A-Z of sex word meaning

Don‘t know what a word means?

Then use our glossary to find out!




Contraceptive implants work in a similar way to contraceptive pills, but instead of being in a pill, the hormone is in a small, plastic rod, which a specially trained doctor or nurse inserts under the skin on a girl's arm. The implant works for three years and is 99 percent effective at stopping pregnancy. To find out more visit our Contraception page.


When a man can't get an erection.


When people who are related, like brothers and sisters, have sex with each other. Incest is illegal in the UK and is a form of child abuse. Visit our Child Sexual Exploitation page to seek support if affected.


An illness caused by a germ or virus.


A woman who is unable to have a baby or a man who cannot fertilise a woman's eggs.

Internal Pelvic Exam

An internal exam performed on a girl, if they complain of specific symptoms. It is simple, painless (although it might be a bit uncomfortable) and shouldn't take longer than ten minutes. A plastic or metal instrument called a speculum may be inserted into your vagina and then the nurse or doctor will put some gloves on and examine the inside of your vagina with their fingers while they press on your abdomen. You can always ask for a female doctor.


Intersex is a general term used for a variety of situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of ‘female’ or ‘male’. Sometimes intersex babies and children can have surgery to make their bodies fit in with the binary ideas of ‘female’ or ‘male’.

Irregular Periods

Irregular periods are periods that change each month and do not happen every 28 days. Periods are controlled by hormones and irregular ones are usually part of the normal changes that happen to teenagers.


The IUD (Intrauterine Device) is another name for the coil. It is a small device usually made of plastic or copper. It is inserted into the womb and stops fertilised eggs from settling and growing. It lasts up to five years and is 99% effective at stopping pregnancy. See our Contraception page for more information.


The Intrauterine System (IUS) is a small, plastic T-shaped device containing hormones. It sits in the womb and works for five years. It is more than 99 percent effective at stopping pregnancy . See our Contraception page for more information.


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