Screen Readers Skip to Content

Definitions: Glossary of Sex and Sexuality Words

Author Contact: Sexual Diversity (
Published: 4th Oct 2014 - Updated: 11th Feb 2023
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Education and LGBT Publications

Summary: Definitions of some of the sexual terms, abbreviations and their meanings you may come across on - and in everyday life.

Main Document

Note: Although definitions of sexual terms and references are provided here, it is important to keep in mind that in the area of sex, gender and sexual behavior, the definitions and connotations associated with the words change over time and mean different things to different people. It is also important to separate behavior from sexual and gender identity, to avoid labeling anyone and to respect the terms people use to define themselves.

Also see: Sexual Diversity and Gender Glossary of Terms

Sex and Sexuality Glossary

The good feeling experienced after sex.
Describes a person who does not identify as having a gender identity that can be categorized as man or woman or who identifies as not having a gender identity.
Age Play Infantilism, Diapers
In the normal sense of the term, it is pretending to be younger than you are. Role-playing adult/child scenarios sexually is controversial as it can arouse concern in many people's minds due to the sensitive nature of its subject matter. However, as with other sexual fantasies, it is not necessarily a problem and can be, for some, a healthy or healing outlet, and others, like any fantasy exploration of different roles and feelings. Age play can include a desire to be treated like a baby or toddler, including putting the submissive partner in diapers as though they were an infant.
A person, regardless of sexual orientation, which supports human, civil, and sexual rights of all people.
Defined as a person who experiences romantic attraction to other people. Also commonly just called a "romantic person."
A combination of masculine and feminine traits or a nontraditional gender expression.
Anti-psychiatry (LGBT)
The gay rights or gay liberation movement is often thought to have been part of anti-psychiatry in its efforts to challenge oppression and stigma and, specifically, to get homosexuality removed from the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, a psychiatric member of APA's Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues Committee has recently sought to distance the two, arguing that they were separate in the early 70's protests at APA conventions and that APA's decision to remove homosexuality was scientific and happened to coincide with the political pressure. Reviewers have responded, however, that the founders and movements were closely aligned; that they shared core texts, proponents, and slogans; and that others have stated that, for example, the gay liberation critique was "made possible by (and indeed often explicitly grounded in) traditions of antipsychiatry" -
An aromantic is someone who does not experience romantic attraction. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships. Aromantics may feel sexual attraction or be on the asexuality spectrum. Being aromantic does not determine sexuality but can impact a person's ability to act on their sexuality. Aromantics may experience squishes, the aromantic or platonic equivalent of a romantic crush. When an aromatic gets into a relationship that's more than friends - but less than romantic - that is known as a queerplatonic relationship. An allromantic is someone who does not identify as being on the aromantic spectrum.
For when a man performs oral sex on himself, putting his penis in his mouth.
Anal Sex
A form of human sexual behavior. While there are many sexual acts involving the anus, anal cavity, sphincter valve, and/or rectum, the term anal sex is often restricted to anal intercourse: the insertion of the erect penis into the rectum.
Having an appearance that cannot be classified as female or male.
An 'asexual' is a person who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which a person chooses, asexuality is an intrinsic part of a person's identity.
Autoerotic asphyxiation, asphyxiophilia, or breath control play, is the practice of intentionally reducing the amount of oxygen to the brain during sexual stimulation to heighten the received pleasure from orgasm. A sexual partner may or may not be involved in the act; however, if a sex partner is excluded, the practice can be referred to as autoerotic asphyxiation, or AEA.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
A mental health condition in which a person has a lifelong pattern of feeling very shy, inadequate, and sensitive to rejection. The cause of avoidant personality disorder is unknown. Genes or physical illnesses that change a person's appearance may play a role. People with this disorder cannot stop thinking about their shortcomings. They form relationships with others only if they believe they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful that these people choose to be lonely rather than risk trying to connect with others. About 1% of the population has an avoidant personality disorder.
This is a North American First Nations term that refers to a person that is "usually biologically male, who affects a change in his or her gender status by adopting the clothing styles, occupations, and behaviors of the other sex."
Biological sex
Most people are born with a body that is either male or female. So, for example, when a boy has a penis and testicles, we can say that his biological sex is male. When a girl has a vagina and a uterus, we can say that her biological sex is female.
Someone who self-identifies with both maleness and femaleness and who lives part-time as each, may be referred to as a cross-dresser.
