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A glossary of sexual terms

Starting with letters A to G

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A list of words beginning with the letters "h" to "r" are in the next essay.

Words beginning with the letters "s" to "z" are in the third essay.

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Definitions of sexual terms starting with letters A to G:

bulletAbortifacient: A medication or device that is capable of inducing an abortion.
bullet Physicians and others define pregnancy as starting at implantation of the pre-embryo (a.k.a. blastocyst) in the wall of the uterus. Thus, only medications or devices that cause an abortion after implantation are considered to be abortifacients. There is general agreement that an IUD is an abortifacient, but that Plan B and similar "morning after pills" are contraceptives.

bullet Many conservative religious conservatives regard pregnancy as beginning at conception. Some believe, in spite of extensive scientific evidence to the contrary, that emergency contraception (EC) prevents the implantation of a blastocyst in the wall of the uterus. Thus they believe that EC is an abortifacient.
bulletAbortion: The termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable. It can be either a naturally occurring event, or a medically induced procedure. Most people outside of the medical professions use the term to refer to terminations at any stage of pregnancy
bulletNot engaging in any sexual behavior with another person.

bullet Some individuals define abstinence in terms of refraining from penile-vaginal intercourse; others define the word as excluding a wider range of sexual activities.
bulletAmbisexual: An uncommon synonym for bisexual.
bulletAnal intercourse: A sexual act involving the insertion of a penis in, or external stimulation of, another person's anus.
bulletAnatomical sex: The gender of a person, based on the shape and functioning of their sexual organs.
bullet Anorgasmia: A sexual dysfunction in which the individual is not able to have an orgasm.
bulletAphrodisiac: A food, drink, medication, or sometimes a thought that intensifies sexual desire.
bullet Aromantic: A person who has little or no romantic attraction to other people. Rather than be involved in one or more romantic relationships, they are often satisfied with friendships or similar relationships. 4
bullet Asexual: A person devoid of sexual drive, attractions, feelings or desires. They typically have little or no interest in sexual activity. Some do engage in sexual activity out of a sense of duty, to procreate, or to please one's partner.
bulletAutoeroticism: Any sexual activity done by a person in private.
bullet BDSM: Acronym for bondage and domination, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. It typically involves the use of physical restraints that limit a person's range of motion, the infliction and reception of pain, and the play acting of submissive and dominant roles in a safe manner by a consenting couple. This can be a very unsafe activity. To increase safety, most couples use a "safeword" so that the person in the submissive role can stop all activity.
bullet Bestiality: Sexual activity between a human and a non-human. See Genesis 19 in the Bible for an example involving human males and angels.
bulletGeneral definition: A sexual orientation in which a person is sexually attracted to both men and women, although not necessarily to the same degree. They may or may not act on their feelings of attraction.

bullet Religious conservatives: A behavior in which a person engages in sexual activity with both men and women. The term is rarely used among conservatives; they often prefer to recognize only two sexual orientations: heterosexual and homosexual.
bulletBlastocyst: A fertilized ovum -- human egg -- after several days of cell division.
bulletCastration: The surgical removal of a man's testes.
bullet Celibate: A individual who is not sexually active with another person. This is typically
bullet Chastity: Most persons use the term to imply the lack of sexual activity between two persons while single. It is sometimes used to refer to the faithfulness of a person to their married spouse. In some cases it involves the lack of sexual activity with one's spouse during menstruation or for a defined interval after the birth of a child.
bullet Chemical castration: The use of medication to reduce a person's sexual drive.
bullet Circle, safe sex: A group of more than two individuals who have all tested negatively for STI's who agree to engage in sexual intercourse only with each other and without the protection of condoms or other barriers.

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bulletCircumcision: The surgical act of removing the foreskin from a penis. Occasionally, the term is used to refer to the partial or complete removal of a girl's or woman's clitoris and/or clitoral hood and/or labia. This is a cultural tradition common in North African countries, which is gradually becoming less common. See female genital mutilation.
bullet Coming out: A person acknowledging to themselves, their family, friends, and/or co-workers that they have a homosexual or bisexual orientation. This can extend over a considerable time interval.
bullet Conception: The process involving the fertilization of an ovum by a spermatozoa. Human life with a unique DNA is formed.

bullet Pro-lifers generally regard this as an event at one moment of time involving the creation of a human person and the start of pregnancy. However, conception is a time consuming process.

bullet Many pro-choicers believe that a personhood is attained by an embryo or fetus much later in pregnancy. They, and medical professionals, regard pregnancy as starting when the blastocyst fully implants itself in the wall of the uterus.
bullet Condom: A flexible sleeve, used to cover an erect penis to prevent conception. Many Roman Catholic and conservative Protestant teach that they are relatively or completely ineffective at preventing conception or infection from AIDS or other STIs. Public health specialists, physicians, human sexuality specialists teach that, properly used, they are quite effective at preventing infection or conception. Somebody is either misinformed or lying.
bulletGeneral definition: The use of mechanical devices, foams, medication and/or creams to prevent pregnancy.

bulletReligious conservatives: The use of mechanical devices, foams, medication and/or creams to prevent conception.
bullet Contragestation: A medication that can prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum or cause the lining of the uterus to shed after implantation. According to the medical definition of pregnancy, the former would be the action of a contraceptive; the latter would be the action of an abortifacient. According to the common conservative Christian definition of pregnancy, either actions would be abortifacients, since they regard pregnancy as starting at conception.

bullet Cum: A slang term:
bulletVerb: To have an orgasm.

bulletNoun: Ejaculated sperm
bullet Copulation: Penile-vaginal sexual activity. Making love.
bulletCore gender identity: Synonym for gender identity.
bullet Corrective rape: A sexual assault in which a person is raped because of their sexual orientation (including asexuality) or gender identity. Part of the motivation by the rapist is the deluded belief that sexual activity -- even if forced -- will "correct" the victim and convert them into cisgendered, heterosexual, individuals with an active sex drive.
bulletCross-dressing: A person who adopts clothing, makeup, hair styles, etc that are normally restricted to the other sex. See Transvestite.
bullet Cunnilingus: A form of oral sex involving the stimulation of a woman's clitoris, typically by a tongue.
bullet Demisexual: A person who does not normally have feelings of sexual attraction towards anyone, but can develop such feelings if a romantic and/or emotional bond is first established.
bulletDeviant behavior: In human sexuality, the act of engaging in sexual activity which is relatively rare.
bullet Drag king: An entertainer -- often a lesbian or transgender man -- who dress in clothing normally associated with men.
bulletDrag queen: An entertainer -- generally a gay man or transgender woman -- who dress in clothing normally associated with women.
bulletEffeminate: A male exhibiting behavior seen most commonly in women.
bulletVerb: The act of expelling semen from the penis.

bulletNoun: Semen itself.
bulletEmbryo: A form of life with human DNA between the second and eighth week after conception.
bullet Emergency contraception: (a.k.a. EC, morning-after pill, MAP) Medication used to prevent pregnancy by inhibiting the release of an ovum, or preventing conception. It was once believed that it could also prevent implantation of the pre-embryo in the wall of the uterus. However, this was shown to be extremely unlikely or impossible. Social and religious conservatives maintain in spite of this evidence that EC often or always prevents implantation and is thus -- according to their definition of the time that pregnancy begins -- an abortifacient.
bullet Embryo: The products of conception, from the start of pregnancy until it becomes a fetus, about eight weeks after conception.
bullet Endometrium: The lining of the uterus (a.k.a. womb). By implanting themselves in the endometrium, pre-embryos start a pregnancy, according to the medical definition of "pregnancy." According to common conservative Christian beliefs, pregnancy starts during fertilization and continues during implantation.

Ephebophila: Synonym: phebophilia. From the Greek: "ephebos" youth; one arrived at puberty and "philia" love for. A condition in which an adult or older youth, usually male, is preferentially sexually attracted to young people in the middle to late adolescent years -- typically girls aged 14 to 16 and/or boys 14 to 17. The older person may or may not act on their feelings. The term is occasionally used in books, articles and papers, but is not included in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). According to Wikipedia: "Some authors define ephebophilia as a sexual preference of pubescent and adolescent boys.

bulletErection: The growth in length, diameter and rigidity of a penis, as caused by sexual excitement. Sometimes used to refer to the swelling of a clitoris or nipples.
bulletFellatio: Oral sex involving the stimulation of a penis with a mouth and/or tongue.
bulletFetus: A form of life with human DNA between the ninth week after conception, and birth.
bulletFornication: Sexual intercourse between two unmarried people.
bulletGay: This is a word with multiple sexual definitions:
bulletChildren and youth often use the term as a general-purpose snarl word to refer to any unacceptable behavior.
bullet Gay is sometimes defined as a male with a homosexual orientation.
bullet Sometimes, gay can refer to either a male or female with a homosexual orientation.
bullet The term is occasionally used in a more restrictive sense to refer to a homosexual who is politically active, working to achieve equal rights for the LGBT community.
bullet Gay bashing: Physical assault perpetrated against homosexuals because of their perceived sexual orientation. Some surveys have shown that most victims of gay bashing are in fact heterosexual.
bullet Gender: The definition of a person as male or female. It is sometimes based on their gender assignment at birth, based on the shape of their external sexual organs. Other times, it is based on the presence of X and/or Y chromosomes in each cell of the body. Sometimes it is based on the individual's own feelings which in relatively rare instances can be different from their birth-identified gender.
bulletGender dysphoria: See transgender
bullet Gender Identity (a.k.a. core gender identity): A person's sense of themselves as a male or female, (and rarely: neither or both genders). A person whose gender identity matches their genetic gender is referred to as "cisgendered." Those with a mismatch are referred to as transgender or sometimes as transsexual.
bulletGender Identity Disorder: See transgender
bulletGender role: Two different sets of activities, thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors traditionally considered normal for men or women. Examples are: women do the cooking in the family; men are sexually attracted to women.
bulletGender transition: A process by which transsexual persons begin "living their lives in genders that are congruent with their self-identity, which are opposite their birth sexes." 3
bullet Genetic sex. genetic gender: Using the presence or absence of the X and Y chromosomes to define a person as either male (typically XY chromosomes) or female (typically XX chromosomes).
bullet GLBT: An acronym that stands for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender/transsexual community. Sometimes the letter I is added as a suffix to indicate intersexual. Sometimes the letter Q is added as a suffix to indicate questioning. GLBT is more frequently written as LGBT.
bullet Group marriage: A loving committed relationship involving more than two persons. It often involves a commitment ritual. Synonym: Polymarriage

This list continues with words beginning with the letters "h" to "r" in the next essay.

Words beginning with the letters "s" to "z" are in the final essay.

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Reference used:

  1. Melvin Blanchette & Gerald Coleman, "Priest Pedophiles," America, 2002-APR-22, at: http://www.americamagazine.org/
  2. "General definitions," Pedosexual Resources Directory, at: http://paedosexualitaet.de/
  3. "Discrimination against transgender people in America," International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. Online at: http://www.ibiblio.org/
  4. "Aromantic," AVENwiki, 2013-SEP-10, at: http://www.asexuality.org/

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Copyright © 2003 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-DEC-11
Latest update: 2013-NOV-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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