An abortion, or termination, is ending a pregnancy so it does not result in the birth of a child. There are two types of abortion: medical, which usually involves taking two medications, normally 24 to 48 hours apart, to end an early pregnancy, and surgical, which involves a minor operation. Medical abortions can normally be accessed up to 10 weeks after your last period, while surgical abortions can usually be accessed up to 24 weeks after your last period. Medical and surgical abortions can generally only be carried out up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, but in exceptional circumstances, an abortion can take place after 24 weeks. Abortion is legal in Great Britain and can be accessed on the NHS.
Abortion Pill Myth
The abortion pill myth is the common misunderstanding that the morning after pill can terminate a pregnancy. Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy by delaying or inhibiting ovulation so pregnancy cannot occur. The morning after pill cannot interrupt or end a pregnancy.
Abstinence means avoiding sexual activity. For some people it means refraining from any sexual act, while for some it might be specific to penetrative sex.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the name used to describe the infections and illnesses that happen when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus. AIDS cannot be transmitted between people, but HIV can.
Anal sex is penetrative sex of the anus. It can also refer to other forms of anal pleasure, such as penetration with fingers or a toy (like a butt plug).
Anilingus is oral sex performed on your partner's anus. You might want to ask them to shower first.
The areola is the circle of darker skin on the breast around the nipple. This varies in size, shape and colour from person to person.
An asexual person may experience low or absent sexual desire or attractions, low or absent sexual behaviours, exclusively romantic non-sexual behaviour, or a combination of both absent sexual desires and behaviours.
An agender person is ‘without gender’, meaning they do not identify with being male or female.
Barrier methods of contraception work by physically blocking the passage of sperm to a woman's uterus. They do not contain any hormones. Barrier methods of contraception include condoms, the diaphragm and the femidom.
BDSM stands for: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission and Sadism & Masochism. BDSM is a broad term for various sexual and non-sexual erotic role-playing.
Birth control is the name given to all sorts of contraception that allow people to enjoy sex while protecting themselves against an unplanned pregnancy.
Bisexual means being sexually and/or romantically attracted to people regardless of their gender.
Blue balls' is a slang term for pain in the testicles when someone is aroused but does not ejaculate. The ache comes from pressure as the testicles and penis swell due to arousal. It won't cause any long-term damage. And, despite the name, the testicles don't change colour.
Blow Job (also abbreviated to ‘BJ’) is slang for performing oral sex on someone with a penis.
Boner is a slang term for an erect penis.
A butt plug is a sex toy shaped like a teardrop, designed for insertion in the anus. The 'plug' term comes from the wide base, that makes the toy easy to remove.
The calendar method is another name for 'fertility tracking'. This is when people track their periods to work out when they ovulate and the days of the month they are most likely to conceive. This method is very unreliable for anyone trying to prevent pregnancy: read more here.
The cap is a barrier method of contraception that fits inside the vagina and stops sperm reaching the cervix. You use the cap with a gel that kills sperm (spermicide). You insert the cap before sex, and leave it in for 6 hours afterwards.
Celibacy is when a person chooses to be unmarried or sexually abstinent: or both. Some people may choose to take a vow of celibacy as part of their religious practice.
Cervical mucus is a fluid discharge from the cervix. Cervical Mucus differs in thickness and amount depending on where you are in your cycle. Some contraceptive pills make this mucus thicker, in order to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
The cervix is the lower, narrower, part of the womb. The cervical canal connects the opening of the vagina to the uterus - this is what sperm swim up to meet an egg.
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually-transmitted infections in the UK which is passed on through unprotected sex (i.e. sex without a condom). Many people with chlamydia have no symptoms, but they can include unusual discharge and pain when peeing. For more information about chlamydia, read here.
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis. Many cultures around the world circumcise newborn babies for religious or cultural reasons. Some people might choose to become circumcised later in life, for aesthetic or medical reasons.
CIS stands for 'Comfortable In Skin'. A cisgender person is someone who feels very comfortable in the gender they were assigned at birth.
Climax is another word for orgasm. This is an intense feeling of sexual pleasure accompanied by muscle contractions in the vagina, or ejaculation of sperm from the penis.
The clitoris is the primary source of sexual pleasure for people with vaginas. The external part ofe clitoris (the glans clitoris) is around the size of a pea and can be found above the vagina and urethra. The clitoris is the only organ whose only purpose is pleasure.
