Natural couple embracing in field

Not so dry January: AH! YES® glossary of sex terms for 2024

As we kick off the new year, everyone’s talking about health improvements, but there's often a quieter side to well-being: intimate health and sexual wellness. Sometimes, navigating this part of life can feel like venturing into unknown territory. That's why knowing the lingo around sex isn’t just informative – it’s empowering.

Say hello to our ultimate glossary: a judgment-free, all-embracing guide to sex terms. Think of it as your go-to dictionary covering everything from sexual orientations to basic biology. To help you feel more in the know, self-assured, and in control of your intimate health journey. So, let's jump in together and unravel the world of sexual wellness.

Our A-Z of intimate health and sexual wellness

Asexual – having a lack of (or very low level) of sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest or desire for sex or sexual partners. Another term used within the asexual community is “ace,” meaning someone who is asexual.

Atrophy – Vaginal Atrophy or atrophic vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that manifests itself with a thinning and shrinking of the vaginal tissues. It can cause vaginal dryness, itchiness, and irritation. Experiencing vaginal atrophy? Check out our guide here.

Bisexual - Also referred to as “bi,” a sexual orientation that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of more than one gender.

Body Neutrality – The act of taking a natural stance toward your body, both emotionally and physically. Shifting focus from achieving an ideal body image to accepting and appreciating one's body as it is! Allowing you to foster self-confidence and a positive relationship with yourself.

Clitoris - The clitoris is a highly sensitive, pleasure-producing sexual organ located at the top of the vulva. Despite being a relatively small structure, the clitoris consists of a complex network of erectile tissue, nerve fibres, and blood vessels. Many people with vulvas need their clitoris to be stimulated to achieve an orgasm. Read our Facts about the Female Orgasm here to find out more.

Clitoral anatomy

Coconut Oil - In recent years coconut oil has been used as a luubricant. Coconut oil's rise in popularity owes to its versatile nature, renowned for its moisturizing properties and skin benefits. While it's widely used for skin health, using raw coconut oil as a personal lubricant has drawbacks. AH! YES® COCO offers the benefits of coconut oil while maintaining the vagina's natural balance. Unlike raw coconut oil, AH! YES® COCO is specifically designed as a personal lubricant, ideal for intimate moments and soothing relief from vaginal dryness symptoms. click here to find out more.

Condom - A thin sheath, usually made of latex, designed to cover the penis during penetrative sex. Used to prevent pregnancy and/or reduce the risk of giving or receiving STIs. Remember not all lubricants are condom compatible. Important: not all lubricants are condom compatible. Our water-based lubricant, AH! YES® WB, is compatible with natural rubber latex and polyisoprene condoms. As well as silicone vaginal dilators, trainers and menstrual cups.

Dryness - Vaginal dryness is more common than you might think. At least 17% [1] of women will experience vaginal or vulval dryness, and the numbers soar to as many as 90% for postmenopausal women [2]. It can cause itching, burning, dryness and pain during sex or day-to-day life, and can significantly affect a woman’s quality of life, and some may struggle with sex and intimacy as a result. The great news is vaginal dryness can be easily managed and is not something anyone should have to suffer with. Read our AH! YES® guide to Understanding and Treating Vaginal Dryness here.

Erogenous Zones – Located all over the body, essentially, an erogenous zone is any part of the body that can trigger sexual arousal when touched. Common erogenous zones include the armpits, lower abdomen, mouth, neck, breasts, buttocks, shoulders, lower back, and genitals. Stimulating these areas can encourage relaxation, promote blood flow, build arousal, enhance sexual pleasure, and help achieve orgasm.

Foreplay - Any sexual activity that people do to or with each other to create arousal before or instead of intercourse. Often thought of as physical sexual activity, non-physical activities such as mental or verbal acts (think dirty talk!) can also be foreplay.

G-spot - The G spot (or Gräfenberg spot) is part of your clitoral network, located about one-third of the way along the upper wall of the vagina. Stimulation of the G-spot can lead to orgasm in some people and is sometimes associated with female ejaculation – see squirting below. [3]

Horny – a state of sexual arousal.

