Terminology is constantly evolving and changing, especially now that social media is so prevalent in our everyday lives. Every year they induct a new word into the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, and it can seem hard to keep up with the latest lingo.
But keeping up on your sex terms doesn’t require a Master’s degree, and having a grasp on at least the basics help you communicate more effectively with your partner. From aftercare to zaddy, we’ve got an encyclopedia of 42 sex terms you can use today to up your game.
We hope you discover something new!
Aftercare is the time that you spend with your partner after a sexual encounter, especially one that involves aspects of kink or BDSM. This can include cuddling, talking about your experiences, or just lying next to each other quietly.
Aftercare is also when you can talk about what worked, what didn’t, and what you’d like to do differently next time. You can also use aftercare if you’re not in a monogamous or long-term relationship; it doesn’t have to mean that you’re committed to each other, just that you value the experience you just had together.
2. Anal Play
Anal play is the umbrella term for any sexual acts involving the anus (AKA, your “butthole”). While anal sex focuses solely on the act of penetration — which can be done with a penis or a sex toy (like a dildo or vibrator) — anal play encompasses a much wider range of activities.
Any sexual activity involving the anus is considered “anal play.” You can start by using just your fingers, try your mouth, or experiment with a butt plug or prostate massager. Remember, consent is key.
Going bareback refers to having sex without a barrier (usually a condom). There is a significant risk of STIs when you’re going without protection — so make sure you’re talking with your partner about your status ahead of time.
BDSM is the shorthand term for a kink known as Bondage, Discipline/Dominance, Sadism/Submission, and Masochism. While there are many subcategories of BDSM (like Big/little, for example), the overall theme is consensual power exchange.
Some people enjoy more of the physical aspects of that power exchange, like being spanked or tied up, while others get off on the mental side of things.
A bottom is a person (usually one who identifies as male and sleeps with others who identify as male) who takes on the more submissive, receiving role during sexual activity. But don’t be fooled into thinking that being a bottom means you have to just sit back and take it — certain forms of submission (like being a power bottom) mean that you still get to take an active role in your encounter.
6. Breath Play
Breath play is a form of consensual BDSM where one partner restricts the other partner’s ability to breathe for brief periods. The temporary lack of oxygen can lead to stronger orgasms, but it can also be dangerous if done for too long or by someone who lacks experience.
Choking is an easy way to practice breath play, but ensure that you and your partner have a non-verbal way to express when enough is enough.
7. Butt Plugs
Butt plugs are sex toys meant to be inserted into the anus and left during sexual activity. They may stimulate the prostate, be used as practice for anal sex, or just be used to increase the feeling of fullness.
They come in many different shapes and sizes but should only be used with lots of lube and if they have a flared base (to keep them from sliding further into the anus where they may be unable to be retrieved). Trust us; you don’t want to find yourself in an emergency room trying to explain what’s up there and why you can’t get it out.
The term bussy is everywhere, but you may have been too embarrassed to know what it actually means! Bussy is a term that combines “boy” and, well, that popular slang term for vagina.
It’s often used in gay culture to refer to an anus, especially the anus of someone who tends to bottom or be more feminine.
Yes, CBT is short for cognitive behavioral therapy, but that’s not the CBT we’re talking about today! CBT is also shorthand for cock and ball torture, where a person is aroused by having their genitals “crushed” during sexual activity.
Ropes, chains, or even specialized sexual implements are often used to safely but firmly impact male genitals specifically. Again, ensure you have established solid consent and start slowly with a solid safe word.
Sure, a cream pie is a delicious, custardy dessert. But when we’re referencing sex terms, “creampie” refers to the act of filling your partner with ejaculate to the point that it drips out of them.
This is the result of barebacking, so make sure that you’re talking about wanting to end your sexual encounter with a creampie before springing it on them.
You may have seen the term “cuck” thrown around in certain online spaces, often as an insult. However, the truth of cuckolding is that it’s usually a very consensual experience that both people involved get a lot out of.
With cuckolding (or cucking), one person in the relationship allows the other person to have sex with someone else. Sometimes this happens in front of the other person, and other times the partner just goes out to a hotel or the other person’s house with their partner’s consent.
One of the major parts of cuckolding is the element of humiliation.
12. Deep Throating
Deep throating is a more extreme form of oral sex, where the giver pushes their partner’s penis further into their mouth and often down their throat. Deep throating takes practice, as it usually triggers the giver’s gag reflex — although some people find it part of the allure.
You can practice with a sex toy if you want to get better at deep throating.
