Sex+ Terms

For clarity, consideration, or to help non-native English speakers, here are some terms you may encounter around here. I will add to each section as the terms are covered in videos. Feel free to add your own terms below or please contact me if you have an updated/more concise definition. I’ve organized terms into the following sections, which you can click to visit.

Of Gender and Sex
Orientation Labels
Social Awareness Terms
Sexual Violence

Sections in progress: sexual violence, lifestyles, safe sex/std terms, human development

Of Gender and Sex

Gender: Gender is born through our social/cultural interactions and is expressed in our varying degrees of femininity and masculinity. Contrary to popular belief, there are many genders, and they do not necessarily reflect the sex of the individual.

Sex: Sex is biological and is reflective of the genitals one has. Sex can be male (XY), female (XX), or intersex (XXY or XXYY).

Intersex: Having some combination of both genitals (i.e. women born with enlarged clitoris, lacks vaginal opening, scrotum divided and looks more like a labia, etc). “Hermaphrodite” is an outdated and generally offensive term for this condition.

>>What’s the difference between gender and sex?
“Gender is between your ears, sex is between your legs.” Gender occurs according to your socialization/culture, but sex is biological and occurs regardless of culture. Thus, gender is more fluid than sex.

Gender Identity: How somebody identifies their own gender.

Transgender: Transgendered individuals may not identify with a gender or may identify with a gender that does not match their assumed sex pairing. (I.e. a female-bodied person who identifies as a man.)

Transsexual: A transsexual is an individual who has taken steps to make their outward expression match their gender identity. These steps might include clothing, make up, hair styles, hormones, and surgery.

Transwoman: A transperson who identifies as a woman.

Transman: A transperson who identifies as a man.

Transfolk: Those who identify as trans, often in reference to the trans community.

MTF/FTM: An outdated term for transwoman/transman. Is also used to specify the nature of an individual’s transition (male to female transsexual, female to male transsexual).

>>What’s a “tranny”?
“Tranny” is a slang term for a transsexual. It is disagreed upon within the trans community as to whether “tranny” is an offensive term.

Orientation Labels

Sexual Orientation: Refers to which genders and sexes a person is attracted.

Bisexual: A sexual orientation wherein the individual is attracted to men and women.

Heterosexual: Aka straight. A sexual orientation wherein the individual is attracted to the opposite sex.

Homosexual: Aka gay or lesbian. A sexual orientation wherein the individual is attracted to the same sex – lesbian refers exclusively to women.

Pansexual: A sexual orientation wherein the individual loves indiscriminate of gender identity or sex.

Asexual: Refers to the absence of sexual attraction, and in some cases, the absence of sexual orientation.

Queer: An umbrella term which serves to reunite all orientations to a single state of fluid humanity; it is an assertion that as humans, we are all different, quirky, or “queer”. Anybody can identify as queer. “Queer” used to be a derogatory term for homosexuals, but is being reclaimed by people across gender and sexual orientations.

Ally: Someone who is willing to stand up and support another across differences.

Social Awareness Terms

Sex Positive/Sex Negative: Click here.

Homophobia: Irrational and negative behaviors or attitudes toward lesbians and gays. Provokes homosexual discrimination.

Transphobia: Irrational and negative behaviors or attitudes toward transfolk. Provokes trans discrimination.

Xenophobia: The fear of other cultures.

Heterosexism: Attitudes or biases which glorify heterosexual relationships above all others; may also refer to heterosexuality as a “default” sexuality.

Sexism: The belief that one sex is superior to another.

Genderism: The belief that there are and should be only two genders and that gender is not removable from sex.

Patriarchy: A social system which places men at the center of all organization.

Racism: The belief that one race is inherently superior to another/all others.

Weightism: Discriminatory behavior against others based on their weight.

Singlelism: Discriminatory behavior against those who are not married, whether or not by choice. Provoked by marriage as a “default” relationship format.

Ageism: Discriminatory behavior or attitudes against a particular age group. The belief in a superior age group.

