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A glossary of sexual terms

Starting with letters H to R

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A list of words beginning with the letters "a" to "g" are in the previous essay.

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

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Definitions of sexual terms starting with letters H to R:

bullet Harry Benjamin's Syndrome: A biological condition in which a person's brain develops as one sex, but the rest of the body takes on the physical attributes of the other sex. This appears to be caused by an interruption to the sexual differentiation processes which normally happens in early pregnancy. This syndrome has been renamed Transgenderism or Gender Identity Disorder (GID). 4
bullet Hebephilia: A condition in which an adult or older teen, almost always male, is sexually attracted to young persons who are going through puberty -- typically 11 to 14 years-of-age. The older person may or may not act on their feelings.
bullet Hermaphrodite: A person who genitals possess elements of male and female primary sexual characteristics.
bullet Heternormal: The opinion that only heterosexual sexual orientation is normal, natural, and potentially moral.
bullet Heterosexism: Rejecting homosexual and bisexual orientations as normal, valid sexual orientations.
bulletGeneral definition: A sexual orientation in which a person is sexually attracted only to persons of the opposite gender. They may or may not act on their attraction.

bulletReligious conservatives: A behavior in which a person engages in sexual activity only with members of the opposite gender.
bulletHomophobia: A term that has so many different definitions that it is almost meaningless. A few of its meanings are:

bulletFear of persons with a homosexual orientation.

bulletHatred of homosexuals.

bullet A desire to restrict the human rights of homosexuals, including the right to marry the person that they love and too whom they are committed. We use this latter meaning in this web site.
bullet General definition: A sexual orientation in which a person is sexually attracted only to persons of the same gender. They may or may not act on their attraction. It is generally regarded by gays, lesbians, bisexuals, religious liberals, human sexuality researchers and others as normal, natural, not chosen and fixed. It is generally considered to be morally neutral. The LGBT community generally prefer the term gay or lesbian.

bulletReligious conservatives: A behavior involving sexual activity with members of the same gender. It is generally regarded as abnormal, unnatural, chosen, and changeable. It is considered sinful, irrespective of the nature of the relationship between the participants.
bullet Hysterotomy: A method of terminating a late pregnancy. It is similar to performing a Caesarian Section. An incision is made into the woman's uterus and the fetus is removed.
bullet Implantation: The embedding of the blastocyst in the inside wall of the uterus.

bulletMedical specialists define this act as the start of pregnancy.

bullet Religious conservatives generally define a point in the fertilization process as the start of pregnancy.
bullet Incest: Sexual behavior between two persons who are closely related genetically -- typically parent-child or brother-sister. Various political jurisdictions and faith groups define the degree of closeness differently and assign different punishments for infractions.
bulletGeneral definition: Killing a newborn baby.

bulletReligious conservatives: Some consider an abortion that is very late in pregnancy to be a form of infanticide.
bullet Infantophilia: Synonym: "Nepiophilia." An individual, typically male, who is 16 years or older and who is sexually attracted to very young children ages 0 to 3. The older person may or may not sexually abuse the child.

bullet Intersexuals: Individuals born with anatomy or physiology which differ from cultural ideals of male and female." The newborn may have an enlarged or protruding clitoris, or a "micro-penis". 1 Frequently, intersex infants undergo genital surgery to make them appear as a "normal" female. There is growing opposition to such surgery. As adults, they often "manifest physical characteristics, expression or identity" that differs from the sex that was assigned to them at birth. 2
bulletGeneral definition: A female who is sexually attracted only to other women. She may or may not act on their attraction.

bullet Religious and social conservative usage: A woman who engages in sexual activity with other women.
bullet LGBT: An acronym that stands for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual community. Sometimes the letter I is added as a suffix to indicate intersexual. Sometimes the letter is added as a suffix to indicate questioning. LGBT is sometimes written as GLBT.
bulletLingam: Sanskrit word for the penis. Loosely translated as "wand of light."
bulletMasturbation: Usually refers to any manual self-stimulation of a person's sexual organs. Mutual masturbation involves two or more persons stimulating each other.
bulletMetrosexual: An urban male with a heterosexual orientation who rejects many macho attributes often linked to masculinity. He adopts many traits often associated with heterosexual females and gay males -- e.g. expensive hair care, stylish clothes. 3
bullet Miscarriage: An normally tragic event in which an embryo, or a fetus before the 25th week of gestation, dies from natural causes and is expelled from the woman's body.
bulletMonogamy: An exclusive sexual relationship between two persons.
bulletMonosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to persons of only one sex. They may have a heterosexual or a homosexual orientation.

