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revised Monday April 27 2009
healthy sexuality
Glossary

A

Abortion To terminate/end a pregnancy.

Abstinence Choosing not to have any kind of sexual activity, including vaginal, oral or anal sex.

AIDS An acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS attacks the immune system so that the body can't fight off infection. There's no cure or vaccine for this STI. AIDS is fatal.

Anal Sex Sexual intercourse where a man's penis enters a man or woman's anus. Having unprotected anal sex puts you at the greatest risk of getting an STIor HIV/AIDS.

Aphrodisiac A substance or food that's supposed to increase your desire to have sex.

Areola The dark area around the nipples (for both women and men.)

Asymptomatic Without symptoms. An asymptomatic infection is an infection with no symptoms.

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B

Bacterial Vaginitis An infection/inflammation of the vagina. Small amounts of bacteria in the vagina grow more than normal, often causing a vaginal discharge with a strange smell.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) A very common vaginal infection where small amounts of bacteria in the vagina grow more than normal. This overgrowth results in a strange smelling vaginal discharge. BV is uncommon in men.

Bisexual Someone who is sexually and emotionally attracted to both men and women. Bisexual people can be attracted to one gender more than the other.

Birth Control Pill (or "The Pill") A hormonal birth control method a woman swallows to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The Pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. It also makes the mucus in the cervix (opening of the uterus) thicker so that it's harder for sperm to travel into the cervix.

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C

Celibacy Not having sex.

Cervix The lower part of the woman's uterus, with an opening that connects the uterus to the vagina.

Chlamydia One of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among teenagers and young adults. Chlamydia is caused by bacteria and is spread by having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with someone who is infected, even though they might not have any symptoms.

Circumcision A procedure where the foreskin (the loose skin covering the tip of the penis) is removed. Circumcision is usually performed at birth.

Climax Having an orgasm. Also known as 'cumming' or 'coming.'

Clitoris A sensitive pea-sized organ that is right above the urethra in women. The clitoris - or 'clit' - gets bigger and more sensitive when it's touched or when a woman has sexual thoughts or feelings. The clitoris plays an important part in a woman's sexual arousal and orgasm.

Come A slang term used to describe a male or female orgasm.

Conceive To become pregnant.

Cum A slang term used to describe semen when a male has an orgasm (ejaculates).

Coming Out When a homosexual man or woman decides to be honest and open about his or her sexuality, and "comes out" to friends and family. This term is taken from the phrase "coming out of the closet."

Condom A thin covering, usually made of latex rubber, which is put over a man's erect penis during oral, vaginal or anal sex. See also female condom.

Consent When a person agrees, gives permission or is accepting of something being done or planned by someone else. The person who consents does so without being forced or pressured into anything.

Contraception Using a form of birth control like condoms or 'The Pill' to prevent pregnancy.

Contraceptive Foam A barrier birth control method a woman puts into her vagina before having sex. The foam contains a spermacide that kills sperm.

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