~ May 2022 ~
Growing up, the only way to learn what something like “eating out” meant was by eavesdropping on your older sibling or racing home after school to look up what your friends were talking about on Urban Dictionary.
While it’s likely that you now know the above doesn’t exactly mean hitting up your favorite fast-food restaurant, there are probably still some sex words you might not be familiar with.
I know—you’re older, more evolved, and maybe even more ~sexually experienced~ than you were back then. But when it comes to sex words and terms, there’s always something new to learn. Language, like pretty much everything else, evolves, so new words are constantly being created to describe human experiences. Naturally, this means there are more terms, slang words, and sexual orientations to add to your repertoire in order to stay relevant at best, and straight-up not offensive at least.
That’s where our handy sex word glossary comes in. Some of these words are slang, some are sexualities, some are positions, and some are kinks or fetishes, but they’re all important to know for exploration and representation. Not only that, but some labels that used to be “cool” are now very much not cool, and some umbrella terms have now been expanded upon to better represent different communities. Don’t worry—we’ll explain it all!
Also! As you’re reading, it’s good to know that many of these sex word definitions are actually abbreviated descriptions from their own stand-alone page in our Sexopedia section. So if you come across something you want to know more about, just click on the word to dive deeper. Whether you’re totally new to the world of sex words or you feel like a pro, there’s something new on this list for you to learn. Now go forth!
Your List of Sex Words, Right This Way…
Abrosexual: A sexual orientation that describes someone whose sexual preferences and/or attraction changes over time. This could look like someone who has once said they are bisexual later coming out as asexual.
Allosexual: A sexual orientation that describes someone who experiences any type of sexual attraction to someone or something.
Amazon (position): An advanced sex position that’s a combination between missionary and cowgirl. The bottom partner lies down on their back with their knees bent up in the air, and the top partner gets between their legs and slowly lowers down onto their partner. Both parties are intertwined, and the top partner uses their knees and hands for balance.
Anal Sex: Most commonly refers to anal penetration, typically with a penis but could also be with a strap-on.
Anorgasmia: The inability to have an orgasm.
Asexual: A person who doesn’t experience sexual desire. They can be attracted to someone but don’t feel the need to get physically intimate with them.
A-Spot: A protrusion of the cervix into the vagina that creates a little “pleasure pocket.” Sometimes referred to as the female degenerated prostate.
Autosexual: Someone who feels a sexual attraction toward themselves.
Bareback: Having sex without a condom. This is risky and kind of dangerous, as it increases your chances of STIs and/or pregnancy.
BDSM: An acronym that stands for any or all of the following: bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; sadism and masochism.
Bisexual: Defined by GLAAD as someone who “has the potential to be physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree.”
Blow Job: When someone puts their partner’s penis into their mouth and proceeds to suck and lick it for the penis-haver’s pleasure. Also called oral sex, fellatio, or “going down on” someone. The female version is called cunnilingus.
Blue Balls: As a slang term (aka not a medical term), “blue balls” refer to the pain someone feels in their scrotum from prolonged sexual arousal without ejaculation. Blue balls are not dangerous, not actually a medical condition, and don’t cause any long-term damage, nor do the balls turn a blue shade.
Bulge: The visible outline of a penis through someone’s pants.
Butt Plug: An anal sex toy shaped like a teardrop meant to be placed or “plugged” into one’s butthole.
Ceterosexual: Someone who’s attracted to a person who is non-binary, transgender, and in some cases, anyone who isn’t cisgender. You may hear people use the term “skoliosexual” also, but this is no longer appropriate since “skolio” means “crooked” in Latin.
Circumcision: The removal of the foreskin of the penis to reveal the head. The procedure typically happens when the person is a baby, although it can sometimes be performed during adulthood for medical reasons, religious reasons, or just because a person wants it.
Cishet: A broad term used to describe someone who is both cisgender and heterosexual.
Comphet: Stands for “compulsory heterosexuality,” and is the harmful notion that heterosexuality is the only valid sexuality and that everyone should be/is expected to be straight. This feeling is a result of heteronormativity.
Cosplay: Short for “costume play” and refers to dressing up as one of your favorite characters from pop culture and taking on the persona of that character.
Cowgirl: A sex position where you have your legs on the outside of your partner’s hips and face them.
Creampie: The non-dessert definition is when semen visibly drips out of a vagina or anus after ejaculation during sex.
Cum Shot: A term used in pornography referring to the moment someone with a penis ejaculates, usually on their partner, where the semen can easily be seen.
Cunnilingus: A fancy word that means oral sex when performed on someone with a vagina. The giver uses their lips and tongue to concentrate on the person’s vulva and clitoris.
Cupiosexual: A word that falls under the larger asexual spectrum that describes someone who still desires a sexual relationship, despite feeling little to no attraction.
Deep Throating: A blow job technique where the giver puts as much of the penis into their mouth as they can (sometimes the whole penis), which can sometimes cause gagging or even vomiting.