Kink - A non-standard sexual activity, fetish or interest.

Lubricant – Personal lubricant, or lube for short, can be used for a range of both sexual and intimate health needs. Including penetration, masturbation, massage, oral, clitoral play, sex toy use, tampon, and menstruation cup use – the list goes on! Unsure of where to start? We’ve got you covered. Check out Lube 101: How to use a lube to find out more about why you might need to lube; an explanation of the different types of lubricant and how best to use it.

Libido – The sex drive or amount/frequency a person desires to have sex. It’s important to remember libido varies a lot from person to person, and there is no right or wrong level. There are a whole host of everyday factors that can have an impact on your libido, including the foods that you eat, your hormone levels, sleeping habits, medications, and more. Looking to increase your sex drive? See our tips to boost female libido naturally

Labia - Sitting on both sides of the vaginal opening, labia are called the "vaginal lips." They protect the genital organs and can also become flooded with blood when aroused, making them sensitive during sex.

Masturbation – Touching one’s own genitals for sexual pleasure. Both sex and masturbation can be great for boosting your mental and physical wellbeing. According to Dr Caroline West, lecturer in sexuality studies, sex and masturbation “has a ton of health benefits. It’s known to help to relieve stress and tension, boost your mood, and give you a hit of endorphins. [4]

Orgasm - The peak of sexual arousal when all the muscles that were tightened during sexual arousal relax, causing a pleasurable feeling that can involve the whole body. Many people don’t realize that there are several types of female orgasm or rather, different ways of evoking the sensation. In fact, according to some researchers, the female body is capable of 11 different types of orgasm [5]. Read our guide to the female orgasm here.

Painful Sex - Also known as dyspareunia, painful sex is a common condition that causes discomfort and pain during or after sexual activity. Experiencing pain during sexual activity can be a challenging and distressing situation for both individuals and couples. It's important to recognize that painful sex is a treatable condition, and seeking professional assistance is essential for accurate diagnosis and guidance. In our AH! YES® Guide to Understanding Painful Sex, we explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for painful sex, to help you navigate this journey and find relief.

Role-Play – Sexual role play is an activity in which consenting partners assume the roles of different characters in an imaginary scenario or fantasy during sex. Partners discuss fantasy role-playing ideas ahead of time to ensure consent.

Squirting – Other known as female ejaculation, refers to fluid expelled from the vagina during sexual arousal or orgasm. Not all people with vaginas squirt during orgasm, and those who do may only do it some of the time.

Self-esteem –Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. It is the driving force behind our positive and negative thoughts about our own abilities, worthiness, and value. Our sexual self-esteem is very closely linked. If we don’t feel desirable or if we are uncomfortable with our body, it can impact us in different ways, including lack of sex drive, and avoiding sexual or physical contact.

Sexual Health - As defined by the World Health Organisation: "Sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence." [6]

UTI - A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra [7]. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than are men. It is curable and is not an STI.

Vagina - The word vagina is regularly misused to refer to the female genitalia when in fact, it’s only a small part of it. The vagina is the muscular, tubular part of the female genital tract that joins the cervix (the lower part of uterus) to the outside of the body. The vagina allows for sexual intercourse and childbirth and for the release of the menstrual flow.

Vulval anatomy

Vulva – The vulva includes all of the external genitalia, including the labia majora, labia minor, glans clitoris and urethra.  

Vaginal Moisturizer – A vaginal moisturizer is designed to hydrate, soothe and moisturize the internal vaginal walls when vaginal dryness is experienced. AH! YES® VM is recommended by gynecologists to rehydrates and rapidly sooth dry and sensitive vaginal tissues. Relieving vaginal atrophy, discomfort, and dryness.

Vibrator - Vibrators are sex toys that are used on the body to create sexual stimulation. Modern vibrators come in many shapes and sizes and can be used alone or with a partner. Popular among both men and women of all sexual orientations. A study found that over 52.5% of women ages 18-60 in the United States have used a vibrator before. [8]

Yeast Infection – Also known as Thrush, is an overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast in the vagina commonly causing itch, skin irritation, and a clumpy white discharge. It is not an STI and can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication.