This glossary will be updated periodically as I come across specific terminology that is necessary to distinguish (as certain terms may not be straightforward to everyone), and as I have improved (for clarity) definitions.

Asexual – A sexual orientation that is indifferent toward sex as a physical act. Like other sexual orientations, asexuality is spectral in nature. Asexuality is not synonymous simply with a low libido (which can have medical causes); however, asexuality as a way of being is not a sexual disorder of dysfunction.

Barrier Method – In reproductive medicine, the barrier method is known as “An intervention that counters the formula, boy + girl = baby, with mechanical–eg condom, diaphragm—barriers” (Medical Dictionary, 2010).

Bisexuality – A sexual orientation in which a person is attracted to people of male and female biological sex.

Heteronormative (and heteronormativity) – the assumed default social normative in terms of hierarchal structure. From the Urban Dictionary, heteronormativity is “[a] pervasive and institutionalized ideological system that naturalizes heterosexuality as universal; it must continually reproduce itself to maintain hegemony over other non-normative sexualities and ways of identity construction.”

Heterosexuality – A sexual orientation of opposite-sex sexual attraction.

Homosexual – A sexual orientation of same-sex sexual attraction. Note: The term means either homosexual behavior or an alleged condition of desiring same-sex erotic contact. However, these are two very different matters that should not be denoted by the same word. Instead, one should avoid this noun altogether and state exactly whether one is referring to a form of conduct or to an (alleged) condition of wanting to engage in such conduct.  

Intersex(formerly “hermaphrodite”) Refers to “variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, and/or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as female/male sex binary.”

Pansexuality – A sexual orientation outside of the “gender binary” that is sexually and emotionally attracted to all identified sexes, genders, regardless of specific sexual orientation.

Polyamory – “…consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.”

Polysexuality – A form of sexual identity that encompasses facets of many sexual orientations and attractions, rejecting the social normative of binary/dichotomous sex and gender.

PIV – Penis-in-Vagina sexual intercourse, specific to heteronormative sexual activity. The only form of sexual activity that provides human reproductive outlet, and the primary focus of sex education in the United States.

Social Normative – social normatives are “rules developed by a group of people that specify how people must, should, may, should not, and must not behave in various situations.” (Sociology Guide, 2010)

Sexual Orientation – “[An] enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes” – bearing in mind that within this website, I openly assert that the “both sexes” is not all-inclusive with respect to biological sex or gender identity.

Transgender – “[Individuals] who wanted to live in the opposite gender role without surgery.”

Transsexual – When a person’s assigned sex at birth conflicts with their psychological gender, and more specifically, “individuals who wish or have had sex reassignment surgery” (distinct from transgender).

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