Demisexual: A sexual orientation that defines a person who needs to feel a strong emotional connection with someone in order to feel any sexual attraction to them. In other words, demisexual people are capable of sexual attraction but only in specific circumstances.
Diaphragm: A contraceptive device that sits at the opening of the cervix to block sperm.
Dirty Sanchez: An act where someone puts their finger into their partner’s ass, then wipes any fecal matter that may transfer onto their finger over that person’s lip, resulting in a poop mustache. FWIW, it’s generally accepted that this act is more urban legend than something you’d actually encounter in the bedroom.
Dirty Talk: Talking about sex acts with your partner in an explicit, arousing way before or while engaging in sex acts.
Doggy-Style: A sex position where the receiver is on their hands and knees while their partner enters them from behind.
DTR: An acronym that stands for “define the relationship.” It’s an initiated conversation with your partner(s) to agree on what type of relationship you want together.
Edge Play: Extreme sexual activity that falls under the BDSM umbrella. It involves trying riskier activities and oftentimes consensual physical or psychological pain for pleasure, arousal, and stimulation.
Edging: Refers to delaying an orgasm for as long as possible with the goal of having an ultimately more intense climax.
Erogenous Zones: Areas of the body such as the neck and ears that experience heightened sensitivity to touch and generate a sexual response.
Erotic Hypnosis: Also known as “hypno sex,” erotic hypnosis is a form of hypnosis that increases sexual desire, sexual feelings, and sexual responses.
Ethical Non-Monogamy: Know also as “ENM,” it’s the practice of having multiple sexual and/or romantic relationships with the knowledge, consent, and agreement of all parties involved.
Face-Sitting: When someone dangles their genitals over their partner’s mouth to receive oral sex.
Facial: When referring to the sex definition of a facial, it’s when a penis-haver ejaculates semen onto their partner’s face.
Fingering: When someone uses their fingers to stimulate their partner’s clitoris and/or vagina in order to bring them to orgasm or give them pleasure.
Foot Fetish: A sexual interest in feet. A person with a foot fetish may be aroused by touching, licking, rubbing, kissing, sucking, and massaging of feet.
Foot Job: Similar to hand jobs, but involves using feet rather than hands to rub and stimulate a partner’s genitals.
Foreplay: Everything you do before intercourse, like making out, holding each other while spooning, cute lil neck smooches, fingering, oral sex, spanking, humping, dirty talk, or even just sending a sext prior to pants coming off.
Golden Shower: Also called “water sports” and refers to a sex act involving urine. This can mean peeing on your partner, in front of your partner, near your partner, or having your partner pee on/near/in front of you.
Greysexual: Also called graysexual, grey-ace, or gray-ace, greysexuality falls within the asexual spectrum and defines individuals who experience sexual attraction and sexual feelings very rarely—anywhere from a few times in their whole life to anything more frequently.
Hand Fetish: Also known as quirofilia and cheirophilia, a hand fetish is a sexual interest in hands. The interest can be in the whole hand itself or specific parts like the palms, fingers, or nails.
Hand Job: Using your hand to stimulate someone’s penis until orgasm.
Heteroflexible: Someone who is typically attracted to the opposite gender but also open to having same-sex experiences and/or is occasionally attracted to their own gender.
Heteronormativity: The problematic worldview that makes it (wrongly) seem like all relationships are between cisgender, heterosexual people. This detrimentally promotes heterosexuality as the “normal” or default sexual orientation.
Hickey: Also known as a “love bite.” A hickey is caused by one person sucking the other’s skin (usually on their neck) until small blood vessels burst, creating a patch of discoloration, aka a bruise.
Hypergamy: Dating or marrying someone you think is more successful and/or secure than you, whether consciously or subconsciously.
Jelqing: The practice of stroking the penis when erect in a particular way to increase its size. This is a similar concept to using a penis pump.
Kitchen Table Polyamory: When all members of a polycule have or are expected to have a friend-like relationship, enough so that everyone could, in theory, sit around to share a meal together.
Masturbation: The act of touching or manipulating one’s own genitals for pleasure, which can result in an orgasm.
Metamours: Your lover’s lover in a non-monogamous relationship—aka your wife’s boyfriend, your girlfriend’s girlfriend, and/or your boyfriend’s casual hookup buddy.
Mile-High Club: Refers collectively to anyone who has ever had sex on a plane.
MILF: An acronym that stands for “Mom I’d Like to Fuck.”
Missionary: A sex position where one person lies down on their back, while their partner gets on top and thrusts and grinds on them.
Motorboating: The act of putting your face in between someone’s breasts and moving your head back and forth quickly while making a raspberry sound with your tongue and lips (like the sound of a motorboat).
Nylon Fetish: The sexual interest in various facets of nylons. Someone with a nylon fetish might like wearing, touching, smelling, or simply looking at nylons.
Omnisexual: A sexual orientation that describes someone who’s attracted to all people, regardless of their gender.
Open Relationship: When one or both partners of a core relationship are consensually able to explore sexual intimacy with others.
Orbiting: When your ex continues to interact with all your Instagram Stories and social media, letting you know they’re still around.
Orgy: Group sex with several partners in a party-like scenario.
Pansexual: The sexual, romantic, emotional, physical, or spiritual attraction to people regardless of their specific gender identity or sexual expression. Pansexuality falls under the bisexuality umbrella but goes beyond being attracted to both men and women.
Pearl Necklace: When someone with a penis ejaculates onto their partner’s neck or chest. The term comes from the drops of semen that are said to look like the individual pearls on a strand of beads.
Pegging: When someone without a penis performs anal intercourse on their partner with the help of a strap-on dildo.
Period Sex: Having sex while you menstruate.
Pillow Princess: Someone who likes to lie back and let their partner do most of the physical work during sex.
Polyamory: A form of consensual non-monogamy that emphasizes emotional—and oftentimes sexual—connection among multiple partners.
Polycule: A broad term used to describe all the interconnected partners in the same polyamorous network.
Polysexual: Someone who’s attracted to many genders and identities.
Pompoir: Using vaginal muscles in different ways to stimulate the penis during intercourse.
Pregnant Sex: Sex while pregnant.
Quickie: Speedy, rushed sex, often without foreplay or cuddling.
Relationship Anarchy: Also called “RA,” is a relationship style in which there are no rules or expectations other than the ones the people in the relationship decide upon.
Reverse-Cowgirl: A sex position that’s basically regular cowgirl (someone facing their partner and straddling them with knees on either side of their hips), but backward, so they’re facing their partner’s feet instead.
Rimming: Also called a rim job, tossed salad, and analingus; refers to oral sex involving mouth-to-anus contact.
Roaching: When someone you’re dating hides the fact they are also dating other people at the same time, and when confronted about it, claim they didn’t realize it was a monogamous relationship.
Rough Sex: Basically the opposite of “making love.” Refers to any sort of S&M (sadistic and masochistic) sexual activity. The definition of “rough” varies from person to person, so there’s no hard and fast rule here. Talk to your partner about how they define “rough” if you’re going to experiment with consensual rough sex.
Rusty Trombone: The act of performing a simultaneous rim job and hand job.
Sapiosexual: A controversial term that refers to a person who is attracted, primarily or exclusively, to people they find intelligent with less or no importance placed on the person’s appearance, gender, or identity.
Sex-Repulsed: Most commonly used within the asexual community, “sex-repulsed” is a way of experiencing one’s sexuality, but it’s not a sexuality in and of itself. Sex repulsion can mean someone finds sex disgusting or revolting and in general, would not want to look at, hear about, talk about, or think about sex or any sexual activity.
Sexual Frustration: A broad term used to describe feelings of dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety, and anger due to unmet sexual needs.
Shocker: A sex act when someone sticks their pointer and middle finger inside their partner’s vagina while also inserting their pinkie finger in the anus. It’s traditionally a sexist, non-consensual term because the anal penetration is meant to “shock” the receiver. Not cool.
Shrimping: The act of sucking on your partner’s toes.
Situationship: A catch-all term for relationships sitting at the intersection of “hooking up” and “in a relationship.”
Sixty-Nine (69): A sex position where two people simultaneously give each other oral sex.
Snowballing: A sexual act where a penis-haver ejaculates into their partner’s mouth, then open-mouth kisses their partner, passing the semen back and forth into each other’s mouths.
Spooning: When two people lie side-by-side, butt-to-back. The small spoon is the person on the inside, and the big spoon is on the outside.
Squirting: When fluid comes out of someone’s vagina, often accompanying orgasm.
Strap-On: A two-piece sex toy that includes a dildo and a harness, which attaches to the hips of the person wearing it. Strap-ons are often used for penetrative vaginal or anal sex.
Submarining: When an ex pops back into your life and then acts like nothing happened during the period you weren’t together.
Tantric Sex: Sex that lasts for hours and hours and involves study, meditation, breath-work, eye contact, and intimacy with your partner.
Teabagging: When a penis-haver places their scrotum into the mouth or onto the face or forehead of another person, usually while standing or kneeling over that person.
Temperature Play: An erotic form of consensual sensation play that’s often carried out by people who engage in BDSM play or kink. The goal of temperature play is to use the elements of heat and cold to heighten the senses.
Thigh Job: A sexual act where someone’s genitals are stimulated by a partner’s thighs. A thigh job can be done with clothes or bare thighs, thighs in latex, pantyhose, thigh highs, lubed up, or without lube.
Threesome: When three people have sex with each other simultaneously.
Venus Butterfly (technique): A sex act that involves both oral stimulation of the genitalia (cunnilingus) and manual stimulation (fingering) at the same time.
Vibrator: A sex toy that vibrates. While it can be used externally on the clitoris or penis, it can also be used internally in the vagina or anus, depending on its shape, design, and directions for use.
Yoni: “Vagina” in Sanskrit.
Yoni Massage: A tantric practice used to increase sensitivity in the vagina and vulva.
A version of this article originally appeared here on cosmopolitan.com