This glossary is for teacher information only. Much of the information listed is not included in the learning activities in this curriculum support resource.
AIDSStands for: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The medical condition in which the body’s immune system is severely weakened and unable to fight certain infections that are usually rare or mild among healthy people. AIDS is also classified as a set of illnesses which affect people with advanced HIV. Someone can only get AIDS if they are HIV positive. Check out the WA AIDS Council’s website [www.waaids.com] for more info.
AbstinenceRestraint from some or all aspects of sexual activity.
AdolescenceThe period in human life between puberty and adulthood.
AreolaThe area around the breast nipple which is usually pinkish or brownish. Back to top
BBVA blood-borne virus. BBVs can be passed from person to person by the interchange of blood.
Bartholin's glandsMucous glands located on the membrane between the urethral and vaginal openings.
BisexualRefers to a person who has sexual and romantic feelings for more than one gender and who identify with these feelings.
Body artA way of using the human body as a way of artistic expression. Body art includes piercing, tattooing, painting or scarring.
Body imageThe perception that a person has of their physical and emotional self, which includes the thoughts and feelings that result from this perception. Back to top
CervixThe neck of the uterus, forming a passage between a woman’s vagina and her uterus.
CircumcisionSurgical removal of the foreskin of the penis.
ClitorisA small, sensitive erectile part of the female’s genitals.
ConceptionThe process of becoming pregnant involving the fertilisation of a female’s ovum with a male sperm.
CondomA condom is a form of contraception. A male condom is a thin sheath made from latex or polyurethane that covers the erect penis and works by stopping sexual fluids passing between two people during sexual activity. A female condom is a plastic pouch that fits inside a woman's vagina to stop sexual fluids passing between two people during sexual activity.
ConsentGiving consent means that everyone involved can clearly and freely agree to the sexual activities that are or will occur. If everyone is not willing or not able to give consent (such as if someone is asleep or under the influence of drugs or alcohol) then the sexual activity would be assault and would be against the law. A person must be over the age of 16 to provide consent to engage in any sexual activities.
ContraceptionA way to prevent pregnancy. There are different methods of contraception for both men and women.
Contraceptive pillA form of contraception that contains either the hormone progesterone or a combination of progesterone and oestrogen. 'The Pill' works to avoid a pregnancy by temporarily preventing ovulation, thinning the lining of the womb and thickening cervical discharge to prevent sperm from entering the womb.
Cowper’s glandsSmall glands that secrete drops of alkalising fluid into the urethra.
CyberbullyingCyberbullying is the use of technology to bully a person or group. Bullying is repeated behaviour with the intent to harm others. Cyberbullying may include sending abusive text messages or emails, posting unkind or threatening messages, excluding others online or inappropriate image tagging.
CyberstalkingThe repeated use of a means of electronic communication such as email or instant message, to frighten or harass someone. Back to top
Digital footprint/ digital reputationThe body of data that exists as a result of actions and communications online that can be traced back to an individual.
DiscriminationThe practice of unfairly treating a person or group differently from other people and groups. Discrimination can occur on the grounds of gender, race, age, sexuality, etc.
DiversityRecognition that each individual is different and unique. Diversity can apply to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, physical traits and abilities, and socioeconomic status, among other things.
DrugAny substance (excluding food, water and oxygen) that, when taken into the body, alters its function physically or psychologically. Back to top
EjaculationThe expulsion of semen from the urethra.
EmbryoThe developing infant during the first two months of conception.
Emergency contraceptionRefers to methods of contraception that can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first few days after intercourse. It is intended for emergency use after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure.
Emotional healthThe ability to recognise, understand and effectively manage emotions and use this knowledge when thinking, feeling and acting.
EndometriumThe inside layer of the uterus composed of mucous-like tissue.
EpididymisA coiled tube lying over the testes in which sperm mature. Back to top
FoetusThe developing infant during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Back to top
GenderHow a person, thinks, acts, dresses and speaks which distinguishes them as masculine or feminine. A person’s gender can be masculine, feminine and/or androgynous. Gender refers to 'the economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being male or female in a particular social setting at a particular point in time' (World Health Organization. Transforming Health Systems: Gender and Rights in Reproductive Health. A Training Curriculum for Health Programme Managers. Geneva, 2001).
