A to Z
Using the Glossary
In the book, ‘Lessons in Love & Understanding’, within the Introduction we discuss the limitations of language and how terminology is required yet can equally be inhibitive with the potential to cause offence. We have included some terms that can be viewed as derogatory, and some that are dated and not politically correct, with an explanation for the purpose of your understanding, so please be aware that these are not all recommended terms to use. You may also notice that many of the terms and definitions listed are not linguistically comprehensive. They refer specifically to the language of relationship and sex discourse with relevance to this book and the context of the topic.
Abrosexual: A person who experiences a fluid and/or changing sexual orientation.
Ace: A universal term for any identity on the asexual continuum. Ace is also a shortened term for ‘asexual’.
Acquaintance rape: Rape by somebody known to the victim.
Adolescence: The time between the onset of puberty and established biological adulthood.
Adrenarche: Early stages of sexual development: normally growth of pubic hair, body odour, and skin changes.
Adultery: Sexual relations outside of a partnership or marriage that have not been mutually agreed by the people in that partnership or marriage.
Androgyny: sometimes also referred to as non-binary, gender queer or gender neutral. Normally used in describing the physical appearance of somebody who does not present in the stereotypical male/female dichotomy.
Anorgasmia: a sexual condition in which somebody cannot achieve orgasm, often causing sexual frustration to that person.
Anti-choice: a movement in which activists are against the granting of choice to have an abortion.
AFAB: An acronym for ‘assigned female at birth’.
Agender: A person who does not identify by gender and rejects the concept of gender for their own identity.
AIDS: An acronym for ‘Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome’, a term used to describe a range of potentially life-limiting infections and diseases when the human immune system has been severely compromised by the HIV virus. (See HIV). AIDS cannot be transmitted from one person to another: it is the result of exposure to the HIV virus.
Allosexual: A person who experiences sexual attraction to others.
Ally: A person who supports the LGBTQI+ community but does not identify as LGBTQI+.
AMAB: An acronym for ‘assigned male at birth’.
Androgyne: A person who is non-binary, identifying on the gender continuum, as either both male and female, neither male nor female, or somewhere in-between male and female stereotypical dichotomies.
Andropause: the decline in testosterone levels experienced by older men, that may cause symptoms such as fatigue and loss of libido. Sometimes known as ‘male menopause’.
Aporagender: A gender identity and a universal term for being a non-binary gender and still experiencing a strong sense of a specific gender that is neither male nor female in a binary sense.
Appropriation: adopting something from a different culture for use of one’s own.
Aro/Aromantic: A universal term for someone who experiences little or no romantic attraction.
Asexual: A universal term for someone who experiences little or no sexual attraction.
Autoerotic: Sexual excitement generated by stimulation or fantasy of oneself or one’s own body.
Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Deliberately smothering or strangling oneself, to heighten sexual arousal (normally during masturbation) through asphyxiation.
Autosexual: A sexual or romantic attraction/intimacy to yourself without desiring sexual activity with others.
Baby gay: A person who has recently identified and come out as gay, or a young gay person.
Batty boy: A potentially offensive Jamaican term for a gay or effeminate man.
Bareback: oral, vaginal or anal intercourse without the use of a condom.
Bartholin’s Glands: Two pea sized alveolar glands at the left and right rear side of the vagina opening. They produce lubrication to the vagina.
Barrier Methods: contraceptives such as condoms, diaphragm, cervical cap, and contraceptive sponge – they create a sperm barrier.
BDSM: An acronym for ‘Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism’ or ‘Bondage, Domination, and Sadomasochism’. Erotic engagement in a range of consensual sexual practices, specifically sadistic or dominant partners engaging with masochistic or submissive partners.
Beard: A partner who does not identify as male, who socially accompanies a gay man, so as to give the outward impression of him not being gay.
Berdache: A derogatory term assigned by pre-twentieth century anthropologists to a person adopting a mixed gender role to any Native American tribe. The term has now been replaced as ‘two-spirit’ since 1990.
Bi: A person who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to both males and females.
Bicurious: A person who is curious about having sexual or romantic attraction and/or experiences with more than one gender.
Bi erasure (also known as bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility): An attempt to ignore, remove, re-explain, or falsify evidence of bisexuality in academia, history, the news, or other primary sources.
Bigender: A person who has, or experiences, two genders.
Binary: The way in which society divides sex and gender into only two specific categories as either male or female, man or woman – with a strict division and dichotomy.
Binding: The practice of tightly wrapping the breast tissue with fabric or a specially designed breast binder, to smooth the appearance and give the impression of a flat chest.
Biphobia: A fear or a dislike of a person or group of people who identify as bisexual.
Bisexual: A person who has an emotional romantic and/or sexual attraction to males and females.
Blockers: Medication for the purpose of delaying the onset or development of puberty by ‘blocking’ the testosterone and oestrogen hormones from having unwanted developmental effects.
Blow job: oral stimulation performed on a penis, involving tonguing and sucking (not blowing).
Blue balls: slang term for the experience of sexual arousal and sensation within the testicles when ejaculation is not achieved and the testicles feel uncomfortable.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD): A mental health condition in which a person spends an excessive or debilitating amount of time worrying or feeling distressed by parts of their physical appearance.
Bottom: A passive, submissive or recipient person in a sexual act.
Bottom Surgery: Surgery involving the genitalia, rather than the rectum or anus.
Buggery: A slang, potentially offensive term for the act of anal sex.
