Avoiding any sexual behaviors that may lead to conception.

Age of viability

The age at which a fetus can survive outside of the uterus.

Barrier forms of birth control

Methods in which sperm is prevented from entering the uterus, either through physical or chemical barriers.


The lower portion of the uterus that connects to the vagina.

Chromosomal sex

Also known as genetic sex; defined by the 23rd set of chromosomes.


A sensitive and erectile part of the vulva; its main function is to initiate orgasms.


Occurs typically within the fallopian tube, when a single sperm fertilizes an ovum cell.

Cowper’s glands

Glands that produce a fluid that lubricates the urethra and neutralizes any acidity due to urine.

Emergency contraception

A form of birth control used in a variety of circumstances, such as after unprotected sex, condom mishaps, or sexual assault.


A twisted duct that matures, stores, and transports sperm cells into the vas deferens.

Erogenous zones

Highly sensitive areas of the body.

Excitement phase

The activation of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system defines this phase of the sexual response cycle; heart rate and breathing accelerate, along with increased blood flow to the penis, vaginal walls, clitoris, and nipples.

Fallopian tubes

The female’s internal sex organ where fertilization is most likely to occur.


The skin covering the glans or head of the penis.

Glans penis

The highly sensitive head of the penis, associated with initiating orgasms.

Hormonal forms of birth control

Methods by which synthetic estrogen or progesterone are released to prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus.


The vaginal opening to the outside of the body.

Labia majora

The “large lips” enclosing and protecting the female internal sex organs.

Labia minora

The “small lips” surrounding and defining the openings of the vagina and urethra.


The process by which ova as well as the lining of the uterus are discharged from the vagina after fertilization does not occur.

Mullerian ducts

Primitive female internal sex organs.


Involuntary muscular movements, such as facial grimaces, that occur during the excitement phase of the sexual response cycle.

Natural forms of birth control

Methods that rely on knowledge of the menstrual cycle and awareness of the body.

Neuroimaging techniques

Seeing and measuring live and active brains by such techniques as electroencephalography (EEG), computerized axial tomography (CAT), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Orgasm phase

The shortest, but most pleasurable, phase of the sexual response cycle.

Orgasmic platform

The tightening of the outer third of the vaginal walls during the plateau phase of the sexual response cycle.


The glands housing the ova and producing progesterone, estrogen, and small amounts of testosterone.


When ova travel from the ovaries to the uterus.


A neurotransmitter that regulates bonding and sexual reproduction.


The most prominent external sex organ in males; it has three main functions: initiating orgasm, and transporting semen and urine outside of the body.

Plateau phase

The phase of the sexual response cycle in which blood flow, heart rate, and breathing intensify.


The measuring of changes in blood – or airflow – to organs.


The time in which a female carries a developing human within her uterus.

Primitive gonads

Reproductive structures in embryos that will eventually develop into ovaries or testes.

Prostate gland

A male gland that releases prostatic fluid to nourish sperm cells.


The feeling of fetal movement.

Refractory period

Time following male ejaculation in which he is unresponsive to sexual stimuli.

Resolution phase

The phase of the sexual response cycle in which the body returns to a pre-aroused state.

Safer-sex practices

Doing anything that may decrease the probability of sexual assault, sexually transmitted infections, or unwanted pregnancy; these may include using condoms, honesty, and communication.


The sac of skin behind and below the penis, containing the testicles.


The fluid that sperm cells are transported within.

Seminal vesicles

Glands that provide sperm cells the energy that allows them to move.

Sexual dysfunctions

A range of clinically significant impairments in a person’s ability to experience pleasure or respond sexually as outlined by the sexual response cycle.

Sexual response cycle

Excitement, Plateau, Orgasm, and Resolution.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Infections primarily transmitted through social sexual behaviors.

Skene’s glands

Also called minor vestibular glands, these glands are on the anterior wall of the vagina and are associated with female ejaculation.

Somatosensory cortex

A portion of the parietal cortex that processes sensory information from the skin.


Also called testes—the glands producing testosterone, progesterone, small amounts of estrogen, and sperm cells.


Phases of gestation, beginning with the last menstrual period and ending about 40 weeks later; each trimester is roughly 13 weeks in length.


The tube that carries urine and semen outside of the body.


Also called the womb—the female’s internal sex organ where offspring develop until birth.


Also called the birth canal—a muscular canal that spans from the cervix to the introitus, it acts as a transport mechanism for sperm cells coming in, and menstrual fluid and babies going out.

Vas deferens

A muscular tube that transports mature sperm to the urethra.


A surgical form of birth control in males, in which the vas deferens is intentionally damaged.

Vestibular glands (VGs)

Also called major vestibular glands, these glands are located just to the left and right of the vagina, and produce lubrication to aid in sexual intercourse.


The female’s external sex organs.

Wolffian ducts

Primitive male internal sex organs.


Fertilized ovum.



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UPEI Introduction to Psychology 1 Copyright © by Philip Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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