Someone who engages in both same-sex and opposite-sex sexual behavior. Once viewed primarily as a phase of gay or lesbian development, bisexuality is now regarded as a valid, independent sexual identity.
Biting or light scratching are common acts of foreplay. Still, some people prefer spanking or other forms of light physical punishment. Some disorders, such as Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, may cause people to bite themselves.
When a man has an erection for a long period without ejaculating can cause a swollen, painful feeling in the testicles.
In porn movies, where many men ejaculate on the face of an actress.
Many people enjoy slipping a blindfold over their partner's eyes to spice up their sex and foreplay.
In the context of BDSM, bondage involves people being tied up or otherwise restrained for pleasure. Bondage is usually, but not always, a sexual practice. The paraphilia of being sexually aroused by bondage is sometimes known as vincilagnia.
Using small, shaped, highly heated pieces of metal to burn small scars into a partner's skin.
Breast/Nipple Torture
Nipple torture is one of many, many ways to explore the power and refers to several erotic BDSM activities focusing solely on inflicting pain on the breast, nipples, and aureoles for sexual gratification. Breast-oriented BDSM activities range from using clothespins on the nipples, light flagellation, or simple breast bondage to activities that can include risk, such as severe caning, amateur piercing, or being suspended by the breasts.
Candle Wax
Hot wax applied properly and at the right time in sexual play can be immensely erotic. Candle or wax play is a form of sensual play involving warm or hot wax, usually dripped from candles or ladled onto a person's naked skin. Wax play may be combined with other BDSM or sexual activity.
Cerebral narcissist
A cerebral narcissist is the type of person who flaunts their intelligence and perceived superiority to feel admired and loved by others. This personality type may also be called a "know it all" or someone with a comment or answer for almost everything. Narcissists are in love with themselves and obsessed with their image and how others perceive it. Cerebral narcissists are so obsessed with their intellectual prowess that they may ignore or neglect their physical health and appearance.
Used in BDSM can include police handcuffs, thumb cuffs, padlocks with chains, and belly chains.
Chastity Devices
A chastity belt is a locking item designed to prevent sexual intercourse and possibly masturbation. Devices have been created for males and females. Today, chastity belts are sometimes used in BDSM play and consensual relationships. They are a means for the wearer to surrender control over their sexual behavior for sexual play or as a long-term method of preventing infidelity or masturbation.
Chinese Balls/Ben Wa Balls/Anal Beads
A sex toy consisting of several small balls attached in series, which are inserted through the anus into the rectum and then removed with varying speeds depending on the effect desired (most typically at orgasm to enhance climax). Those who use anal beads enjoy the pleasurable feeling they receive as the ball passes through the narrow sphincter of the anus.
Cisgender (pronounced sis-gender)
A term to describe a person whose gender identity matches the biological sex they were assigned at birth. (It is sometimes abbreviated as "cis.")
Cling Film
Wrapping the whole body or a part of it in bindings such as cloth or plastic (saran wrap or cling film "mummification").
Closeted, in the Closet
Not open about one's sexuality, most often for fear of discrimination or disparagement.
Cock and Ball Torture
A sexual activity involving torture of the male genitals. This may involve painful activities, such as wax play, genital spanking, ballbusting, genital flogging, genital bondage, urethral play, electrical play, or tickle torture. It may equally consist of the use of cock harnesses, testicle cuffs, parachutes, prolonged stimulation (teasing), metal cages, cock rings, and English cages, not necessarily leading to orgasm. Erotic electrostimulation may be used in CBT.
Collar and Lead/Leash
A length of rope, leather, chain, or other flexible material for restraint or control. Most leashes attach to collars or body harnesses, while others loop directly around the person's neck, wrist, ankle, or sometimes around the male genitals. Commonly made of leather but sometimes of nylon webbing, small-linked chain, or rope. Many people use a strong dog leash, especially a black leather one.
Coming out
The ongoing process by which a person comes to recognize and acknowledge their sexual orientations; for queer people, there is no single or defining coming out, as a coming-out process occurs every time they confront heteronormative assumptions and speak out against them.
In BDSM, a cage is an enclosure, usually made of metal bars, sometimes also of wood, used to confine a submissive. In dungeons, cages are standard equipment; however, cages are also placed in residential basements or spare rooms. Cages are used to restrict the freedom of the enclosed person in an obvious way. They have a connotation both of animal husbandry and prisons.
