REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH TOPICS
Abortion– the termination of a pregnancy before birth
Abstinence– not engaging in vaginal, oral, or anal sex or any other activity that would put you in contact with your partner’s bodily fluids (semen, vaginal fluids, blood)
Adolescence– the period of physical and emotional change between the beginning of puberty and early adulthood
Age of consent– the age at which state law considers a person old enough to decide to have sex with a partner
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)– the most advanced stage of HIV
Amenorrhea– a lack of menstruation
Anal Sex– sex play in which the penis enters the anus
Anilingus– oral sex play with a partner’s anus
Antibiotics– medicines that are used to cure infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or protozoa
Anus– the opening at the end of the rectum where feces (poop) exits the body
Areola– the dark area surrounding the nipples in men and women
Asexual- to be without sexual feelings or associations
Assigned Sex– an assignment of either male or female given at birth
Bacteria– microscopic germs that can live by themselves and cause infections like gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and syphilis
Barrier method of birth control– contraceptive methods that block sperm from entering the uterus (condom, female condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge, spermicide)
Basal body temperature method– a birth control method based on predicting a woman’s fertility by taking her temperature. Can be used for contraception or planning a pregnancy
Bartholin’s glands– two glands located on either side of the vaginal opening that produce lubrication during sexual excitement
Birth canal– the passage from the uterus through the cervix and vagina through which the fetus is pushed out of a woman’s body during childbirth
Birth control– behaviors, devices, or medications used to avoid unintended pregnancy.
Birth control implant– a tiny rod that is inserted under the skin and provides protection from pregnancy for 3 years
Birth control patch– a small, thin, plastic patch that sticks to the skin and releases hormones to prevent pregnancy
Birth control pill– a medication taken daily by women to prevent pregnancy
Birth control ring– a small flexible ring that fits inside a woman’s vagina and releases hormones that prevent pregnancy
Birth control shot– a hormonal injection that provides protection from pregnancy for 3 months
Bisexual– being attracted to members of both sexes
Bladder– the organ that collects and stores urine produced by the kidney. The bladder is emptied through the urethra
Blue balls– slang for uncomfortable feeling in the genitals that may occur when men do not have an ejaculation following sexual stimulation. Women may experience similar aches if they do not reach orgasm. Because of sexist influences, there is no common expression to describe a woman’s symptoms.
Boner– slang for an erect penis
Breast (Breasts)– two glands on the chest of women that produce milk during and after pregnancy and are often sexually sensitive
Breast Self-Exam– an exam performed by a woman to check her breasts for abnormalities
Butt plug– a toy for anal sex designed to stay in place in the anus and rectum. Some are designed to stimulate a man’s prostate gland
Casual sex– sex play between partners who are not in a relationship with one another
Celibacy– not having sex play. Formerly, not being married.
Cervical cap– a soft dome-shaped silicone cup that fits tightly around a woman’s cervix to block sperm from entering the uterus. The cup is a barrier method of contraception.
Cervix– a narrow opening connecting the lower part of the uterus to the vagina
Cesarean section (C-section)– when a child is surgically removed from the uterus instead of being born through the birth canal
Chancres– a sore on the skin or mucus membrane caused by the first stage of syphilis infection
Chlamydia– a common bacterial STD that can cause sterilization
Cisgender– A person whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth
Climax– an orgasm or to have an orgasm
Clinician– a qualified health care professional, such as a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Also called “health care provider.”
Clitoral hood– a small flap of skin formed by the inner labia that covers and protects the clitoris
Circumcision– an operation to remove the foreskin of the penis
Clitoris– A sexual organ both external and internal on the vulva and inside the pelvis of female sex-assigned people that is similar to the penis, but serves no other known purpose besides providing sexual pleasure. The external portion is made of spongy tissue, is sensitive to the touch, and swells with blood during sexual excitement.
Coitus– sex play in which the penis enters the vagina. Also called ”vaginal intercourse.”
Coitus interruptus– when a man removes his penis from a woman’s vagina before ejaculation occurs to prevent pregnancy (see “withdrawal” and “pull-out method”)
Colposcopy– a medical procedure used by physicians to look for abnormal cells on a woman’s cervix, vagina, and vulva with a special magnified light called a colposcope
Combination pill– birth control pill that contains the hormones estrogen and progestin
Combined hormone contraceptives– birth control methods — the pill, the patch, the ring — that contain the hormones estrogen and progestin
Conception– the moment when the pre-embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus and pregnancy begins. Also used to describe the fertilization of the egg.
