an incomplete, evolving glossary of working definitions of oft-misunderstood terms (contact me with edit suggestions!)
AF (abbreviation) = stands for As Fuck and serves as an amplifier to any phrase that comes before, denotes that phrase in great quantity, volume, or intensity
aftercare (noun) = the affectionate pampering practices offered to a person who has just had an orgasm, or who has just completed a BDSM scene of some emotional intensity — acts can include cuddling, swaddling, offering nourishing food and drink, verbal positive reinforcement, caresses, bathing, tending to wounds, speaking about or otherwise releasing emotions, etc.
ASMR [Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response] (noun) = a phenomenon in which a person’s voice makes one’s head fizz and skin tingle.
BDSM (noun, abbreviation) = a shorthand for an array of erotic practices, which abbreviates the words Bondage and Discipline (sometimes abbreviated as B/D), Dominance and Submission (sometimes written as D/s), and Sadism and Masochism (sometimes abbreviated as S&M).
bottom (noun) = referring to a person and/or position (sexual or non-sexual) that is physically, emotionally, or mentally receiving the energy from the top position; for instance in homosexual relationships, the receiver of anal penetration.
bratty sub (noun) = a submissive person who enjoys acting out childlike displays of rebellion during a kink scene
cafuné (noun) = the Brazilian Portuguese word for acts of affection that focus on the hair and scalp.
catching feelings (verb, sort of) = the act of developing romantic, emotionally-attached feelings to a casual sex partner, who is quite possibly an unsuitable or unavailable person
celibacy (noun) = the deliberate choice to renounce sexual acts and romantic relationships, often practiced by devoutly religious people in the belief that channeling, transmuting, or controlling sexual energies as a devotional act will keep them pure and better-suited to reach their spiritual goals
cisgendered (adj.) = a person whose biological (birth) sex corresponds comfortably with their gender identity and gender expression.
clinical quickie (noun) = a Lila-ism referring to a brief sexual encounter devoid of passion, care, or intimacy
clitoris (noun) = the part of the vulva and vagina (both internal and external) that only serves a single purpose: pleasure.
comet(s) (noun) = a person, perhaps a lover, who enters our life quickly, brightens it in a flash, and then just as quickly, disappears
community (noun) = a group of three or more people, and love, exponentially multiplying the potential of human reality
compersion (noun) = often described as “the opposite of jealousy,” compersion is a term that polyamorous and ethically nonmonogamous people use to describe the experience of feeling joy for their partner’s joy, particularly as it refers to the partner’s sexual or romantic exploits
dominatrix (noun) = a female-identifying person who directs a BDSM, fetish, or fantasy-oriented play scenario, often the counter-role to a submissive. [male-identifying version of the same is referred to as a dom]
dyad (noun) = a romantic/sexual relationship between a couple
ethical nonmonogamy [abbreviation: enm] = the consensual practice of relationship styles that allow for sexual and/or romantic interactions beyond a dyad, inclusive of hierarchical polyamory, non-hierarchical polyamory, solo poly, swinger lifestyles, and other radically honest relationship styles.
ethical slut (noun) = from the seminal book on ethical nonmonogamy, The Ethical Slut, one who is sexually-expressed with great frequency and variety, most often with the full knowledge of, and always with the consent of, all sexual partners. Ethical sluthood includes respectful practices like disclosing known STI statuses, honoring agreements made between ongoing partners, and radically honest communication.
feefees (noun) = a jokingly pejorative nickname for feelings (Mistress Leigh)
femme-presenting (adj.) = typically used to denote a queer person who costumes themselves with the culturally-recognizable markings of femininity, such as long hair, skirts, high heels, and make-up and/or who performs mannerisms that are culturally considered feminine, e.g. crossing the legs above the knee while sitting, or swishing the hips while walking
fetish (noun) = a person, object, or idea that holds an unusually powerful (often sexual or sensual) association.
fetishize (verb) = the act of creating a strong attachment to a particular person, physical characteristic, body part, object, or idea and equating this with the fulfillment of an (often sexual) desire.
folx (noun) = an affectionate way to refer to a group of people, particularly people who have been marginalized in American culture.
gangbang (noun) = a consensual, pre-arranged sexual scenario in which all of the physical attention is focused on one recipient, often a cisgendered straight, heteroflexible, or bisexual woman, or a gay man, and designed to overwhelm them with sensory input and pleasure through different configurations of bodies.
gender expression (noun) = the way in which a human performs their gender, through costume, mannerism, and activity.
gender identity (noun) = the gender someone feels like on the inside, which may or may not align with their biological sex and the social norms of gender expression.
