Sexual and Reproductive Health Glossary
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Pap Smear/Test: A routine test for cervical cancer in which cells are scraped from the cervix and examined.11
Partner or ‘Significant Other’: Primary domestic partner or spousal relationship(s). May be referred to as “girlfriend/boyfriend”, “lover”, “roommate”, “life partner”, “wife/husband”, “spouse”, or other terms.11
Patch: is a transdermal patch applied to the skin that releases synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones to prevent pregnancy. They are thought to have the same effectiveness as the combined oral contraceptive pill. Sold in Canada as the Evra contraceptive patch.
Penis: The male external sexual organ, which functions both in sexual activity and in urination.7
Phimosis: a condition in which the foreskin of the penis is so tight that it cannot be pulled back.7
PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease): Inflammation of the pelvic organs, especially the uterus and fallopian tubes. PID is a major complication of women with chlamydial and gonococcal infections, and is associated with long-term morbidity such as chronic abdominal pain, menstrual disturbances, tubal pregnancy and infertility.1
Pituitary Gland: A small ductless gland at the base of the brain secreting various hormones essential for growth and other bodily functions.11
Placenta: A temporary organ formed on the wall of the uterus through which the fetus receives oxygen and nutrients from its mother and expels waste products. It also produces hormones needed to maintain pregnancy.11
Plateau: The second stage of sexual response, just before orgasm.7
Post-partum: Occurring in the period immediately after childbirth. Often used to describe temporary conditions which start and occur as a result of childbirth.1
Pre-cum: see pre-ejaculate.
Pre-ejaculate: a clear, viscous fluid secreted by the Cowper’s glands into the urethra at the base of the penis; pre-ejaculate may start to flow from the penis as soon as erection is achieved, although the quantity produced can vary from virtually none to a great deal. A slang term is pre-cum.
Premature ejaculation: ejaculation during the early stages of sexual excitement or soon after the insertion of the penis. Orgasm is reached earlier than the male or his partner wishes.
Priapism: A rare condition in which erections are long-lasting and painful.7
Pro-choice: To be pro-choice is to believe that a woman has the right to decide for herself when and whether to have a child. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion (the assumption being that pro-abortion means preferring that option to others). The pro-choice position does not advocate abortion over parenting or adoption. Pro-choice is a philosophy that believes each individual has the right to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive life. Self-determination is key, and regardless of a person’s decision (to use contraception, practice safer sex, abstain, become sexually active, utilize fertility interventions), each person has the right to make choices for their lives and circumstances.
In addition, the philosophy of choice means supporting comprehensive sexuality education and access to all reproductive options that are legal and safe. It means defending the right of individuals to make decisions for themselves based on their own beliefs, health, and situation, and without external interference, coercion, violence, inaccurate information, or judgment.
Progesterone: One of the two female sex hormones produced by the ovaries. The other is estrogen.15
Prophylactic: 1) something used for the prevention of something else, 2) a condom
Prostate: The gland in the male, located below the bladder of males, which secretes a fluid that forms most of the semen.7 Stimulation during anal sex results in sexual pleasure.11
Puberty: Stage of life in which the reproductive system matures, and secondary sex characteristics appear.11 The period of change and growth when boys and girls start to become adults. It can take several years.15
Pubic Area: The area of the male or female body where the outer sex organs are found.15
Pubic Lice: Parasitic insects, Pediculus humanus, which infest human hair and skin in the genital region.11
Queer: Traditionally a pejorative term, "queer" has been appropriated by some Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/ Transgendered (GLBT) people to describe themselves. Some people value the term for its defiance and because it can be inclusive of the entire GLBT community. Nevertheless, it is not universally accepted even within the GLBT community.6
Questioning: The term commonly used when someone is questioning their gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Refractory period: The period following orgasm during which the male cannot be sexually aroused.1
Remission: When the signs and symptoms of cancer disappear, and no more active cancer cells can be found.13
Reproduction: When sexual intercourse results in a pregnancy and a new baby.15
Reproductive health: Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this last condition are the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant. In line with the above definition of reproductive health, reproductive health care is defined as the constellation of methods, techniques and services that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations and not merely counselling and care related to reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases.1
Reproductive rights: Reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents. In the exercise of this right, they should take into account the needs of their living and future children and their responsibilities towards the community. The promotion of the responsible exercise of these rights for all people should be the fundamental basis for government- and community-supported policies and programs in the area of reproductive health, including family planning.1
(RTI) Reproductive Tract Infection: A general term for infections affecting the reproductive organs. RTIs include three types of infection: sexually transmitted infections (STIs), infections which are caused by overgrowth of organisms naturally present in the genital tract such as bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis, and infections that are a consequence of medical treatment.1
Resolution: The fourth stage of sexual response, in which the body returns to an unaroused state.7
Rimming: to perform anilingus on.12 Oral-anal contact; licking or inserting the tongue into the rectum.
Rhythm Method: Birth control in which sexual activity is avoided during times when fertilization is most likely (e.g. during ovulation).11