Condom– a sheath of thin rubber, plastic, or animal tissue that is worn on a man’s penis during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy and STD transmission (see “male condom”)
Contraception– a device, medication, or behavior used to prevent pregnancy
Contraceptive creams and jellies– substances containing spermicide, which block and immobilize sperm and prevent it from joining with the egg. These are over-the-counter, reversible barrier methods of birth control. Used with cervical caps or diaphragms.
Contraceptive film/C-Film– a thin, two-inch square sheet of chemicals that is inserted deep into the vagina and melts into a thick liquid that blocks the entrance to the uterus with a spermicide. It immobilizes sperm and prevents it from joining with an egg. An over-the-counter, reversible barrier method of birth control that is most effective when used with a condom.
Contraceptive foam– a substance that is inserted deep into the vagina and blocks the entrance to the uterus with bubbles that contain a spermicide to immobilize sperm, preventing it from joining with an egg. An over-the-counter, reversible barrier method of birth control that is most effective when used with a condom.
Contraceptive suppository– a solid capsule containing spermicide that is inserted deep into the vagina and melts into a liquid to block and immobilize sperm, preventing it from joining with an egg. An over-the-counter, reversible barrier method of birth control that is most effective when used with a condom.
Copulation– vaginal intercourse
Courtship– the attempts of two people to attract each other, sexually and emotionally, often with a goal of establishing a relationship such as marriage. The way a courtship is carried out is influenced by cultural norms as well as by sexual instinct. Among all animals, including humans, courtship involves making signals by both individuals, for opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.
Cum– slang for ejaculate
Cunnilingus– use of the mouth and or tongue on the vulva, clitoris, or vagina
Cybersex– receiving sexual stimulation using online media, the Internet, video cams, e-mail, or instant messaging
Date rape– sexual contact that occurs without both parties’ consent during a date or dating relationship
Deep kissing– kissing that involves putting the tongue into a partner’s mouth. Also called “French kissing.”
Dental dam– a stretchable square of latex used in dental procedures and as a barrier during oral sex. The dam is placed over the vulva or anus during oral sex to prevent STD transmission.
Depo-Provera– the brand name of a progestin, DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate), that is injected into the buttock or arm every 12 weeks to prevent pregnancy. It is a reversible method of birth control available only by prescription.
Desire phase– the first stage of the sexual response cycle
Diaphragm– a barrier method of birth control that is a soft rubber dome with a flexible rim that covers a woman’s cervix and is used with spermicide to prevent a man’s sperm from entering a woman’s uterus
Dildo– a penis-shaped sex toy used to stimulate the vagina or anus
Douche– a spray of water or solution of medication into the vagina
Dry humping– Body rubbing with clothing. See “frottage.”
Dysmenorrhea– Discomfort and pain during the menstrual period
Ectopic pregnancy– a life-threatening pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, commonly in the fallopian tubes (tubal pregnancy)
Egg– the reproductive cell in women
Ejaculation– the moment when semen is squirted out of the tip of the penis
Emancipated minor– a minor who has legal autonomy and usually lives on her or his own without financial support from parents or guardians
Embryo– the organism that develops from the pre-embryo and begins to share the woman’s blood supply about 16–18 days after fertilization (seven to eight days after implantation)
Emergency contraception– hormonal birth control pills used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected vaginal intercourse. Must be started within 120 hours (five days) of intercourse. Also called EC. IUDs can also be used as EC, inserted within five days of unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
Endometrium– the lining of the uterus that develops every month in order to nourish a fertilized egg. The lining is shed during menstruation if there is no implantation of a fertilized egg.
Epididymis– the tightly coiled tube on the top and behind the testes that connects the testes and vas deferens and stores sperm before ejaculation
Erection– a penis that has engorged with blood and become stiff and hard
Erogenous zone– any area of the body that is sensitive to sensual touch
Erotic– sexually arousing
Erotica– sexually arousing imagery that is not considered pornographic, obscene, or offensive to the average person
Estrogen– a primary female hormone commonly made in women’s ovaries
Etonogestrel– the man-made progestin hormone found in the birth control implant
Excitement– the body’s physical response to desire and to stimulation. This is the second stage of the sexual response cycle.