Minorities: Groups based on shared characteristics; a minority is relative to its sociological context. In majority rule systems, minorities are vulnerable to the oppression of the largest or most powerful group. In the social sciences (what we do here!) “minorities” refers to those with less social power per body.

Oppression: To keep someone subordinated or in hardship, especially in unjust and cruel ways.

Subordinate: To unjustly treat as inferior.

Socialization: The internalization (it becomes unconscious to you) of social/cultural norms and expectations through social conditioning (being around people).

Privilege: A social or economic advantage not enjoyed by all that one did not have to work to gain.

Politically Correct: Language, behaviors, or legislation that seek to minimize the targeting of specific subordinated groups.


Monogamy: A relationship style in which you only have one sexual partner at a time. Reflected in the institution of marriage.

Polygamy: Means “many marriages”. Refers to being married to multiple persons at one time.

Polyamory: Means “many loves”. To have multiple consensual, loving relationships with others at the same time. Does not necessarily indicate desire for polygamy.

Open-Relationship: Typically refers to an emotionally monogamous but sexually open relationship. Various couples may adopt different levels of emotional or sexual commitment to each other.

Swingers: Those in a monogamous relationship who collaboratively choose to swap partners with other couples.

Sexual Violence

Rape: Forced, unwanted contact with or penetration of the genitals.

Sexual Harassment: Intimidation, bullying, or unwanted advances of a sexual nature.

Stalking: Unwanted and obsessive attention given to an individual against their will and/or knowledge.

Abuse: Using emotional, physical, financial, or psychological means to assert power and control over another individual.

Roofies: Refers to date rape drugs (heavy sedative) in general, but originally referred only to Rohypnol.

This page and the entire “Basics” section are still under construction. Check back soon for more!

125 thoughts on “Sex+ Terms

  1. I just came to this basics page from the post “I JUST HAD SEX,” looking for a definition of heteronormative. Expanding this glossary should be on your To-Do list. Thanks, also, for sex+, this website, and everything else!

  2. You really should have a subscription for updates… like have people subscribe to this so when ever you do something on it, everyone gets an email notification.

  3. I just want to say thank you for all the awesome and interesting facts :) You’re amazing! I’m sharing you with all my friends on facebook :D

  4. I’m curious about the difference between being labelled as ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’: Everyone I’ve asked about this has responded by claiming that homosexual men are ‘gay’ and homosexual women are ‘lesbian’. Since a ‘lesbian’ is a gay woman, are these labels simply a means by which an intolerable society propagates its tendencies to separate groups by any means necessary, or is there actually a definitive and distinguishable difference between the two terms?

    • hey Leo,

      yes and no. both terms imply homosexuality, as you know, lesbian specifically used for and by female-identified and female-bodied folk. beyond that, in some cases very different subcultures have developed – possibly partly due to differing treatment of female and male homosexuality by the medical/psychological professions. or possibly not. do your own research, but briefly, while in many instances and many places male homosexuality was aggressively, brutally discouraged, criminalised and medicalised, female homosexuality was dismissed as nonexistent (and, also, medicalised. along with the rest of female sexuality. yay.) both are horrible responses in their own way, and all kinds of homosexuality got their fair share of all manner of oppression and repression.

      sidetracked, sorry. so at a population level (if that term is even appropriate in this context), no there’s not much difference. but on an individual level, these words form an important part of many people’s identities, along with many other words, some of them reclaimed from oppressors (queer, faggot, dyke, etc.)

  5. Hey Laci! Thanks for all the blogs and the webpage and stuff; my boyfriend and I love watching your videos together and discussing them afterwards. I think it’s been a very cool way to bring up certain topics that we might usually not feel comfortable speaking about. After watching a “Sex and the City” episode that revolved around anal sex, we thought it would be a good idea for you to make a “do’s and dont’s” video about it. I

  6. Hey Laci! Thanks for all the blogs and the webpage and stuff; my boyfriend and I love watching your videos together and discussing them afterwards. I think it’s been a very cool way to bring up certain topics that we might usually not feel comfortable speaking about. After watching a “Sex and the City” episode that revolved around anal sex, we thought it would be a good idea for you to make a “do’s and dont’s” video about it. I just never hear this in a discussion :P

  7. If you want, I could help you compile a list of asexual-related terms, Laci. I’m an asexual myself, so I got the “connections.” Haha. And since I’m under the trans umbrella too, I could maybe reference you to some more trans terms.