Docking is a term for a sex act where two people (at least one of whom has a foreskin) put their penises together and use their foreskin to connect them. Once connected, they can begin to thrust back and forth, causing an intense sensation with an intimate, face-to-face connection.
While this isn’t a super well-known sex term, it’s worth trying if you’re looking for a way to spice up your sex life and try something new.
Doggy-style is a sex position where the penetrative partner is behind the receiving partner, who is on their hands and knees. There are multiple ways to adapt the doggy-style position to make it even more pleasurable, by having the receiving partner put their chest on the bed or lean over the arm of the couch or a kitchen counter.
Doggy-style is kind of naughty, allows for deep penetration, and hits all of the right spots regardless of what type of genitals you have.
If you find yourself attracted to people who look just like you (without being related to you), you may be sleeping with a dopplebanger! This isn’t too far off from the concept of being autosexual, where you prefer to masturbate instead of sleeping with a partner.
Edging is the sexual practice of getting to the brink of orgasm but stopping before experiencing a climax. There are different ways to practice edging — the stop-start method and the squeeze technique being two of the most common.
Many people believe that edging can help with premature ejaculation and also leads to far more intense orgasms once you’re ready to have them. But even those with vulvas can edge. Anyone who can climax, can edge.
17. Face Sitting
Face sitting is an oral sex position where the person receiving the pleasure “sits” on the face of the person giving the pleasure. Anyone can try face sitting; it’s not exclusively for people with any specific set of genitals.
A facial is when someone with a penis ejaculates onto their partner’s face. This is sometimes referred to as the “money shot,” especially in pornography.
Sexual fetishes are necessities that some people need to enjoy a sexual encounter, sometimes things that are not even inherently sexual. Foot fetishes are a good example because people can sexualize feet outside a sexual context.
If you’re not sure whether you’re dealing with a kink or a fetish, ask yourself if it adds extra spice to your sex life (a kink) or if you can’t have sex without incorporating it (a fetish).
Fisting is a sexual practice where you insert your whole hand into your partner’s vagina or rectum. Fisting shouldn’t be attempted by inexperienced people because there is a risk of injury if you don’t do it correctly.
The key is to use lots of lube and patience — moving slowly and listening to your partner.
Foreplay is an umbrella term for any sexual activity you do to get your partner in the mood. The type of foreplay you use will vary depending on whether you are with a partner of a different gender or your own gender.
Sex acts like manual stimulation (“fingering”), oral sex, or just making out can get you and your partner in the mood and increase the odds of having a pleasurable sexual experience that ends in an orgasm for both of you.
22. Gender Identity
Gender identity is the gender you feel on the inside and often how you choose to show that on the outside (although some people may not feel safe enough to do this regularly). People can express their gender identity through clothing choices, hairstyles, and behavior.
Gender identity differs from your biological sex or the parts assigned at birth, which may or may not match how you self-identify. When your biological sex matches up with your gender identity, that is known as being “cisgender.”
When it doesn’t match, it is known as being “transgender.” Some people also identify as non-binary, meaning they don’t feel like they fall on either side of the line.
23. Golden Showers
Golden showers are a kink involving one partner urinating on the other partner. There is a lot of diversity among people who enjoy golden showers — some want their partner to urinate into their mouths, while others are content with being urinated on in the shower.
24. Impact Play
Impact play is a subsection of BDSM where a person gets sexual arousal from “impacting” some part of their partner’s body (or having parts of their body “impacted”). This can be spanking with a hand, the use of a crop or whip, or any other implement design to cause pain. For people who are into impact play, pain equals pleasure.
Intersex individuals are people whose genitalia doesn’t fit neatly into a “male” or “female” box. Some people are born with and keep both, while others have the decision made for them at birth by their doctor or parents (although medicine is thankfully moving away from his practice and letting people decide when they’re older).
A kink is a sexual preference that adds to a sexual encounter but isn’t required for it to be enjoyable. Usually, these preferences are somewhat non-conventional (at least according to cultural norms).
Lube is often considered a nice-to-have, but it’s an absolute necessity for certain sex acts (like anal penetration). Lube reduces friction and increases slip so that you can slide in and out of your partner (or have them slide in and out of you) with much less resistance.
There are three main categories of lube — oil-based, water-based, and silicone-based.
Masturbation refers to the act of pleasuring yourself. You can masturbate using your fingers or hand or use a sexual aid (like a vibrating prostate plug).
Some people even enjoy mutual masturbation, where you and your partner either watch each other masturbate or lie next to each other and do it simultaneously.