Failure rate– the number of women who become pregnant each year out of every 100 who use a birth control method
Fallopian tubes– the two tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus
Family planning– voluntary planning and action by individuals to have the number of children they want, when they want them
Feces– solid waste that leaves the body through the anus
Fellatio– oral sex on a man
Female Condom– a polyurethane pouch with flexible rings at either end that is inserted into a vagina or anus to provide a barrier during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy and STD transmission
Fertility– the ability of women or couples to have children. Technically, the childbearing performance of individuals, couples, groups, or populations, i.e., the number of births they have.
Fertility awareness-based methods (FAMs)– ways to prevent or plan pregnancy by predicting ovulation based on understanding a woman’s fertility cycle
Fertilization– the joining of an egg and sperm to form a zygote
Fetus– the organism that develops from the embryo at the end of about eight weeks of pregnancy (10 weeks since a woman’s last menstrual period) and receives nourishment through the placenta
Fondling– touching a partner to give sexual pleasure
Foreplay– physical and sexual stimulation, kissing, rubbing, stroking, and touching that often happens in the excitement stage of sexual response. Foreplay often occurs before intercourse, but can lead to orgasm without intercourse, in which case it is called outercourse.
Foreskin– a retractable tube of skin over the glans of the penis
Frottage– body rubbing without clothing. Also called “dry humping.”
Frenulum– the highly sensitive tissue where the inner labia join below the glans of the clitoris in women and the skin below the glans of the penis in men
G spot (Grafenburg spot)– an area of tissue located about one-third of the way along the upper wall of the vagina. Stimulation of the G-spot leads to intense sexual arousal and orgasm in some women, and is also associated with female ejaculation.
Genitals– external sex organs including the vulva in women and the penis and scrotum in men
Genital herpes– an infection of herpes simplex virus types 1 or 2 in the area of the anus, buttocks, cervix, penis, vagina, or vulva. Very often there are no symptoms, while the most common symptom is a cluster of blistery sores.
Genital warts– soft, flesh-colored growths caused by a several types of the human papilloma virus. They may look like miniature cauliflower florets and are usually painless, but may itch.
Genital ulcers– ulcers in the genital region commonly caused by STDs
Glans– the soft, highly sensitive tip of the clitoris or penis, in men also called the “head” of the penis
Gonorrhea– a sexually transmitted bacterium that can cause sterility, arthritis, and heart problems
Groin– the areas at the junction of the legs with the torso
Gynecology– sexual and reproductive health care for women
Gynecomastia– a condition in puberty when a male’s breasts become enlarged and appear more feminine, the condition is usually temporary
Hand job– slang for manually stimulating a partner’s sex organ with the hand
Health care provider– a medical doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, or physician assistant
Heavy petting– fondling a partner’s sex organs or breasts
Hepatitis– a viral infection that is commonly transmitted through sexual intercourse
Herpes– an infection of the herpes simplex virus types 1 or 2 in the mouth, vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, buttock, or anus
Hormones– chemicals that control body functions
Hormonal method of birth control– medications that release hormones into a woman’s body to prevent ovulation and therefore, prevent pregnancy
Horny- slang for having sexual desire — wanting to have sex — or for being sexually aroused
HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus)– a virus that breaks down the immune system and causes people to become sick more often than normal and causes AIDS
Human papilloma virus (HPV)– a group of over 100 different viruses, some of which can cause warts on the hands and feet, warts on the genitals, or cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, or throat
Hymen– a thin tissue that stretches across the opening of the vagina
Implanon– the brand name of a contraceptive implant. A thin, flexible plastic implant about the size of a cardboard matchstick. It is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It contains and constantly releases a progestin that prevents ovulation and fertilization. Can be used for up to three years to prevent pregnancy. The implant is a reversible hormonal method of birth control available only by prescription.
Implant– a thin, flexible plastic implant about the size of a cardboard matchstick. It is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It contains and constantly releases a progestin that prevents ovulation and fertilization. Can be used for up to three years to prevent pregnancy. The implant is a reversible hormonal method of birth control available only by prescription. Implanon is the brand name of the implant.
Implantation– the beginning of pregnancy when the pre-embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus, which happens about 6 days after fertilization and is complete in 3-4 days
Incest– Sexual activity between members of the same family
Infertility– the inability to become pregnant or to cause a pregnancy
Inner lips– the labia of the vulva that surround the clitoris and the openings to the urethra and vagina. Also called “labia minora.”
Intercourse– sex play in which the penis is inserted into the vagina (vaginal intercourse) or the anus (anal intercourse)
Intimate partner violence (IPV)– emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse in the context of an intimate relationship. Also called “domestic violence,” “partner abuse,” “relationship abuse,” “dating violence,” and “marital and date rape.”
