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A glossary of sexual terms

Starting with letters A to C

Definitions of sexual terms starting with letters A to C:

bullet Aberrosexual: (noun or adjective). From the Latin word "aberrare:" to deviate or go astray. Referring to a person who engages in sexual activity that is considered unnatural, abnormal, or atypical. Unfortunately, there is an immense number of conflicting beliefs and definitions about what is sexually natural, normal, and typical.
bullet Abortifacient: A medication or device that is capable of inducing an abortion.
bullet Physicians and others define pregnancy as starting at implantation of the pre-embryo (a.k.a. blastocyst) in the wall of the uterus. Thus, only medications or devices that cause an abortion after implantation are considered to be abortifacients. There is a conflict over whether Plan B and similar "morning after pills" are contraceptives. Research has shown that they only function by delaying ovulation or by inhibiting fertilization.
bullet Many conservative religious conservatives regard pregnancy as beginning at conception. Some believe, in spite of extensive scientific evidence to the contrary, that emergency contraception (EC) can prevent the implantation of a blastocyst in the wall of the uterus. Thus they believe that EC can act as an abortifacient. Some of these sources maintain that they are always abortifacients.
bullet Abortion: The termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable. It can be either a naturally occurring event, or a medically induced procedure. Most people outside of the medical professions use the term to refer to terminations at any stage of pregnancy
bullet Abstinence:
bullet Not engaging in any sexual behavior with another person.

bullet Some individuals define abstinence in terms of refraining from penile-vaginal intercourse; others define the word as excluding a wider range of sexual activities.
bullet Ambisexual: An relatively uncommon synonym for bisexual orientation.
bullet Anal intercourse: A sexual act involving the insertion of a penis in, or external stimulation of, another person's anus.

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bullet Anatomical sex: The gender of a person, based on the shape and functioning of their sexual organs.
bullet Anorgasmia: A sexual dysfunction in which the individual is not able to have an orgasm.
bullet Aphrodisiac: A food, drink, medication, or sometimes a thought that intensifies sexual desire. Many ingested items considered aphrodisiacs are completely ineffective.
bullet Aromantic: A person who has little or no romantic attraction to other people. Rather than be involved in one or more romantic relationships, they are often satisfied with friendships or similar relationships. 1
bullet Asexual: A person devoid of sexual drive, attractions, feelings or desires. They typically have little or no interest in sexual activity. Some do engage in sexual activity out of a sense of duty, to procreate, or to please one's partner. Some consider asexuality a fourth sexual orientation, along with heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual orientation. Others restrict the term sexual orientation to three.
bullet Assigned gender: The sex -- female or male -- that is assigned to a newborn and recorded on their birth certificate. A very small percentage of newborns are intersex -- typically their genitals contain structures that are similar to those seen on both males and females. Their assigned gender may be determined by testing their DNA for sex chromosomes. The presence of a "Y" chromosome indicates a male.
bullet Autoeroticism: Any sexual activity done by a person in private.
bullet BDSM: Acronym for bondage and domination, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. It typically involves the use of physical restraints that limit a person's range of motion, the infliction and reception of pain, and the play-acting of submissive and dominant roles in a safe manner by a consenting couple. This can be a very unsafe activity. To increase safety, most couples use a "safeword" so that the person in the submissive role can stop all activity. They also discuss in advance what they both agree to be limits on their behavior.
bullet Bestiality: Sexual activity between a human and a non-human. See Genesis 19 in the Bible for an example involving human males and angels.
bullet Bisexual:

General definition: A sexual orientation in which a person is sexually attracted to both men and women, although not necessarily to the same degree. They may or may not act on their feelings of attraction.