29. Missionary Position
The missionary position is where the penetrating partner lays on top of the receiving partner. Like other sexual positions, there are plenty of ways to alter this to make it even more fun — the bottom partner can put their legs on the top partner’s shoulders, pull them up into their chest, or wrap them around their partner’s back.
30. Pearl Necklace
When someone with a penis ejaculates onto their partner’s neck and chest, this is known as giving them a “pearl necklace.”
Primarily used in different gendered couples (where one partner has a penis and the other does not), pegging refers to a penetrative sex act using a strap-on or dildo.
In this situation, the partner without a penis penetrates the partner with male genitalia anally, flipping traditional gender roles on their head in a sexy way.
32. Prostate Massager
Prostate massagers are sexual aids that can be used to stimulate the prostate. When inserted into the anus, the specific shape of the prostate massager allows it to reach just the right spot for stimulation.
Many prostate massagers also have other bells and whistles, like multiple vibration settings, for even more sensation and pleasure. A vibrating prostate massager can be a game changer.
The p-spot is another term for the prostate, named for its similarity to the female g-spot. When stimulated in the “right” way, people with a prostate can experience a prostate orgasm — a uniquely different feeling than the traditional ejaculatory experience.
Quickies are quick, down, and dirty sexual encounters that normally skip over foreplay and go right to the main act. There is usually little to no aftercare with quickies, either.
Rimming, or rim jobs, are slang terms used to describe analingus, the sexual act of using your tongue to lick the anus. If you’re worried about trying it for the first time, you can also use a dental dam to protect yourself and your partner from potential STIs (or reduce the “ick factor” until you’re ready to dive in completely).
36. Safe Word
Although safe words are attributed to BDSM play, it is a good idea for everyone to have them if they're sexually active. A safe word is a word you can say during a sexual encounter to tell your partner you want them to stop what they’re doing.
People use safe words instead of just saying “no” because it is less likely that your partner will misconstrue it or not hear you. Safe words can be anything but should be words you’re not likely to say during sex — like penguin, pineapple, or unicorn.
37. Sexual Health
Sexual health is a holistic view of sexuality, encompassing not just the physical act of sex but everything surrounding it. Staying safe from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), developing and expressing healthy boundaries, and being able to reach orgasm or have pleasurable, satisfying sex are all important aspects of sexual health.
Focusing on your sexual health should involve regular trips to the doctor, getting tested regularly, and having open and honest conversations with your partner.
38. Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation refers to the people you experience romantic or sexual attraction to. While there used to be just a few sexual orientations — lesbian, gay, straight, and bisexual — many more have been added to the list in the past few years.
For example, asexuals are people who don’t find themselves attracted to anyone (although there are “shades” of this as well). There are also pansexuals (who are attracted to people regardless of their gender identity), queer people (who identify as anything other than straight), and many more.
Are you attracted to your partner’s toes? Does the thought of having them in your mouth turn you on? You may be into shrimping, the sexual act of sucking on someone’s toes.
Luckily, this is also easy to try for yourself — just make sure you ask your partner and have them wash their feet first (unless you’re into dirty toes, that is).
A top is someone (usually a person who identifies as male and sleeps with others who identify as male) who prefers to take on a more dominant role in sexual activity. Again, like bottoming, being a top doesn’t have to mean that you’re the only one taking an active role in your sexual encounter.
Some tops prefer to lay back and let their bottom do all the hard work, and that’s totally okay as long as you discuss it ahead of time.
41. Versatile (Vers)
People who identify as versatile (or vers) enjoy acting as either a top or a bottom during sexual activity. Often, this depends on the preferences of the people they are having sex with.
Being vers can be a huge benefit if you’re exploring what you’re into, and it definitely helps expand your dating pool exponentially.
Zaddy isn’t always a sex term, but it can be used that way in some contexts. In general, zaddy refers to a well-dressed, attractive, usually older man with a “swagger.”
When used in a sexual context, zaddies take a more dominant role often in a sexual relationship with an age gap. However, you don’t have to be older to be a zaddy — it’s all about your vibe.
While there are a lot of sex terms out there, the good news is that you’ll never be expected to know them all. You can relax; there is no pop quiz! Learning more about how diverse sex can be expands your horizons and introduce you to sex acts that you may not have even thought about before!
If you need any tips or tricks or are just looking for ways to make your sex the best it can be, stick with GIDDI. We’ve got your back, your front, and everything in between; just bring an open mind!
Sex and Gender Identity | Planned Parenthood