Intimacy– the closeness and familiarity we feel as we share our private and personal selves with someone else
Intrauterine device (IUD)– a small “T” shaped device that contains copper or hormones and is inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy
Intrauterine system (IUS)– a small intrauterine device made of plastic, which contains the hormone progestin, that is inserted into the uterus by a health care provider to prevent pregnancy. A reversible method of birth control available only by prescription. The brand name of the IUS is Mirena.
Jealousy– anxiety about a partner’s love and commitment
Kink / kinky– slang for less common sexual behavior, sexual behavior that is considered taboo
LGBTQ– This acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people
Labia Majora– the outer lips of the vulva
Labia Minora– the inner lips of the vulva
Lactation– when a woman’s breasts secrete milk from the nipples, commonly called breastfeeding
Latex condom– a latex sheath worn over the penis during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy and transmission of STDs
Lesbian– A female that is attracted to other women
Libido– the sex drive
Love– a strong caring for someone else. It comes in many forms. There can be love for romantic partners and also for close friends, for parents and children, for God, and for humankind.
Lubricant– an oil-based, water-based, or silicone-based product used to decrease friction during vaginal or anal intercourse
Male Condom– a sheath of thin rubber, plastic, or animal tissue that is worn on a penis during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy and STD transmission
Manual stimulation– providing sexual stimulation with the hands, commonly called hand jobs for males and fingering for females
Masturbation– touching one’s own body and or genitals for sexual pleasure
Ménage à trois– three people in a sexual encounter or relationship
Menarche– a girl’s first menstruation
Menstrual cycle– the time from one menstrual period to the next, in the absence of fertilization when the lining of the uterus is shed and re-grown in preparation for fertilization. The menstrual cycle is about 28-30 days in most women.
Menstruation– the flow of blood and tissue out of the vagina during the menstrual cycle
Miscarriage– the loss of a pregnancy before the fetus could survive outside the womb (20 weeks)
Monogamous relationship– a relationship where two people only date and have sex with each other
Missionary position– the position for vaginal intercourse in which the man lies on the woman, face-to-face
Morning wood– slang for the erection men often have when they wake up. Men have several erections at night as part of their sleep cycle. Very often, when they wake up, they are still erect. Also called “nocturnal penile tumescence.”
Mutual masturbation– when two or more people masturbate in front of one another
Myths– unfounded or false stories or ideas
Nipple– the dark tissue in the center of the areola of both breasts in men and women that becomes erect when cold or stimulated
Nocturnal emission– a wet dream, sexual arousal and ejaculation while sleeping, common in adolescent males
Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT)– spontaneous erection during sleep that occurs among healthy men from birth through old age. NPT usually occurs about two or three times a night, lasting for a total of two or three hours.
Nonoxynol-9– a chemical that immobilizes sperm that is used in most spermicides in the U.S.
Nurse practitioner– a registered nurse who has special training to provide primary health care, including many services performed by doctors
NuvaRing– the brand name of a ring that contains hormones and is inserted in the vagina to prevent pregnancy. NuvaRing is a reversible hormonal method of birth control available only by prescription. Also called “the ring.”
Obstetrician– a doctor who is especially trained to provide care to women during pregnancy and childbirth
Oral contraception– the birth control pill
Oral sex– use of the mouth and tongue on another person’s genitals
Orgasm– the peak of sexual arousal when all the muscles that were tightened during sexual arousal relax, causing a very pleasurable feeling that may involve the whole body. The fourth stage of the sexual response cycle.
Orgy– sex play among three or more people
Ortho Evra– the brand name of a patch that contains hormones and is worn on the skin to prevent pregnancy. Ortho Evra is a reversible hormonal method of birth control available only by prescription. Also called “the patch.”
Osteoporosis– thinning of the bones, which makes them more susceptible to fracture
Outercourse– sex play that does not include putting the penis in the vagina or anus
Outer lips– the labia that surround the inner lips of the vulva. Also called “labia majora.”