  8. I want to thnkx for that time you have made in writing this blogpost. I am hoping exactly the same best work of your stuff in the future too. In fact your creative writing skill has inspired me to start my very own blog now. Truly the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is really a fine example of it.

    • “Mind your words. I am not interested about what is going on among some pelope.”Yes, Yes Nambi. You are not interested in some poor pelope here. It is obvious that you are interested in only one person – your close friend. Right? :-)”What I try to highlight here is in order to condemn one’s act, you pointed innocent pelope who need care in this soceity.”Hey Nambi, I explained already that the target here is not an innocent person.”If you cant understand the basic difference, I dont care the heck.”Nonsense. இங க ய ர சர ய கப ப ர ந த க ள ளவ ல ல ய ன ற பட ப பவர கள ம ட வ ச ய யட ட ம . :-)சர ப வட ட ம . ஒர ந ள ச ங க க க த ர ம ப வர வ ங கத ன . அப ப ப ச க க றன .

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    • Hi guysReceived my copy of your book and the individual photo yedsertay thanks so much! You should be really proud of yourselves and the work you are doing for the orangs. I am definitely older than the 3-15 year age group but I thoroughly enjoyed the book and loved the photography. Still envious that you were able to cuddle orangs! I will do my best to spread the word about your book. Good luck!

  20. What characteristics are taken into consideration when classifying people into races? Is it biological differences, cultural differences, or both? Is there something else I’m not taking into consideration? A book I’ve read recently seems to suggest race originally only meant biological differnces and classifying people into races didn’t start until the 1700′s as a way to justify the African Slave Trade in America and imperialism in Europe.

    • *And classifying people into races started in the 1700′s as a way to justify the African slave trade in America and imperialism in Europe.

    • This is probably a horribly late reply (and you may have already gotten your answer), but IIRC race is biologically defined while ethnicity is culturally defined. While some classifications of race extend to ethnicity, most classifications of race are based solely on physical-biological characteristics common to a certain group of people: tall, white, black, brown, blonde, blue eyes, brown eyes, &c.

      Which isn’t to say that race isn’t bullshit because I believe it is — classification of different types of people lead to the thinking that Group A > Group B, similar to gender classifications.

      • [[Which isn’t to say that race isn’t bullshit because I believe it is ]]

        Am I reading that correctly or did you mean to put a “don’t” somewhere in there?

    • There are two specialty oficfes I would like to work in. My interest are in the nervous system and the endocrine system.In the 12 years I have been with my boyfriend, he has lost two sisters and a brother to different forms of lupus. He also lost his mother to the disease before 20 years before I met him. I feel working with an endocrinologist or neurologist I will be able to learn more on how these system works.The proctologist office would be at the bottom of the list. After experiencing a lower GI to rule out problems in my stomach. I refuse to go through that again.

  21. Hey Laci I’ve been a fan of you on the youtube for ages and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about this kinda thing. It’s about a problem I had when I had my sexual debut with my girlfriend and I couldn’t get an erection. We did other things for a bit until I got up but by the time I got the condom on I was a bit semi. I tried to have vaginal sex but I wasn’t fully erect and I couldn’t come and I ended up faking… I don’t know what to do, I have stopped masterbating for in the, can’t come video you sugested this for two weeks however I don’t know if it will help with the erection problem.

  22. Mitzi I can answer this becsaue my family lives down there! You are outside of my color planting schedule by about a month. The trick is, Las Vegas gets so hot in the summer, but you can grow almost all winter long. My book is really for a spring-summer-fall planting schedule. The dates I offer might work for you and others who live in warmer climates, but really have a spring-summer and a fall-winter season. I am very aware of your needs, and it’s on my list of things to research and write about. But honestly, I can’t speak from experience, only from my research. I encourage you to contact your local extension service ( for a recommended planting schedule.

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