Words To Know

Knowing and using the right words to talk about sexuality will make sure that people know exactly what you are talking about.

acne: Very bad pimples and blackheads that are hard to get rid of.

anus: Opening where feces (poop) leaves the body. Both males and females have one.

arousal: The body’s response to sexual thoughts, feelings and touches.

bladder: The organ that holds urine before it leaves the body. Both males and females have one.

circumcision: When the penis’ foreskin is removed.

clitoris: A small, sensitive organ found above the urethra in females.

discharge: The term for any substance that is released from anywhere on the body.

ejaculation: The release of semen from the penis.

erection: When the tissues of the penis fill with blood making it larger and harder.

estrogen: One of the two female sex hormones made by the ovaries.It causes body changes in girls during puberty. The other is called progesterone.

fallopian tubes: The tubes the ova travel down to get from a female’s ovaries to her uterus.

fertilization: When a sperm makes its way into an ovum. This starts a pregnancy.

foreskin: The loose skin that covers the tip of the penis.

gay: A male who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of the same gender.

genitals: The outer sex organs of males and females.

gender: The term to describe the state of being either male or female. Some cultures recognize more than two genders

gland: Any organ that makes a substance used in the body. Many glands make hormones.

hormone: A chemical from a gland that makes cells or tissues to act in a specific way.

labia: The inner and outer “lips” or folds of the female vulva. They are on both sides of the vagina.

lesbian: A female who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of the same gender.

masturbation: Touching your own genitals to make you feel good.

menstrual cycle: The female cycle that starts with menstruation and then continues as the lining of the uterus builds up and then breaks down again. It usually takes around a month.

menstruation: Shedding the lining of a female’s uterus, which has formed in preparation for a fertilized egg.

nocturnal emission: The ejaculation of semen while a male is asleep. It is also known as a wet dream.

orgasm: An intense sensation that happens at the peak of sexual arousal. Males usually ejaculate during orgasm. Some females also release a fluid during orgasm.

ovary: The female gland that ripens egg cells (ova) and makes the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

ovulation: The release of an ovum from a female’s ovary into a fallopian tube.

ovum: Egg cell produced in a female’s ovaries (plural: ova).

pad: A product that attaches to the inside of a female’s underwear to catch and absorb menstrual flow. It is also called a sanitary napkin or feminine napkin.

penis: The tube-like outer sex organ of a male.

period: The common name for the time when a female is menstruating.

pituitary gland: A gland that secretes hormones that cause growth and affect the activities of other glands. Both males and females have pituitary glands.

pores: Tiny openings in the outer layer of the skin.

progesterone: One of the two female sex hormones produced by the ovaries – the  other is estrogen.

prostate gland: An organ that adds fluid to sperm to create semen.

pubic area: The area of the male or female body where the outer sex organs are found.

reproduction: When sexual intercourse results in a pregnancy and a new baby.

scrotum: The sack of loose skin just behind the penis. It contains and protects the two testicles.

semen: A mixture of fluid and sperm that is released from a male’s penis.

seminal vesicles: Two small pouches that add fluid to sperm to make semen. The  prostate gland also adds fluid to the sperm.

sperm: The male reproductive cells made in the testicles.

straight: A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of the opposite gender.

tampon: A small roll of absorbent material worn inside the vagina to catch and absorb menstrual flow.

testicles: The male sex glands. They make sperm and the male sex hormone testosterone.

testosterone: Male sex hormone that is made by the testicles. It causes the changes in boys during puberty.

transgender: People who feel that their gender identity does not match with their sexual anatomy that is a girl who feels like she ought to have been a boy or a boy who feels like he ought to have been a girl.

urethra: The tube that carries urine out of the male and female body. In males, semen also leaves through the urethra.

uterus: A muscular organ located in a female’s pelvic region. It holds a growing fetus until a baby is born. The uterus is sometimes called the womb.

vagina: The passage that connects a female’s uterus to the outside of her body.

vas deferens:The tubes through which sperm moves from the testicles to the prostate gland.

vulva: The outer female sex organs.

wet dream: A common name for nocturnal emissions or the ejaculation of semen while a male is asleep.


The information contained in this section of the site is from the booklet Growing Up Okay! 
Reprinted with permission from Healthy Child Manitoba Office, 2013.