Butch: A lesbian who is considered to have masculine traits, behaviours, mannerisms, and so forth.
Cock-caging: The use of a male chastity device to control or stop the erection of the penis. Most often used as part of BDSM practice.
Calabai/Calalai: A person who identifies as ‘two-spirit’ in Indonesian culture. Note that ‘two-spirit’ is a contested Western sociological interpretation of non-Western cultures.
Camp: An extravagant or theatrical expression, relating to the traits, behaviours, mannerisms, and so forth, or an effeminate nature.
Cap: ‘The Cap’ is a contraceptive diaphragm made of thin silicone dome, that is inserted into the vagina before sex.
Cervix: narrow passage forming the lower end of the uterus.
Cesarian-Section/C-section: an operation for child birth, where the baby is lifted out by a surgeon through an incision in the abdomen.
Chemical castration: A medical process where drugs are used to change the levels of hormones in the body in order to reduce the patient’s sexual arousal or interest in sex.
Chemsex: The use of drugs by gay or bisexual men to facilitate sex usually using one, or a combination of, mephedrone, GHB/GBL, or methamphetamine, drugs that enable users to feel relaxed, yet aroused.
Chest surgery: slang term used to describe double mastectomy performed for transition purposes.
Chlamydia: Bacterial sexually transmitted disease. This is the most common STI which is easily spread because it often is symptom free.
Chromosome: A collection of genes, typically associated with being female (XX chromosomes), or being male (XY chromosomes).
Circumcision: Removal of the foreskin from a penis, normally associated with religious, hygiene or medical practice.
Cis/Cisgender: A person whose gender identity is the same as the sex and/or gender they were assigned at birth.
Cishet: A word to describe a person who is both cisgender and heterosexual.
Civil Partnership: a legally recognised union (similar to marriage) between two people identifying as same sex.
Clitoris/clit: a sensitive, erogenous organ visible above the vagina, at the anterior end of the vulva. This is the only organ in the human body dedicated solely to pleasure. It is not in fact pea sized as most of the clitoris is beneath the skin including two 4inch roots reaching down from the gland toward the vagina.
Closet: The state in which a person does not disclose something or tries to hide something.
Closeted: An LGBTQI+ person who does not discuss or reveal their gender identity or sexuality.
Coercion: the act of persuading somebody to do something through threat or force.
Coil: (IUD) contraceptive device that is fitted into the uterus. It is no longer coil shaped but more like a match-stick sized T shape.
Cold Sore: a reddish blister type mark on or near the lips caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Combined Pill: oral contraceptive containing both oestrogen and progesterone.
Come/Cum: This can be used as a noun or a verb. As a noun we have the description of semen. As a verb to come/cum describes climax or achieving orgasm.
Coming out: The act of recognising and accepting one’s sense of gender identity or sexuality and disclosing this to others.
Conversion therapy: A form of intervention to challenge and change a person’s gender identity or sexuality using a variety of techniques.
Cottaging: Participating in sexual activity in public toilets, predominantly between gay men.
Cowper’s Glands: 2 small glands on either side of the urethra, below the prostate gland – which secrete an alkaline mucus in response to sexual arousal. This is designed to protect sperm as it passes through the urethra during ejaculation. This secretion is more commonly known as pre-ejaculate or pre-cum/come.
Crabs: a louse that infects human body hair, especially pubic hair, causing discomfort and irritation. Not always passed on through sexual contact but can be an STI.
Cross-dressing: Wearing clothes to imitate a gender other than that which one identifies or usually presents.
Cross-sex hormone treatment/therapy: Hormones prescribed to a person going through transition to correct their hormonal balance according to their gender identity eg a trans male might be prescribed testosterone and then his hormone levels medically monitored until levels of oestrogen and testosterone fell into the desired range for him to experience gender comfort.
Cruising: The process of searching public places for sexual partners.
Cunnilingus: oral stimulation performed on the vulva (sometimes known as the vagina, but we use vulva as this includes the entire genital area, where as vagina technically refers to the muscular canal connecting the uterus to the vulva).
Cybersex: sexual arousal and/or engagement using computer and normally internet technology. This can be anything from exchanging sexual messages and pictures with another person, or wearing virtual reality equipment.
Cyber-Stalking: persistent electronic communications used to harass or frighten somebody.
Date Rape: this is a form of acquaintance rape. However, date rape specifically refers to a rape in which there has been a romantic or potentially sexual element in the relationship of the two people involved.
Deadname: The birth name of an individual who has subsequently changed name, specifically used by trans individuals who choose to go by a new name opposed to their assigned name at birth.
Deep-throating: the act of relaxing the back of the throat to allow deeper penetration of the penis during fellatio.
Demigender: A person who has or experiences a partial connection to one or more genders.
Demisexual: A person who has or experiences a partial connection to one of more sexualities.
Dental Dam: a latex or polyurethane sheet, used between the mouth and vulva/vagina/anus during oral sex to help prevent infection.
DFAB: An acronym for ‘defined female at birth’.
Diaphragm: (also known as ‘cap’) a contraceptive diaphragm made of thin silicone dome, that is inserted into the vagina before sex.
Differences/Diversity in Sex Development (DSD): A group of rare conditions involving genes, hormones, genitals and reproductive organs. Also known as Divers Sex
Development (DSD) or Variations in Sex Characteristics (VSC): This can result in a range of intersex conditions. (See ‘intersex’).