Gender diverseUsed to describe people who fall outside the typical range of femininity and masculinity with regard to gender identity and/or physical sex characteristics and don't conform to gender expectations. This includes transgender, transsexual, gender-queer, cross-dressing, drag-performing, and androgynous people.
Gender identityThe self-awareness of being male or female. Our sense of ourself in regards to our gender, gender role, masculinity and/or femininity. The most common gender identities are male and female, however there are many others in the gender diverse community such as genderqueer, trans man, trans woman, transgender, trans*, boi, sistergirl, brotherboy, FTM / F2M (female to male), MTF / M2F (male to female) etc.
Gender roleThe way we behave under the expectations society has for a person’s self expression, behaviour and appearance based on their biological sex. 'The social expectations arising from conceptions surrounding gender and the behavioural expression of these, including forms of speech, mannerisms, demeanour, dress and gesture. Masculine and feminine ideas are often deemed to be mutually exclusive, and in some societies the role behaviours may be polarized.' Jary, D. and J. Jary. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd Ed. Glasgow: Harper-Collins Publishers, 2000.
GenitalsThe external sexual reproductive organs; the penis and vulva.
Ground rulesA set of 'rules' established by the class at the outset of sexual health and relationships education to promote a safe and respectful environment in the classroom. Back to top
HIVHuman Immunodeficiency Virus, the virus which causes AIDS.
Harm minimisationA strategy that aims to lower the risks and harmful consequences associated with drug use and other high-risk behaviours, rather than simple promoting abstinence.
Health literacyHaving the knowledge to find, understand and use the information about our own health and health care from sources such as websites to make healthier and safer decisions.
HepatitisAn inflammation of the liver. There are a number of hepatitis viruses which all cause inflammation and damage to the liver. Hepatitis A, B and C are the most common.
HeterosexualSometimes called 'being straight', this refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for the opposite sex, and who identify with these feelings.
HomophobiaPertains to a single individual's or society's misunderstanding, fear, ignorance of or prejudice against gay, lesbian and/or bisexual people. Homophobia is also used as an umbrella term to include any form of discrimination or prejudice against LGBTIQQ people.
HomosexualPeople who's sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for the same sex, and who identify with these feelings. People who feel this way will often identify as being Gay or Lesbian.
HormonesInternally produced chemicals that regulate many different bodily functions and behaviours.
HymenA mucous membrane that may partly cover the entrance to the vagina. Back to top
ImplanonA small plastic rod that is inserted under the skin of a females arm which releases the hormone progesterone to prevent pregnancy
InfectionA disease in a part of a person's body that is caused by a bacteria or a virus.
IntersexA term relating to a range of physical traits or variations that lie between ideals of male and female. Intersex people are born with physical, hormonal or genetic features that are neither wholly female or wholly male or a combination of male and female or neither male or female. Historically the term 'hermaphrodite' was used. Back to top
LGBTIQQStands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Otherwise diverse in their sexuality and/or gender or Questioning their sexuality and/or gender.
Labia majoraTwo folds of skin, covered with hair and forming a pad of fatty tissues on the pubic bone.
Labia minoraTwo folds of skin, within the labia majora. Back to top
MSMRefers to Men who have Sex with Men. This is an inclusive term that includes gay and bisexual men, but most importantly, includes men who do not identify as being gay, bisexual or homosexual, but who have homosexual sex.
MasturbationThe self sexual stimulation of ones genitals to gain sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm.
MenstruationThe monthly vaginal discharge of blood and the lining of the uterus.
MonocultureA single, homogenous culture without diversity. Back to top
Nocturnal emissionEjaculation of semen during sleep; a wet dream. Back to top
OvariesA female reproductive organ in which ova or eggs are produced. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.
OvulationThe release of an egg from the ovaries for fertilisation. Back to top
Pap smearA method for testing for cervical cancer.
Peer pressureInfluence from a person's peer group.
PenisThe organ of the male reproductive system through which semen passes out of the body during sexual intercourse. The penis is also an organ of urination.
PeriodA term commonly used instead of menstruation. Its origins arise from the days of the menstrual flow.
PlacentaOrgan through which the foetus in the uterus receives nourishment and rids itself of waste.