Ovarian Cyst– A sac or pouch filled with fluid or other tissue that forms on the ovary
Ovary (ovaries)– the two organs that store eggs in women and produce the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone
Over the counter– available without a prescription
Ovulation– the time of the menstrual cycle when the ovaries release an egg
Ovum– an egg in the ovary of a female
Pansexual– someone with sexual desire that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation
Pap smear– a procedure used to remove cells from the cervix in order to test them for abnormal, pre-cancerous, and cancerous cells
ParaGard / Copper T-380 A– an IUD that contains copper and can be left in place for up to 12 years
Parasite– tiny animals that live on or in our bodies and benefit at the expense of human health, such as those that cause the STDs pubic lice, scabies, and trichomoniasis
Parental consent– a requirement that one or both parents give permission for a minor child to receive medical attention or to enter into a legal contract. Many states have mandatory parental consent laws regarding abortion services for minors.
Pearl necklace– slang for ejaculate spilled onto a person’s neck or chest
Peer pressure– efforts by friends or colleagues to urge an individual to behave in a way that is acceptable to them
Pelvic exam– a physical examination of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries — usually includes taking cervical cells for a Pap test and a manual exam of the internal pelvic organs
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)– an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs that can cause pain and sterility, caused by complications from STDs like gonorrhea and Chlamydia
Penis– the male reproductive and sex organ made of spongy tissue that is filled with blood during sexual arousal. Urine and ejaculate exit the body through the penis.
Perfect use– the effectiveness of a particular contraceptive method for women and men who always use it consistently and correctly. See “typical use.”
Periodic abstinence– not having vaginal intercourse during the “unsafe days” of a woman’s fertile phase in order to prevent pregnancy
Phallic– shaped like a penis
Pheromones– odor given off by humans to attract sexual partners
Phone sex– sexually arousing telephone conversations in which people fantasize about having sex with each other and masturbate
Pill, the– a common expression for oral hormonal contraception
Pitching a tent– slang for having an erection. It comes from the way pants or bed sheets look when the erect penis, like a tent pole, pushes them up and out.
Pituitary gland– located under the brain, the organ that produces hormones that regulate growth, reproduction, and sexual activity
Plan B– the brand name for oral hormonal emergency contraception: the “morning after pill”
Plateau– the stage of sexual arousal in which a person has been sexually excited and may approach orgasm. The third stage of the sexual response cycle.
Platonic– not sexual
Point of no return– ejaculatory inevitability, the moment during sexual excitement when a man cannot stop his ejaculation. It occurs when the prostate begins to contract and pulse out seminal fluid.
Polyurethane– a material used to make condoms; people who are allergic to latex condoms can use polyurethane condoms
Pornography– erotic imagery or language that is intended to cause sexual excitement in the viewer or listener and may be considered to be obscene
Pre-ejaculate (Pre-cum)– the liquid that oozes out of a man’s penis before he ejaculates, which does not contain sperm, but may pick up sperm left in the urethra from previous ejaculations
Pregnancy– a condition in which a woman carries a developing offspring in her uterus. It begins with the implantation of the pre-embryo and progresses through the embryonic and fetal stages until birth, unless it is ended by miscarriage or abortion. It lasts about nine months from implantation to birth. If clinically measured from a woman’s last menstrual period, it lasts 10 months.
Premarital sex– sex play between people before marriage
Procreative sex– having vaginal intercourse for the purpose of having a child
Prophylactic– a device or treatment used to prevent infection; the condom
Progestin– man-made progesterone
Prostate gland– roughly the size of a gold ball, this gland is located beneath the bladder in men and produces the liquid that helps sperm move. It is very sensitive to the touch and has been called the “male G-spot.”
Puberty– puberty is the time between childhood and adulthood when a child’s body physically and sexually matures. Girls become women and boys become men. Basic physical changes include breast development and menstruation in girls and facial hair growth and ejaculation in boys.
Pubic hair– hair that grows around the genitals in men and women, first appearing during puberty
Pubic lice– tiny insects that can be sexually transmitted, live in pubic hair, and cause intense itching in the genitals or anus
Pull-out method– when a man removes his penis from a woman’s vagina before ejaculation occurs to prevent pregnancy (see “withdrawal” and “coitus interruptus”)
Puppy love– a brief but intense romantic infatuation during pre-adolescence and adolescence
Queef– the sound made when air is released from the vagina. Air is often pushed into the vagina during vaginal intercourse or penetration with tampons, fingers, or sex toys.
Queer– Describes a person with a more fluid sexual identity, and broadly implies “not straight”
Rape– coerced or nonconsensual sexual intercourse, including oral or anal sex
Recreational sex– sex play with a partner that is not procreative and has limited intimacy or emotional involvement
Rectum– the lowest end of the intestines right before the anus where feces is stored
Reproductive cell– a unique cell — egg in women, sperm in men — that can join with its opposite to make reproduction possible
Reproductive organs– in women: the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and vagina. In men: the penis, prostate, and testes.