The term "pansexuality" is so close to "bisexuality" that they are often used interchangeably. However, some bisexual persons regard gender as having only two types -- male and female -- while pansexual persons generally regard gender as being non-binary: people may identify as male, female, both, neither, or alternating.

bullet As defined by many religious conservatives: A behavior in which a person engages in sexual activity with both men and women. The term is rarely used among conservatives; most prefer to recognize only two sexual orientations: heterosexual and homosexual.
bullet Bisexual erasure, bisexual invisibility, & Bi-erasure: the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or explain away evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media and other primary sources; also to deny that bisexuality exists. This is most commonly seen among religious conservatives and among people who work in the reparative therapy field or who support conversion therapy. They typically believe that there are only two sexual orientations: heterosexuality and homosexuality. It is also seen in the LGBT community, particularly in the past, where some gays and lesbians assume that a person claiming to have a bisexual orientation is actually gay or lesbian; this belief is rare today.
bullet Blastocyst: A fertilized ovum -- human egg -- after several days of cell division. Most people in the pro-life community consider blastocysts to be human persons worthy of all the rights and protections due newborns, children and adults. Most people in the pro-choice community consider them to be non-sentient multi-celled organisims without consciousness who might eventually develop to be human persons. This difference of opinion drives the pro-choice/pro-life movement.
bullet Blowjob, BJ: See Fellatio
bullet Castration: The surgical removal of a man's testes.
bullet Celibate: A individual who is not sexually active with another person. Fewer than 5% of North Americans have remained celibate before their first marriage.
bullet Chastity: Most persons use the term to imply the lack of sexual activity between two persons while single. It is sometimes used to refer to the faithfulness of a person to their married spouse. In some cases it involves the lack of sexual activity with one's spouse during menstruation or for a defined interval after the birth of a child.
bullet Chemical castration: The use of medication to reduce a person's sexual drive.
bullet Circle, safe sex: A group of more than two individuals who have all tested negatively for STI's who agree to engage in sexual intercourse only with each other and without the protection of condoms or other barriers to prevent the transmission of STIs.

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bullet Circumcision: The surgical act of removing the foreskin from a penis. Occasionally, the term is used to refer to the partial or complete removal of a girl's or woman's clitoris and/or clitoral hood and/or labia. This is a cultural tradition common mainly in North African countries, which is gradually becoming less common. See female genital mutilation.
bulletCome: A slang term:
bullet Verb: To have an orgasm.

bullet Noun: Ejaculated sperm
bullet Coming out: A person acknowledging to themselves, their family, friends, and/or co-workers that they have a homosexual or bisexual orientation. This can be a gradual process extending over a considerable time interval.
bulletConception: The process involving the fertilization of an ovum by a spermatozoa. Human life with a unique DNA is formed diring this process.

bullet Pro-lifers generally regard this as an event at one moment of time involving the creation of a human person and the start of pregnancy. However, conception is a time consuming process.

bullet Many pro-choicers believe that a personhood is attained by an embryo or fetus much later in pregnancy. They, and medical professionals, regard pregnancy as starting when the blastocyst fully implants itself in the wall of the uterus.
bulletConcupiscence: a strong desire -- particularly a sexual desire,
bullet Condom: A flexible sleeve, used to cover an erect penis to prevent conception. Many Roman Catholic and conservative Protestant teach that they are relatively or completely ineffective at preventing conception or infection from AIDS or other STIs. Public health specialists, physicians, human sexuality specialists teach that, properly used, they are very effective at preventing infection or conception.
bullet Contraception:
bullet General definition: The use of mechanical devices, foams, medication and/or creams to prevent pregnancy.

bullet Religious conservatives: The use of mechanical devices, foams, medication and/or creams to prevent conception.
bullet Contragestation: A medication that can prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum or cause the lining of the uterus to shed after implantation. According to the medical definition of pregnancy, the former would be the action of a contraceptive; the latter would be the action of an abortifacient. According to the common conservative Christian definition of pregnancy, either actions would be abortifacients, since they regard pregnancy as starting at conception.

bullet Copulation: Penile-vaginal sexual activity; a.k.a. Making love.
bullet Core gender identity: Synonym for gender identity.
bullet Corrective rape: A sexual assault in which a person is raped because of their sexual orientation (including asexuality) or gender identity. Part of the motivation by the rapist is the deluded belief that sexual activity -- even if forced -- will "correct" the victim and convert them into cisgendered, heterosexual, individuals with an active sex drive.
bullet Cross-dressing: A person who adopts clothing, makeup, hair styles, etc that are normally restricted to the other sex. See Transvestite.
bullet Cum: See Come

bullet Cunnilingus: A form of oral sex involving the stimulation of a woman's clitoris, typically by another person's tongue.

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Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Aromantic," AVENwiki, 2013-SEP-10, at:

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Copyright 2003 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-DEC-11
Latest update: 2010-MAR-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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