Sex Glossary

Abortion An induced or spontaneous fatally premature expulsion of the embryo or fetus from a mother's womb.

Abstinence Intentionally refraining from sex.

Adolescence A period of time from the onset of puberty until sexual maturity during which a person develops psychological, socially and physically.

AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome A disease in which HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, attacks and weakens the immune system preventing the body from defending itself against infections

Androgens The "masculine" hormones produced by testes in males and by the adrenal glands in both males and females. Androgens cause masculine characteristics to develop and regulate sex drive.

Aphrodisiac A food, drink, or other object that is believed to increase sexual desires.

Areola The dark area around the nipples.

Bacterial vaginosis An infection of foreign bacteria often occurring during stress and caused by prolonged use of antibiotics, or mutual or self-masturbation where the object of insertion is not clean.

Bartholin's glands 2 glands that secrete a natural lubrication on either side of the vaginal opening.

Birth control Devices or medication used to prevent pregnancy from occurring

Bisexual A person that is significantly sexually attracted to both men and women.

Bisexuality Sexual attraction to both those of the same sex and to those of the opposite sex.

Breasts Two masses of fat and glandular tissue lying over the chest muscles that produce and store milk during a pregnancy.

Bulbourethral glands (Cowper's Glands) Two pea-sized glands in males just below the prostate that secrete a clear fluid into the urethra prior to ejaculation.

Cervical cap A small rubber cup that fits snugly over the cervix and used with spermicidal jelly or cream.

Cervix The lower part of the uterus opening into the vagina.

Cherry Slang word for hymen. A membrane of skin partially covering the vaginal orifice that is stretched and/or torn during either strenuous exercise requiring flexibility or during a woman's first sexual intercourse.

Chlamydia An infection of the bacteria-like organism, chlamydia trachomatis. The most common STD, existing in about 10% of teenage girls, and a common cause of sterility.

Chromosomes Strands of tightly coiled DNA carrying genetic information within every cell of the body. Body cells contain 46 chromosomes each. Gametes (sperm or eggs) carry 23 chromosomes each.

Circumcision The surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis for cultural or medical reasons.

Clitoris The tiny pea sized structure located at the front of the vulva that is the most sensitive part of the female genitalia, and whose sole purpose is to bring pleasure to the female during sexual arousal.

Conception The period of time starting at the moment the egg is fertilized by the sperm, and ending once the "conceptus" has implanted itself in the inner lining of the uterus.

Conceptus Once an egg is fertilized by a sperm and the genetic material combines, the single celled human organism is a zygote. Once it divides into two cells it is a conceptus. It remains a conceptus until it implants itself in the uterine wall. At that time it becomes an embryo.

Condom A thin rubber, latex, polyurethane or animal skin barrier placed tightly over an erect penis to prevent sperm from entering the vagina and offering protection from most STDs.

Condom (Female) A polyurethane pouch with two flexible rings at either end, one placed over the cervix inside the vagina and the other placed over the outer vaginal area to prevent sperm from entering the vagina and offering protection from most STDs.

Contraception (Birth control) Devices or medication used to prevent pregnancy from occurring

Cowper's Glands (Bulbourethral glands) Two pea-sized glands in males just below the prostate that secrete a clear fluid into the urethra prior to ejaculation.

Depo-Provera Injections A shot in the arm or buttocks 4 times a year. Each shot offers birth control for 13 weeks.

Diaphragm A rubber cup fitted by a physician and placed by you over the cervix, used with spermicidal jelly or cream in order to prevent pregnancy.

Dysmenorrhea Painful periods characterized by sharp cramps.

Ectopic pregnancy When an embryo becomes implanted somewhere other than the inner lining of the uterine wall. These usually occur in the fallopian tubes, and require surgery.

Ejaculation The automatic ejection of semen from the penis occurring during sexual arousal.

Embryo The developing baby from the time of implantation until 8 weeks after fertilization. At this time it becomes a fetus.

