Here is a list of the main terms of sex and sexuality which come up repeatedly in sex education. *Note: This is not a complete glossary...yet*


Abortion- A medical procedure that a woman may choose to do in order to end a pregnancy. There are two types of abortions. 1) Medical Abortion: an abortion using pills (mifepristone/misoprostol) that induces a miscarriage; 2) Surgical Abortion- This could be done through a) Aspirations (also known as vacuum aspiration) is the most common in-clinic abortion procedure and can be used up to 16 weeks after a woman's last missed period. b) Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is performed when a pregnancy is beyond 16 weeks. To learn more, click here.

Abstinence- A decision made by a man or woman to not have sexual intercourse. 

Anal Sex- When the penis is inserted into a partner's anus.

Anus- The opening of the rectum through which solid waste leaves the body


Biology – The study of life from a scientific basis.

Bisexual – A person who is attracted to both men and women.

Bladder – Where urine is stored in the human body.

Blood test – When a sample of blood is taken normally by injection from the arm so it can be checked for possible diseases e.g. HIV/AIDS. 


Celibacy – When a person decides to not have any sexual intercourse.

Cervix – The lower part of the womb or uterus in the female body which has a narrow opening to the vagina.

Child Abuse – When a child is sexually assaulted normally by a person or people older than them

Circumcision – An operation performed on a boy or man to remove the foreskin from the penis. May help to lower the risk of HIV/AIDs transmission. 

Clitoris – This is the sex organ at the top of the vulva in the female body. Although what we see looks like a little button, the clitoris is actually shaped like a wishbone. It is the only sexual organ whose purpose is solely pleasure! 

 Conception – When an egg in the female body is fertilized by the male sperm and pregnancy begins.

Condom – A sheath of fine rubber which is rolled onto the male penis before sexual intercourse. It is used as a method of birth control to stop sperm passing between the male and female. It is the only method that prevents from both pregnancy and STIs. There are two types of condoms. External condoms, also known as male condoms, which are rolled down a penis (requires an erection). And Internal condoms, also known as female condoms,  which can be placed inside the vagina or anus prior to intercourse. When used consistently and correctly can be up to 98% effective in preventing pregnancy (perfect use effectiveness). But actual use 

Consent- Obtaining someones verbal and enthusiastic permission (yes) to engage in any activity. 

Contraception – Also known as birth control, used to prevent pregnancy and some barrier methods (condoms) prevent STD’s. 


Dildo- an object shaped like a penis used for sexual stimulation


Ejaculation – The release of semen from the male penis when it is hard or erect. Women can also ejaculate.

Enthusiastic Consent- Yes Means Yes form of consent. Silence is not consent. 

Erection – When the penis is sexually aroused it fills with blood and becomes hard or stiff.


Female Circumcision – Also know as F.G.M. (Female Genital Mutilation) A practice of removing the clitoris, clitoral hood and/or the labia from the female body.


Gay – A person who is homosexual (attracted to members of the same sex as themselves). Also means happy.

Genitals – The reproductive and external sex organs in men and women. 


Heterosexual – A person who is sexually attracted to someone of the opposite gender.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) – A virus which affects the body’s ability to fight off disease and lead to AIDS.

Homophobia – When a person or people are afraid of and hate people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Hymen – This is a thin stretch of tissue across part of the vaginal opening. Some women are born without them. They are NOT an accurate way to determine whether an individual has had intercourse. Hymens can break from inserting a tampon, from exercise, from penetration, or an individual may be born without a hymen. 


Incest – When sexual intercourse occurs between people of the same family.

Infertile – When a woman is unable to become pregnant or a male is unable to produce sperm which fertilizes a female egg.

Intercourse – When two people have sex where the male penis is inserted into the female vagina. 


Lesbian – A woman who is homosexual.


Masturbation – When a person becomes sexually aroused by touching their sexual organs. Men, women, and non binary folks can masturbate. 

Menstruation – When blood and tissue is passed out of the uterus through the vagina of the female body for three to seven days. Also known as a period.

Monogamy – When a person in a committed relationship has sexual intercourse with only their partner. 


Oral Sex – When a person stimulates his/her partner’s genitals sexually with their mouth/tongue.


Penis – The male reproductive and sex organ.

Pill – also known as oral hormonal contraception which prevents pregnancy.

Premarital Sex – when people have sexual intercourse before they are married.

Prostitution – When a person performs sex acts in exchange for money.

Puberty – The period during which a girl becomes a woman and a boy becomes a man.

Pubic Hair – Hair which grows around the female and male genitalia.


Rape – When a person is forced by another person to have sexual intercourse against their will. When Enthusiastic Consent is not obtained prior to sexual activity. 


Safe Sex – people who have sexual intercourse where they are protected from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases e.g. using a condom and a form of birth control is the best

Semen – Fluid containing sperm which is released from the penis when the male ejaculates.

Sex -The genitalia an individual is born with. 

Sexism – when there is prejudice and bias by a person against the opposite sex.

Sperm – Cells produced in the testes or balls of the male which fertilizes the egg to make a female pregnant.

 Sperm fertilizing an egg

Sperm fertilizing an egg

Straight – a heterosexual person, is attracted to people of the opposite sex.


Uterus – also known as the womb. Part of the female reproductive organ where menstruation happens and pregnancy develops.


Vagina – the passage in the female body through the uterus and the vulva are connected. 

Vibrator- A device used for sexual stimulation (or massage according to Brookstone)

Vulva- The external genitalia of a female-bodied individual. Includes inner and outer labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening. Vulva's come in all shapes, sizes, and colors!