A paraphilia consisting of the condition of feeling sexual excitement focused on feces, often in conjunction with BDSM or infantilism.
Cross Dressing
The act of wearing clothing commonly associated with another gender within a particular society. Drag is a form of performance art based on cross-dressing. A drag queen is a male who performs as an exaggeratedly feminine character in an elaborate costume, usually consisting of a gaudy dress, high-heeled shoes, heavy makeup, and a large wig. A drag queen may imitate famous female film or pop-music stars.
Sexual and erotic arousal from seeing tears in the eyes of a partner or from seeing a partner cry. Dacryphilia is primarily associated with males.
Seeing a Partner Dirty or Wet. The act of defiling, or state of being defiled, whether physically or morally; pollution; foulness; dirtiness; uncleanness.
Dependent Personality Disorder
People with DPD tend to display needy, passive, and clinging behavior and have a fear of separation. Other common characteristics of this personality disorder include the inability to make decisions, even everyday decisions like what to wear, without the advice and reassurance of others.
Depilation or Shaving
Affects the part of the hair above the surface of the skin. The most common form of depilation is shaving.
Usually a non-vibrating device resembling a human penis in shape, size, and appearance. Dildos come in various sizes and can be used by both men and women anally or vaginally.
Discipline is the use of rules and punishment to control overt behavior in BDSM. Punishment can be physical pain such as caning, humiliation caused psychologically, such as a public flagellation, or loss of freedom, such as chaining to a bed, for some misbehavior.
Dental Dam
A safe sex barrier, usually made of latex, used when performing oral sex on women.
The condition of having control or power over people or things. In BDSM, domination refers to those who take the superior position: dominants, doms (male), or dommes (female). In contrast, those who take the subordinate position are called submissives or subs (male or female).
Drag King
A woman who gender identifies with and acts out male social sex roles but does not pursue physical change
Drag Queen
A man who gender identifies with and acts out women's social sex roles but does not pursue physical change.
The term DREAMer originally took its name from the bill in Congress, but it has a double meaning about the undocumented youth who have big hopes and dreams for a better future. DREAMers qualify for citizenship status under the DREAM Act - individuals who came to the United States as children and have lived in the States for their entire lives.
This term used to be a derogatory term used for lesbians; however, some lesbians are reclaiming the label
Exhibitionism - Sex in Public
Also known as flashing, apodysophilia and Lady Godiva syndrome, is the psychological need and pattern of behavior to exhibit naked parts of the body to another person with a tendency toward an extravagant, usually at least partially sexually inspired behavior to captivate the attention of another in an open display of bare private parts.
(Faggot), a derogatory term for a homosexual person. This term has also been used as a militant gay identification.
Unusual textures such as feathers, silk, or leather can be used to arouse during sex and foreplay.
iInvolves people who are sexually aroused by non-living objects.
Fire Play
Fire play is a type of BDSM play that involves lighting 50% to 70% rubbing alcohol or other flammable substances on or very close to the skin. Fire play is often considered a form of edge play and can be very exciting but can also be very dangerous.
Fisting or fist fucking is a sexual activity that involves inserting the hand and forearm into the vagina or anus. Typically, fisting does not involve forcing the clenched fist into the vagina or anus. Instead, all five fingers are kept straight and held as close together as possible, then slowly inserted into a well-lubricated vagina or anus. Once insertion is complete, the fingers either clench into a fist or remain straight.
Involves people who are sexually aroused by the idea of touching and rubbing against a non-consenting person.
A gang bang (or gangbang) is a situation in which one individual, either a woman or a man, has sexual intercourse with multiple partners in turn. When a man has sex with several women, it is usually known as a reverse gangbang.
Denotes self-identification as homosexual. This term is often used within urban communities. It is usually applied to men but can also be used for women.
Gay Pride / Pride
This is a common name for celebrations commemorating the Stonewall riots and the gay community in general. In Perth, Gay Pride celebrations usually occur in October, with the Pride Parade as the most public celebration.
The classification of objects roughly corresponding to the two sexes, e.g., masculine and feminine. This classification is genitally based and conventionally termed as one's biological sex. Our notions of gender are based on the western perception that human beings express themselves through either of the two genders.
Gender Binary
The idea that a gender is strictly an either-or option of male/man/masculine or female/woman/feminine based on sex assigned at birth, rather than a continuum or spectrum of gender identities and expressions. The gender binary is considered limiting and problematic for those who do not fit neatly into the either-or categories.