Emergency contraception (The Morning After Pill) Medication you can begin taking within 72 hours of unprotected sex in order to prevent a pregnancy.

Endometrium The inner lining of the uterus.

Epididymis A highly coiled tube lying against the upper back side of each teste, in which the sperm mature. The epididymis connects the testes to the vas deferens.

Erection A swelling with blood of the penis or clitoris during sexual arousal.

Erogenous zones Areas of the body that are particularly sensitive to sexual stimulation.

Erotica Media such as books, movies, and magazines intended to cause sexual arousal.

Estrogen A primarily female hormone produced in the ovaries that causes the development of and maintains female secondary sexual characteristics, and regulates the menstrual cycle.

Exhibitionist A person who gains pleasure from exposing their sexual organs to others.

Female Condom A polyurethane pouch with two flexible rings at either end, one placed over the cervix inside the vagina and the other placed over the outer vaginal area to prevent sperm from entering the vagina and offering protection from most STDs.

Fallopian tubes Two tubes, each of which provides a passageway from the ovary to the uterus. Fertilization normally occurs within these tubes.

Fellatio Oral sex between a mouth and a penis. A blow job.

Fertilization When a sperm fuses with an egg, combining the genetic material of the sperm and the egg to form a zygote.

Foreplay Actions that sexual partners take in order to sexually arouse each other prior to sexual intercourse.

Foreskin The loose collection of skin surrounding the glans penis that is usually circumcised (surgically removed) after birth.

Gender The category, male or female, to which an individual belongs according to that individual or according to others, based on both biological indicators and the views of society.

Genitalia The male and female sexual organs.

Genital Warts (Venereal Warts) An infection of the human papilloma virus (HPV). passed by physical contact between the genital areas.

Gonads The organs that produce gametes (sperm or eggs).
Testes in men. Ovaries in women.

Gonorrhea An infection of the bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhea, occurring in the cervix, penis, throat, rectum or the eye, transferred by sexual contact or during birth.

G-spot (Grafenberg spot) A small area on the anterior, superior inner surface of the vagina a couple of inches from the vaginal orifice, known to be particularly sensitive to sexual stimulation.

Hepatitis Any infection of the liver.

Hepatitis A A form of liver infection commonly transmitted by contaminated food, and also transmitted by contaminated water in some countries, and by contact between the mouth and anus.

Hepatitis B The most common form of hepatitis transferred by sexual contact, and caused by the highly infectious hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Hepatitis C A form of liver infection commonly transmitted by shared needles used for drugs or tattoos.

Hermaphrodites Animals or plants that produce both types of gametes (sperm and ova) sequentially or simultaneously. Most plants are hermaphrodites. Also certain amphibians such as some frog species are known to be hermaphroditic.

Herpes A viral infection of either the herpes simplex-1 virus (HSV-1) or the herpes simplex-2 virus (HSV-2).

  • Oral Herpes: Cold sores or fever blisters normally occurring near and inside your mouth
  • Genital Herpes: Sores occurring on and around your sexual organs

Heterosexual A person who is primarily sexually attracted to the opposite sex.

Heterosexuality Sexual attraction to those of the opposite sex.

HIV human immunodeficiency virus The virus that causes AIDS transmitted through body fluids.

Homosexual A person who is primarily sexually attracted to the same sex.

Homosexuality Sexual attraction to those of the same sex.

Hormones Proteins produced in any gland that are sent through the blood to cause some physiological response elsewhere in the body.

Hymen (Slang: Cherry) A membrane of skin partially covering the vaginal orifice that is stretched and/or torn during either strenuous exercise requiring flexibility or during a woman's first sexual intercourse.

Implantation When the conceptus (multi-celled fertilized egg) embeds itself within the inner lining of the uterus.

Impotence (Erectile dysfunction) When a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection.

