Author: Team Self Studies
A Self Studies resource that aims to demystify anything around sex, sexual health and wellness, partnership and intimacy for all. Feel like there’s something missing? Please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to add. This cheeky glossary of ours is here to guide you through the fun, enticing universe that is erotic, intimate pleasure and wellbeing.
A for Aftercare
The art of AFTERCARE after the sexual act makes all the difference in how you experience intimacy. When there’s someone else involved, check in on each other. Don’t be afraid to ask: are you happy with what just happened? Was it a pleasurable experience? Looking after yourself physically and emotionally is at the heart of sexual wellness.
B for BDSM
BDSM is short for all the following: bondage and discipline, dominance and submission; sadism and masochism. Interestingly, anecdotal evidence and new research suggests that BDSM could facilitate mindfulness. Contrary to popular belief, carefully executed acts of intimacy such as bondage can bring about a state of peace, lower stress levels and get you into a trance-like state of mind.
C for Coitus
COITUS is a somewhat old-fashioned technical term for sexual intercourse, and in particular vaginal sex that includes penetration and ejaculation (which isn’t strictly necessary for having sex of course). Therefore, the term coitus refers to a heteronormative way of viewing sex. In western cultures, the so-called ‘coital imperative’ would imply that ‘real sex’ equals penetration of the vagina by the penis (coitus). In the film The Big Lebowsky they make mention of ‘a couple achieving coitus’ as in ‘having done the deed’ in a playful way.
C for Cis
CISGENDER is a term that is used to describe people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, someone who was assigned female at birth (AFAB) and identifies as a woman is a cisgender woman. On the other hand, an AFAB person who identifies as a man is a transgender man.
D for Demisexual
Not all of us are always into sex, some of us are DEMISEXUAL or even ASEXUAL (with a lower interest in sexual activity). In the end we all experience pleasure, but in different ways. Typical about demisexuality is that these are usually not the ‘one-night stand kind of folks’. A demisexual person can only get sexually attracted when they have established an emotional bond with the other. Important note: asexuality is a sexual orientation, not a disfunction or mental disorder.
E for Edging
A method to ‘edge’ yourself into an orgasm with extremely satisfying results. EDGING is a practice of orgasm control to try out solo or together which calls for you to delay your orgasm. Sexual stimulation is repeated until you get to that so-called edge and then fall into an orgasmic euphoria. This ‘stop-and-start-all-over-again’ method (until you are about to lose it) can result in an intensified orgasm. It also helps extend sex, so it could be helpful if you or your partner would like to last longer. Edging is also aptly called teasing, surfing or peaking.
F for Foreplay
Touching, kissing, stroking, rubbing, giving oral – all the fun before penetration begins. Women during heterosexual intercourse can sometimes experience pain, and this is often due to penetrating too early, as sex therapist Minke de Boer explains. Women, as opposed to men, oftentimes need up to 20 minutes (this time varies) of joyous FOREPLAY before their vagina is ready and their pelvic floor muscles are relaxed enough to go ‘all the way’.
GG is for G-spot
Little-known but brilliant: the G-SPOT can travel. In essence, the G-spot is a physical location on the body that can lead to arousal when touched by someone you’re attracted to in a sexual context. For some the G-spot can be the genitals (for women usually an inch or so inside the vaginal opening on the upper vaginal wall — closest to the bellybutton), for others the earlobes or the back of the neck. The G-spot can for instance change location after someone gave birth, endured genital mutilation or was paralyzed from the waist down. The body is intelligent and fluid like that, answering to our every need.
Once you decide to engage in BDSM and you or your partner chooses to be the ‘submissive one’ (undergoing bondage, domination/discipline, submission/sadism and/or masochism), it all starts with setting boundaries. HARD LIMITS literally means that if the ‘stop word’ that you both have agreed upon is uttered the sexual play stops entirely. You can of course also share upfront what your ‘hard limit’ is, and this will always be non-negotiable. This way you are certain that kinky endeavors stay pleasurable for all parties involved.