Gender Conforming
A person whose gender expression is consistent with cultural norms expected for that gender. According to these norms, boys and men are or should be masculine, and girls and women are or should be feminine. Not all cisgender people are gender-conforming, and not all transgender people are gender nonconforming. (For example, a transgender woman may have a feminine gender expression.)
Gender Dysphoria
The medical diagnosis for being transgender as defined by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). Including gender dysphoria as a diagnosis in DSM-5 is controversial in transgender communities because it implies that being transgender is a mental illness rather than a valid identity. But because a formal diagnosis is generally required to receive or provide treatment in the United States, it does enable access to medical care for some people who wouldn't ordinarily be eligible.
Gender Expression
A person's outward gender presentation, usually comprising personal style, clothing, hairstyle, makeup, jewelry, vocal inflection, and body language. Gender expression is typically categorized as masculine, feminine, or androgynous. All people express a gender. Gender expression can be congruent with a person's gender identity or not.
Someone whose gender identity or expression shifts between man/masculine and woman/feminine or falls somewhere along this spectrum.
Gender Identity
Gender identity refers to how a person sees themselves in terms of being male or female. In other words, gender identity is about how a person feels concerning being male or female, which is a different concept than their biological status as male or female.
Gender Identity Disorder
A DSMIV diagnostic term replacing transsexualism and that encompasses transsexualism, gender identity disorder of childhood, and gender identity disorder of adulthood.
Gender Marker
The designation (male, female, or another) that appears on a person's official records, such as a birth certificate or driver's license. The gender marker on a transgender person's documents is their sex assigned at birth unless they legally change it, in parts of the world allowing that.
Gender Nonconforming
A person whose gender expression is perceived as being inconsistent with cultural norms expected for that gender. Specifically, boys or men are not "masculine enough" or are feminine, while girls or women are not "feminine enough" or are masculine. Not all transgender people are gender-nonconforming, and not all gender-nonconforming people identify as transgender. Cisgender people may also be gender nonconforming. Gender nonconformity is often inaccurately confused with sexual orientation.
Someone whose gender identity is neither man nor woman, is between or beyond genders or is some combination of genders.
Gender Variance - Gender Nonconformity
Behavior or gender expression that does not match the gender roles set for males and females. People who exhibit gender variance may be called gender variant, gender non-conforming, gender diverse, or gender atypical.
Glory hole
A hole cut through a wall allowing anonymous sex between people on either side of the wall.
Hair Pulling
Trichotillomania (TTM), or "trich" as it is commonly known, is an impulse control disorder characterized by the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, facial hair, nose hair, pubic hair, eyebrows or other body hair. Trichotillomania is classified in the DSM-IV as an impulse control disorder, not elsewhere classified under another axis or disorder.
Physical restraint refers to the practice of rendering people helpless or keeping them in captivity by means such as handcuffs, shackles, straitjackets, ropes, straps, or other forms of physical restraint used as part of games of BDSM and sexual bondage.
A form of intersexuality in which both ovarian and testicular tissue is present in either the same gonad or in opposite gonads. It is extremely rare.
The belief or assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is right and superior to homosexuality and results in the invisibility of anyone who doesn't fit into the heterosexual norm.
Someone who engages in opposite-sex sexual behavior
Histrionic Personality Disorder
A mental health condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves. A histrionic personality disorder may affect a person's social or romantic relationships. The person may be unable to cope with losses or failures.
An irrational fear, hatred or repulsion of homosexuality.
This is a religious group that is comprised of "biological men who wear female apparel and behave like women." Historically their penises and scrota would be surgically removed. Today, not all hijras undergo this surgery.
Someone who engages in same-sex sexual behavior. The term has clinical connotations associated with pathology and is historically used in the context of illness and abnormal sexual behavior.
Erotic humiliation is the consensual use of psychological humiliation in a sexual context, whereby one person gains arousal or erotic excitement from the mixed and powerful emotions of being humiliated and demeaned, or of humiliating another. The humiliation need not be sexual in itself, as with many other sexual activities; it is the feelings derived from it that are sought, regardless of the nature of the actual activity. It can be verbal or physical and can be relatively private or public.
Internalized Homophobia
Homophobic cultural messages, stereotypes, and negative labels that are accepted and internalized by a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person.