GGG (Good, Giving, and Game) = An acronym coined by the advice columnist Dan Savage to describe the three requirements of a great lover — skilled, generous, and adventurous.
ghosting (noun) = the increasingly common activity of completely ceasing all communication with someone without warning or explanation.
handfasting (noun) = a historically Pagan ceremony to proclaim a committed engagement period of a year and a day
heteroflexible (adj.) = a person who, while primarily engaging in heterosexual romantic and/or sexual relationships, will occasionally engage (usually sexually) with members of the same sex, trans folx, or nonbinary people — typically during group sex, while at a party or other festive occasion, or while under the influence of mind-altering substances.
holding space (verb) = the act of witnessing, of compassionately listening or simply being present with another human being, without feeling the need to express opinions, make suggestions, or take action to make things “better”
hook suspension (noun) = raising a human body into the air / holding a body up by hooks placed through piercings.
impact play (noun) = a type of kink in which the recipient receives impact upon their body (often on the buttocks, arms, and legs) by a body part (often a hand) or an object (e.g. a flogger, a riding crop, a cane).
intentional community (noun) = living together on purpose in accordance with common ideals, in order to offer everyone roots and wings.
intimacy education (noun) = teachings designed to foster empathy and loving connections, centered around the expression of feelings, compassionate listening, the expression of desires, drawing boundaries, asking for and giving consent, methods for giving and receiving pleasure, the art of touch, the different kinds of love, non-violent communication, fighting fair, conflict resolution, and how to break up nicely.
key parties (noun) = gatherings at which heterosexual couples play a partner-swapping game. At the outset of the night the males placing their car or house keys in a bowl, and at the end of the night, the females pull a set of keys from the bowl, and go home with the key owner. Popular amongst middle class white couples in the 70s.
kinky (adj.) = the characteristic of enjoying sexual or sensual behaviors that are outside the bounds of social norms, are uncommon, or, though common, aren’t socially acceptable.
lover (noun) = a possible alternative to the word slut, referring to a person who is happily sexually expressed with great frequency and variety, e.g. “He’s a lover. She’s a lover. They’re a lover.”
masochist (noun) = a person who derives physical, emotional, or mental pleasure from receiving physical, emotional, or mental pain or sensation; may actually experience pain itself as pleasure; often the counter-role to a sadist
monoamorous (adj.) = having an emotionally loving romantic/sexual relationship with only one person.
monogamish (adj.) = a term coined by Dan Savage to refer to a mostly monogamous relationship style that includes occasional dalliances with other lovers
nonbinary (adj.) = a person who rejects identifying with either binary of gender expression — male or female — who instead expresses their gender identity androgynously, by mixing signifiers of societally-expected male and female expression, or by dressing in a manner that denotes a rejection of gender entirely.
play (verb) = a euphemism for engaging in sexual acts, e.g. “I played with him at the last Hacienda party.”
play party (noun) = a party in which sexual and sensual acts are welcomed and celebrated, i.e. a sex party
polyamory (noun) = multiple loving, simultaneous, committed relationships, with the full knowledge and consent of all those involved [colloquial abbreviation: poly]
polyamory, hierarchical (noun) = a relationship style in which the simultaneous, consensual relationship roles are clearly defined in order of priority, such as primary partner and secondary partner, or primary, secondary, and tertiary partners. Sometimes the people in the primary relationship hold “veto power” over their primary’s other relationships.
polyamory, non-hierarchical (noun) = a relationship style consisting of multiple loving, simultaneous, committed relationships, in which the practice of ranking one’s multiple partners in order of priority is rejected.
poly, solo (noun) = a relationship style in which a person retains their polyamorous identity along with corresponding values of honesty and transparency, during times when they aren’t involved in committed romantic or sexual relationships.