Dildo: a sex toy which is often phallic in appearance. Used for masturbation, or with sexual partners, for vaginal and anal stimulation.
Discharge: In sex education this word is often used as a noun to describe the mucus or fluid matter omitted from the body, normally used in a medical or biological sense.
DMAB: An acronym for ‘defined male at birth’.
Doggy style: a sex position in which one person is penetrated from behind by another whilst balanced on hands and knees.
Domestic Partnership: an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who share a home and domestic life and are in committed relationship but not married or in civil partnership. Domestic partnership gives certain legal rights honouring that partnership.
Domestic abuse: Abusive behaviours that might include mental, physical, sexual, and financial torment or coercion and control of a person or people sharing a domestic setting or shared home with the perpetrator.
Domestic Violence: Violent abusive behaviour from one person to another or others within a shared domestic setting or shared home.
Donor insemination: (DI) the process of a baby being conceived through donated sperm.
Double-Penetration/DP: sexual activity in which one person is simultaneously penetrated in two orifices at the same time. This can be oral, anal or vaginal.
Douche: this usually refers to a method of rinsing out the vagina or anus with a pump or stream of water for hygiene but it can also refer to the rinsing of any body cavity.
Drag king: Predominantly a female performer who dresses in a stereotypical masculine style and adopts an exaggerated male role.
Drag queen: Predominantly a male performer who dresses in a flamboyant style and adopts an exaggerated female role.
Dyke: A slang term for a lesbian woman that is potentially offensive although has been reclaimed by some lesbian women.
Dysmorphia: Body dysmorphia is when somebody experiences distress due to the perception that there is something seriously wrong with their physical appearance. Dysmorphia is generally associated with the individual having a distorted view of how they look or are perceived by others.
Dysphoria: Gender dysphoria (GD) is when somebody experiences distress due to their biological sex as assigned at birth being incompatible with their gender identity.
Ejaculate: eject semen from the penis at sexual climax or orgasm. Also known as ‘coming/cumming’.
Embryo: The result of a fertilised egg by a sperm. The term embyo is generally used for the first 8 weeks after fertilisation, when the term foetus is then used to describe the developing unborn child.
Emergency Contraception: the prevention of pregnancy following unprotected vaginal sex. Sometimes known as ‘the morning after pill’, a drug can be accessed up to 3 days following unprotected sex. An intrauterine device (IUD) can be inserted by a physician up to 5 days following unprotected sex.
Enby: This term is used to shorten ‘non-binary’ as ‘NB’ is an identity term already claimed as meaning Non-Black, referring to race. Though, some people identifying as non-binary use both or neither enby and NB.
Endometriosis: a gynaecological condition associated with symptoms of painful and heavy menstrual periods.
Endorphin: any group of hormones released in the brain and central nervous system having a range of functions that affect wellbeing, how we feel, and how we cope with stress and pain.
Erection: the state of the penis when it fills with blood and becomes rigid and enlarged
Erectile Dysfunction (ED): the inability to get or keep an erection long enough to achieve penetrative sex with the penis.
Erogenous Zones: Ero is from the Greek word ‘eros’ – to love and ‘genous’ means producing. The word describes areas of the body that have heightened sensitivity to stimulation and/or sexual arousal.
Escort: An escort is not directly paid for sexual acts with a client but is paid for spending time with that client. How they choose to contract for what they offer as part of that time is a business agreement between escort and client and may or may not include relationship or sex.
Exhibitionism: In sex education this term refers to sexual arousal in response to a thrill from public exposure of a sexual nature, and/or creating a reaction of shock or surprise. This might be in fantasy, urge or behaviour and can take many forms – some of which are illegal, for example: having sex in a public place, or indecent exposure (flashing).
Extramarital affair/sex: Sexual relations outside of marriage that have not been mutually agreed/permitted by the people in that marriage.
Fa’afafine: A person who identifies as ‘two-spirit’ in Samoan culture. Note that ‘two-spirit’ is a contested Western sociological interpretation of non-Western cultures.
Fag/faggot: Slang term for a gay man, that is potentially offensive but has been reclaimed by some gay men.
Fag hag: Slang term for a woman with many gay male friends.
Fallopian Tube: Biological term for the pair of tubes in which eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus.
Family Planning Clinic (FPC): Sometimes known as a Community Centre or under a similarly discrete name. People rarely visit Family Planning Clinics to plan their future families! These clinics focus on contraception and sexual health of all types.
Fantasy: psychological desires that are not necessarily ever acted upon or desired to be outside of the idea, image or mental concept.
FASD/Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: a group of conditions that begin from the foetus being affected by the excessive alcohol consumption of the pregnant parent. The effects can be physical, as well as cognitive and behavioural.
Fellatio: Oral stimulation of the penis.
Fem or femme: A shortened term for ‘feminine’, the gender expression, behaviour, dress, and mannerisms traditionally associated with women.
Female Condom: contraceptive device made of thin latex, inserted into the vagina before penetrative penile-vaginal sex.
Female Circumcision: (see FGM) the practice observed in some cultures of removing part or all of a female’s genitalia for non-medical reasons.
Female Genital Mutilation/FGM: Removal of part or all of a female’s genitalia for non-medical reasons. This practise causes mental as well as physical problems for the victims and has been illegal in the UK since 1985. However, there are still many cases recorded in the UK with reports that the act of mutilation was also carried out within the UK.