The condition of having genital, gonadal, or chromosomal characteristics that are neither all "female" nor all "male." A medical term where a baby is born with reproductive organs that are not entirely male or female. For example, it might be difficult to tell for various medical reasons if that baby is a boy with a penis or a girl with a vagina. When someone describes themselves as transgender, this means that someone feels that their reproductive organs or genitals, such as their penis or vagina, do not match the gender that they feel they are. For example, someone may be born as a female, with a vagina, but feel they are or identify as a man.
Klismaphilia (Douching/Enema)
Klismaphilia (sometimes spelled Klysmaphilia) is the paraphilia of deriving sexual pleasure from enemas. Some providers in the sex industry offer enemas to cater to klismaphiliac desires. It is sometimes regarded as a form of anal masturbation. Many movies, magazines, and websites are devoted specifically to this fetish.
Asian lesbian or gay man
Involves people who are sexually aroused by enemas.
Lace - Lingerie
Lingerie is a term for women's fashion undergarments. It derives from the French word 'lin' for linen. While the term in the French language applies to all undergarments for either sex, in English, it is applied only to those women's undergarments designed to be visually appealing or erotic, typically incorporating materials such as Lycra, nylon (nylon tricot), polyester, satin, lace, and silk.
Erotic lactation means breastfeeding an adult partner or re-lactation for primarily erotic reasons. Depending on the context, other terms are used, such as adult suckling, adult nursing, adult breastfeeding, Adult Nursing Relationship (ANR), or nursing couple(s).
Latex fetishism is the fetishistic attraction to people wearing latex clothing, or in certain cases, to the garments themselves. Sometimes this is called rubber fetishism, as latex is closely related to rubber (the latter is usually thicker and less shiny, more matte). Latex or rubber fetishists sometimes refer to themselves as "Rubberists." Gay Rubberists tend to call themselves "Rubbermen."
The leather culture typically includes both a style of dress and an affiliation with BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sado/Masochism, also called "SM") practice. Both the style of dress and the kinds of BDSM activities characteristic of a community may differ between gay, lesbian, and straight communities and between "Old Guard" and newer generations of players. While most people who engage in the leather culture dress style are affiliated with BDSM practice, not all BDSM practitioners wear leather culture apparel. Not all people who are affiliated with the subculture engage in BDSM practice.
A woman who self-identifies as homosexual
A term that is sometimes used for sexual orientation, but it implies that being gay or lesbian is a lifestyle choice
The acronym LGBTQ is a reflection of sexual diversity within society.
  • L is for lesbian. Lesbian refers to a female person whose primary sexual attraction is toward females.
  • G is for Gay. Gay refers to a male person whose primary sexual attraction is toward males.
  • B is for Bisexual. Bisexual refers to a male or female person sexually attracted to both males and females.
  • T is for Transgender and Transsexual. Transgender refers to a person whose gender identity is neither exclusively female nor male. Transsexual refers to a person whose gender identity is the opposite of their biological sex.
  • Q is for Queer or Questioning. Some non-heterosexual people refer to themselves as Queer because they are uncomfortable labeling themselves according to the more traditional categories of gay, lesbian, or bisexual. A person who is Questioning is in the process of arriving at a clearer sense of what their sexual orientation is.
Acronym formed from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer and Transgender. Variants include:
  • LGBQT (Lesbian preceding Gay)
  • LGBTQ (Queer coming last)
  • GLBTIQ (Intersex included)
  • GLBTTIQQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Questioning Community)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirited, and Queer or Questioning. The plus (+) ensures different identities are included and indicates nobody is left out.
This is a traditional Tahitian term that describes a biological male that "takes on both the work and dress of a woman."
The receptive counterpart of sadism is masochism, the sexual pleasure or gratification of having pain or suffering inflicted upon the self. Often interrelated, the practices are collectively known as S and M or sadomasochism. These terms usually refer to consensual practices within the BDSM community.
Erotic massage is the use of massage techniques for erotic. Widely practiced by couples as part of lovemaking. For example, instead of draping the subject's body with towels, an erotic massage is usually conducted with the subject naked and undraped. The areas around the groin and intimate parts of the body, which are normally not touched in therapeutic massage, will be touched in ways that increase sexual arousal.
Master - Slave
Master/slave or M/s relationships are a special case of dominance/submission, in which the dominant has ultimate authority over the submissive. Many practitioners of M/s believe that ownership of enslaved people is based on a certain emotional state, such as total power exchange (TPE). It should be noted that the owner/slave relationship is strictly consensual, without the legal force of historical or modern non-consensual slavery.