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bullet Morning-after pill: Synonym for emergency contraception that is used up to about 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
bullet Nepiophilia: Synonym: "Infantophilia:" An individual, typically male, who is 16 years or older and who is sexually attracted to very young children ages 0 to 3. The older person may or may not sexually abuse the child.
bullet Omnisexual: An individual who is open to -- or who actually engages in -- a broad range of sexual activities, which might involve males and females, a wide range of adult ages, and perhaps a variety of paraphilias. Synonym: pansexual.
bullet Open marriage: A committed relationship of two persons in which the spouses agree that both are free to engage in outside sexual relationships.
bulletOral Sex: The use of the mouth and/or tongue to stimulate another person's genitals.
bullet Orgasm: A combination of phenomenally intense feelings of pleasure with contractions of muscles in the area of the genitals. Many women can have a series of orgasms, one following shortly after another. Most men have only a single orgasm, accompanied by an ejaculation. Some men can experience multiple orgasms within a short interval, in which ejaculation occurs only once, during the last orgasm.
bullet Orgy: Sexual activity involving a group of more than two persons, usually in the same room.
bulletOvum: The female reproductive cell. Plural form: ova
bullet Pansexual: An individual who is open to -- or who actually engages in -- a very broad range of sexual activities, which might involve males and females, a wide range of adult ages, and perhaps a variety of paraphilias. Synonym: omnisexual.
bullet Paraphilia: An umbrella term which includes many conditions in which an adult's sexual arousing fantasies involve non-human objects, the infliction of pain, non-adults, or other non-consenting persons. Some examples are: ephebophila, exhibitionism, hebephilia, fetishism, frotteurism, pedophilia, sexual masochism, sexual sadism, transvestite behavior, and voyeurism.

It is derived from two Greek words: ''para" means "beyond" and "philia" means "love for." They may or may not act on their attraction. A very few religious and social conservatives link the 25 or so recognized paraphilias with the three generally accepted sexual orientations (homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality) and add transgenderism to produce about 30 classifications that they arbitrarily define as sexual orientations. There is a near consensus among people who are not religious and social conservatives that only the three generally accepted sexual orientations exist.

Pedophile: From the Greek "pis" (child) and "philia" (friendship.)

  • Medical definition: An adult or older youth who has "recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (age 13 years or younger)." Some pedophiles prefer males, others prefer females, and some are aroused by both males and females." 1 Pedophiles do not necessarily act on their desires.

  • Common definition: An adult or older youth who sexually abuses a prepubescent child or children.

  • Law enforcement definition: An adult or older youth who has been convicted of a sexual crime involving a child or youth under the age of 18. The term "predatory pedophile" is now becoming more widely used to differentiate abusive pedophiles from pedophiles that do not abuse.

bulletPhebophilia: Alternative term for ephebophilia. Both words are derived from the Greek words ''phepius" means "youth;" and "philia" means "love for."
bullet Plural marriage: Synonym for polygyny. Typically, one husband shares many wives; each wife sometimes has a separate living space.
bullet Polyamory: Greek for "many loves." The state of loving multiple people at the same time. I am told that this can be very exhausting!
bulletPolyandry: The extremely rare practice in which a woman is married to more than one husband.
bulletPolygamy: An umbrella term encompassing both polyandry and polygyny.
bulletPolyfidelity: A committed relationships involving more than two persons in which all sexual activity is confined to the group.
bullet Polygyny: A form of polygamy in which a man has more than one wife. This was seen in many places in the Bible. It is still practiced in predominately Muslim countries where a man can generally be married to up to four wives -- but only if he can treat them equally. This is seen in many Western U.S. states among some fundamentalist Mormon denominations. It is illegal in Canada. However, it has been practiced for decades by a fundamentalist Mormon sect in British Columbia, Canada with minimal to no government and police interference. The ruling of a recent court case in British Columbia determined that married polygyny is illegal, but that informal living arrangements that have not been solemnized by a commitment ritual can be legally pursued.
bulletPolymarriage: A committed relationship involving more than two persons. It often involves a commitment ritual. Synonym: Group marriage
bullet Pre-embryo: The products of conception shortly after time of fertilization when its cells are undifferentiated stem cells.
bullet Prepubescent: An ambiguous term used to refer to a child who has not reached puberty or to a child who is close to attaining puberty.
bulletQuad: In a sexual sense: A sexual exchange involving four persons. A sexually active relationship involving four persons.
bulletQueer: This most often refers to something that is strange or odd. It is also often used in reference to gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, and asexual communities. It is also used as a synonym for GLBT and LGBT. Antonym: heteronormative.
bullet Rape: A criminal act involving sexual activity without the informed consent of the other person. This may happen because of coercion, or because the other person in not fully capable of granting consent, or is underage. Starting in 2012, rape was legalized in some U.S. states when laws were passed require a physician to insert a transvaginal ultrasound probe in a patient's vagina against her will. The laws require this if she is seeking an abortion early in gestation.
bullet RU-486: A commonly used abortifacient medication used to terminate pregnancy non-surgically.

References used:

  1. The Intersex Society of North America maintains a home page at: http://www.isna.org/ They have a FAQ section, which describes their newsletter and other materials on intersexuality.
  2. "Discrimination Against transgender People In America," The International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy (ICTLEP), at: http://www.qrd.org/. See also: http://web.telecom.cz/
  3. "84 definitions of metrosexual," at:  http://www.urbandictionary.com/
  4. "Harry Benjamin Syndrome," at: http://www.harrybenjaminsyndrome-info.org/

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Copyright © 2003 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-DEC-11
Latest update: 2013-APR-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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