Female to Female/FTF: A person who was assigned male at birth but rejects that their gender was ever male.
Female to Male (FTM of F2M): An outdated trans term and concept for a person who identifies as, or transitions from female to male.
Feminine: having qualities or appearance society traditionally and stereotypically associated with women – such as gentleness, delicacy, and prettiness.
Feminism: a range of political and ideological movements with the aim of bringing about gender equality and rights for women.
Fertilisation: the point where sperm and egg unite, the point of conception.
Fertility: the ability to conceive children.
Fingering: the use of the fingers to provide sexual stimulation. This is normally used to describe using fingers in the anus or vagina.
Fluid: Without having a fixed sense of identity. This might describe gender, sexuality or both.
Foetus: The unborn child, normally described as such from 8 weeks following conception.
Foreplay: erotic activity and play, involving more than one person, preceding sexual intercourse.
Foreskin: roll of skin that covers the end of the penis. This is the part removed in circumcision.
Frigid: Derogatory term used to describe one who lacks sexual desire, or who chooses not to engage in sexual activity.
Frottage: non-penetrative sex. The act of rubbing the genitalia against another person’s body to achieve sexual arousal. This can be with or without clothing on and is also sometimes known as dry humping or tribbing.
Fuck: Have sexual intercourse with somebody. This can be used as a verb, noun or adjective.
G-spot: erogenous zone at anterior wall of the vagina. This is part of the clitoral network (see clitoris).
Gaff: An item of clothing worn in an attempt to tuck or hide the testicles and penis.
Gamete storage: The process of harvesting and storing eggs and sperm for future reproduction purposes.
Gang-rape: one individual being raped by a group of people.
Gas-lighting: deliberate manipulation leading an individual to believe that they do not have a grasp of reality and must be wrong/insane.
Gay: Predominantly used to describe a man who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards other men. The term can be used to describe both lesbian and gay sexuality, with some women preferring to define themselves as gay as opposed to lesbian.
Gay icon: A public figure who is highly regarded by the LGBTQI+ community, for example, Judy Garland, Freddie Mercury, Madonna, Dusty Springfield, Elton John, George Michael, Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift.
Gay Liberation Movement: social and political movement 1960s-1980s encouraging lesbian women and gay men to come-out and end societal shaming of their sexuality.
Gender: a state of identification that some people use to describe their internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither, as well as one’s outward presentation and behaviours (gender expression). Gender norms vary among cultures and over time.
Gender assignment: The classification of an infant’s gender based on the appearance of their genitals at birth.
Gender Confirmation Surgery: The process of medical, or surgical intervention to alleviate gender dysphoria, such as breast enlargement or augmentation (mammoplasty) or breast reduction (or mastectomy), vaginoplasty or phalloplasty, or other forms of surgery (such as plastic surgery or facial reconstruction) to help align an individual’s gender identity and their physical appearance. (Previously termed as ‘Gender Reassignment Surgery’).
Gender confusion: The state of questioning one’s own gender identity and feeling unsure or confused about this.
Gender dysphoria: A sense of distress or unhappiness due to one’s gender not matching their sex characteristics, and/or assigned gender at birth.
Gender expression: The way in which a person manifests, or expresses, their gender.
Gender identity: The way in which a person internally experiences and/or expresses and/or conveys their sense of gender to others.
Gender Identity Clinic: or GID. A centre that provides a range of psychological and physiological support for trans individuals, which can include counselling, psychotherapy, psychological support, speech therapy, endocrinology (hormone therapy) through to surgical support.
Gender marker: The recognition on an official document, such as a passport, as either male (M) or female (F).
Gender neutral: A person who identifies as having a gender that is neutral: neither exclusively female nor male.
Gender normative: representing traditional and stereotypical societal ideas of what it means to be female or male.
Gender non-conforming: A person whose gender expression does not necessarily match the stereotypical binary masculine or feminine. (See ‘gender variance’).
Gender Recognition Certificate: A document that has been issued to demonstrate that a person has satisfied the required criteria for legal recognition in their acquired gender, made possible through the Gender Recognition Act (2004).
Gender role: The behaviours, position, responsibilities and/or roles that some deem appropriate or typical for men or women.
Genderqueer: the term ‘queer’ is here reclaimed to celebrate a unique version of gender identity that lies outside of perceived gender norms.
Gender variant/variance: A person who identifies and/or expresses themselves in ways different to the binary gender norms of society. (Also known as ‘gender diverse’ or ‘gender non-conforming’).
Gender X: A gender descriptor that means ‘unspecified’ or ‘indeterminate’.
Genital Warts: a common STD transmitted through vaginal, anal and (less commonly) oral sex.
Gonorrhoea: a common STD, especially in the under 24 age group. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum and throat.
Gross indecency: An undefined term in law which could be used widely to prosecute people engaged in inappropriate sexual activity.
Guiche: The perinium.
GUM clinic: Genitourinary Medicine clinics where medics specialise in sexual health.
Hate crime: An act of discrimination, characteristically through violence or victimisation against an individual or a group, based on their perceived or actual identification with a specifically protected social category (such as race, religion, disability, gender, or sexuality).
Hepatitis B and C: Infection most commonly transmitted through infectious bodily fluids, for example: semen, vaginal secretions, or blood.
Hermaphrodites: a dated term for a person who has an intersex condition.