Menage a trois
When three people have sex together ( threesome) at once.
Masturbation refers to sexual stimulation, especially of one's genitals, and often to the point of orgasm, which is performed manually by other types of bodily contact (except for sexual intercourse), by use of objects or tools, or by some combination of these methods.
Men who engage in sexual activity with other men but do not identify as gay or queer, or bisexual.
Mutual Masturbation
Mutual masturbation is a sexual act where two or more people stimulate themselves or one another sexually, usually with their hands. This may be done when the participants do not feel physically able (or that it is socially appropriate) to have full sexual intercourse.
A North American First Nations term that refers to the "gender status assigned to a person born with an ambiguous genital configuration." These people dress as males or females in the community depending on what kind of work they are doing at the time. They are also free to switch back and forth whenever they choose.
Involves people who are sexually attracted to corpses.
A gender-neutral word for a niece or nephew.
A spectrum of gender identities and expressions, often based on the rejection of the gender binary's assumption that a gender is strictly an either-or option of male/man/masculine or female/woman/feminine based on sex assigned at birth. Terms include "agender," "bi-gender," "genderqueer," "genderfluid," and "pangender."
Oral Sex
Oral sex consists of all sexual activities that involve the use of the mouth, which may include the use of the tongue, teeth, and throat, to stimulate genitalia. Cunnilingus refers to oral sex performed on a woman, and fellatio refers to oral sex performed on a man. Analingus refers to the oral stimulation of a person's anus.
The making public of a person's sexual orientation, usually against their will.
Paraphilia is a recurring sexual fantasy, impulse or behavior related to non-human objects, e.g., things, fabrics, designs, legs fetish, feet fetish, nurse fetish, doctor fetish, shoe fetish.
Involves people who are sexually attracted exclusively to one part of the body.
Involves people who are sexually attracted to prepubescent children (usually 13 years or younger).
Podophilia (Foot Fetish)
Foot fetishism or podophilia is a pronounced sexual interest in feet. It is the most common form of sexual fetish.
Pearl necklace
Ejaculating on someone's neck and upper chest, especially after receiving fellatio.
Affirming pronouns are the most respectful and accurate pronouns for a person as defined by that person. It's best to ask which pronouns a person uses. In addition to the familiar "he," "she," and "they," newly created nongendered pronouns include "zie" and "per."
A state in which the individual is of explicit gonadal sex (i.e., possesses either testes or ovaries) but has ambiguous external genitalia
Puberty suppression
A medical process that pauses the hormonal changes that activate puberty in young adolescents. The result is a purposeful delay in developing secondary sexual characteristics (such as breast growth, testicular enlargement, facial hair, body fat redistribution, and voice changes). Suppression allows more time to make decisions about hormonal interventions. It can prevent the increased dysphoria that often accompanies puberty for transgender youth.
Some in the gay community now use this word as a political statement of pride in their sexual identity. This term was once a derogatory term used for gay men.
A queerplatonic (or quasiplatonic) relationship is a relationship that is not romantic but involves a close emotional connection (platonic) beyond what most people consider friendship. The commitment level in a queerplatonic relationship is often considered similar to that of a romantic relationship. People in a queerplatonic relationship may be of any romantic or sexual orientation. A partner in a queerplatonic relationship is called a zucchini.
Acronym formed from Queer, Questioning, and Allies (the Allies referring to Queer-friendly people who do not identify as Queer).
Someone who is unsure of their sexual orientation.
Rainbow flag
A symbol celebrating the uniqueness and diversity within the GLBTI community. In 1978, San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed a flag for the city's Gay Freedom celebrations. The flag since has since been adopted nationally and internationally. It has six stripes, each a different color, ranging from purple to red, used to symbolize equality and diversity among all people. Sometimes a black stripe is added to the bottom to honor those who have died from AIDS.
Retifism (Shoes or Boots)
Shoe fetishism, also known as retifism involves being fixated on shoes or other footwear to the extent it may interfere with sexual expression.
Anal-oral contact, also referred to as anal-oral sex, rimming, or anilingus is a form of oral sex involving contact between the anus or perineum of one person and the mouth of another.
Role Playing
In roleplaying, participants adopt and act out the role of characters, or parts, that may have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own.
