Have you ever come across a sex-related word that you have never heard of? Use our sextionary to find out what it means! If you have any sex-related words you would like defined that we do not already have in our sextionary, please email us lunco.ns.sexualhealth@gmail.com and we will add it.

Language usage is constantly changing. If you see any definitions that could use some updating, email us and let us know.


Abortion Pill

A prescription that can help a body expel the products of an unwanted pregnancy. Despite the fact it is called an abortion “pill”, it is actually two prescriptions: mifepristone and misoprostol. These medications cause a medical abortion in most who taken it. For those who do not have a complete abortion, they need a surgical abortion. The abortion “pill” should be available in Canada in early 2017. It will be available only up to seven (7) weeks’ gestation. It is a safe medication to take, although there may be side effects like cramping. It has been available in other countries for decades. In Canada, some doctors have used another prescription combination, methotrexate and misoprostol, but it is not as effective as the mifepristone/misoprostol pills.


Abstinence means staying away (abstaining) from sexual activity.

Abstinence-Only Sexual Health Education

Sex ed programs which focus on teaching abstinence from sexual activity until marriage or until one is older. Often these programs leave out information about contraception and safe sex.

Adrenal Glands

These are the glands in the body which produce and secrete sex hormones such as estrogens and androgens.

Age of Consent

In Canada, people must be 16 years old to engage in sexual activity. However, there are close in age exceptions. If someone is 12 to 13, they may engage in sexual activity with a partner less than two years older than them. If someone is 14 to 15, they may engage in sexual activity with a partner less than five years older than them. Once they are 16, they are not able to participate in any activity seen as exploitative (making pornography, sex work) with someone in a position of authority (teacher, doctor, coach, babysitter) until they are 18 years old. No one under 12 is able to consent to any kind of sexual activity.


A person, usually straight and cis-gendered, who supports the rainbow community.


Having both male and female characteristics or qualities, to the point where sex is indeterminate


Someone who is attracted to men, males, or masculinity.


A form of sexual pleasure which involves oral (mouth) contact with the anus and surrounding area.


The persistent inability to have an orgasm.


Someone who does not identify with either men or women. May be similar to genderfluid, genderqueer, or bigender, depending on how a person uses these terms to describe themselves.


A substance that supposedly causes sexual desire. Aphrodisiacs can be things like smells, foods, etc. Some common examples of aphrodisiacs include oysters, chocolate, honey, and coffee.


The round, coloured area around the nipples of males and females.


Having a lack of sexual attraction to others, and/or a lack of interest for sex or sexual partners.


Acronym which stands for “Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism” in terms of sexual practice. It may involve anything from tying someone up to dripping hot wax on a person’s body. Regardless of the practice, it is all done with consent from all parties involved.


Someone who is curious about two genders. May be similar to people who are questioning their identity.


Typically used by people to indicate they identify with two genders, or move between two. Different people may use different terms. It is similar in concept to genderfluid or genderqueer.


While “phobia” generally indicates a fear of something, that is not always the case with biphobia, homophobia, or transphobia. These terms point to negative attitudes and behaviours that cause harm to the rainbow community. Homophobia can be used as an umbrella term for all negativity towards people who are not straight, while biphobia and transphobia are particular to those particular populations.


A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to two genders, usually men and women. The attraction may not be equally split between genders.

Biological sex

Biological sex is typically assigned at birth when health practitioners declare a baby a male, female, or intersex. Biological sex is made up of genitals, hormones, and chromosomes. It is typically viewed as separate from gender identity, although some people suggest gender identity is a feature of our biological sex. As we learn more about sexual expression in humans, these terms will become clearer.


A slang term, used to describe an erect penis.


While this used to be a derogatory term for a lesbian, especially one who was masculine in appearance and mannerisms, it has been reclaimed by the rainbow community. Some people have reclaimed it to describe themselves as masculine in identity, behaviour, or expression.