The combined pill contains artificial versions of the hormones progesterone and oestrogen which prevents ovulation, so no egg is released and therefore no pregnancy can take place. The combined pill is 99% effective when taken correctly.
‘Coming out' or 'coming out of the closet' is an expression used to describe LGBTQ+ people disclosing their sexual orientation to their family and friends.
Conception is the act of becoming pregnant through sexual intercourse.
Condoms are the only contraceptive that can protect against both pregnancy and STIs. There are 2 variations: those that can be worn on the penis or inside the vagina. Condoms can be made of latex or from polyisoprene/polyurethane (for those with a latex allergy).
Consent means agreeing to do something. In a sexual situation, this means freely agreeing to take part in the sexual activity. Consent should be enthusiastically given and not the result of coercion. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
Contraception is the name given to methods or devices that are used to prevent pregnancy. Using a condom as a form of contraception can also protect you against sexually transmitted infections.
The copper coil is a nickname given to the copper IUD (intrauterine device). This is a small, T-shaped, device that is inserted in the womb by a doctor or nurse. It releases copper to stop you getting pregnant and can protect against pregnancy for between 5 & 10 years.
Cum is another word for semen.
Cunnilingus is oral sex performed on the vagina. This is where a partner uses their mouth to stimulate the sex organs.
Cybersex is the term given to sexual activity taking place between two people connected via computer network. This might take the form of exchanging explicit messages or pictures.
Cystitis is a common UTI (urinary tract infection). It is an inflammation of the bladder. The main symptoms are a burning sensation when peeing and sometimes pain in the lower tummy. Cystitis can go away on its own, or can be treated with antibiotics.
Dental dams are thin pieces of latex that can be used to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during oral sex. You place a dental dam between the mouth and the sex organs to create a barrier.
A diaphragm is a flexible cup that is inserted inside the vagina. It covers the cervix during sex to prevent pregnancy. For a diaphragm to be most effective, it should be used with spermicide (a gel that kills sperm).
A dick pic is exactly what it sounds like: a picture of a penis.
A dildo is a sex toy shaped like a penis. They can be used for masturbation or with a partner.
A douche is a device that sprays water into the vagina. Some people believe that douching makes them feel cleaner, but health experts have warned that it can upset the healthy bacteria that live in the vagina.
Dry Humping is the act of simulating sex with a partner while remaining fully clothed.
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, normally in one of the fallopian tubes. Unfortunately, it's not possible to continue an ectopic pregnancy as the egg will not continue to develop into a baby and it can put the mother's health at significant risk. When an ectopic pregnancy is found, it usually has to be removed using medicine or an operation.
The egg cell, or ovum, is the female reproductive cell. Eggs live in the ovaries and one is released every month for women of child bearing age - this is called ovulation. A sperm cell fusing with an egg is called fertilisation.
Ejaculation is when semen shoots out of the penis. This can happen at the point of orgasm, but it is possible to ejaculate without having an orgasm or to have an orgasm without ejaculating. Some vaginas can also ejaculate fluid - vaginal ‘squirting fluid’ is normally colourless and odourless. Scientists do not currently understand the purpose of vaginal ejaculation or how it works.
An embryo is the name given to a fertilised egg in the earliest stages of development. An embryo becomes a foetus after week 8 of pregnancy.
ellaOne is the most effective morning after pill* which is effective up to five days after unprotected sex. ellaOne works by delaying ovulation, so no egg is released and therefore no fertilisation can take place.
Emergency contraception is a contraceptive that can be effective after unprotected sex has taken place. There are two main types of emergency contraception: hormonal emergency contraception, often referred to as the morning after pill, or the copper coil. Emergency contraception cannot terminate a pregnancy. Hormonal emergency contraception can help prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation so no egg is released. The copper coil makes it harder for sperm to swim which can prevent them from reaching an egg.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Endometriosis is a long-term chronic pain condition, there is no cure but there are treatments to make the symptoms manageable.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is when someone is unable to maintain an erection. This can be down to many factors like stress or alcohol consumption and can happen to anyone sometimes, but it can also become a more persistent problem. People experiencing prolonged periods of erectile dysfunction may want to see a doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.
Also known as a boner, wood, a stiffy or a hard-on. An erection is when blood flows to the penis, making the spongy tissue in the penis swell. Erections aren’t always the result of sexual arousal, they can happen at random.
The primary female sex hormone. Both women and men produce oestrogen but it plays a bigger role in the female body. This is the hormone responsible for the development of the female reproductive system and the regulation of the menstrual cycle.
