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Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese practice of treating a health condition or medical state by inserting needles into the skin at specific points to unblock the flow of energy.
Anorgasmia: Difficulty experiencing or the inability to experience orgasm; in women it is often referred to as female orgasmic disorder.
Antidepressant: The best medication to treat depression and panic attacks. Antidepressants are nonaddictive and may benefit the central nervous system in many ways.
Aphrodisiac: A substance believed to improve or enhance sexual function or pleasure. Some think it may stimulate feelings of love, intimacy, or desire.
Aromatase inhibitors: Drugs that suppress the body's natural production of estrogen by reducing production of the enzyme aromatase.
Aromatherapy: An integrative care practice that uses oils from plants to treat physical or psychological conditions. The oils can be inhaled, used in vaporizers, or used in massage.
Autoerotic: Providing sexual stimulation to oneself or being aroused sexually by oneself.
The surgical term for the removal of both the right and left Fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Bimanual vaginal examination:
Examination of the vagina, cervix, and uterus as well as the other internal pelvic organs with the use of gloved fingers that are inserted into the vagina while the other hand presses on the abdomen.
Bioidentical hormones: Hormonal preparations usually of animal or plant origin that have a similar structure to naturally occurring human hormones.
Biopsy: A surgical procedure that involves obtaining a tissue specimen from the body for laboratory testing to determine a more precise diagnosis.
Cancer: A disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth that ultimately causes destruction of normal healthy tissue.
Cervix: From the Latin word meaning neck; it is the lower most part of the uterus that protrudes into the vagina.
Chlamydia infection: A sexually transmitted disease caused by the infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
Clitoris: The erectile organ in women; the external portion is located at the junction of the labia minora just in front of the vestibule.
Coitus: Latin word for the penetration of the vagina with a penis.
Colposcopy: A diagnostic procedure performed by gynecologists to examine the cervix more closely.
Contraception: The prevention of fertilization and pregnancy, usually with pills or other hormonal manipulation of the women's reproductive cycle. Sometimes intrauterine devices can be also used.
Cunnilingus: Sexual contact between the tongue or mouth of one person and the vulva/clitoral tissue of another.
Depression: A state of lowered mood usually associated with other disturbances such as sleep issues, loss of or uncontrollable appetite, and loss of life's pleasure. Serious cases may be associated with suicidal thoughts.
Dildo: A sexual toy that is often phallic in nature or shaped like a penis and that can be used to penetrate the vagina or anus. Both men and women often incorporate dildos into sexual play. Another term often used is vaginal/anal dilator.
Dopamine: A catecholamine that serves as a neurotransmitter and also as a hormone inhibiting the release of prolactin from the anterior portion of the pituitary gland. It is involved in the neurochemistry of sexual function for both men and women.
Dyspareunia: Pain with sexual intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction: A persistent or recurrent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient enough to accomplish a desired sexual behavior such as intercourse or coitus; earlier it was described as impotence.
Erection: The expansion and hardening or stiffening of the sexual organ; it may be the penis, clitoris, or nipples in response to sexual fantasy or stimulation.
Erotica: Sexually themed work such as books or sculpture deemed to have literary and artistic merit. Naked men, women, and other body parts are often featured as predominant themes.
Estrogen: A steroid hormone produced mainly in the ovaries; the primary female sexual hormone.
Fellatio: Latin word for the sexual act between the mouth of one person and the penis of another.
Female androgen insufficiency syndrome: A constellation of symptoms attributed to low testosterone levels in women. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, decreased well-being, lack of energy or motivation, and decreased or absent sexual interest or desire.
Female circumcision: Any form of ritualized genital cutting or excision or destruction of parts of the female genitalia.
Female ejaculation: Expulsion from the urethra in women of about 3 to 5 milliliters of fluid different in chemical composition from urine.
Fibroid: A benign tumor arising from smooth muscle cells of the uterus.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Federal agency that protects public health by regulating the safety and efficacy of food, medical products, biotechnology, and cosmetics. No drug or device can be sold on the market unless it has undergone vigorous scientific testing and passed the strict regulations of the FDA.
Foreplay: Sexual behavior engaged in during the early part of the sexual encounter, with the aim at intensifying sexual arousal or pleasure.
Glans: The terminal knob of the penis or clitoris.
Grafenberg spot (G-spot): An area of increased erotic sensitivity on or deep in the front of the vagina. It is located on the anterior surface of the vaginal vault. Stimulation in some women provides intense sexual pleasure.
Hormone therapy: The use of medications to modify or replace hormones that are decreased or absent in the menopause period.
Hypertension: High blood pressure. An abnormality in arterial blood pressure that typically results from a thickening of the blood vessel wall. It is a risk factor for many illnesses including heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke or end-stage kidney disease.