Herpes: Genital herpes causes genital pain and discomfort and is an STI contracted through vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Heteroflexible: A form of sexual orientation which is primarily heterosexual but may be secondarily bisexual.
Heteronormative: An attitude or belief where heterosexuality is promoted as the normal, or superior sexual orientation. (Also see ‘norm’).
Heterosexual: a male who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction exclusively towards a female/females or a female who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction exclusively for a male/males.
Hir: A gender-neutral pronoun used to replace he/she/they.
HIV: An acronym for ‘Human Immunodeficiency Virus’, a virus that damages the cells of the immune system which in turn can reduce the ability to combat common infections and diseases. There is currently no cure for the HIV virus although effective drug therapy can help an individual with the virus to live a long and healthy life. The HIV virus can exist in bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, anal fluid, blood and breast milk but not in sweat, urine or saliva.
Homophobia: A fear or a dislike of a person or group of people who identify as either lesbian or gay.
Homoromantic: A person who is romantically attracted to a member of the same gender or sex.
Hormones: chemicals produced in the body that regulate the activity of cells and organs. These effect everything from growth and human development, to emotions and mood as well as playing a vital part in reproduction.
Hormone replacement therapy/HRT: Normally used to treat the symptoms of menopause. Hormones are artificially replaced for medical purposes.
Hormone Therapy/Treatment: Endocrine therapy which manipulates the bodies hormone balance for medical purposes.
Horny: Feeling sexually aroused or turned-on.
HPV/Human Papilloma Virus: There are around 100 types of this virus, with 30 of those types affecting the genitals, rectum and anus. Screenings and vaccinations are available to reduce risks that can lead to cancer and genital warts.
Hymen: thin skin tissue that surrounds the external vagina.
Hysterectomy: surgical removal of the uterus. This may also involve removal of the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes depending on the medical needs of the patient.
Identity: The way in which a person expresses their sense of self.
Implants (contraceptive): a form of birth control that is implanted under the skin, usually in the arm, and releases progesterone hormones to prevent conception.
Impotence: consistent problems with sustaining an erection, causing inability to have penetrative sex and/or climax.
Incest: Sexual activity between persons that by law are too closely related to legally be allowed to marry.
Indecent Exposure: the intentionally revealing of one’s genitals in a public place, causing distress or offence.
Infertile: The state of requiring intervention in order to reproduce.
Infibulation (FGM): Removal of the clitoris and labia, and then stitching of the vulva to prevent sexual intercourse.
Intergender: A person who identifies as a mix of binary genders.
Internalisation: The conscious of unconscious assimilation of a behaviour and/or attitude.
Internalised homophobia/transphobia: The negative feelings directed towards oneself based on the sexual identity or gender identity.
Intersex: A number of different conditions can be described as Intersex or DSD (Diversity of Sexual Development). See Chapter 2 for specific examples.
Intimacy/intimate: An emotional and/or physical closeness to another person.
IUD: an Intrauterine Device is a copper contraceptive fitted into the uterus.
IUS: an Intrauterine System is a contraceptive device that releases hormones directly to the uterus, where it is fitted.
IVF: An acronym for ‘In Vitro Fertilisation’, a technique to help people with fertility, where an egg is removed from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. The resultant embryo is returned to a womb to grow and develop.
Jiz/Jism: semen, or cum/come.
Kink: This can be sexual or non-sexual, and involves fantasy, desire and practise based on the unique tastes of an individual, eliciting pleasure and euphoria.
Kinsey Scale: Also known as the ‘heterosexual-homosexual rating scale’, a measure developed by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues in 1948 and used in research to describe a person’s sexual orientation, ranging from 0 for exclusively heterosexual to 6 for exclusively homosexual.
Labia: Part of the vulva consisting of the labia majora (outer lips) and labia minora (inner lips).
Lady-boy: Also known as Kathoey. Commonly considered to be a person of a third sex, or a person who identifies as trans in some form.
Lesbian: A woman who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to women.
LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender.
LGBTQI+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Plus any other identities.
Libido: sexual desire.
Limbic System: neurological networks associated with instinct, mood, emotions, and drives including sex drive.
Lipstick lesbian: A lesbian woman considered to present in an overtly feminine manner or style.
Love-bite: a mark left on the skin caused by the sucking and biting of a sexual partner. A red bruise visible on the neck is known as a hicky.
Lube/Lubrication: Personal lubricants are used to reduce friction during sexual play.
Male to Female (MTF or M2F): An outdated trans term for a person who identifies as, or transitions to live full time as a female.
Male to Male: A person whose sex and/or gender was assigned female at birth but who reject that their gender was ever female.
Man: A person who identifies as an adult male.
Marital Rape: (or spousal rape) is sex without consent within a marriage. This is a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Marriage: a culturally recognised union of two people, who make specific vows of commitment to one another depending on their unique belief systems.
Masexuality: An attraction to men and/or masculinity.
Mammoplasty: The surgical enlargement or augmentation of the breasts.
Masc: A shortened term for ‘masculine’, the gender expression, behaviour, dress, and mannerisms traditionally or stereoptypically associated with men.
Masculine: having qualities or appearance society traditionally and stereotypically associated with men – such as power, strength, and rugged looks.
Mastectomy: The surgical removal of the breasts or breast reduction.
Masturbation: sexual stimulation of one’s own genitals.
Maverique: A person whose gender exists as independent of the binary genders of male and female.
Maxigender: A person who experiences many, if not all, available genders.
Medical transition: See ‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’.