Pro-Domme (noun) = an abbreviation of the term “professional dominatrix” [the spelling “domme” typically denotes a female-identifying dominant person]
sadist (noun) = a person who derives physical, emotional, or mental pleasure from giving physical, emotional, or mental pain or sensation; often the counter-role to a masochist
safer sex (noun) = with the full recognition that sexual activity is inherently risky, and that there is no way to make sex completely safe (from STI’s, unwanted pregnancies, and emotional complications), the practices and precautions one takes to mitigate these risks
SAMS [abbreviation for smart-ass masochists] (noun) = also sometimes (arguably) dubbed a “bratty sub,” a SAM enjoys resisting the established power play dynamics in a scene or scenario by talking back, employing sarcasm, or taunting the other person/people in a scene.
scene (noun) = a consensual, predetermined sexual or kinky scenario during which the players take on particular roles, governed by the agreements between all involved. This may or may not be played out in a semi-public setting, such as a fetish party.
sensation play (noun) = denotes a range of kinky play designed to arouse the senses, from tantalizing scents and scintillating sounds, to physically “pleasurable” sensations such as feather tickling and flower petal-stroking, to “painful” sensations such as candle wax dripping, nipple clamps, electric shocks, or impact play, e.g. with floggers or riding crops
service top (noun) =often a submissive person who is in the top position (i.e. delivering sensations or dominance) but with the motive to please the bottom position or another dominant that is involved in the scene.
sessioning (verb) = conducting a — typically private — professional domination gig, or, session
sexiled (noun) = the state of being barred from a room, typically one’s college bedroom, because others are having sex there
sex-positive (noun, adj.) = a commitment to dispelling the shame surrounding sex through sex ed, open dialogue, the celebration of all genders and sexual orientations, and the affirming of all relationship structures and sexual acts between consenting adults.
shibari (noun) = the art of Japanese rope bondage
slow sex (noun) = a sexual practice designed to heighten pleasure throughout the whole body by de-emphasizing the importance of orgasm
slut (noun) = a person of any gender who is sexually-expressed with great frequency and variety
sluthood (noun) = the state of being a slut and the great frequency and variety of sexual partners and encounters involved [celebratory term]
sploshing (noun) aka WAM [wet and messy] = a predilection for being profusely doused in substances, often, food.
squirting (verb) = the act of vaginal ejaculation.
submissive (noun) = a person who follows directives in a BDSM, fetish, or fantasy-oriented play scenario (scene), often the counter-role to a dominant.
subspace (noun) = a state of flow experienced through the act of submission and total immersion in a scene
swinger(s) (noun) = a member of a couple practicing a monoamorous relationship style which allows for sex with other couples, typically in a two-on-two configuration and only when one’s partner is present.
switch (noun) = a person who alternates between dominant and submissive, top and bottom roles in their relationships, scenes, and scenarios.
TLM (Time-Limited Marriage, abbrev., noun) = a marriage contract for a predetermined amount of time (7 years, 5 years, 3 years), offering those involved the option to renew, or not to renew, when the contract has concluded
trans (adj.) = a human who, feeling their gender identity to be disconnected from the societal norm expected from those with their biological sex, decides to offer a different gender expression to the world. [formal, transgender]
uncanny valley (noun) = the experience of uneasiness or disgust when one encounters a strikingly human-like, yet nonhuman, figure, such as a robot.
unicorn (noun) = a (rare, magical) person who dates a couple (most commonly refers to a bisexual woman who dates a male/female couple)
(the) upper limits problem (ULP) = a natural human tendency, given the thousands of years of accustoming ourselves to notice the next threat quickly and to expect things to go wrong, to limit the experience of feeling blissful joy. ULP is also about not allowing yourself to expand your capacity to give and receive positive energy because you don’t know how and haven’t seen effective examples of people enjoying long periods of things going well. To give you an example, much like a thermostat has a setting that prevents the temperature from rising too high, we have upper limits that we’ve learned unconsciously that prevent us from being too happy, too in-love, too comfortable, etc. When we get close to reaching our upper limits, we do something (project our feelings, start an argument, take a victim position) that brings the relationship down to a more familiar level. – as defined by Katie & Gay Hendricks, the authors of Conscious Loving
vaginal fissures (noun) = tiny abrasions in the skin of the vulva, that feel like paper cuts and typically occur when a vulva experiences friction without adequate lubrication
Villan(s) (noun) = a person, or persons, living in the intentional community Hacienda Villa [affectionate nickname]
Wartenberg wheel, or pinwheel (noun) = a spiky tool, somewhat resembling the spurs on cowboy’s boots, which was originally designed to test neurological pathways in patients, and is also used by those who enjoy sensation play in order to deliver pinpoint prickly feelings to the skin, without marking it.
wax play (noun) = the process of using warm or hot wax, dripped upon the body, to produce erotic sensation through temperature
yoni (noun) = a representation of female genitalia, symbolizing Shakti, the Hindu goddess of creation. Often used by yoga teachers and New Age spiritual seekers to refer to the vulva.