A cisgender person is someone whose gender identity and biological sex (as determined at birth) align. A cisgender person is considered the opposite of someone who is transgender.


The belief that being cisgender (or having one’s gender identity align with the biological sex they were declared at birth) is superior to being transgender. It is also the assumption that everyone is cisgender and not transgender.


The fertilization of the egg by the sperm.


A barrier device usually used during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Condoms can come in a variety of types, such as a male/external condom which externally covers the penis, or the female/internal condom, which is inserted internally into the vagina or rectum. Condoms can also come in a variety of colours, and flavours for oral sex!


Permission, specifically the permission to engage in sexual activity with a partner. Consent can be expressed in words or body language. Consent cannot be given if partners are not legally able to consent. This includes partners who do not fit into the Age of Consent guidelines, who are not sober enough to consent, who are asleep, or who are put into a position where manipulation, guilt, coercion, or other forces are used to gain consent. It can only be given freely and enthusiastically between equal partners. Any sexual activity without consent is a sexual assault in Canada under the Criminal Code.

Cross dresser

Someone who wears the clothes of another gender or sex. A person who is a cross dresser may or may not be transgender. The act of cross dressing does not indicate that person’s gender identity, but is only their gender expression at that particular point of time.


The formal term for oral sex on someone with a vulva.


A type of sexual activity that takes place using a computer and the Internet.


Someone who must be emotionally connected to a person in order to engage in sexual activity with them. Ironically, although this term is rarely used, it describes the Western ideal of romantic relationships—that they are based on strong emotional connections or love.


A type of sex toy, often shaped like a penis, which is used for penetration for sexual pleasure. A dildo can be used to sexually stimulate various parts of the body.


The act of flushing out the vagina with a liquid, with the intention to clean the vagina. This term also refers to the product that is used to douche. Studies have shown that douches are not needed, and can even be harmful, as they interfere with the vagina’s normal and natural self-cleaning processes. If you feel you need a little extra cleanliness down there, use a scent-free soap to gently wash your external parts.


A person who is trained to help another person during childbirth. They may also stay to help support the family after the baby is born. Doulas focus on non-medical assistance.

Drag King/Queen

Someone who dresses and acts like the opposite gender as a form of performance. They may or may not be transgender.

Ectopic Pregnancy

A pregnancy where the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus, for example, in one of the fallopian tubes.

Emergency Contraception

There are two ways to prevent conception after unprotected sex: a copper IUD placed in the uterus within seven (7) days, or a high dose of hormonal birth control known as emergency contraceptive pills (ECP). In Canada, the only kind of ECP available contain levenorgestrel, a synthetic hormone that can help prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. It must be taken within three (3) days but is more effective if taken as soon as possible. Some people over 170 pounds may find it is not as effective as well. Can be bought without a prescription at any drug store or store with a condom section.


A condition where the cells that normally line the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grow somewhere outside of the uterus. During menstruation, these cells break down and leave the body through the cervix and the vagina–also known as having your period! In those who have endometriosis, because these cells are in places other than the uterus, when the cells break down they become trapped in the body, as they have no way to exit the body. This causes pain (sometimes severe) and sometimes causes fertility problems. Fortunately, there are treatments for endometriosis.


An epidural refers to an injection of local anesthetic which is injected into the spine. An epidural produces numbness to the lower half of the body. It is often used during pregnancy labour to relieve pain.


Formal term for oral sex on a person with a penis.


Typically referring to someone who is part of the rainbow community, femme means someone who is feminine in behaviour or gender expression. The opposite of femme could be considered butch, someone who is more masculine in behaviour or gender expression.


The touching of the body part(s) of another person for sexual gratification (for both the person fondling and the person being fondled)


A term which describes the sexual activities that occur before sexual intercourse. Often when this term is used, people are referring to activities such as petting, dry sex, mutual masturbation, and oral sex. The idea of foreplay relies on the idea that penetration (such as vaginal-penile intercourse) is the main event, with foreplay only a warm up. However, sexual encounters are far more complex than this, with different activities appealing to different people.


