Glossary

Not familiar with a word you encountered in one of our posts? Swing by this glossary and educate yourself. If there’s a word you’d like us to add, or you have a critique of one of our definitions, please contact us.

Patriarchy – A combination of social norms, economic access, legal rights, religious or moral values, and political systems that make it easier for men to get and maintain power than for women.

Kyriarchy – an interlocking and interacting set of oppressions that systematically empower and enrich a privileged few at the cost of the disenfranchisement and dehumanization of marginalized groups. Includes systems such as patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonialism.

Misogyny – technically the hatred of women and girls, but more often used to mean the de-valuing of “feminine” characteristics or people

Privilege – not something that makes your life easier, but a lack of things that would make your life harder: see Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and Lowest Difficulty Setting

Queer – once used as an insult, this word has been reclaimed as a sexual and political identity by the gender and sexual minorities it was used against. An umbrella term for LGBTQIA people.

LGBTQIA – stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex, and asexual.

Gender Identity – a person’s private sense of, and subjective experience of, their own gender

Genderqueer – refers to people whose gender identity does not fit within the binary of male and female.

Trans* – an umbrella term for anyone whose gender identity does not match the one assigned to them at birth. This umbrella term encompasses more specific terms like transgender, genderqueer, transsexual, and agender.

Open relationship – a type of relationship where the parties in the relationship agree to some degree of non-monogamy.

Polyamory – The desire or practice of having more than one sexual & loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge, consent, and (ideally) good will of all involved. Often shortened to “poly.”

Bisexual – a sexual orientation, describing people attracted to people of more than one gender.

Asexual – a sexual orientation, called “X” by Alfred Kinsey, describing people who do not experience sexual attraction toward other people. Asexuals may have any romantic orientation.

Aromantic – a romantic orientation describing people who do not experience romantic feelings toward other people.

Homophobia – The fear that gay men are going to treat you the way you treat women.

Biphobia – Intolerance and hatred toward bisexual people and/or bisexuality.

Transphobia – Intolerance and hatred toward trans people and/or transsexuality.

Rape Culture – A culture in which rape and sexual violence are common, and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.

Theory – In science, an explanation of the way the world works, supported by evidence, that has not (yet) been disproved.

Kink – A casual catch-all term for non-normative sexual expression. Often, but not always, used as a synonym for BDSM.

BDSM – a compound acronym standing for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sadism & Masochism.

[Tip of the hat to Midori for the following set of kink role definitions.]

Dominant – An individual who experiences sensual/sexual/systemic arousal or change of state from the temporary redistribution of authority/hierarchy/control toward self.

Submissive – An individual who experiences sensual/sexual/systemic arousal or change of state from the temporary redistribution of authority/hierarchy/control away from self and towards another.

Sadist – An individual who experiences sensual/sexual/systemic arousal or change of state through creating intense sensation in others

Masochist – An individual who experiences sensual/sexual/systemic arosal or change of state through experiencing intense sensations in self.

Top – An umbrella term for someone who is a Dominant, Sadist, and/or takes the penetrating role in sex.

Bottom – An umbrella term for someone who is a submissive, masochist, and/or takes the “penetrated” role during sex.

Switch – An individual who may desire to be a Top or Bottom, Dominant or submissive, Sadist or Masochist, in different combinations, at different times, and/or with different people.

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