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revised Friday February 17 2023
healthy sexuality


Dental Dam A square piece of thin latex (like a condom) that is used to prevent the spread of STIs when performing oral sex on an anal or vaginal opening. A dental dam is stretched across the anal opening or a woman's vagina to prevent the exchange of body fluids like blood, semen or vaginal fluids.

Depo-Provera A hormonal birth control method used by only women. A woman gets an injection of 'Depo' every 12 weeks to prevent pregnancy.

Diaphragm A barrier birth control method used by only women. A woman inserts this soft, thin, domed-shaped rubber (latex) cup with a flexible rim into her vagina to cover the cervix. Diaphragms come in different sizes.

Douche A spray of water or solution of medication that is used to clean the vagina.



Ejaculation When a male has an orgasm, he ejaculates and semen comes out of his penis.

Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) A hormonal birth control method used by only women. Also known as the 'morning after pill', ECP is a prescription hormone pill that prevents pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after having unprotected sexual intercourse.

Erection When blood rushes into the penis, it becomes harder and larger - becoming, in fact, erect. An erection happens when a man is sexually aroused.

Erogenous Zone Any area of the body that is sensitive to intimate, sensual touch. For some it's the neck, earlobes, fingers, and toes.



Female Condom A barrier birth control method used by only women. A thin, soft plastic shield that is placed inside the vagina. The female condom is the only woman-controlled birth control method that helps prevent both STIs and HIV/AIDS.

Fertility The ablity to conceive.

Foreplay Physical and sexual stimulation before sex, like kissing, touching, stroking and massaging.



Gay Once a slang word for only homosexual men; now an accepted term for both homosexuals and lesbians.

Gay Bashing Physical or verbal assaults against someone, male or female, who is thought to be gay or bisexual.

Genital Herpes A common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects about one in five adults. There are two types. Type 1 generally causes sores on or near the mouth (cold sores) while type 2 usually causes sores on the genitals.

Gonorrhea A common sexually transmitted infection (STI) sometimes referred to as 'the Clap.' Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria and is spread by having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with someone who is infected.



Hepatitis B 'Hep B' is a virus that can cause a serious infection of the liver. Some people who get Hepatitis B don't know they have it because they never feel sick.

Hepatitis C The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to chronic liver disease like cirrhosis or scarring of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure.

Heterosexual A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex.

HIV The Human Immunodeficiency Virus: the virus that causes AIDS.

Homophobia Hating or being afraid of people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Homosexual Someone who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same sex.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) A common sexually transmitted infection (STI) also known as genital warts. These warts may grow on the penis, anus, and inside or outside of the vagina.



Infatuation Emotional and erotic attachment to another person, usually for just a short period of time.

Intercourse Usually refers to vaginal sex, but can also refer to anal sex.

Intrauterine Device (IUD) An intrauterine birth control method used by only women. The most common IUD is T-shaped and has thin plastic strings attached to it which hang through the cervix into the vagina.

An IUD slows down the sperm to prevent fertilization of the egg, and changes the lining of the uterus so that the egg doesn't attach to the uterine wall.


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Revised: Friday February 17 2023

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