Impotent vs Impudent

  • Impotent: Unable to achieve or maintain an erection. Lacking physical strength or vigor. Weak. Sterile.
  • Impudent: Unacceptably disrespectful.

Incest Sexual intercourse between people that are so closely related that their marriage would be forbidden by the law or by their culture.

Inner Lips (Labia Minora) The thin delicate folds of skin surrounding the inner components of the vulva that keep the vaginal opening moist, join to form the protective clitoral hood, and become stimulated and swell with blood during sexual arousal.

Labia Majora (Outer Lips) The soft, fatty, skin-covered tissue that encloses and protects external genitals, and swells with blood during sexual intercourse.

Labia Minora (Inner Lips) The thin delicate folds of skin surrounding the inner components of the vulva that keep the vaginal opening moist, join to form the protective clitoral hood, and become stimulated and swell with blood during sexual arousal.

Lesbian A woman who is primarily sexually attracted to women.

Libido Sex drive.

Mammary glands The glands within the female breasts that produce milk.

Masturbation When a man or woman pleasures his/herself by stimulating his/her sexual organs.

Menstruation (Menstrual period) A monthly shedding of blood and tissue from the inner lining of the uterus that generally occurs as long as the woman is not pregnant or exceptionally thin. Girls begin experiencing menstruation from ages 9 to 14 and continue experiencing menstruation until menopause, in their late 40's or 50's.

Menstrual Cycle 28 day cycle during which the inner lining of the uterus goes through changes to prepare for a possible pregnancy. This cycle consists of 3 phases...

  • Menstrual phase in which blood and tissue shed from the uterine lining.
  • Proliferative phase in which the uterine lining repairs itself and grows becoming nutrient-rich, thick and spongy.
  • Secretory phase during which the egg is released from the ovary and travels through the fallopian tube and uterus, and if no pregnancy has occurred exits through the vagina.

Menarche The first menstrual period of a female's life usually occurring just before age 13, but possibly occurring from age 9 to 14.

Miscarriage (Spontaneous abortion) The unintentional loss of an embryo or fetus before the 24th week of gestation.

Mono (Mononucleosis) An infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus that causes a person to become extremely tired.

Mons Pubis A fatty pad covered with skin and pubic hair located just above the vaginal lips that acts as a cushion during intercourse.

The Morning After Pill (Emergency contraception) Medication you can begin taking within 72 hours of unprotected sex in order to prevent a pregnancy.

Nipples The protruding tip of the female breasts, containing the outlets of the milk ducts that become erect and sensitive during sexual stimulation. The useless tips of a man's pecks that become hard in a cold environment and truthfully have no use during sex. So ladies, please stop playing with them!

Nocturnal emissions (Wet Dreams) Ejaculation occurring while a man sleeps, often accompanied by a sexually erotic dream.

Norplant 6 flexible capsules containing the hormone progestin inserted under the skin on the inside of the upper arm by a medical professional, providing constant protection from pregnancy for 5 five years.

Oral contraceptive (The Pill) A monthly series of pills, one taken each day, containing a synthetic combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, used to prevent pregnancy or to regulate the menstrual cycle.

Oral sex Stimulation of a partner's genitals using the mouth, lips, and tongue.

  • Fellatio (Blow job): Oral sex with a male's genitals
  • Cunnilingus: Oral sex with a female's genitals

Orgasm The highest level of sexual excitement when a wave of intense pleasure and muscular contraction occurs within the genital region, extending through the pelvic region, abdomen and possibly the legs. During sexual intercourse, a man can achieve one orgasm accompanied by ejaculation, while women may achieve zero to multiple orgasms.

Ovaries The female gonads that store premature eggs, secrete estrogen and progesterone and release usually one mature egg every month.

Ovulation The release of a mature egg from the ovary occurring monthly.

Ovum (plural: ova) The female gamete, an egg.

Outer Lips (Labia Majora) The soft, fatty, skin-covered tissue that encloses and protects external genitals, and swells with blood during sexual intercourse.