Fetishistic interest in the mechanics of bondage, with a particular interest in the equipment and restraints used. Some of these people are interested in leather and rubber restraints' look, feel, and aroma.
In BDSM, the term sadism refers to sexual gratification in the infliction of pain or suffering upon another person. The receptive counterpart of sadism is masochism, the sexual pleasure or gratification of having pain or suffering inflicted upon the self. Sadists enjoy inflicting pain; this may or may not be sexual. Masochists enjoy receiving pain, which may or may not be sexual. The simple desire for pain is technically known as algolagnia.
Same-sex attraction
Attraction to people of one's gender; a less loaded term than homosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Sensory Deprivation
Sensory deprivation is the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds, hoods, and earmuffs can cut off sight and hearing. At the same time, more complex devices can also cut off the sense of smell, touch, taste, thermoception, and gravity.
Refers to the biological features of a person such as a penis, vagina, breasts, etc. A complex relationship between genes, hormones, and anatomy determines sex. For example, some people have the "male" XY chromosomes but are born with a female body because they lack a gene to make the body respond to testosterone.
Sexual Identity
An individual's self-definition as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual. This is not necessarily congruent with sexual behavior or orientation.
Sexual Orientation
A three-dimensional definition including desire, identity, and sexual behavior. It is important to remember that sexual orientation does not always correlate with sexual behavior.
Somatic narcissist
The somatic narcissist will flaunt his sexual encounters and conquests. He uses women solely for sex. The somatic narcissist is aware of his physical self and is often a health freak or hypochondriac. He likes everything, including cars, luxury vacations, expensive clothes, and jewelry. Believing that these things are an extension of him, the somatic narcissist will strive to get material possessions. With this said, remember that it is a mental illness or personality disorder.
Spanking - Paddling
Erotic spanking is the practice of spanking another for the sexual gratification of either or both parties. Erotic spanking can be regarded as a form of BDSM activity. Many spankings are carried out with bare hands or with spanking implements such as paddles, straps, hairbrushes, and belts.
In 1969, police raided Stonewall Inn, a working-class gay and lesbian bar in New York's Greenwich Village, which resulted in violent rioting. Most people look to this event (and similar events in San Francisco and other major cities in the following days and weeks) as the beginning of the American Gay Liberation movement and all subsequent LGBTI movements worldwide. The incident is now known as 'Stonewall.'
A common term referring to someone who engages in opposite-sex sexual behavior.
An person who goes to great lengths to hide their same-sex attraction and who will usually be invested in appearing traditionally "masculine" or "feminine."
Telephone Scatologia
Involves people who are sexually aroused by making obscene phone calls.
Some TERFs call themselves "gender-critical feminists". "TERF" is an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists. Sometimes, "exclusionary" is expanded as "eliminationist" or "exterminationist" instead to more accurately convey the degree to which TERFs advocate for harm towards trans people, specifically trans people who were coercively assigned male at birth.
People who do not perceive, or present, their gender identity by their first assigned legal sex, but who do not seek to live as, or identify as, other than the sex to which they were first assigned.
Includes people who live, or desire to live, a large part of their life in the role or dress of the gender opposite to that associated with the legal sex to which they were first assigned. Unlike people with transsexualism (see below), they do not need or desire complete and irreversible sex affirmation treatment or sex affirmation surgery. Transgender people may have diverse and fluid sexual identities, and many identify as homosexual. The most common forms of transgender expression are transvestism, drag queens, and drag kings.
Transvestic Fetishism
Involves people who are sexually aroused by cross-dressing.
Someone who gender identifies with and lives as someone of the opposite biological sex, takes hormones and pursues sex reassignment surgery.
Transsexual Man (Transman)
FTM or female-to-male transsexual
Transsexual Woman(Transwoman)
MTF or male-to-female transsexual
The process of changing from one's birth sex to one's self-perceived gender. This may involve dressing in the manner of the self-perceived gender, changing one's name to reflect the self-perceived gender, or undergoing hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery to change one's secondary sex characteristics to reflect the self-perceived gender.
An individual who adopts the dress, and sometimes behavior, typical of the 'opposite' gender for a variety of reasons including emotional and sexual pleasure. Transvestism is often a fetish for heterosexual men. This is not to be confused with Drag, which is a cross-dressing parody performance popular in the queer community.
Transvestism is the practice of cross-dressing, wearing the clothing of the opposite sex, and transvestite refers to a person who cross-dresses.