Metrosexual: Predominantly a heterosexual man who enjoys similar interest stereotypically associated with women or gay men, such as taking pride in their grooming, shopping, fashion, and so forth.
Milking: Prostate massage via the rectum or externally through the perineum for sexual pleasure or medical purposes. Ejaculation can be achieved this way.
Mirena: a type of contraceptive coil IUS.
Miscarriage: the loss of pregnancy during the first 23 weeks of gestation.
Misgendering: Inappropriately referring to a trans person by a pronoun that does not reflect the way they identify.
Monogamy: The practice, or state, or either being married to one person, or having a sexual relationship with only one partner.
MSM: An acronym for ‘Men who have Sex with Men’, a term used by HIV/AIDS researchers to identify men who do not identify as gay but who do have sex with men. As such, the term defines sexual behaviour and not sexual identity.
Mx: A title such as ‘Mr, Mrs, Miss’ but one that does not denote gender.
Mycoplasma Genitalium (MD): A bacterial STD that is becoming increasingly common but not well known outside of medical circles.
Nádleehi: A person who identifies as ‘two-spirit’ in Navaho/Navajo culture. Note that ‘two-spirit’ is a contested Western sociological interpretation of non-Western cultures.
Neutrois: A person whose gender is neutral.
Nomasexual: A person who is attracted to anyone who is not a man.
Non-binary: a person who does not identify as having a binary gender or perhaps a gender at all.
Normalise: An attempt to make something accepted as natural within society.
Oestrogen: a female hormone that is mainly produced by the ovaries. This guides changes at puberty and other key developmental phases.
Open-relationship: an agreement between people in a romantic relationship, that they are not bound by monogamy or exclusive romantic or sexual relations with one another only.
Oral Sex: Using the mouth and tongue to provide sexual stimulation, normally mouth to genitals.
Orgasm: Sexual climax.
Orgy: a sexual party involving a group of people.
Ovulation: when an egg is released from the ovaries.
Outing: The act of revealing something about another person in a potentially harmful manner, usually against their will.
Packing: wearing a prosthetic penis or padding in the front of underwear to replicate a penis.
Pangender: A person who experiences many, if not all, genders.
Pansexual: A person who feels attraction to other human beings irrespective of their sex or gender identity.
Pegging: a female using a strap-on phallus for penetrative anal sex with a man.
PEP: An acronym for ‘Post-Exposure Prophylaxis’, a preventative medical treatment after exposure to a likely cause of infection.
Petting: sexual or romantic caressing and touching.
Phalloplasty: The surgical construction of a penis or reconstruction of the penis.
Pimp: a person who has prostitutes work for them and takes a cut of their payments.
Platonic: an intimate but non-sexual relationship outside of family members.
PMT/PMS: Pre-menstrual tension or syndrome is the various symptoms that might occur on the lead up to having a period.
Polyamory: The practice of engaging in multiple sexual relationships simultaneously, with agreement of all those involved.
Polygamy: having more than one spouse at the same time.
Polysexual: A person who is attracted to multiple genders.
Porn/Pornography: The representation of sexual behaviour through any form of media, designed to provide sexual excitement.
Pos/Poz: A slang term for being infected with HIV, as such, being HIV positive from which ‘poz/pos’ derives.
Post-op (or post-operative): A trans term for a person who has had Gender Confirmation Surgery.
Pre-cum/come: (see Cowper’s Glands) A clear fluid that is emitted during sexual arousal, prior to ejaculation.
Premature Ejaculation: Ejaculation at foreplay or the immediacy of sexual intimacy.
Pre-transition: Adopting one’s gender identity prior to undergoing hormonal and/or surgical intervention (or ‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’).
Primary Sex Characteristics: these refer to the genitalia and reproductive organs.
Privilege: The opportunities and benefits that are taken for granted by dominant, or non-oppressed group.
Procreative Sex: Sexual intercourse for the purpose of reproduction.
Prostate Gland: the prostate releases fluid which nourishes and protects sperm.
Prostitute: Somebody that is paid to engage in sexual acts.
Puberty: A period of time when a person becomes sexually mature.
Pubes/Pubic hair: Body hair found around the genitals in adolescents and adults.
Queen: A gay man identifying as or considered to be effeminate or flamboyant.
Queer: A universal term (that can be used in a derogatory manner) which is assigned to anyone whose sex and/or gender identity is unique or outside of the heteronormative..
Questioning: The process of querying and/or exploring one’s gender, sexual identity or sexual orientation.
Rape: A sexual assault that involves non-consensual sexual penetration of another by physical force, coercion, or when a person is incapable of providing consent.
Real life experience: The process of accepting one’s true gender identity and/or pursuing changes to explore and experience life as such, within society. (See ‘Social transition’).
Reproductive organs: The genital system and sex organs of a person that enable sexual reproduction.
Rhythm method: A form of contraception where menstrual history is tracked in order to predict ovulation and when a person is most likely to conceive.
Rimming: The act of stimulating the anus of a partner with the mouth, specifically the lips or tongue.
Romantic: A form of intimate relationship and closeness to another person separate to their immediate family connections, that is of a loving nature.
Romantimate/romantimacy: A term to describe a relationship that combines romance and intimacy, generally to describe a loving, sexual relationship.
Same gender loving (SGL): A term that relates to Black LGB individuals.
Safer Sex: The use of methods or devices to reduce the risk of catching or passing of Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections.