PornographyPornography is any material (either pictures, text or video or a combination) that is sexually explicit and is primarily designed to produce sexual arousal among viewers.
ProstateGland at the base of the bladder providing seminal fluid.
Protective behavioursThe development of personal safety skills that can be used by children, young people and adults to keep them safe and work towards reducing violence and abuse in the community.
Protective interruptionA strategy to prevent a child disclosing in front of other students and providing them with the opportunity to disclose in a safe and confidential manner.
PubertyThe period in early adolescence when a child becomes sexually mature.
Puberty kitA collection of products used to educate students about puberty and personal hygiene. The products may include deodorant, menstruation supplies, soap, razors. Back to top
Question boxA method used in sexual health education for students to ask questions in an anonymous manner which they would not otherwise ask in an open classroom environment. Students write their questions on a piece of paper and put them in a box/hat/pillowcase or other object which can then be answered by the teacher during the next class. Back to top
Reproductive healthA state of physical, mental and social wellbeing in all matters relating to the reproductive system, at any stage of life.
Respectful relationshipsRefers to the condition of all people in a particular relationship being able to feel safe, have the ability to make their own choices, being able to say no or change their mind without any negative consequences, feeling valued and accepted, and having the ability to compromise and communicate effectively. Back to top
STIA sexually transmitted infection.
ScrotumThe sac behind the penis that contains the testicles.
SemenThe whitish, cream ejaculate fluid containing sperm.
Sex(1) The biological/physiological body formation of a person which determines people as male and female. (2) Can refer to sexual activity or sexual intercourse, but may also be used to describe some other form of sexual activity and behaviour.
SextingSexting is the digital recording of nude or sexually suggestive or explicit images and their distribution by mobile phone messaging or through social networking.
Sexual assaultA term used to describe crimes of a sexual nature relating to the lack of consent on the part of the victim.
Sexual diversityA term used to describe all aspects of human sexuality. This includes all sexual attraction, behaviour, identity, expression, orientation and relationships and the diversity and differences that exist between these.
Sexual harassmentUnwanted attention of a sexual nature that creates embarrassment or stress.
Sexual healthA state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmary.
Sexual identityThe label or name that a person uses to define and identify their sexuality.
Sexual orientationThe direction of one’s sexual and romantic attractions and interests towards members of the same, opposite or both sexes, or all genders.
SexualitySexuality is an integral part of our personality. It influences, thoughts, feelings, actions and interactions, and thereby our mental and physical health.
Sexuality and Relationships Education (SRE)SRE is the term frequently used to describe education, teaching and learning about sex, sexuality, emotions, relationships, and sexual health in all settings including home, care, community, school and other educational settings.
Social mediaA medium or way of people communicating online. Users of social media will engage with (and around) it in a social context which can include conversations, commentary, and other user generated annotation and engagement interactions. Some examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
SpermThe male reproductive cells made in the epididymis and found within semen ejaculate fluid. Back to top
TesticlesConsists of the testes (two oval glands) and epididymis located within the scrotum. The primary male reproductive organ in which sperm and male sex hormones are produced.
TransgenderAn umbrella term used to describe a broad range of non-conforming gender identities and/or expressions. Usually includes all trans people, but some transsexual people and members of the gender diverse populations prefer not to use this term.
TranssexualA person who identifies as the sex opposite to the one assigned at birth and who may choose to undergo sex affirmation/reassignment surgery. Back to top
Umbilical cordCord connecting the foetus with the placenta.
UrethraThe tube connecting the bladder and urethral opening through which urine is expelled both in males and females.
UterusThe pear-shaped organ in the female abdomen in which the fertilised egg implants and develops into a foetus during pregnancy. Back to top
VaginaThe passage or canal in females leading from the internal cervix/uterus to the external genitals (opening of the vulva).
Vas deferensThe duct in the male scrotum that transports the sperm from the epididymis to join the seminal fluid in the urethra within the penis to exit during ejaculation.
VasectomyMale sterilisation performed by cutting the vas deferens.
VestibuleThe space at the outermost portion of the vagina.
VulvaExternal female genitals, including the inner and outer lips (labia majora and minora), the mons, the clitoris and vaginal opening. Back to top
WA Department of Health. Growing and developing healthy relationships: Curriculum Support Materials. 2002.