An intense sexual desire for something (i.e. a thing, a body part, etc.) that is traditionally viewed as non-sexual


A mythical area in people with vulvas that is supposed to generate a powerful orgasm. It is called the Gräfenberg spot after German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg. Many people, including scientists, have reported a unique area between the vagina and urethra that is sensitive to stimulation. Ultimately, some people may experience sexual pleasure from this spot, while others may not notice any unique sensations. The important thing is to enjoy personal research until scientists learn more.


Traditionally, someone who is gay is a man and attracted to other men. Nowadays, it can be used as an umbrella term to describe anyone who is not heterosexual.


The feeling of whether you are male, female, transgender, or something else entirely. It was only in the 1960s that gender and biological sex were separated into two concepts, with gender being an internal identity and biological sex being the physical features that make us male or female (genitals, hormones, and chromosomes). Some people also suggest that gender identity is a key component of biological sex. The definition of this term may continue to fluctuate as we learn more about what makes us who we are.


Gender Binary

The idea that there are only two genders, man and woman. It also relies on the concept that man is the opposite of woman, and vice versa. This concept has become outdated because there are more than two genders. It also relies on the concept that a man is what a woman is not, and a woman is what a man is not. While this concept is outdated, it is the premise for how our society has been organized. For example, public washrooms are set up along a gender binary.

Gender Expression

The outside appearance or behaviour of someone. It may or may not indicate their gender identity. For example, someone may be a cross-dresser and prefer to wear another gender’s clothing, but may not be transgender.


The term for someone who does not identify with having a fixed gender


The term for someone who does not identify or adhere to traditional genders, but identifies with neither, both, or a mixture of male and female genders

Gender Variant

Gender Variant is an umbrella term to describe people who are not cisgender, but may be transgender, genderqueer, cross dressers, etc.

Golden Shower

The act of urinating on someone during sexual activity.


The opposite of androsexual. Refers to someone who is attracted to women or femininity.


The assumption that everyone is (or should be) heterosexual. It also relies on the idea that men and women are opposite genders. Traditionally, society and its institutions have been set up in a heteronormative way—for example, wedding traditions that have an individual, usually a man in a suit, wedding a woman in a white dress.


Behaviours or beliefs that indicate heterosexuality is normal and preferred to other orientations. Similar in concept to heteronormativity.


Someone who is attracted to members of the opposite sex


Internal bleeding or bruising from someone sucking or biting the neck or other body parts. May be seen as a badge of pride, or an embarrassment needing to be hid by clothing.


Someone who is attracted to members of the same sex. While some people may still use this term, it has generally fallen out of favour because of its origin as a medical diagnosis. Although it is no longer considered a “mental illness”, some people do not use the term because of the historical meaning attached to the word.


Some people with vaginas are born with a small collar of tissue at the entrance to the vagina. It may be small or large. It is not “popped” or broken according to popular misconception. Before puberty, it may be crescent shaped and cover more of the vagina. Puberty and estrogen make it more elastic in preparation for adulthood. Once someone has reached puberty, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the hymens of people who have not intercourse and those who have.


A term referring to a person who is born with a reproductive and/or sexual anatomy that does not fit the categories of male or female. For example, a person can be born appearing female on the outside, but have internal male reproductive organs. In the past, individuals who were intersex were called hermaphrodites. This term is no longer considered appropriate for humans.


Intrauterine device. It can be a small copper T placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy, or a small plastic T that releases hormones that prevent conception. In the past, there were all sorts of IUDs placed in uteruses. Today, these are the two that are approved for use in Canada. Copper IUDs prevent conception because copper is toxic to sperm, while the hormonal IUD (sometimes called the intrauterine system) contains a similar hormone to that found in birth control pills.


A substance used during sexual intercourse to reduce friction, and thus reduce discomfort. Also called “lube”, lubricant can be naturally occurring or can be purchased.