Two Spirited
American Indian term for someone possessing both male and female spirits and who is thus neither male nor female, includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
The Vowed Virgins of Albania
These are girls and women who choose to become the heads of their household when the man of their household dies, and there is no other man to take his place. These women cut their hair short and live the rest of their lives doing the men's work, socializing with men, and being treated like the men of the household. They never marry or have children.
In 2013, the Williams Institute released a report on the number of LGBT immigrants in the United States of America. The report estimates that at least 267,000 self-identified LGBT undocumented immigrant adults currently reside in the USA.
Urolagnia (Water Sports - Urine)
Urolagnia (also known as urophilia or undinism) is a sexual fetish in which participants derive sexual pleasure from urine and urination. People with urolagnia often like to urinate in public, urinate on, or be urinated on by other people and may drink the urine. The consumption of urine is urophagia. Some like to watch others doing these things. These activities are often described by the euphemisms "golden showers" or "watersports"
Involves people who are sexually aroused by urine.
Vibrators are devices intended to vibrate against the body and stimulate the nerves for a relaxing and pleasurable feeling. Some vibrators are designed to be inserted in a body cavity for erotic stimulation.
Voyeurism is a practice in which an individual derives sexual pleasure from observing other people. Such people may be engaged in sexual acts, be nude or in underwear, or be dressed in whatever other way the "voyeur" finds appealing. Voyeurism may be tolerated or even appreciated if the people viewed are exhibitionists. This relationship is typically role-playing, where the exhibitionist pretends not to know of the voyeur's presence.
Wet dream
When a man has an erotic dream and ejaculates in his sleep.
Flagellation is the act of whipping the human body. Specialized implements for it include rods, switches, and cat-o-nine-tails. Typically, whipping is performed on unwilling subjects as a punishment; however, flagellation can also be submitted to willingly or performed on oneself in religious or sadomasochistic contexts.
Women who engage in sexual activity with other women but do not identify as lesbian or queer or bisexual.
Islamic term that refers to "males who enjoy all the rights of a man under the law worship in mosques with other men have male names and are referred to with the use of masculine grammatical form. However, xanith performs the role of women within their households, and standards of female beauty judge their attractiveness." They are segregated from women for the most festive occasions. Unlike men and women of that culture, xanith goes bareheaded and wears more perfume than women or men. They are also male sexual partners for other men. Xanith may choose to change their status to male by marrying a woman and producing a bloodied handkerchief that proves the consummation of the marriage.
A word used by lesbians of African descent, meaning women who work together as friends and lovers.
Involves people who are sexually attracted to animals. also provides a related extensive list of Acronyms Used by Erotic Literature Authors to Classify a Story and Sexual Diversity and Gender Glossary of Terms.

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest Education and LGBT Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to Education and LGBT that includes:

High School Biology Textbooks Do Not Provide Comprehensive View of Sex and Gender thumbnail image.
Textbooks used by a majority of introductory U.S. biology classes paint a Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus image, running afoul of scientific evidence.
Publish Date: 22nd Feb 2024
Difficulty of LGBTQ classroom scenarios to approve of in elementary and secondary schools by partisan affiliation - Image Credit: USC Center for Applied Research in Education. thumbnail imagePercentages of adults, by partisan affiliation, selecting various potential purposes of public education as very important - Image Credit: USC Center for Applied Research in Education. thumbnail imagePercentages of adults overall and by partisan affiliation agreeing race-related classroom scenarios are appropriate in public elementary schools - Image Credit: USC Center for Applied Research in Education. thumbnail image
Americans united on core principles like importance of public education and parental involvement, but diverge on the details.
Publish Date: 22nd Feb 2024
How Many Genders Are There? 2024 Gender Identity List thumbnail image.
Updated 2024 list of gender identities and terms people use when identifying themselves and talking about gender.
Publish Date: 7th Dec 2022 - Updated: 10th Apr 2024
Behind the scenes at the SkillFlix video production shoot - Image Credit: dfusion, inc. thumbnail image
The article explores several lessons learned about inclusivity during formative research and video production efforts.
Publish Date: 2nd Dec 2022 - Updated: 5th Jan 2023

1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.

• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.

• (APA): (2014, October 4). Definitions: Glossary of Sex and Sexuality Words. Retrieved April 13, 2024 from

• Permalink: <a href="">Definitions: Glossary of Sex and Sexuality Words</a>