Refractory period– the time after a man ejaculates where he is not able to have an erection
Resolution– the period after orgasm in which the body returns to a non-stimulated state. The last stage in the sexual response cycle.
Rhythm method– outdated name for what is now called the calendar method of fertility awareness
Roe v. Wade– the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide
Romantic love– an idealized love relationship that often is as unrealistic as it is passionate. In courtship, romance may have elements of flattery, excitement, and the feeling of being “swept away,” as in a fairy tale.
Safer sex– ways in which people reduce the risk of getting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. A more precise term than “safe sex,” because no sex play is completely safe from the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Sanitary pad– an absorbent “napkin” made of cotton or similar fibers that is worn against the vulva to absorb menstrual flow
Scabies– tiny mites that can be sexually transmitted. They burrow under the skin, causing intense itching, usually at night, and small bumps or rashes that appear in dirty-looking, small curling lines, especially on the penis, between the fingers, on buttocks, breasts, wrists, and thighs, and around the navel.
Scrotum– the sac of skin that is divided into two parts and contains the testes, epididymides, and parts of the vas deferens
Self-love– masturbation. Also known as: self-pleasuring
Semen– fluid containing sperm that is ejaculated during sexual excitement
Seminal fluid– fluid that nourishes sperm and helps it to move
Seminal vesicles– two small organs located underneath a man’s bladder that produce seminal fluid
Serial monogamy– a lifestyle in which a person has only one partner at a time, but more than one in the course of a lifetime
Sex– an individual’s physical anatomy as male, female or intersex, and the act of sex play
Sex play– any voluntary sexual activity, with or without a partner
Sex cell– a reproductive cell
Sex drive– our natural urge and desire to have sex. Also called “libido.”
Sex organs– parts of the reproductive system that are sensitive to sensual touch. In women: the vulva — especially the clitoris — and the vagina. In men: the penis, prostate, and scrotum.
Sexual Response– the cycle of reaction to sexual stimulation including desire, excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution
Sexting– using a cell phone to send a sexy text message or image — often of oneself
Sexual abuse– sexual activity that is harmful, exploitative, or not consensual
Sexual arousal– erotic excitement
Sexual assault– the use of force or coercion, physical or psychological, to make a person engage in sexual activity
Sexual desire– a strong, physically arousing attraction; the need for sexual intimacy and sex play
Sexual harassment– unwanted sexual advances with suggestive gestures, language, or touching
Sexual health– enjoying emotional, physical, and social well-being in regard to one’s sexuality, including free and responsible sexual expression that enriches one’s personal and social life and fulfills one’s sexual rights. (Sexual health is not only the absence of sexual dysfunction or disease.)
Sexual intercourse– usually, sex play that includes penetration of the vagina with a penis, but also describes penile penetration of the anus
Sexuality– a person’s gender, gender role, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual preference, are all aspects of their sexuality. It is a personal and complex feeling, and is not as simple as gay or straight. Understanding and talking about ones sexuality can be confusing, especially for young people.
Sexual mores– a society’s attitudes, customs, and expectations regarding sex and sexuality. For example, one of the sexual mores in the U.S. is that boys are allowed more sexual freedom than girls.
Sexual norms– social standards derived from a society’s attitudes, customs, and expectations regarding sex and sexuality. For example, one of the sexual norms in the U.S. is that women and men have only one sex partner at a time.
Sexual orientation– the term used to describe what gender of people you are attracted to
Sexual preference– an erotic attraction to particular types of people, behaviors, and stimuli
Sexual response cycle– the pattern of human response to sexual stimulation. The five stages of the cycle are desire, excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
Sexual taboo– any behavior, relationship, symbol, or word related to sex and sexuality that a society forbids because it is a gross violation of social or religious norms. One of the most prevalent sex taboos worldwide is directed against incest. Another widespread taboo is directed against having contact with menstruating women.
Shaft of penis– the part of the penis that looks like a tube. It is about 1-3 inches when soft and about 4-6 inches as it engorges (fills) with blood during an erection.
Sheer Glyde Dam– a rectangle of latex approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safer oral/genital, oral/anal sex play
Sixty-nine / 69– simultaneous, mutual oral sex play
Slut– an insulting term for a woman who has more than one sex partner. Increasingly used to describe men who have more than one sex partner.