Acronym which stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (or Questioning)”. It may also include A for asexual, 2S for Two Spirit individuals, P for pansexual, and any other group identified with the rainbow community. The inclusion or exclusion of certain groups may be politically motivated. Original acronyms included LGB, LGBT, with more being added through the years.


Refers to a cisgender or trans woman who is romantically, sexually, and/or emotionally attracted to other women.

Lipstick Lesbian

Someone who is a lesbian, but also has a feminine gender expression. It can be a positive term or derogatory term.


The act of stimulating your own genitals or other body parts for sexual pleasure.


A man who pays attention to grooming and fashion aesthetics. Based on the stereotype that only gay men pay attention to aesthetics. Metrosexuals are generally straight.


A health care professional who can provide care to a pregnant person before, during, and after childbirth

Morning Wood

A slang term referring to when a person with a penis gets an erection in the morning.

Mutual Masturbation

An activity in which partners touch each other for sexual purposes, or watch each other masturbate. May be called a “handjob” if the person has a penis, and “fingering” if the person has a vulva and vagina.

Oral Dam

A thin, square piece of rubber which is placed over the vagina or anus during oral sex. It is used as a barrier method to protect from sexually transmitted infections. They come in latex and latex free varieties, as well as flavoured brands. You can also make one from an external/male condom by slicing off the top of the condom, then cutting up the side to make a flat sheet.

Oral Sex

Sexual activity where one person’s genitals are stimulated by another person’s mouth and/or tongue.


People who are pangender have a gender identity that is man, woman, or some other gender. It is similar to agender, genderfluid, or genderqueer, depending on how an individual uses these particular terms.


A sexuality in which a person is attracted to all genders, not limited to the male/female binary


The practice of being polyamorous. Someone who practices polyamory has more than one romantic relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all those involved.


Sexuality in which a person is attracted to many genders (but not all), not limited to the male/female binary


Material which shows genitals and/or sexual activity, which is meant to sexually arouse the viewer. Pornography can come in a variety of forms, such as pictures, videos, audio, etc. It also comes in a variety of genres including lesbian porn, feminist porn, and gonzo porn.

Pro Choice

The movement which defends the right of people to choose whether or not to have a baby, without the fear of breaking the law if they decide to terminate the pregnancy. It can also mean allowing people to make reproductive choices that work for them.

Rape Culture

While some people do not support the concept of rape culture, many people define it as a world in which sexual violence is normalized and considered part of life. The term rape culture does not just mean a culture that condones rape, but also smaller acts of sexual violence like catcalling that contribute to an unsafe environment overall.


A term used to describe ejaculation in someone with a vulva. Some people report significant amounts of fluid during ejaculation, while others may not notice it so much. It is also associated with stimulation of the G-spot.


The term for someone whose sense of identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth based on their external genitals.



A modern term used generally to describe Native Americans who are trans. Many First Nations Communities saw beyond the gender binary and described a third gender who had the qualities of men and women. Typically, this was respected position in Indigenous communities, with some of these individuals being promoted to important roles. Unfortunately, European colonialism and its focus on the gender binary (with men being superior to women), altered Native communities. It was only towards the end of the 20th century that individuals recreated a term to describe their gender experiences—and thus the term Two Spirit was born.

Victim Blaming

While victims of any crime can be blamed for their misfortune, victim blaming is often discussed in relation to sexual assault. It can be heard in statements such as “since she was wearing such a short skirt, she was asking for it”. No survivor is to blame for sexual violence—only the individual/s who commit the crime.


The meaning of virginity changes depending on a person’s values. Some people feel it is a term for someone who has never had penetrative sex (typically penile-vaginal intercourse), while others view it as someone who has never engaged in any sexual activity. It is a personal term, but does not have any official medical meaning.


A term for the external genitals of someone with a vagina. Typically, people use the term “vagina” for all of the genitals when “vulva” is the correct term. The vagina is the canal leading to the uterus.


Thank you to It’s Pronounced Metrosexual for help in writing these current definitions.