Here is the ultimate Kink, BDSM, and Sex Glossary 2023

Sexual Health and Safety Glossary

  1. Abstinence: Choosing not to engage in sexual activities.
  2. Barrier Methods: Forms of contraception that block sperm, like condoms and dental dams.
  3. BDSM: An acronym that stands for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism.
  4. Cisgender: A term for people whose gender identity aligns with their birth-assigned sex.
  5. Consent: Voluntary, informed, and continuous agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Always ask for and give consent first!
  6. Dental Dam: A sheet of latex or polyurethane used during oral sex to prevent STD transmission.
  7. Endometriosis: A medical condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus grows outside of it.
  8. Fetish: A form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to a specific object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc. There are hundreds of fetishes and new ones arise all the time.
    Read our guide to Fetishes!

    We also have an entire list of common fetishes compiled for you!
  9. Gender Dysphoria: Discomfort or distress related to a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and their assigned sex at birth.
  10. Hormone Therapy: Medical treatment in which hormones are used to treat certain conditions or to aid in gender transition.
  11. Intersex: Born with physical or genetic sex characteristics that don’t fit typical definitions of male or female.
  12. Kink: An unconventional sexual taste or behavior.
  13. LGBTQIA+: Acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and others.
  14. Lubrication: Used to decrease friction during intercourse; can be natural or store-bought.
  15. Masturbation: Sexual self-stimulation.
  16. Non-Binary: A gender identity that doesn’t fit within the conventional categories of male or female.
  17. Orgasm: The climax of sexual excitement.
  18. Polyamory: Engaging in multiple romantic or sexual relationships with the knowledge and consent of all involved. Check out our Polyamory guide 2023
  19. Queer: An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities.
  20. Role Play: Acting out fantasies or scenarios during sexual activity.
  21. Safe Word: A word or signal in BDSM practices indicating that the activity should stop or slow down. Don’t engage in BDSM activities without one! Need some help finding one? We have an article on safewords in BDSM!
  22. STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection): Infections transmitted through sexual contact.
  23. Transgender: Having a gender identity that doesn’t align with one’s birth-assigned sex.
  24. Unprotected Sex: Engaging in sexual activity without using contraception or barrier methods.
  25. Voyeurism: Deriving sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.
  26. Wax Play: Using molten wax in a BDSM setting for sensation play.

Glossary of Polyamory Terms

Here is our glossary of polyamory terms:


  • Anchor Partner: Also known as a primary partner, this is a person’s main or most significant relationship.


  • Boundaries: Limits that individuals set for themselves in relationships regarding behaviors and interactions.


  • Compersion: Often referred to as the opposite of jealousy, compersion is the feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy, such as witnessing a partner’s happiness in another relationship.
  • Closed Polyamory/Polyfidelity: A relationship structure in which multiple people have relationships with each other but do not seek relationships outside the group.
  • Cowboy/Cowgirl: A person who enters a polyamorous relationship with the intention of separating one of the partners from the existing relationship(s) and becoming monogamous.


  • Dyad: A relationship between two individuals.


  • Ethical Non-Monogamy: Engaging in relationships with multiple partners with the consent and knowledge of all involved.


  • Fluid-Bonding: Choosing to not use barrier methods for sexual intercourse with certain partner(s), usually indicating a significant level of commitment and trust.
  • FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out): The fear that one’s partner is experiencing enjoyable events or activities from which one is absent, leading to feelings of jealousy or insecurity.


  • Hierarchy/Hierarchical Polyamory: A structure in polyamorous relationships where there is a ranked order of relationships, typically with a primary partner, secondary partners, and so on.


  • Kitchen Table Polyamory: A style of polyamory where all individuals in the polycule are comfortable and willing to spend time together, like sitting around the kitchen table for a meal.


  • Metamour: Your partner’s other partner with whom you are not romantically or sexually involved.
  • Mono/Poly Relationships: A relationship in which one person identifies as polyamorous and the other identifies as monogamous.


  • Nesting Partner: A term used by people who live together in a romantic and/or domestic partnership, but might not consider their relationship hierarchical.
  • New Relationship Energy (NRE): The feeling of excitement and joy at the beginning of a new relationship.


  • One Penis Policy (OPP): A rule in some non-monogamous relationships that allows a person to have multiple partners, but limits their partners to only have relationships with other people with vaginas.
  • Open Relationship: A relationship in which partners agree that they can have sexual, romantic, or emotional relationships with other people besides their primary partner.


  • Paramour: An outside member in a marriage who is romantically involved with one of the married individuals, with the consent of all involved.
  • Polycule: The interconnected network of people in polyamorous relationships.
  • Polygamy: The practice of having multiple spouses, typically in a religious context.
  • Polyandry: A form of polygamy where a person has multiple husbands.
  • Polygyny: A form of polygamy where a person has multiple wives.


  • Quad: A relationship involving four people, often consisting of two couples who date each other as a group.


  • Relationship Anarchy: A philosophy or practice in which people are seen as free to engage in any relationships they choose at will.


  • Solo Polyamory: A style of polyamory in which individuals act with autonomy, with no relationship having more influence or control over the individual than others.
  • Swinging: A non-monogamous behavior in which singles or partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity.


  • Triad: A relationship that involves three people who are all romantically or sexually involved with each other.
  • Tribe: A large group of people who practice polyamory together in a communal living situation.


  • Unicorn: A bisexual person (usually a woman) who joins a couple for a threesome, often in a context where the couple is looking for a partner to date exclusively.


  • Vee: A relationship structure where one person is the focal point of the relationship, dating two people who are not romantically or sexually involved with each other.
  • Veto Power: The power one person in a polyamorous relationship has to reject a partner’s other potential relationships.