Fallopian tubes (also called oviducts) are between the uterus and the ovaries. When the egg is released during ovulation, it travels down a fallopian tube, and when sperm enter the vagina they swim to the fallopian tubes hoping to find an egg there to begin the fertilisation process.
Fellatio is another word for a blowjob, BJ, giving head or sucking off. It means performing oral sex on a penis.
Female condoms (also known as internal condoms) are made of latex (or synthetic latex for those with allergies). The female condom lines the vagina and can be inserted before sex.
Also known as 'squirting', female ejaculation is when fluid is ejaculated from the urethra before or at the point of orgasm.
This is when people track their periods to work out when they ovulate and the days of the month they are most likely to conceive. This method is often unreliable for people trying to prevent pregnancy: read more here.
Human fertilisation is the fusing of an egg and sperm which join to create a single cell, otherwise known as a zygote. Around five days after fertilisation, the blastocyst stage begins in which the zygote begins dividing into a ball of cells.
A foetus is the name given to an unborn child. A pregnancy is called an embryo for the first eight weeks of development, and becomes a foetus from week 9 onwards.
Fingering is the name given to stimulating the vagina or vulva using the fingers and hands. It can be done by yourself (masturbation) or with a partner.
Foreplay is the name given to the sexual activity leading up to sexual intercourse. Foreplay helps to put partners in the mood for penetrative sex, or foreplay might be the main act in itself.
A foreskin is the fold of skin that covers the head of the penis. The foreskin is sometimes removed during circumcision.
Fornication is an old-fashioned term for sexual intercourse between two unmarried people.
The G-spot is believed to be an area inside the vagina that can feel very pleasurable when stimulated and lead to orgasms. The existence of the G-spot is not proven, and not everyone will experience it. The G-spot may be an internal part of the clitoris.
Gay, or homosexual, means being sexually attracted to people of the same sex. This is what the ‘G’ stands for in ‘LGBT’.
Genital herpes is an infection of the herpes virus on the genitals. It can be passed via vaginal, oral and anal sex. Symptoms are small blisters around your genitals. There is no cure for genital herpes, but your doctor or sexual health nurse can help to treat the symptoms.
Genital warts is a common STI passed through vaginal, anal and oral sex. You should visit your sexual health clinic if you find these painless warts around your genitals. There is no cure for genital warts, but it is possible for your body to clear the virus over time.
Gonad is the name given to sex glands or reproductive glands. Ovaries and testicles are both examples of gonads. They produce reproductive cells (egg cells and sperm).
Gonorrhoea is an STI caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. It used to be known as "the Clap". Gonorrhoea is passed on via unprotected sex. Symptoms include greeny-yellow discharge and pain when peeing. It can be treated with antibiotics.
Gynaecology is the name given to the medical specialism of the female reproductive system. A doctor who practices in women's health is a gynaecologist.
A hand job is the act of stimulating a penis with a hand.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver that can be spread through bodily fluids. If you think you have been exposed to Hepatitis B you should visit your doctor or sexual health clinic as soon as possible. Symptoms tend to not develop until 2 or 3 months after exposure.
Heterosexual, also known as 'straight', means being attracted to members of the opposite sex.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease. HIV can be passed by having sex without a condom with someone carrying the virus.
Homosexual, also known as ‘gay’, means being attracted to members of the same sex.
Hormones are best described as chemical messengers - they control many bodily functions, from hunger, to puberty, to emotions. Hormones are created by glands, which are part of the endocrine system.
HPV is the abbreviated name of Human Papillomavirus, a common group of viruses. They cause no problems in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or cancer. HPV can be spread through any skin-to-skin contact of the genital area. You can be vaccinated against HPV.
The hymen is a thin bit of membrane that can cover or partially cover the opening of the vagina. Traditionally, it was believed that a hymen was a mark of virginity and that it breaks the first time someone has penetrative sex. This is not true - a hymen can be broken in many ways.
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the womb (uterus). After this procedure, that person can no longer have periods or carry a pregnancy. Hysterectomies are performed to treat health problems affecting the female reproductive system.
The (Contraceptive) Injection
A form of birth control used by women. The injection releases progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. It usually lasts for about 13 weeks and can be 99% effective when used correctly.
Intersex people are born with a combination of female and male sexual characteristics. They might have a combination of XX and XY chromosomes, like XXY. Intersex babies are assigned a sex but sometimes grow up to find their gender doesn't match the sex assigned to them.
