Sexual Health A-Z: Everything You Need To Know
Give it up for the HANX Glossary! When it comes to our sexual and intimate health, we either tend to hear super-casual slang or in-depth medical terms which can leave you feeling a little out the loop. There's nothing worse than feeling confused about your body, so we're breaking down some of the most Google terms around vaginas, sex, dating and beyond to banish any 'WTF does that mean?!' worries. Yes, we're taking the ‘erm?’ out of terminology together. Genital herpes, we’re coming for ya... 💁
A substance (particularly food or drink) that increases sexual desire, sexual pleasure, or sexual behaviour.
A common vaginal health condition that goes hand in hand with a strong, some say fishy smelling discharge. This can usually be treated with antibiotics.
Known by some as the silent assassin, this STI doesn’t necessarily present symptoms but when it does, you can expect unusual discharge from the penis or vagina and pain when you pee.
A mass of tissue formed in the ovary after ovulation, which secretes progesterone and finally will collapse if the egg is not fertilised. This is normal and occurs after every ovulation cycle.
An inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by a bladder infection and tbh, it's a baddie. Think needing to pee A LOT, stinging pain when you do and aching pain in your lower abdomen.
Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those in your uterus occur elsewhere in the body. Just like those in the the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus), these build up, break down and bleed each month. However, there is nowhere for this blood to go - unlike that in the womb (a period). An often misunderstood condition, endometriosis, often nicknamed Endo, can cause chronic pain, depression, a negative impact on your sex life, difficulty conceiving and fatigue.
The membrane that lines the uterus and thickens in preparation for the implantation of a fertilised egg (embryo) and is shed during menstruation if an embryo is not implanted.
The early developmental stage of a human, while it is in the uterus. In humans, the term is applied to the unborn child until the end of the seventh week following conception; from the eighth week, the unborn child is called a foetus.
One of two tubes at either side of the uterus that carry the egg from one of the ovaries to the uterus.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
A hormone produced by the pituitary gland (a gland in the brain) that stimulates the ovarian follicles to mature in preparation for ovulation.
The first half of the menstrual cycle when oestrogen levels are high and the ovarian follicles are maturing in preparation for ovulation.
Intimate acts (both physical and emotional) to create sexual arousal and desire for sexual activity. Kissing, stroking, whispering... tickling: whatever works for you, boo.
A common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus usually abbreviated as HSV. Sexual contact is the main way that this virus spreads and even after the initial infection, the virus will lie dormant in your body and potentially reactivate several times a year.
A sexually transmitted infection that can be treated with antibiotics but watch out, sis - this one doesn’t necessarily present symptoms. Make sure to practice safe sex, i.e. using condoms when possible and get regularly tested at your local sexual health clinic.
Often used in addition to condoms, hormonal contraception includes either oestrogen and progesterone, or progesterone only. When used correctly, they are a safe and effective method of preventing pregnancy (and are also used for everything from preventing acne to mitigating heavy periods). Types include the pill, the implant, intrauterine device (IUD)s, injections and skin patches.
...AKA Cardi B’s specialist subject, also known as pelvic-floor exercises. They involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor.
A person's overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity or essentially, how horny you are. This naturally fluctuates with hormonal changes, can be impacted by medication including anti-depressants, alcohol and your general health. We launched our first natural supplement to support women's sex drive - learn more about Libido Lift.
The second half of the menstrual cycle that occurs after ovulation and when progesterone levels are higher.
Luteinising Hormone (LH)
A hormone produced by the pituitary gland (a gland in the brain) that triggers ovulation and the development of the corpus luteum.
Stimulation (especially touching) of the genitals for sexual pleasure. We recommend our silky smooth HANX lube to help you on your way…
Two's company. Give yourself a hand and encourage someone else to join in - yes, mutual masturbation is the act of stimulating each other's genitals for sexual pleasure.
A female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, and which plays a major role in the first half of the menstrual cycle.
A pair of female reproductive organs that produce eggs and hormones.
When the ovary releases an egg.
The phase between the follicular and luteal phases when LH (see above) surges, triggering the release of an egg.
Typically defined as the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships with the consent of all people involved. Fancy trying it out for size? Here's our beginner's guide to multi-partner dating...
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
The name for the symptoms experienced in the weeks before your period, such as mood swings, tiredness, and headaches.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Similar to PMS but more serious, PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the lead up to menstruation.
A natural hormone that is released by the corpus luteum in the ovary to help prepare the uterus for the implantation of a fertilised egg, and which is dominant in the second half of the menstrual cycle.
Synthetic steroid hormones that activate the progesterone receptor in a similar way to progesterone. Each individual type of progestin has its own distinctive effect.
A general term for hormones that act like progesterone in the uterus, and therefore includes both progesterone and progestins.
A sex hormone secreted by the ovaries and adrenal glands (glands located on top of the kidneys).
A very common yeast infection that can affect the vagina, penis and skin. It can usually be treated with an anti-fungal treatment in around a week, however some people experience recurring Thrush. Here's how to tackle it...
Also called the womb, this pear-shaped organ is where a foetus (unborn baby) develops and grows.
Also known as vaginal microbiota or vaginal microbiome, this refers to the microorganisms that inhabit the vagina, of which the amount and type of bacteria have important implications on overall health.
Light vaginal bleeding that happens outside the timing of your regular periods and can vary in colour - think pink, burgundy, red, and brown, one HANX fan likened theirs to a Pat Mcgrath palette... No comment.
- We update this glossary regularly but if you’ve got any burning questions or think we've missed anything out, why not start a new topic over on the HANX Life forum?