has no known cause, and sometimes happens after psychological or physical trauma.


Irritation or inflammation of the vagina or vulva due to an infection, allergy, or change in the chemical balance in the vagina.


An infection of 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.

#vas deferens

A long tube that carries sperm from each epididymis to the seminal vesicles during ejaculation.


Surgical blocking of the vasa deferentia (each vas deferens) for permanent birth control.


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.


Someone who likes either or both giving and receiving pleasure. Can also sometimes be used like the term switch, to communicate that someone likes to both top and bottom.

#vestibular bulbs

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.


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.)


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

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#wet dream

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


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.

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A combination of chromosomes identified within the XY sex-determination system as female.


A combination of chromosomes identified within the XY sex-determination system as male.

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#yeast infection

An infection of the vagina caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans, which naturally lives on the body. (candidiasis)

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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.


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