The (Contraceptive) Implant
A form of long acting reversible contraception (otherwise known as LARC). It is a small plastic rod that is inserted under the skin in your arm and releases progestogen into your bloodstream to help prevent pregnancy. It is more than 99% effective and lasts for 3 years.
This stands for Intrauterine Device. It’s a small T-shaped device made of plastic and copper that is inserted into your uterus. It's a long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) that releases copper into the womb to prevent pregnancy. It can be over 99% effective and can last for between 5 to 10 years.
This stands for Intrauterine System. It is a small T shaped device made of plastic that is inserted into your uterus. It is a long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) that works by releasing progesterone into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can be more than 99% effective and can last for 3 to 5 years.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process to help people with fertility problems to have a baby. In IVF, an egg is taken from the woman's ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. Embryos are then transferred to the patient's uterus through a thin, catheter which goes through her vagina and cervix. One or two embryos may be passed into the uterus to improve chances of implantation and pregnancy
Implantation is a term used for the window of time during early pregnancy when a cluster of rapidly dividing cells makes its way down the fallopian tube - a process called the blastocyst stage - and implants into the lining of the uterus where it can develop.
This is a slang term for a condom, a form of barrier contraception. They can also sometimes be called a Rubber Johnny.
Exercises used to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. Kegels involve tensing your pelvic muscles for a few seconds at a time and repeating this. Doing these exercises can help to prevent incontinence and also improve orgasms.
These are the folds of skin either side of the vagina that make up the vulva. They are sometimes described as lips. The labia majora are the outer lips and the labia minora are the inner lips.
This stands for long acting reversible contraception. These are forms of birth control that provide you with contraception for months or even years. Some examples of these include the IUD, and the implant.
A lesbian is a female identifying person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other women.
Levonorgestrel is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. It is the active ingredient in some emergency contraceptive pills and can help to prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation.
An acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Used to refer to the community of people who do not identify as heterosexual and/or cis-gendered. LGBT+ is sometimes used to include those who may not identify with any of the sexual orientations or gender identities mentioned in the above.
LH (Lutenising Hormone)
Lutenising hormone regulates the function of the testes and the ovaries. For women, a surge in lutenising hormone during their cycle prompts ovulation.
Lube is short for lubricant. The vagina self-lubricates, making it wetter and reducing friction from penetration. You can purchase lube if you would like extra lubrication. If you are using condoms, you should use a water-based lube, as oil-based ones can cause condoms to split.
This is the milk producing gland that female humans and other mammals have. The gland produces milk for babies to drink. The word ‘mammary’ comes from the latin word ‘mama’ which means ‘breast’.
A mastectomy is an operation which removes one or both breasts from a man or woman. This is sometimes performed to treat or prevent breast cancer.
Engaging in solo sexual stimulation, either with fingers or toys, is called ‘masturbation’. Men, women and everyone in between can masturbate. Masturbating can help to understand how your body works, and can also provide stress relief. Some people believe it is also good for pain relief.
Menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to naturally have children. Menopause is a normal part of the ageing process and happens when oestrogen levels start to decline. This typically happens to women aged 45-55.
A menstrual cup is a reusable, cup shaped device which is inserted during the vagina during your period as an alternative to tampons. The cup collects menstrual blood and is emptied every 8 or so hours.
Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, is a drug which, when taken with another drug called misoprostol, induces an abortion during the early stages of pregnancy.
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks. The main sign of a misscarriage is vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and this happens, contact your doctor immediately.
The monthly cycle in the female body which involves changes to the ovaries and the lining of the uterus. One cycle can last between 21-35 days and begins with menstruation -i.e. the shedding of the uterine wall.
Monogamy is when a someone engages in an exclusive relationship with one other person and does not have sex or romantic relationships with people outside of their relationship.
Morning After Pill
This is a form of emergency hormonal contraception that can prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation. Calling it "the morning after pill" is misleading as it can be taken any time of day and up to three-five days after unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure.
A naked picture or a picture of someone's penis, vagina or breasts taken and sent to someone else. A form of sexting.
A common term used to describe someone who does not identify as either of the two binary gender identities: male or female.
An obstetrician is a doctor who specialises in pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period after birth. Obstetricians are trained to deliver babies and also deal with postnatal care.
The primary female sex hormone. Both women and men produce oestrogen but it plays a bigger role in the female body. This is the hormone responsible for the development of the female reproductive system and the regulation of the menstrual cycle.
