Sex Dictionary: G-L

Gang-bang

Sexual practice where a woman has vaginal intercourse with several men in succession. Also used to refer to group rape.

Gardnerella

See Bacterial vaginosis.

Gates of Hell

Rings, usually made of metal or leather, that are placed around the penis. See Arab straps.

Gay

Term commonly used to refer to homosexual behaviour, people, culture etc. The word lesbian is used more commonly to refer to women who prefer sex with women.

Gender

The state of being biologically male or female.

Gender identity

The individual’s conscious sense of being male or female, as determined by biological, psycholgical and social influences.

Gender reassignment

The process undergone by some transsexuals to bring their physical sex characteristics into line with gender identity. The process includes living for a period of time as the desired sex, a course of the appropriate male or female hormones, surgery to remove or enlarge the breasts, and surgery on the reproductive organs and external genitals.

Gender role

The pattern of behavioural characteristics associated with being male or female in a particular culture. It is the outward expression of gender identity, often related to socially ascribed roles.

Genes

The units that make up chromosomes, which are found in each body cell. Genes are made up of DNA, which is responsible for the transmission of inheritable characteristics. See Chromosomes.

Genital herpes

See Herpes.

Genitals

The external sex organs. In a male, the penis and testicles. In a female, the vagina, clitoris and labia.

Gential warts

Small warts or growths caused by the human papilloma virus. They are found on or around the genitals and can be transmitted through sexual intercourse.

Gerontophilia

Sexual interest in and attraction to older people.

Gigolo

A man who receives money from women for escorting them and/or having sex with them.

Glans

The rounded, highly sensitive head of the penis or clitoris, which has a high concentration of nerve endings and is therefore very responsive to touch. See Frenulum.

Gluteal sex

Sexual practice where a man’s penis is stimulated by being moved between the buttocks of his partner.

Gonads

The organs that produce the reproductive cells and the sex hormones: the ovaries of a woman or the testes of a man. Male and female gonads develop from the same tissue in the embryo, before sexual differentiation takes place in the ninth week of pregnancy. Also known as the sex glands.

Gonorrhoea

Sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria gonococcus. It can affect the urethra, cervix, rectum and occasionally the throat if it is passed by oral-genital contact. It attacks the mucous membranes, causing inflammation and the production of pus. Characteristic symptoms include a discharge of white or yellow fluid from the penis or vagina and pain when urinating, but these are usually more obvious in men. If untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to sterility.

Grope suit

Tight underwear made for women to produce sexual excitement and orgasm. Usually consists of a tight rubber G-string and a bra, each with protuberances on the inside to stimulate the vagina, G-spot, clitoris and nipples.

G-spot

A specific area that is particularly and intensely responsive to sexual stimulation in some men and women. Also known as the Grafenberg spot, after Dr Ernst Grafenberg, who first described it. The male G-spot has been identified as the prostate gland, the female as a small area on the front wall of the vagina, although opinions still vary with regard to the nature of the G-spot and – in the case of the female – even its existence. For some people stimulation of the G-spot is the key to reaching orgasm, for others it serves to intensify the sensations of orgasm, while for others it has little or no effect.

Guiche

A piercing in the ridge of the flesh behind the scrotum. See Ampallang.

Hafada

A piercing made through the scrotal sac. It can be made at the side, so that it is visible from the front, or underneath and behind, running in a line down the centre seam of the scrotum.

Hard on

The state of male sexual arousal resulting in the erection and hardening of the penis.

Hepatitis B

A virus present in the blood and other bodily fluids of an infected person, causing inflammation of the liver. It is passed on through contact with infected body fluids and can therefore be transmitted sexually.

Hermaphrodite

A person that has both male and female sexual characteristics.

Herpes

A viral infection, the most common form of which is the herpes simplex virus. Type I affects the mouth and occasionally the genitals, and type II just the genital and anal areas. It is characterised by the formation of small, watery blisters on, in or around the genitals and cold sores on the mouth, although it may be asymptomatic. It can be passed through genital and oral-genital contact.

Heterophobia

The fear and/or hatred of heterosexuality.

Heterosexism

Term for the prejudice experienced by lesbians and gay men from some heterosexual people.

Heterosexuality

Sexual attraction to and/or activity with members of the opposite sex.

HIV

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which if contracted prevents the immune system from working as it normally should, by attacking the ‘CD4 cells’, which coordinate the fight against infections. This leaves the body defenceless to both infection and disease. HIV can be transmitted through sexual activity. See AIDS, Kaposi’s sarcoma, ARC.

Homoeroticism

Any material that suggests lesbian or gay sexuality and/or love.

Homophile

Term for homosexual. The Greek root ‘philos’, to love, means that the word literally means love of the same sex.

Homophobia

Fear and/or hatred of homosexuality.

Homosexuality

Sexual attraction to and/or activity with members of the same sex. Current estimates suggest that between five and ten percent of men and a smaller percentage of women are exclusively homosexual throughout their lives. However, Kinsey’s studies suggested that about thirty-seven percent of males and thirteen percent of females had some overt homosexual experience in adult life, and more recent estimates are higher than this. It is also known that homo-erotic fantasy is common amongst people of all sexual orientations.