Smegma– a sticky, white, unpleasant-smelling substance produced under the foreskin at the glans of the penis and clitoris. It is formed by secretions from the Tyson’s glands, bacteria, and body oils.
Speculum– a plastic or metal instrument used to separate the walls of the vagina so the health care provider can examine the vagina and cervix
Speculum exam– the physical examination of the walls of the vagina and cervix that is accomplished by using a speculum
Sperm– the reproductive cells in men that are produced in the testes
Spermarche– she time when sperm is first produced by the testes of a boy
Spermicide– chemicals used to immobilize sperm
Spontaneous erection– the hardening of the penis without sexual fantasy or other stimulus. Usually occurs often during early adolescence.
Spooning– slang for a certain way of cuddling. Both people lie on their sides with one person lying in front of the other — stomach to back. Lying in this position resembles two spoons stacked together.
Stalking– instilling fear by obsessively pursuing a desired, past, or current sex partner
Statutory rape– legally, sexual contact between an adult and anyone who is below the age of consent, whether or not the contact is voluntary
STD– a sexually transmitted disease that is spread by having sexual contact with a partner who is already infected, also known as STD (sexually transmitted infection) and venereal disease (VD)
Sterility– infertility, the inability to become pregnant or to cause a pregnancy
Sterilization– surgical methods of birth control that are intended to be permanent —blocking of the fallopian tubes for women or the vasa deferentia for men
STD– a sexually transmitted infection that is spread by having sexual contact with a partner who is already infected, also called STD (sexually transmitted disease) or venereal disease (VD)
Suppository– a drug delivery system that is inserted into the rectum, vagina, or urethra. Spermicides can come in the form of a vaginal suppository.
Syphilis– a sexually transmitted infection that can lead to disfigurement, neurological disease, and death
Tampon– firm roll of absorbent cotton or other fiber that is worn inside the vagina to absorb menstrual flow
Testicle (testicles)– also called testes, two sensitive ball-like glands inside the scrotum that produce hormones and contain the tubules that produce sperm
Testicular Self-Exam– a self-exam performed by men to feel their testicles for abnormalities
Testosterone– a hormone that is produced in the testes in men and in small amounts in the ovaries for women
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS)– a rare dangerous overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina that causes vomiting, high fever, and a sunburn-type rash
Transgender– A person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, someone who was assigned male sex at birth but who feels like/identifies as a woman
Tubal ligation– Surgical blocking of the fallopian tubes by tying them off, a form of sterilization
Typical use- the effectiveness of a particular contraceptive method for women and men who do not always use it consistently or correctly. See “perfect use.”
Uncircumcised– description of a penis that has a foreskin
Unprotected sex– sexual intercourse in which no methods of contraception are used
Ureters– the two tubes that connect the bladder to the kidneys
Urethra– the tube through which men and women urinate. In men the urethra also carries ejaculate out of the body.
Urinary tract infection– a bacterial infection of the bladder, ureters, or urethra
Urination– when urine leaves the body, also called peeing
Uterus– the muscular reproductive organ through which women menstruate and where normal pregnancy occurs
Vagina– a stretchable passage from the external sex organs to the cervix and uterus. It is a tube with walls that are made of wrinkled tissue that lay against each other. The walls open just enough to allow something to go into the vagina—a tampon, finger or penis. The vagina is 2-4 inches long when a woman is not aroused and 4-8 inches long when she is sexually aroused. The vagina allows menstrual flow (blood) to leave the body, allows for sexual penetration, and allows the fetus to pass through during a vaginal delivery.
Vaginal discharge– A fluid that naturally comes out of the vagina, starting during puberty
Vaginal lubrication– during sexual arousal, the secretion of a slippery fluid from the blood vessels that “perspires” through the walls of the vagina into the vaginal canal to facilitate penetration
Vaginal sex– sex play in which the penis enters the vagina
Vaginismus– painful intercourse for a woman that occurs when her fear and anxiety about vaginal intercourse cause the muscles around her vagina to go into spasm when her partner tries to insert a penis or dildo
Vas deferens– a long, narrow tube that carries sperm from the epididymis to the seminal vesicles during ejaculation. There are two, one connected to each epididymis. The plural is vas deferentia.
Vasectomy– surgical blocking of the vasa deferentia in men that is intended to provide permanent birth control
Values– ideas about what is right, worthwhile, or moral
Vasocongestion– an increase in the amount of blood in certain body tissues (breasts, clitoris, inner labia, nipples, penis) that is caused by sexual arousal. Also causes sex flushes and lubrication of the vagina.