One night stand
A one night stand is where you engage in sexual activity with someone without pursuing a longer-term relationship or necessarily seeing the person again. One night stands can be fun, but remember to use condoms with new partners.
A form of sexual activity where a person stimulates their partners genitals with their mouth.
An orgasm, or climax, is a feeling of intense sexual pleasure which can happen during sex or masturbation. Most women orgasm from stimulating the clitoris, but some can also orgasm from penetration.
An orgy is where four or more people engage in sexual activity with each other.
An ovarian cyst is a fluid filled sac which develops on a female ovary. They are common and don’t normally cause any problems. An ovarian cyst usually only causes symptoms if it splits (ruptures), is very large, or blocks the blood supply to the ovaries.
A pair of reproductive glands in the female reproductive system located either side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs and female hormones. Roughly once a month an egg is released from one of the ovaries.
This is the release of an ovum (egg) from the ovaries that occurs roughly every month in the middle of the menstrual cycle. After being released, the egg travels down the fallopian tube where it may meet a sperm and become fertilised.
Pansexuality is attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity.
A pap smear, also known as a smear test, is when a doctor uses a speculum to check the cervix for any abnormal cells. Abnormal cells that are left untreated could lead to cervical cancer.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive system, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. It can be caused by a bacterial infection spreading from the vagina or cervix to the higher reproductive organs. PID can be caused by some STIs.
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a treatment that can stop the HIV infection once the virus has entered a person’s body if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.
Also known as sexual performance anxiety, this is when feelings of anxiety stop you from being able to feel aroused or make it difficult for you to have sex with your partner(s).
After ovulation, your womb lining starts to thicken in hope of implantation. If the egg is not fertilised, the womb lining leaves your body as period blood and your oestrogen and progesterone hormone levels drop. Find out more about the menstrual cycle here.
The Pill (Combined)
The combined pill contains artificial versions of the hormones progesterone and oestrogen which prevents ovulation so no egg is released and therefore no pregnancy can take place. The combined pill is 99% effective when taken correctly.
The Pill (Progesterone only)
The Progesterone only pill (POP) contains a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, which thickens cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from getting in so it cannot fertilise your egg. When taken correctly and at the same time every day, POP is 99% effective.
Acronym for premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual tension, the term for the physical and emotion symptoms people may experience before the start of their period. These symptoms can include fatigue, irritability, stress, mood swings, food cravings, tender breast and changes in sex drive.
Short or feature length sexually explicit films (or short stories, artwork etc.) which are designed to turn the viewer on. Porn does not normally show what sex is like in reality and can lead to distorted views of sex, but it can be a healthy way to explore your sexuality.
Precum, or pre-ejaculation, is produced when someone with a penis is aroused, but before they actually reach climax. This can happen during sex, foreplay or alone time. Find out more about precum here.
Pregnancy occurs when an egg, which is released during ovulation, fuses with a sperm that has entered the vagina during sexual intercourse, to form an embryo. Pregnancy starts when the embryo implants on the uterine wall and slowly grows into a baby. Find out more about pregnancy here.
Progesterone is a sex hormone which is mainly released from the ovary during the second half of your menstrual cycle. Progesterone is involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
Progestin is a man-made version of the hormone progesterone which is used in the combined and progesterone only birth control pills to prevent pregnancy.
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system, located beneath the bladder. The prostate lets out fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, this fluid is released along with sperm.
Puberty is the name given to the changes that adolescents go through as they reach sexual maturity. Puberty involves growing body hair, starting menstruation and voice changes. It can be accompanied by changes in mood - it's not easy being a teenager!
The pull out method, also called the withdrawal method, is when someone 'pulls out' their penis before ejaculating in the vagina. It is not an effective method of preventing pregnancy because the penis produces pre-cum, which can contain sperm, and does not protect against STIs.
Queer used to be used as an insult for people whose sexuality or identity was deemed strange, but the LGBTQ community has reclaimed the title as an umbrella term for sexual or gender minorities which are not cisgender or heteronormative.
A queef is a sound that air makes as it leaves the vagina. This can happen during sex as air rushes in and out of the vagina - it might be a little embarrassing, but it's totally normal.
Also known as the Calendar Method, or fertility tracking, this is when people track their periods to work out when they ovulate and the days of the month they are most likely to conceive. This method is very unreliable for anyone trying to prevent pregnancy: read more here.
This is another slang term for a condom.