Scabies: A contagious skin condition, characterised by intense itching, caused by the Sacroptes Scabiei mite.
Scissoring: A sexual act in which sexual partners intertwine their legs so that they can rub their genitals against one another.. (See ‘tribadism’ and ‘tribbing’).
Scrotum/Scrote: The pouch of skin that contains the testicles/testes.
Self-identification: Identifying in a way that feels right for an individual.
Semen: Reproductive fluid from the testes and prostate that contains spermatozoa in suspension.
Serodiscordant: A relationship where one person is infected with the HIV virus while the other is not.
Seroconcordant: A relationship where both partners are infected with the HIV virus.
Sex: A classification system used by the prevalent society, to classify an individual based on their anatomy, usually into a binary system of male or female.
Sex addiction: this refers to compulsive engagement, or participation with any form of sexual activity. However, there is wide debate over this legitimacy of this term as to how one sets the bench mark for what is considered to be a ‘normal’ sex drive.
Sex change: An outdated and potentially offensive term for Gender Confirmation Surgery. (Please see ‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’).
Sex Chromosomes: A chromosome that determines a person’s physical genitalia and sex characteristics.
Sex toys: Any object, especially of specific design, that is used to enhance sexual pleasure or stimulation.
Sex worker: An individual who is employed within the sex industry.
Sexism: The discrimination of another based on their gender or sex.
Sexology: The study of human sexuality.
Sexting: The sending, receiving, or forwarding of text messages (usually via mobile phone) which are sexual in nature.
Sexual Abuse: Any unwanted sexual activity, whether physical (such as unwanted touching or molestation), verbal (such as threats), or behavioural (such as indecent exposure).
Sexual Activity: Behaviour of an erotic or sexual nature that may or may not involve penetrative sex with another person.
Sexual Arousal: Sexual excitement or anticipation of sexual activity.
Sexual Dysfunction: A problem that may occur at any phase of the sexual response cycle.
Sexual Health: The good practice of looking after one’s sexual health: this may include taking measures to prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections, contraception and pregnancy, also relationships.
Sexual History: The sharing of information with another about past/present partners and/or sexual activity.
Sexual Intercourse: Sexual contact between individuals. There is debate about this term as it technically relates to penetrative sex, which might be exclusive of lesbian women who practice non-penetrative sex or sexual outercourse..
Sexual orientation: The way a person sexually self-identifies and/or expresses their close romantic relationships and/or sexual relationships with others.
Sexual Response cycle: The process of desire, arousal, orgasm ad resolution phases.
Sexual Revolution: A period of time in the 1960s, coinciding with advances in contraception, where moral attitudes to sex and sexuality were assumed, with greater equality within interpersonal relationships.
Sexual Rights: The right for a person to control their own body, their sexuality, and their reproduction, without violence, coercion or discrimination.
Sexuality: The way a person expresses their close romantic and/or intimate relationships with others.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections, caused through the passing of bacteria or viruses through sexual activity.
Sex/gender assignment: The labelling of a child at birth as male or female, boy or girl, based on their anatomy.
Shaft: The body, or corpus, of the penis.
Shemale: A potentially derogatory and offensive term used to describe a trans woman who has male genitalia but secondary sex characteristics from the result of hormone use, such as breast development.
Sissification: Forced feminisation, where a submissive partner is dressed and/or trained to act in an overtly feminine manner.
Skoliosexual: A person who is attracted to people who identify as non-binary.
Smear Test: A method of cervical screening to detect cancerous or precancerous cells that may cause cervical cancer.
Smegma: A combination of moisture, dead skin cells and skin oils that can collect under the foreskin or in the folds of the labia minora or around the clitoris.
Social transition: The process of accepting one’s true gender identity and/or pursuing changes to explore and experience life within an adopted gender role within society. (See ‘Real Life Experience’).
Stereotype: A belief that others have about a specific person, or group, based on a shared characteristic.
Sterilisation: An operation to permanently prevent pregnancy.
Stigma: A negative association applied to a specific group or identity.
Straight: A person who is heterosexual.
Straightwashing: The act of ascribing an LGBTQI+ character from fiction, television or film as heterosexual or straight.
Stranger rape:A sexual assault committed by a person unknown to the victim.
Strap-on: A dildo that is worn predominantly with a harness.
Subversive: An act to undermine a system through criticism, discrediting, or attempting to damage in some way.
Swinging: A recreational activity where couples in a committed relationship, or single people, engage in sexual activity with other people.
Switch: A partner who is sometime and top or dominant and sometimes a bottom or submissive in BDSM. (See ‘versatile’).
Syphilis: A sexually transmitted infection, caused by bacteria that can result in an ulcer or sore around the mouth, lips, fingers, anus, or genitals. Syphilis can cause potentially life-threatening illnesses such as stroke, meningitis, and heart problems.
Testicles: The testicles, or testes, are the male reproductive glands, producing sperm and the androgen, testosterone.
Testosterone: The primary male sex hormone responsible for the development of the male reproductive tissues of the testes and prostrate, along with being responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as body hair and increased muscle and bone density.
The Clap: A colloquial term for gonorrhoea, a sexually transmitted infection that can affect the mouth, rectum or genitals.
The Pill: An oral contraceptive form of medication, which combines oestrogen and progesterone, altering the menstrual cycle and eliminating ovulation.
