Sex Glossary: A

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abortion: Expulsion or removal of an embryo or fetus from a pregnant woman’s uterus early in pregnancy before the fetus can survive on its own.

abstinence: The voluntary avoidance of coitus.

acquaintance rape: Rape in which the assailant and the victim know each other.

acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS): A fatal disruption of the body’s immune mechanism caused by viral infection of the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

acrosome: The caplike structure in the head of sperm that contains chemicals that “digest” a hole into the ovum allowing penetration by the sperm.

adolescence: The period of life extending from puberty to adulthood.

adrenal gland: A triangular-shaped gland located on the top of each kidney, producing many types of hormones.

adrenogenital syndrome: A condition caused by excess activity of the adrenal glands. May cause masculinization of a female fetus.

adultery: Sexual intercourse between a married person and an individual other than the married person’s legal spouse.

amenorrhea: Absence of menstrual periods.

amniocentesis: The surgical penetration of the abdomen to the uterus to obtain amniotic fluid. This is used to assist in the diagnosis of prenatal disease.

amnion: The innermost fetal membrane containing amniotic fluid and commonly called the bag of waters.

amniotic fluid: The fluid contained in the amnion that protects the fetus from injury.

amphetamines: Drugs that stimulate the central nervous system.

anal intercourse: Sexual intercourse by inserting the penis into the anus.

anaphrodisiac: A chemical agent or substance that diminishes or depresses sexual desire or function.

anatomy: Relating to the structure of the body.

androgen-insensitivity syndrome: When the cells of a genetic male (XY) lack androgen receptor sites, resulting in development of an XY female.

androgens: Hormones that promote the development of male or malelike sexual structures and characteristics.

androgyny: Showing some characteristics of both sexes.

aneurysm: A bulge in the wall of a blood vessel.

anilingus: Oral stimulation of the anus.

anorgasmia: The inability to reach orgasm; more commonly used in reference to female sexual dysfunction. It may be classified as primary (has always existed), s (the person was once orgasmic), or situational (existing in certain situations only). See orgasmic dysfunction.

anovulatory: Without ovulation.

antibody: A protein substance that reacts with an antigen.

Apgar test (score): A numerical rating of the condition of a newborn infant. The sum of points gained on assessment of the heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and color; usually determined sixty seconds after birth.

aphrodisiac: A chemical agent or substance that is supposed to increase or stimulate sexual desire.

areola: The area surrounding the nipple of the breast.

arousability: The speed with which a person can be sexually aroused.

artificial insemination: The introduction of semen into the vagina or uterus of a woman by means other than sexual intercourse.

asymptomatic: Without symptoms.

aural sensations: Perception or awareness of sound.

autoerotic activities: Activities that produce sexual gratification in one’s own body through self- stimulation of the genitals or other body parts.

autonomy: Independence and self- direction.

autosomes: The numbered chromosomes; chromosomes other than the sex chromosomes X and Y.

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