VD (venereal disease)– sexually transmitted infection
Vibrator– an electrically powered sex toy, often in the shape of a penis, that applies vibrations to sex organs or other erogenous zones for sexual stimulation. Developed by doctors to cure hysteria.
Virginity– the status of never having had sexual intercourse
Virus– a germ so small that it cannot be seen under a microscope. Viruses cannot live on their own and must live inside another cell to be able to reproduce. They are harder to treat than bacteria and are not curable. Examples of STDs that are caused by viruses are HIV/AIDS, herpes, and genital warts.
Vulva– the external sexual organs of a woman including the clitoris, labia majora, labia minora, opening to the vagina, and Bartholin’s glands
Wet dream– sexual arousal and ejaculation while sleeping common in adolescent males (see “nocturnal emission”)
Withdrawal– when a man removes his penis from a woman’s vagina before ejaculation occurs to prevent pregnancy (see “coitus interruptus” and “pull-out method”)
Womb– another name for the uterus
Yeast infection– usually, a type of vaginitis caused by an overgrowth of the yeast, Candida albicans. Yeast infections may also occur in the penis or scrotum. When they occur orally, they are referred to as “thrush.”
- Age of consent
- AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
- Anal Sex
- Assigned Sex
- Barrier method of birth control
- Bartholin’s glands
- Basal body temperature method
- Birth canal
- Birth control
- Birth control implant
- Birth control patch
- Birth control pill
- Birth control ring
- Birth control shot
- Blue balls
- Breast (Breasts)
- Breast Self-Exam
- Butt plug
- Casual sex
- Cervical cap
- Cesarean section (C-section)
- Clitoral hood
- Coitus interruptus
- Combination pill
- Combined hormone contraceptives
- Contraceptive creams and jellies
- Contraceptive film/C-Film
- Contraceptive foam
- Contraceptive suppository
- Date rape
- Deep kissing
- Dental dam
- Desire phase
- Dry humping
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Emancipated minor
- Emergency contraception
- Erogenous zone
- Failure rate
- Fallopian tubes
- Family planning
- Female Condom
- Fertility awareness-based methods (FAMs)
- G spot (Grafenburg spot)
- Genital herpes
- Genital ulcers
- Genital warts
- Hand job
- Health care provider
- Heavy petting
- HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus)
- Hormonal method of birth control
- Human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Inner lips
- Intimate partner violence (IPV)
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Intrauterine system (IUS)
- Kink / kinky
- Labia Majora
- Labia Minora
- Latex condom
- Ménage à trois
- Male Condom
- Manual stimulation
- Menstrual cycle
- Missionary position
- Monogamous relationship
- Morning wood
- Mutual masturbation
- Nocturnal emission
- Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT)
- Nurse practitioner
- Oral contraception
- Oral sex
- Ortho Evra
- Outer lips
- Ovarian Cyst
- Ovary (ovaries)
- Over the counter
- Pap smear
- ParaGard / Copper T-380 A
- Parental consent
- Pearl necklace
- Peer pressure
- Pelvic exam
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Perfect use
- Periodic abstinence
- Phone sex
- Pill, the
- Pitching a tent
- Pituitary gland
- Plan B
- Point of no return
- Pre-ejaculate (Pre-cum)
- Premarital sex
- Procreative sex
- Prostate gland
- Pubic hair
- Pubic lice
- Pull-out method
- Puppy love
- Recreational sex
- Refractory period
- Reproductive cell
- Reproductive organs
- Rhythm method
- Roe v. Wade
- Romantic love
- Safer sex
- Sanitary pad
- Seminal fluid
- Seminal vesicles
- Serial monogamy
- Sex cell
- Sex drive
- Sex organs
- Sex play
- sex positive
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual arousal
- Sexual assault
- Sexual desire
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual health
- Sexual intercourse
- Sexual mores
- Sexual norms
- Sexual orientation
- Sexual preference
- Sexual response
- Sexual response cycle
- Sexual taboo
- Shaft of penis
- Sheer Glyde Dam
- Sixty-nine / 69
- Speculum exam
- Spontaneous erection
- Statutory rape
- Testicle (testicles)
- Testicular Self-Exam
- Toxic shock syndrome (TSS)
- Tubal ligation
- Typical use
- Unprotected sex
- Urinary tract infection
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal lubrication
- Vaginal sex
- Vas deferens
- VD (venereal disease)
- Wet dream
- Yeast infection