The Morning after-Pill: A form of medication used as a birth control measure, following unprotected sexual intercourse, or where protected intercourse has failed (e.g. a condom has split, or a contraceptive pill has been forgotten).
Thrush: A common yeast infection that can affect both women and men, causing a white discharge in both women and men, itching and irritation around the vagina or the head of the penis, and discomfort during urination or when engaged in sexual intercourse.
Top: A dominant partner or a partner who applies stimulation to another.
Top surgery: The surgical intervention for breast reduction (or mastectomy) or breast enlargement or augmentation (mammoplasty).
Toxic Shock Syndrome/TSS: A life-threatening condition caused by bacterial toxins that can cause fever, low blood pressure, a rash, or skin peeling, potentially caused by higher absorbency tampons, or extended use of a tampon.
Tranny: A potentially derogatory and offensive term for an individual who identifies as trans, transvestite, or as drag.
Trans: The preferred term to ‘transgender’ and applies to anyone whose gender identity does not match their sex and/or gender that was assigned at birth.
Transfeminine: A person assigned male at birth but who has, or expresses themselves in a predominantly feminine manner.
Transition: A process of accepting one’s true gender identity and/or pursuing changes to alleviate their gender or body dysmorphia.
Trans man: A person assigned female at birth but is a man.
Transmasculine: A person assigned female at birth but who has, or expresses themselves in a predominantly masculine manner.
Transsexual: A term that is now unacceptable to describe a person whose gender is different from their sex/gender assigned at birth and who has or is wanting to undergo medical transition.
Transphobia: The fear or dislike of a person or group who identify as being trans.
Trans woman: A person assigned male at birth but is a woman.
Tribadism: A sexual act in which women intertwine their legs so that they can rub their vulvas against each other. (See ‘scissoring’ or ‘tribbing’).
Tribbing: A sexual act in which women intertwine their legs so that they can rub their vulvas against each other. (See ‘scissoring’ or ‘tribadism’).
Trichomoniasis: A common sexually transmitted diseases caused by a parasite, the trichomonas vaginalis that can cause itching, burning, irritation of the genitals, discomfort during urination, and unnatural discharge from the penis or vagina.
Trigender: A person who has or experiences three genders.
Tucking: The act of physically manipulating the testicles into the body cavity and securing the penis between the legs with either tape or a gaff.
Two-spirit: A term used since 1990 for a mixed gendered role assumed by a person from a specific society or culture. The term is a contested Western sociological interpretation of non-Western cultures.
Unprotected sex: Engaging in any form of sexual activity (e.g. vaginally, anally or orally) without a physical barrier such as a female or male condom.
Urethra: A tube that connects the urinary bladder to the urinary meatus, enabling the passing and subsequent excretion of urine.
Vagina: Not what you might think! The difficulty with defining this word is that it has come to mean and refer to more than is technically correct. The vagina is the muscular tube that leads from the cervix or the uterus to the genitals. However, many people use the term vagina to also cover the entire genital area including clitoris, labia, urinary opening etc which is not actually the vagina but is in fact the vulva.
Vaginismus: The involuntary muscular contraction around the opening of the vagina that can make penetration during sexual intercourse painful or impossible.
Vaginoplasty: The surgical construction or a vagina or reconstruction of the vagina.
Versatile: A partner who is sometime and top or dominant and sometimes a bottom or submissive in BDSM. (See ‘switch’).
Vibrator: A sex toy that provides external and/or internal sexual stimulation, consisting of a battery powered or rechargeable electric motor.
Vulva: The external female sex organs consisting of the labia majora, labia minora, the external part of the clitoris (or the clitoral hood), mons pubis, vestibular glands, urinary meatus, hymen, and the vaginal opening.
Wanking: The process of masturbation, the physical stimulation of the genitals, either of oneself or of someone else.
Warts: A common sexually transmitted disease caused by the HPV virus, which manifest as growths around the penis, vagina, or anus.
Wet-dream: A nocturnal emission, or spontaneous orgasm experienced during sleep, predominantly during adolescence through to adulthood, which includes ejaculation for a male or vaginal wetness for a female.
Withdrawal: A method of contraception, where the male withdraws his penis before orgasm and subsequent ejaculation.
Woman: A person who identifies as female adult.
Womb: A hollow reproductive organ where the foetus gestates, located in a woman’s lower abdomen between the rectum and the bladder.
Womyn: A non-standard spelling of ‘woman’, used by some feminists to avoid the suffix of –men.
WSW: An acronym for ‘Woman who have Sex with Woman’, a term used by HIV/AIDS researchers to identify women who do not identify as gay but who do have sex with women. As such, the term defines sexual behaviour and not sexual identity.
X-Rated: A previously used classification for adult viewing, now replaced by the 18 rating meaning ‘only suitable for adults’.
Xe: A gender-neutral pronoun used to replace he/she/they. Pronounced as ‘zee’ and can be spelt as ‘ze’.
XX Chromosomes: The sex-determination system based on the combination of sex-chromosomes, with XX determining the heterogametic sex of females.
XY chromosomes: The sex-determination system based on the combination of sex-chromosomes, with XX determining the heterogametic sex of females.
Yoni: A Sanskrit word meaning ‘sacred space’, ‘source’, or ‘womb’, referring to a females reproductive organs.
Ze: A gender-neutral pronoun used to replace he/she/they. Pronounced as ‘zee’ and can be spelt as ‘xe’.
Zedsexual: A person who experiences sexual or romantic attraction.