I for Impact Play
IMPACT PLAY falls under the umbrella of BDSM or Fetishism. Whether you use your hands, a wooden paddle or a leather whip, the term impact play involves a person – who has given specific, informed consent –being struck for sexual gratification. It can be an enjoyable way to spice up your sex life but do make sure that you have a ‘safe word’ (so you know when to stop) at the ready and practice partner care.
J for Japanese Rope Bondage
There are actually two types of JAPANESE ROPE BONDAGE: Shibari, the ancient Japanese art of bondage tying, and Kinbaku which takes this skill in a more emotional and sensual direction. They are both methods for stimulating the senses and arousing your partner sexually. These practices, centered around consensual art-making and experimentation, served as a blueprint for BDSM in western cultures.
K for Kegel
Kegels involve exercises to clench and unclench your pelvic floor – this can be beneficial for both people with a vagina and a penis in the bedroom. Technically speaking, a KEGEL doesn’t tighten the vagina but does train the muscle which gives it a ‘tighter feel’. In women it can help heighten sexual arousal, increase lubrication and the amount of blood circulating to the vagina (improving your ability to orgasm). Men can also benefit from kegels, by for instance decreasing the chance of premature ejaculation and increasing sexual performance.
L for Labia
The LABIA are also called the ‘lips’, which sit on both sides of the vaginal opening. They are like little cushions which protect the delicate female genitals on the inside and which also swell up and get more sensitive when aroused. Many people with a vulva have their inside labia sticking out when standing, this is perfectly normal and natural.
M for Menstrual Masturbation
Some women notice a spike in their arousal during their period, and there’s nothing ‘dirty’ or dangerous about masturbating when it’s that time of the month. Better yet, orgasm endorphins can help relieve menstrual cramps and stress. You can stimulate your clitoris (a ‘button’ just above the vaginal opening), without taking out your tampon or menstrual cup. Apart from this, water stimulation with for instance your shower head is another smart technique.
N for Non-Monogamy
Open relationships, including swinging (couples allowing their partner to have sex with others) and polyamory (a person with multiple romantic relationships at the same time) are all forms of NON-MONOGAMY. So-called ENM (short for: ethical non-monogamy), where both partners agree to open up their relationship to explore various intimate encounters for the long or short haul. These types of romantic relationships aren’t 100% exclusive, depending on the rules the lovers have set beforehand. You may think that ENM is relatively new, but there are records of non-monogamous relationships dating back to Ancient Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt.
N for Non-Binary
NON-Binary (also called enby or at times shortened down to NB) describes any gender identity which does not fit the male and female binary spectrum. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
O for Orgasm Gap
Also referred to as pleasure gap, the ORGASM GAP signifies the substantial difference between the number of orgasms women and men have in heterosexual relationships. This might very well be due to people with a vulva usually not being able to orgasm through penetration. Intriguingly, after men lesbian women reported to have the most orgasms, according to new data.
P for Pegging
If you’re keen to play around with gender roles in the bedroom, then PEGGING might just be for you and your partner. This empowering sex act, calls for a woman or man to wear a strap-on dildo in order to penetrate his or her partner anally. It’s not just for heterosexual couples, for instance lesbians also play around with penetrating each other both vaginally and anally by using this cheeky tool.
P for Pelvic floor
A strong PELVIC FLOOR, and therefore specific pelvic floor exercises called kegel, can add a host of benefits to your health and sexual wellbeing: from more pleasure during the sexual act to reducing urinary loss. The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that attaches to the bones at the bottom of your pelvis, like a ‘corset’ that holds everything tightly together. Without you even noticing, your pelvic floor can hold a lot of stress and it can lose its range of motion, tone, and flexibility with time. Luckily this muscle web supporting the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, bowel) can be trained efficiently.
Q for Queefing
Most of us with a vagina have probably dealt with this once: you are in the middle of some super hot sex, air escapes your vagina and you hear a little ‘pouf’. Yes, a noise that somewhat resembles a fart. Which it’s not, because a QUEEF is never supposed to be smelly and it’s completely normal. Queefing can happen during penis-in-vagina intercourse or because of a penetrating object like a dildo. Air is then quickly pushed in and out. Air bubbles are released and voila, a perfectly innocent queef. Consider it a little squeak of joy and excitement.