Ovaries (female gonads) Two sexual glands that produce the hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and store premature eggs (ova).

Pap smear A routine exam, in which a smear of secretions from the cervix or vagina is examined under a microscope in order to detect cancer at an early stage, and to evaluate hormonal conditions.

Pedophilia Sexual attraction of an adult toward children.

Penis The tube shaped organ containing the last section of urethra that swells with blood during sexual arousal, and is inserted into the vagina during sexual intercourse.

Perineum An erogenous zone of skin between the anus and the vagina in females , and between the anus and scrotum in males.

Period (Menstruation) A monthly shedding of blood and tissue from the inner lining of the uterus that generally occurs as long as the woman is not pregnant or exceptionally thin. Girls begin experiencing menstruation from ages 9 to 14 and continue experiencing menstruation until menopause, in their late 40's or 50's.

The Pill (Oral contraceptive) A monthly series of pills, one taken each day, containing a synthetic combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, used to prevent pregnancy or to regulate the menstrual cycle.

Pituitary gland The king of all glands that regulates the gonads (testes and ovaries) as one of its many important roles.

PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) Emotional and physical symptoms that occur in many women usually starting the week before their period.

Pornography (Porn, Porno magazines, Erotica) Media such as books, movies, and magazines intended to cause sexual arousal.

Premature ejaculation When a man ejaculates before he intends to, either before sexual intercourse or shortly after beginning sexual intercourse due to a high degree of sexual excitement

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) Emotional and physical symptoms that occur in many women usually starting the week before their period.

Progesterone A female sex hormone secreted by the ovaries that causes changes in the uterine lining during the proliferation phase of the menstrual cycle.

Prostaglandin Hormones that cause the muscular uterine wall to contract during delivery, spontaneous abortion, or induced abortion.

Prostate Gland A walnut-sized gland, surrounding the urethra just below the bladder that secretes fluid making up 30% of the semen. These secretions activate the sperm and protect the sperm by reducing the acidity of the vagina.

Prostitutes People that perform sexual favors for money.

Prostitution The act of performing sexual favors for money.

Puberty The period of time, during which the secondary sex characteristics develop due to increased levels of sexual hormones, resulting in the ability to reproduce.

Pubic hair Relatively course hair that grows around the external genitals of men and women.

Rape The illegal act of having sexual intercourse with someone without their consent.

Scrotum The wrinkled sac of skin enclosing the testes. Muscles within the scrotum raise and lower the testes to regulate temperature for sperm production or to prevent impact during physical activity.

Secondary Sexual characteristics External physical characteristics developing during puberty that further differentiate men from women.

Semen A mixture containing sperm and the nutrients and chemicals that activate and fuel sperm while protecting them from the hostile environment they will encounter.

Seminal Vesicles Two finger-length glands, lying behind the bladder, that produce a secretion that makes up 60% of your semen. This secretion activates the sperm and supplies them with nutrients.

Seminiferous tubules Coiled tubes within the testes where sperm is produced.

Sexual abuse Any harm committed toward an individual emotionally or physically involving sexual organs.

Sexual harassment Sexual harassment is defined in different way by different institutions. More or less, sexual harassment is the blatant use of gestures, words or physical contact of a sexual nature, when these behavior are clearly uninvited, unwanted, and unwelcome.

Sexual intercourse A sexual act between a man and a woman, during which the man repeatedly inserts his penis in and out of the vagina to cause mutual pleasure and possible fertilization.

Sexual preference The type of partner, male or female, with which a person desires to have sex.

STD (Sexually transmitted disease) A disease transmitted by sexual contact.

Sperm The male gamete that fertilizes the female egg.

Spermicide A substance that kills sperm used during intercourse to prevent pregnancy.

Spermicidal Foam A foam (used with another form of contraceptive such as a condom) that comes in a pressurized container like shaving cream, and is inserted into the vagina using an applicator in order to immobilize and kill sperm. The most effective form of spermicide.

The Sponge The sponge is ineffective at preventing pregnancy. It is a circular piece of foam saturated with spermicide that's inserted into the vagina, where it releases spermicide, absorbs sperm and acts as a barrier. It is no longer marketed in the United States because it has a 25% failure rate.

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) A disease transmitted by sexual contact.

Sterility The condition in which a person is unable to reproduce.

Stillbirth When a baby dies after the 24th week of gestation and is then delivered.

Syphilis An infection of the corkscrew-shaped microorganism named spirochete transferred by sexual contact, by contact between an infected sex organ and an open cut in the skin, or during a pregnancy.

Tampon A cylinder of absorbent tissue inserted into the vagina to stop leakage during menstruation.

Testes The male gonads that produce sperm and the male sexual hormone, testosterone.

Testicles The testes and the epididymis.

Testosterone The male sexual hormone produced in the testes that causes male sexual characteristics to develop and increases sex drive.

Transsexual A person with an overwhelming desire to become a member of the opposite sex, a person who believes they are a member of the opposite sex, or a person whose sex has been surgically altered externally.

Transvestite (Cross-dresser) A person who enjoys dressing in clothes, jewelry, makeup, wigs etc. that are normally associated with the opposite sex.

Trichomoniasis An infection of protozoa caused by shared wash cloths, towels, wet bathing suits, toilet seats, or sexual contact.

Trimesters (first, second and third) Three blocks of time, 3 months each, that make up a 9-month pregnancy.

Urethra Tube running from the bladder to the end of the penis. The final passageway for urine and semen.

Urethral Orifice The end of the urethra which opens to the outside of the body, located at the tip of the penis in males, and in front of the vaginal orifice in females.

Uterus (womb) A muscular sac, shaped like an upside-down pear, about the size of your clenched fist that opens via the cervix into the vagina. The human embryo develops within this sac until birth.

Vagina A muscular tube connecting the cervix to the outside of the body. It receives the penis during sexual intercourse. It carries menstrual flow to the outside of the body. It is the final passageway through which a baby passes during birth.

Vaginal Orifice The opening of the vagina to the outside of the body, functioning as the exit for menstrual flow and birth, and as the entrance for the penis during sexual intercourse.

Vaginal Vestibule The area of the vulva inside the inner lips including the tissue that surrounds the urethral and vaginal openings.

Vas Deferens (Ductus Deferens) Two 18" long tubes beginning at the epididymis of each testicle and joining the urethra within the prostate gland. The vas deferens store the sperm prior to ejaculation, and transport sperm from the epididymis to the urethra during ejaculation.

Vasectomy Surgical procedure, in which both vas deferens are cut in order to make a man sterile.

Venereal Warts (Genital Warts) An infection of the human papilloma virus (HPV). passed by physical contact between the genital areas.

Vestibule The area of the vulva inside the inner lips including the tissue that surrounds the urethral and vaginal openings.

Vibrator An electronic device that can vibrate in order to cause sexual pleasure when applied to erogenous zones.

Virgin A person who has not yet had sexual intercourse.

Voyeurism The act of watching other people without their permission in order to achieve sexual arousal.

Vulva The region of the external genital organs, including the mons pubis, outer lips (labia majora), inner lips (labia minora), clitoris, vaginal vestibule, vaginal orifice (vaginal opening), bulb of the vestibule, greater and lesser vestibular glands.

Wet Dreams (Nocturnal emissions) Ejaculation occurring while a man sleeps, often accompanied by a sexually erotic dream.

Withdrawal (Coitus interruptus) The act of withdrawing the penis out of the vagina just prior to ejaculation. This is not an effective form of birth control.

Yeast infection An abnormally large population of natural vaginal bacteria caused by tight clothing, prolonged use of antibiotics or birth control pills.

Zygote Once an egg is fertilized by a sperm and the genetic material combines, the single celled human organism is a known as a zygote.

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