Hyperthyroidism: Increased thyroid hormone production that can cause symptoms such as anxiety, weight loss, and at times can mimic panic attacks.
Hysterectomy: Surgical removal of the uterus.
Kegel exercises: Exercises designed to increase muscle strength and elasticity in the pelvis. They may be recommended in the treatment of urinary incontinence.
Letrozole: An anti-estrogen-type of medication in the class of aromatase inhibitors. It inhibits the conversion of testosterone to estrogens.
Libido: Sexual interest or desire.
Lubrication: The natural appearance of slippery secretions in the vagina during sexual arousal or the use of artificial lubricants to facilitate sexual activity or intercourse.
Mammogram: A special X-ray of the breast tissue that can be used as a screening tool for breast cancer.
Mastectomy: The removal of the breast.
Masturbation: The act of self-pleasuring; also known as self-stimulation.
Meditation: A complementary medicine practice of concentrated attention toward a single point of reference.
Menopause: The lack of menstrual cycles for one year; the permanent end of a woman's menstrual cycle.
Menstruation: Vaginal bleeding resulting from endometrial shedding following ovulation when the egg is not fertilized.
Monogamy: Sexually exclusive couple who do not have sexual relations with other people outside their relationship.
Mucosa: A surface layer of cells or epithelium that is lubricated by the secretions of mucosal glands.
Orgasm: The intense pleasurable sensation at the peak of sexual activity or sexual climax usually associated with spasmodic contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. It is often associated with ejaculation, especially in men.
Osteoporosis A condition characterized by decrease in bone mass and density of the bones resulting in "thinning" of the bones causing them to become more fragile.
Outercourse: Sexual activities other than intercourse; fondling, touching, kissing, oral and genital play are often considered outercourse. It can be promoted as a means of sexual activity that prevents unwanted pregnancy and that can minimize sexually transmitted diseases.
Ovulation: The process of egg release from the ovary.
Penis: The erectile, sexually, erotically sensitive organ in males. The penis serves a sexual function and also mediates the voiding of urine.
Perimenopause: The time in which women are having irregular periods before the periods completely stop. It can be several years in duration and is characterized by menopausal and nonmenopausal symptomatology.
Pheromone: A volatile compound released by one organism that triggers a specific behavior in another member of the same species.
Progesterone: A hormone that is secreted by the ovary and placenta (during pregnancy); it is necessary for pregnancy and has been implicated in female sexual function.
Progestin: A synthetic form of progesterone often used in birth control pills and hormone therapy.
Pubic hair: Hair that appears on portions of the external genitalia in both sexes at puberty.
Serotonin reuptake inhibitor: A type of depressant medication that does not allow serotonin to be taken up again by the neuroreceptors, thereby causing more serotonin to be present in the neuron. These may be used for depression and panic attacks.
Sexual intercourse (intercourse): Sexual contact usually involving coitus or penile vaginal penetration.
Sexuality: The feelings, behaviors, and identities associated with sex.
Sildenafil: A phosphodiesterase inhibitor that is used in the treatment of male erectile dysfunction. New data suggest this class of medication can sometimes be used for the treatment of serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced female sexual problems.
Tamoxifen: A selective estrogen receptor modulator that is used in the treatment of breast cancer.
Tantra: An ancient Indian spiritual tradition and belief system with the premise that sexuality is tied into personal energy and is capable of changing us if we submit to our primal sexual desires while maintaining control and heightening spiritual awareness. Tantra can intensify lovemaking and intensify the sexual dynamic or consciousness between couples.
Testosterone: A sexual hormone that is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands that is important in normal sexual functioning. It has been implicated in normal female libido or desire.
Topical anesthetics: Medication applied to the surface of the body, for example, the skin or mucous membrane, to numb the area.
Uterus: The female reproductive organ in which a pregnancy occurs.
Vagina: The part of the female genital tract that connects the uterus to the external vulva. It is 8 to 10 cm in length.
Vaginal atrophy: When the vaginal tissues decrease in size, become pale or dry and without lubrication; this is a result of decreased hormonal levels in the woman's body. The tissues can become sensitive and often vaginal atrophy is associated with painful intercourse. Commonly seen in chemical or natural menopause.
Vaginal dilators: Medical applications that can be placed within the vagina to help restore the vaginal tissues so that they are more adaptable.
Vaginismus: An involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles when the vagina is penetrated. The action can cause significant distress and pain.
Vaginitis: Inflammation of the vagina.
Vulva: The external female genitals also commonly known as the vulvar lips.
Vulvodynia: Chronic painful irritation of the introitus or nearby tissues.
Yoga: The spiritual practice aiming to unite the consciousness with universal consciousness to achieve harmony.
Yohimbine: An alkaloid medicine derived from the South American plant Corynanthe yohimbe, which has alleged aphrodisiac properties.