Hormonal methods of contraception

Methods of preventing conception involving the use of synthetic hormones similar to those produced naturally by the body. Taken either by pill, injection or implant, they have been one of the most popular female contraceptives since the 1960s. Research and trials continue on hormonal contraceptives for use by men. See Natural methods, Mechanical methods, Pill (contraceptive).

Hormone

One of several types of natural, chemical substances produced by the endocrine glands in the body and which regulate bodily processes such as growth, metabolism and reproduction. The sex hormones, including oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, play a major role in the sexual and reproductive functions of the body.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

The treatment in tablet, patch or gel implant form, for menopausal symptoms in women. It involves the administration of natural oestrogen and/or synthetic progesterone, which the ovaries have ceased to produce.

Hymen

A thin membrane that partially covers the entrance to the vagina in young girls. It may be broken by physical exercise, by using tampons or at first intercourse.

Hysterectomy

The surgical removal of the female uterus, usually because of infection, disease, prolapse or excessive bleeding.

Impotence

A sexual dysfunction in males that involves an inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient to perform sexual intercourse. The cause may be physiological or psychological: among the most common causes are anxiety, stress and emotional conflicts.

Incest

Sexual relations between individuals who are members of the same family.

Inner labia

See Labia minora.

Intercourse

Common term for coitus, involving the insertion of the man’s erect penis into his partner’s vagina or anus, followed by rhythmic thrusting that usually involves climax in orgasm. See Coitus.

Intrafemoral sex

Coitus inter femora, or sexual intercourse in which the man’s penis is gripped between his partner’s thighs, without penetrating the vagina or anus.

Inversion

A term for homosexuality used at the turn of the century (19th to 20th) and employed by sex researchers of that time.

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

A method of contraception consisting of a copper or copper and silver device, the first designs of which released progestogen. The device is professionally inserted into a woman’s uterus. It prevents fertilisation and/or implantation of a fertilised ovum. May also be used as emergency contraception. See IUS.

IUS (Intrauterine System)

An intrauterine device known as Mirena that releases progestogen. It can be left in place for five years.

IVF (Invitro Fertilisation)

The fertilisation of an ovum, by a sperm, which occurs ‘artificially’ outside the body, often in a test tube under laboratory conditions.

Kakila

Term used in the Kama Sutra to describe the sexual practice now known as the sixty-nine sex position, which involves two people simultaneously performing oral sex on one another.

Kama Sutra

Possibly the world’s first sex manual, also seen by many as a literary classic. It describes the sensual pleasure to be derived from music and poetry as well as giving a great variety of advice and information on the enjoyment of sex. It was written by Vatsyana in the fourth to fifth centuries AD, but was based on earlier sources.

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS)

A form of skin cancer that is particularly associated with HIV infection and the development of AIDS. It causes a growth of the blood vessel walls resulting in red and purple lesions on the skin. The condition is named after Moritz Kohn Kaposi (1837-1902), the Australian dermatologist who first described the condition. See HIV, AIDS.

Kinsey Six

Slang term for a homosexual. The term refers to a scale of sexual orientation devised by the pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, where a six was reserved for those who had no interest at all in heterosexual activity. See Homosexuality.

Kissing

Touching or caressing with the lips and tongue as an expression of love, friendship, desire or respect. See French kissing.

Klinefelter’s syndrome

An XXY combination of chromosomes. See Chromosomes.

KY Jelly

The brand name of a popular water-based lubricant, used widely to facilitate penetration.

Labia majora, or Outer labia

The two ‘lips’ that surround the vaginal opening, usually lying close together to protect it. At the front they join at the mons pubis; at the back they join at the perineum. They are plump enough to act as a cushion during intercourse. They contain sweat- and odour-producing glands, which keep the smooth inner part moistened and give the vulva its highly individual sexual odour.

Labia minora, or Inner labia

The smaller, hairless ‘lip’or folds of skin within the outer labia, immediately around the vaginal opening. At the front they join to form the hood of the clitoris and at the back they form the fourchette. They contain sebaceous glands on their outer side and sweat glands on the inner parts, which help with lubrication. During sexual arousal they become engorged with blood (in a similar manner to the penis), which makes them darken in colour and swell to two or three times their normal size. See Fourchette.

Latex love

Term for safer sex practices where condoms (usually made of latex) or dental dams are used. See Condoms, Dental dams.

Lesbian

A woman who is sexually attracted to other women. The word is derived from the island of Lesbos, which was the dwelling place of the Greek poet Sappho (610-580 BC).

Libido

The term coined by Sigmund Freud to refer to human sexual motivation. Now understood as sex drive, sexual desire or urge. See Sex drive.

Littre’s glands

Small mucus glands that open into the urethra in men and women. In the male they are similar to the Cowper’s glands, in that they release a pre-ejaculatory, lubricating fluid.

Love

Arguably the most powerful human emotion, love is a very strong feeling of affection, care, attachment or desire for someone or something.

Love balls, love eggs

Two hollow balls, sometimes containing small weights inside them, joined by a cord. They are placed inside a woman’s vagina, where the weights cause them to move around as the woman moves. They may keep her in a state of constant arousal or bring her to climax. They are also useful in exercising the pelvic floor muscles.

Lubricants

Oils, creams, gels or other substances, which are used to add moisture to the genital area or any other part of the body, to reduce uncomfortable friction during sex play. See KY Jelly.

Lust

Strong sexual desire or drive.

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