Semen is a white fluid which contains sperm cells and is excreted when a man ejaculates. If unprotected sex occurred, sperm cells which get inside the vagina and swim up to the fallopian tubes have the potential to fertilise an egg, resulting in a pregnancy.
Sex can refer to any intimate act between two or more people which can create an aroused response and may or may not result in orgasm. There are many different types of sex, including penis in vagina, oral stimulation, hand stimulation, or stimulating your partner(s) with a toy.
Biological sex refers to the chromosomes someone is born with which determine whether that person has a male or female body. Note that biological sex (which determines your genitals, facial hair, muscle mass, appearance etc.) is not the same thing as gender (your social identity).
Sexting refers to sending, receiving or sharing sexually explicit messages, texts, videos or other material via a mobile phone or laptop. Sexting can be a fun way to spice up your sex life, but make sure you trust the person you’re doing it with. Sharing sexually explicit images of people under the age of 18 is illegal, even if you are sharing images of yourself, if you are both over the age of consent but under eighteen or if you are both under sixteen. [Ref: https://childlawadvice.org.uk/information-pages/sexting/]
A smear test, otherwise known as a pap smear or cervical screening, is a test for harmful cells in the cervix. The procedure is quick (only takes about 2 minutes) and involves a nurse using a speculum to open the vagina in order to use a small brush to take a cell sample which will then be tested. You will receive your results in 2-4 weeks and will be advised if any further tests need to be run.
Sexually transmitted infections (also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases) are bacterial infections or viruses which are normally (although not always) spread through sexual contact. STIs include HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and genital warts.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. Women also produce testosterone but in much smaller quantities. Testosterone is important for sperm production, it also affects bone and muscle mass.
Thrush is a common yeast infection caused by the fungus candida which can affect both men and women. The main symptoms of thrush are severe itching and smelly discharge. Thrush can be treated by over-the-counter medicines.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a very dangerous condition caused by bacteria in the body releasing harmful toxins. It can be caused by leaving tampons in for too long, or the diaphragm or cap. Symptoms include a fever, flu-like symptoms and vomiting or diarrhoea.
Transgender people identify with a gender identity other than their biological sex. Trans-people may identify as the opposite gender, they may identify as agender or as somewhere in between. They may or may not wish to transition their body using hormones or surgery.
Ulipristal acetate was developed by the makers of ellaOne, the most effective morning-after pill* [to verify click here]. It is the active ingredient in ellaOne and temporarily stops progesterone from working properly to delay or prevent ovulation so no pregnancy can take place.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system - that’s your kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. UTI’s can be painful, but they will normally improve with home remedies and over the counter options. Be open with your pharmacist about your symptoms, as they may decide you need medical help. UTI’s can be potentially dangerous if it spreads to the kidneys, however, so it’s worth seeing a doctor who may prescribe antibiotics to treat UTIs.
The uterus (also known as the womb) is a hollow, pear shaped organ found in a woman’s lower abdomen in which a foetus can develop into a baby. If no pregnancy occurs, the lining which has grown around the uterus to protect a potential pregnancy is shed during your period.
The Vagina is the tunnel which leads from the vulva to the cervix and the womb. The vagina is where tampons, penises and toys go in and where blood comes out during your period. Find out more about vaginas here.
Vaginismus is the involuntary contraction of muscles around the vaginal opening, which can make penetrative sexual activity painful or impossible.
The term used to describe the state of never having had sexual intercourse. Since sex can mean different things to different individuals, virginity, or losing your virginity, can often be classed in different ways.
The vulva is the exterior part of the female genitalia - so the outer bit of the clitoris, the labia minora and majora, urethra and the hole leading to the vagina. Find out more about vulvas here.
Wanking is a colloquial term for masturbation, which involves pleasuring yourself with fingers and/or toys.
The womb (also called the uterus) is a hollow, pear shaped organ found in a woman’s lower abdomen in which a foetus can develop into a baby. If no pregnancy occurs, the lining which has grown around the uterus to protect a potential pregnancy is shed during your period.
A person’s sex is determined by their sex determining chromosomes. Females typically have XX chromosomes.
A person’s sex is determined by their sex determining chromosomes. Males typically have XY chromosomes.
Yeast infections, like thrush, can affect men and women. They are very common in women. The main symptoms are itching, discharge and stinging while peeing. Yeast infections can be treated with antifungal medications available from your pharmacist or GP.
The union of a sperm and an egg. Otherwise known as a fertilised ovum, the zygote starts as one cell before dividing rapidly and turning into an embryo.