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Abstinence-Based or Abstinence-Plus Sexuality Education
Sexuality education that focuses primarily on teaching abstinence, but also includes information about birth control and ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Abstinence-Until-Marriage Programs
A form of sexuality education that teaches teens to wait until they are married to have sex. It usually includes no discussion of contraceptive methods, except to say they don’t work or to emphasize failure rates only. This approach to sexuality education teaches that sexual behaviors outside of heterosexual marriage are emotionally and physically harmful. For a full discussion of this topic visit Advocates for Youth.

Acne
Bumps or sores caused by bacteria and oil that usually begin during puberty. Acne typically appears on a person’s face, but can also appear on the neck, back and butt. There are many different skin care products that can be purchased at most grocery and drug stores to help treat acne, or a person can visit a dermatologist or skin doctor for prescription medicines.

Adhesion
In the context of sexual health, this occurs when the foreskin becomes stuck to the head of the penis. Adhesions often make it painful for uncircumcised men to roll back the foreskin. This is usually preventable by pulling back the foreskin and washing the head of penis regularly. When they are formed, adhesions are easily treated by a health care professional.

Adolescence
The period of a person’s life that starts at the beginning of puberty and lasts through early adulthood. This time in a person’s life usually includes lots of physical and emotional changes.

Amenorrhea
A condition where a woman’s menstrual periods stop for reasons other than pregnancy or menopause. Primary amenorrhea is when a woman has never had a period but experiences secondary sex characteristics (such as breast development) by age 16. Secondary amenorrhea is when a woman has been having periods and they stop but she is not pregnant. Secondary amenorrhea may be due to intense exercise, low body fat, eating disorders or as a side effect of taking birth control.

Anorexia Nervosa
An eating disorder characterized by a distorted body image that leads to attempts to lose weight by not eating or consuming an extremely low amount of calories. Some people with anorexia also engage in excessive exercise in addition to limiting food intake.

Anus
The opening from the rectum through which feces (poop) leaves the body.

Areola
An area of skin around the nipples (of guys and girls) that is darker than the rest of the breast.

Balls
A slang term for testicles.

Boner
A slang term for an erection. An erection is when the penis fills with blood in response to sexual excitement and becomes larger and stands away from the body.

Bartholin’s glands
Two glands that are located in the inner labia on each side of the vaginal opening. Their purpose is to provide lubrication during sexual arousal.

Beaver
A slang term for a female’s vagina.

Bimanual Exam
An exam of a female’s internal reproductive organs by a health care provider. The health care provider inserts one or more fingers gently inside of the vagina and uses the other hand to feel the reproductive organs through the abdomen.

Blue Balls
A term used to describe an uncomfortable feeling in the testicles when sexual excitement does not lead to ejaculation. In actuality, both males and females can experience this uncomfortable feeling as a result of sexual pressure that builds up but is not released. It is usually described as a full feeling or an uncomfortable ache that occurs in the genitals. For males, this occurs in the testicles (balls) and for females this occurs in the lower pelvic region. There is no damage as a result of pressure that is not released, and “blue balls” is never an excuse to keep going if someone wants to stop sexual behavior.

Body Image
The internal image that someone has of their own body, as well as the feelings that someone has about how other people react to their body. Body image is influenced more by self-esteem than by how physically attractive someone is.

Boobs
A slang term for breasts. Also called “tits” or “titties.”

Box
A slang term for vagina.

Breasts
A set of glands on a female’s chest; breasts can produce milk after a woman gives birth. Males also have breasts, but they do not produce milk.

Bulimia
An eating disorder in which a person eats large amounts of food in a short period of time, and then vomits or uses laxatives to purge, or get rid of, what they’ve eaten.

Circumcision
The surgical removal of the foreskin from the head of the penis. The procedure is done for religious, cultural or cosmetic reasons.

Clitoris
A small, highly sensitive organ located above the opening to the vagina whose only function is sexual pleasure. Direct stimulation of the clitoris can lead to orgasm in some women but can be uncomfortable for other women.

Confidential
A policy about providing services to teens at a family planning clinic. It means that a that a doctor or other health care provider can’t discuss their conversations with a patient, his/her physical examination, medical history or test results with other people, even the patient’s parents, regardless of the patient’s age. To be sure of clinic’s confidentiality policy, when you call to make an appointment ask how they will ensure your visit is kept private.

Cooch
A slang term for vagina.

Cowper’s Glands
A pair of glands in the male reproductive system that are responsible for secreting a fluid that makes up pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) and the fluids surrounding sperm in semen or ejaculate.

Cum
A slang term for semen. Cum can also be a verb referring to having an orgasm or ejaculating. Both girls and guys use this term to refer to their orgasms and sexual fluids, although it is more commonly used to refer to a guys’ orgasm, ejaculation or semen.

Douching
The rinsing of the inside of the vagina, usually with an over-the-counter product labeled for this purpose. Douching is not medically necessary and is not recommended. Some people mistakenly think that douching right after unprotected vaginal intercourse can help reduce the chances of pregnancy; it cannot. It can actually increase the risk for vaginal infections.

Ejaculate
The fluid containing sperm that is released from the tip of the penis during ejaculation. This is also known as cum.

Dysmenorrhea
A painful period.

Flaccid
This refers to when a penis is soft and un-aroused rather than erect.