Pap Test:
A procedure used to examine the cells of the cervix. It can detect precancerous and cancerous cells. Cells scraped from the cervix epithelium are smeared, fixed, stained and examined microscopically. Also called a Papanicolaou test. (pap'-a-NIK-o-la-oo).

A sex practice that becomes necessary for sexual arousal but that is not approved by social norms.

Parental Consent:
Requirement that one or both parents give written permission for a minor child to enter into a legal contract and in many situations give consent for medical procedures. This age may vary from state to state in the USA.

A paraphilia in which sexual arousal for an adult becomes dependent on having sexual contact or fantasies of sexual contact with a child.

Peer Pressure:
The efforts of a group of equals to maintain conformity to the group's social norms.

Pelvic Exam:
Physical examination of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries (usually includes taking cervical cells for a Pap test and a manual exam of the internal pelvic organs).

Pelvic Girdle:
A bony and muscular structure inside a woman's body that supports her internal sex and reproductive organs.

The male reproductive organ, used to introduce sperm into the vagina. A man's sex organ that is formed of spongy tissue and fills with blood during sexual excitement, a process known as erection. Urine and seminal fluid pass through the penis.

Performance Anxiety:
A common sexual problem in which the anxiety about engaging in sexual activity becomes an overriding block to the spontaneous flow of sexual feelings and thoughts.

The period of change leading to menopause.

The days during menstruation.

Periodic Abstinence:
Not having vaginal intercourse during the "unsafe days" of a woman's fertile phase in order to prevent pregnancy.

Peyronie's Disease:
A condition caused by the formation of hard plaque on one on the upper or lower side of the penis in layers containing erectile tissue. The local inflammation eventually develops into a full scar. This scar tissue is hard and inflexible, and causes the penis to bend when erect.

Odors given off by animals (including humans) that attract the other gender.

A paraphilia in which sexual arousal becomes dependent on viewing pornographic pictures, movies, or videos with or without a partner.

PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease):

Collective term for any extensive bacterial infection of the pelvic organs, especially the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. See PID.

An infection of a woman's internal reproductive organs that can lead to infertility and sometimes chronic pain. It is often caused by sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. PID is a leading cause of infertility in the United States. PID can be treated, but needs to be found early by a gynecologist.

Pill, The:
Common expression for oral contraception. See: The Pill for more.

The stage of sexual arousal in which a person has been sexually excited and may approach orgasm. The third stage of the sexual response cycle.

Having more than one spouse.

From a definition standpoint, pornography is anything that is created to cause sexual excitement or arousal. Most of us think of: erotic imagery that is considered obscene and offensive.

Porn: Short for pornography.

The liquid that seeps out of the penis during sexual excitement before ejaculation; produced by the Cowper's glands, it is an alkaline fluid that helps with lubrication.

Small amounts of semen that can contain sperm that may be released before a man ejaculates. Slang or commonly used word for pre-ejaculate.

The ball of cells that develops from the fertilized egg until after about nine days when it attaches to the lining of the uterus and the embryo is formed.

A sequence of events that normally includes fertilization, implantation, embryonic growth, and fetal growth that ends in birth.

Premarital Sex:
Sexual intercourse between people before marriage.

Premature Ejaculation:
Ejaculation occurring before a man wants it to occur.

Premenstrual Syndrome:
Severe physical and emotional stress occurring late in the postovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, sometimes overlapping with menstruation. See PMS for more.

The loose-fitting skin covering the glans of the penis and clitoris. Also called the foreskin.

A continuous partial erection without sexual stimulation that is caused by dysfunctional blood flow into the corpus cavernosa.

Primary Sex Characteristics:
The body organs and reproductive structures and functions that differ between women and men. The differences include the external and internal sex and reproductive organs. It also includes a woman's ability to produce eggs and a man's ability to produce sperm.

The belief that women have the right to choose to have an abortion.

Progestasert ®:
An IUD containing natural hormones that must be replaced every year.

A hormone produced in the ovaries of women that is important in puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy.

A synthetic progesterone.

A device used to prevent infection; the condom.

A doughnut-shaped gland below the urinary bladder that surrounds the upper portion of the male urethra and secretes a solution that contributes to sperm motility and viability.

An enlargement and inflammation of the prostate gland that results in a dull persistent pain in the lower back, testes, scrotum, and glans of the penis. There may also be a thin mucus discharge from the penis, especially in the morning. Not to be confused with Urethritis.

The performance of sexual acts for money.


The study of the mind and its processes.

A time in life when a girl is becoming a woman and a boy is becoming a man. Puberty is marked by physical changes of the body such as breast development and menstruation in girls and facial hair growth and ejaculation in boys.

Pubic Hair:
Hair that grows in the genital area of women and men. Pubic hair is a secondary sex characteristic appearing at puberty.

Pubic Lice:
Tiny insects that can be sexually transmitted. They live in pubic hair and cause intense itching in the genitals or anus. See “Pubic Lice”.



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