Learn More

Sexual Health Dictionary

Have a question about Consent?

Use the dictionary below to get more knowledge.



Not having sex with anyone.


Ending a pregnancy

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

The most advanced stage of HIV.

Acquaintance Rape

Sexual assault by someone the victim knows.

Age Of Consent

The age at which state law considers a person old enough to decide to have sex with someone.

Anal Sex

Sex in which an insertive organ or toy goes in the anus.


Rectal opening

Anilingus (Rimming)

Oral sex on an anus.


A medicine that fights viruses. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a treatment for HIV patients that can help them stay healthy, and lower their chances of giving HIV to someone else

ART (Antiretroviral Therapy)

A combination of medicines that works to keep people living with HIV healthy by lowering the amount of the virus in their bodies.


Having no signs or symptoms. Many STDs are asymptomatic in their early stages.

Bacterial Vaginosis (Bv)

Inflammation of the vulva/vagina (vaginitis) caused by a change in the balance of vaginal bacteria. It’s not an STD. Things like douching or having sex with a new partner can lead to BV.

The Bases

A slang expression that uses baseball to describe how far two people have gone sexually. Typically, first base refers to kissing, second based refers to touching above the waist, sloppy second refers to touching above the waist with the mouth, third base refers to touching each other’s genitals or oral sex and fourth base or a home run refers to vaginal sex. Depending on where a person lives, the bases may be defined differently from that.

Body Image

Attitudes and feelings that a person has about their body and appearance.

Birth Control

Something that prevents pregnancy.


Bondage, Discipline/Domination, Submission/Sadism, Masochism, covers a variety of sexual practices.


The two glands on the chest. Considered sex organs because they’re often sexually sensitive and may inspire sexual desire. Like mammary glands in other mammals, they produce milk during and after pregnancy.


A very common STD that’s caused by a bacteria and can be cured with antibiotics. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause infertility and arthritis.


Sex organ whose only known purpose is sexual pleasure. The clitoris swells with blood during sexual excitement. The outer part of the clitoris is located at the top/front of the vulva, right next to urethra (hole you pee out of). The inner part of the clitoris, which is much larger, includes a shaft and two crura (roots or legs) of tissue that extend up to five inches into the body on both sides of the vagina to attach to the pubic bone.


Forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do, often with threats or emotional manipulation.


When a person agrees to a certain action or behavior. A person, in order to consent, must have the capacity to consent, which means they are not mentally disabled, under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are of legal age to be able to consent.


Oral sex using the mouth to stimulate the clitoris, vulva, and vagina.

Dental Dam

A thin, square piece of latex that helps prevent the spread of STDs when placed over the vulva or anus during oral sex.

Dry Humping

Body rubbing with clothes on.

Erogenous Zone

Any area of the body that’s sensitive to sensual touch, or feels sexual.


Oral sex on a penis. Also called a “blow job.”


Oral sex on a penis. Also called a “blow job.”

Female Condom

A polyurethane pouch that goes inside the vagina or anus for pregnancy and/or STD prevention. Female condoms are sometimes called internal condoms or referred to by their brand name, FC2 Female Condom®.


Kissing, rubbing, stroking, and/or touching that leads to sex. Foreplay can prolong and/or increase sexual excitement and pleasure.


A tube of skin that covers and protects the glans (head) of the penis, and rolls back when the penis becomes erect. A circumcised penis has had the foreskin removed.

G Spot (Grafenburg Spot)

An area inside the vagina that’s highly sensitive to touch, along the upper wall of the vagina. Stimulation of the G spot can lead to intense sexual arousal and orgasm for some people.

Genital Herpes

A common STD in the area of the anus, cervix, penis, vagina, or vulva. Very often there are no symptoms, while the most common symptom is a cluster of blistery sores. Since it’s a virus, there is no cure, but there is treatment available.

Genital Warts

Soft, flesh-colored growths on or near the penis/vulva, caused by some types of HPV (human papilloma virus). They are usually painless, but may itch.


A bacterial STD that’s easy to treat, but if left untreated can lead to infertility, arthritis, and heart problems. Often has no symptoms.

HBV (Hepatitis B Virus)

A viral infection that can be sexually transmitted. It can lead to dangerous liver problems in some people.


A common STD caused by two different but similar viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both kinds can make blistery sores show up on and around the genitals or mouth.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

A chronic virus that breaks down the immune system. Can lead to AIDS if not treated.

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

The most common STD. Some types of HPV may cause genital warts. Others may cause cancer of the anus, cervix, penis, throat, or vulva. Most of the time HPV is harmless and goes away on its own.

HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus-1)

One type of the herpes virus. HSV-1 typically infects the mouth, causing cold sores. More rarely, HSV-1 can infect the genitals. HSV-1 is extremely common and may not always be transmitted sexually, as skin-to-skin contact is all that’s needed to pass it on.

HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus-2)

One type of the herpes virus. HSV-2 typically infects the genitals, causing clusters of sores. More rarely, HSV-2 can infect the mouth. It’s generally passed by sexual skin-to-skin contact.


The closeness you feel when you share your private and personal self with someone else.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

A pattern of emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse in the context of an intimate relationship. Also called “domestic violence,” “partner abuse,” “relationship abuse,” and “dating violence.”


Joy is a big, beautiful, happy feeling. There are a lot of ways to feel joy. Part of sex is feeling joy and pleasure. When you are younger, you can feel this joy and pleasure on your own, in your own body. As you get older, you might also decide to share those feelings with someone who deserves your trust.


Justice is like fairness, only bigger. Justice means working together so that everyone can share in the good and the hard parts of living. Justice means that every person and every body matters.


Feeling of sexual desire.

Lube / Lubricant

A water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based product used to increase slipperiness and reduce friction during sex.


The 2 organs that store and release eggs. Ovaries also produce hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

An infection in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries that can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pain. It’s often caused by untreated STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia.


A reproductive and sex organ that’s made of spongy tissue. The spongy tissue fills with blood during sexual excitement, a process known as erection (getting hard). Urine and semen pass through the penis.

PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)

Medicine that helps prevent HIV (or other infections) if started within a few days after being exposed.

Plan B

A brand of emergency contraception pill made from levonorgestrel, the same kind of hormone found in birth control pills. Available over the counter to anyone of any age or gender in the US.


Not sexual.


Slang for pre-ejaculate, ­the liquid that oozes out of the penis during sexual excitement before ejaculation. Sometimes, for some people, it has a small amount of sperm in it.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

Slang for pre-ejaculate, ­the liquid that oozes out of the penis during sexual excitement before ejaculation. Sometimes, for some people, it has a small amount of sperm in it.


A medicine taken daily to reduce the risk of getting HIV.

Primary Syphilis

The first stage of a syphilis infection, during which an open sore called a chancre develops.


A device or treatment used to prevent infection, like a condom.


The time between childhood and adulthood when people mature physically and sexually. Puberty is marked by changes such as breast development and menstruation or hair growth and ejaculation.

Sadomasochism (S&M)

The consensual use of domination and/or pain for sexual stimulation in sex. The “sadist” dominates/inflicts pain. The “masochist” is submissive/receives pain.

Safe Word

A previously agreed upon word or phrase that means a partner is no longer enjoying an activity during and it must stop.

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 act is completely safe from the possibility of passing a sexually transmitted infection.

Scrotum/ Testicles

A sac of skin, divided into 2 parts, that holds the testicles.

Secondary Syphilis

The second stage of the infection, during which a rash and fever develop.

Selective Abstinence

Many people are sexually active but limit what they do to avoid STD/STIs and/or pregnancy or because they do not feel ready to do some sexual things. Someone who chooses to be selectively abstinent might have some kinds of sex but not others. Someone who practices selective abstinence may or may not run the risk of contracting an STD/STI and/or having an unwanted pregnancy, depending on the activities in which he or she does.


A label assigned at birth of female, male, or sometimes intersex. Also, the act of vaginal, anal, or manual (using hands) intercourse, or oral-genital stimulation, with a partner.

Sexual Harassment

Unwanted sexual advances from someone. Includes 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 life. (Sexual health is not only the absence of sexual dysfunction or disease.)

Sexual Intercourse

Usually, sex that includes penetration of the vagina with a penis. Can also describe penetration of the anus with a penis.


A skin condition caused by reactivation of a varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection, usually acquired in childhood, when it appears as chicken pox. It consists of painful, inflammatory blisters on the skin that follow the path of individual peripheral nerves. The blisters generally dry and scab, leaving minor scarring. Standard treatment is with famciclovir or acyclovir.

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 (Sexually Transmitted Disease)

An infection that’s passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, or sexual skin-to-skin contact. More accurately called sexually transmitted infection.

STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection)

An Infection that’s passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, or sexual skin-to-skin contact. Commonly known as sexually transmitted disease.


A bacterial sexually transmitted infection that is easily cured with antibiotics, but can cause permanent damage if left untreated.

Tertiary Syphilis

The third phase of the infection during which organ damage and failure occur.


An infection with a flagellated protozoan, Trichomonas vaginalis. When symptomatic, the infection results in vaginitis in women and urethritis in men. Many infected persons, however, remain asymptomatic.


When you trust someone, it means you feel safe and comfortable with that person. Trusting people means knowing you can count on them. It takes time to learn who you can trust. You can also trust yourself. Some of us know what this feels like and some of us have to learn. Nobody knows more about you than you do.


A small tube where pee comes out.


The vulva is made of folds of skin called labia, and protects three other parts- the clitoris, vagina, and urethra.


The stretchy passage that connects the vulva with the cervix and uterus. It’s where menstrual comes out of the body, a baby comes out of the body through childbirth, and/or one place sexual penetration (by a penis, finger, sex toy, etc.) can happen. During menstruation, it’s where tampons or menstrual cups are placed.


Having never had sex. May mean different things to different people. For example, many people think you “lose your virginity” when you have vaginal sex. Others think that you lose your virginity if you have other kinds of sexual activity, like oral sex or anal sex.