R for Rear-Entry Sex
REAR-ENTRY SEX happens when your partner enters you vaginally or anally from behind. It’s very much like spooning, but then full-on engaging in the sexual act. There’s different positions to try out from the rear end: from ‘flatiron’ (both lying face down on top of each other) to ‘the chairman’ (seated on a chair or sofa) and many more.
S for Squirting
When fluid is expelled from the urethra during sexual stimulation or after an orgasm, this is called squirting. Fun fact: it used to be synonymous with ‘female ejaculation’, but now researchers make a distinction between SQUIRTING (a great gush of liquid) and female ejaculation (a teaspoon of milky fluid). Squirting is a sexual skill that is completely natural and is often considered pleasurable.
S for Situationship
Just when you thought it couldn’t get more ‘complicated’, there’s some new dating terminology: SITUATIONSHIP. Not a hook-up, not yet a relationship. No, if you’re in a situationship you and your love interest are somewhere in the twilight zone. It’s undefined relationship territory where you go with the flow and don’t label things.
T for Temperature Play
TEMPERATURE PLAY is where things heat up, or cool down. In essence it’s a consensual form of BDSM play that uses warm and cold temperatures to stimulate your brain and body differently. There might just be a temperature play opportunity hiding in your freezer: cold ice cubes. Hot wax (but be careful) is also a way to induce arousal.
T for Tantra
When we think of sex, we usually think of a very physical act. Yet TANTRIC SEX entices all the senses and – when done right – can even put you into a sort of trance and have you reach a transcendent state. There’s tantric sex, which can last for hours and involves study, meditation, breathwork, eye contact, and deepened intimacy with your partner, and then there’s tantra. This is a much larger tantric discipline, an ancient tradition in which awakening is pursued through embodiment.
This sexual act can be approached in two different ways: either you masturbate in unison with your partner, both reaching greater heights and releasing simultaneously. Another fun option: use a sex tool (like one by Dame Products) that can be used for masturbation on the both of you. Just play around and see what you both enjoy.
V for Vulva
Oftentimes we mistake the vagina (on the inside) for the VULVA (on the outside, including that little button called the clitoris). They are not the same though, and for optimal body literacy and pleasure it’s important to know your (or your loved ones) intimate body parts. Here goes: the vagina is part of the internal female reproductive organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix. Whereas the vulva encompasses the external female genitals, including the inner and outer labia, the clitoris, the opening to the vagina and to the urethra.
W for Water Sports
WATER SPORTS are also called golden showers, golden rains and even piss play. All in all, these are all slang terms for the scientific term ‘coprolagnia’; erotic gratification associated with urine. In other words, the act of peeing on another person for sexual pleasure.
X for X-Rated
When we think X-RATED we usually think of pornographic or ‘indecent’. That last word already holds some bias, with shame as the undercurrent. While watching porn can in fact be healthy, when you watch in moderation and choose what type of porn you consume carefully. Swedish director Erika Lust for example makes aesthetically pleasing, slow porn movies with a so-called ‘female gaze’ (though we would say it’s suitable for any sex or gender identity).
Y for Yoni Eggs
Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow decided to push one down her vagina and lived to tell the tale (in detail), most of us have heard of the term yoni egg. A yoni egg is literally an egg-shaped tool, mostly made of a crystal like jade, that you gently insert into your vagina. It’s supposed to be a crystal healing treatment and pelvic floor exercise (squeeze then release the egg to train that web of muscles) all in one.
ZZ for Z-Job
A Z-JOB to spice up some Zzzs; this sexual act involves getting or giving a blowjob while the other is still asleep. Though technically this would mean giving head, a Z-job could of course refer to any type of oral sex. It’s a way to gently wake your partner up and possibly engage in some morning sex to release stressors and start your day fresh.