Terms and Acronyms

  • AFAB: Assigned female at birth. This term refers to people whose sex was designated as “female” at birth. (Designating sex this way wrongly presumes that people have characteristics and behaviors that are either “female” or “male.”) 
  • Barrier: When used in relation to safer sex, a barrier means a physical barrier (like a condom, glove, or dental dam) that can prevent sexual partners from exchanging fluids (semen, pre-cum, front-hole fluids, vaginal fluids, and blood).  
  • BDSM: A range of expressions, not necessarily erotic, that spans bondage and discipline (BD), domination and submission (DS), and sadomasochism (SM). 
  • Bottom surgery: This term covers a range of gender-affirming surgeries that change the genitals. Among people who are assigned female at birth, this term may or may not include hysterectomies. 
  • Cisgender (cis): Someone who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.  
  • Dental dam (dam): Thin sheets, made from materials like latex and nitrile, that create a safer sex barrier between the mouth and the asshole, front hole, or vagina. 
  • Front hole: Some of us use this term to refer to our internal genitals. (Note: The term “vagina” is also used in this guide because some of us have sex with people who refer to their internal genitals as a vagina.) 
  • Glory hole: A hole in a partition (e.g. a public bathroom wall) that allows the people on either side to have sex with each other (e.g., anal sex, oral sex). Glory holes are especially associated with gay male culture.  
  • Hep: Viral hepatitis. 
  • HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus. 
  • HPV: Human Papilloma Virus. 
  • IUD: Intrauterine device. 
  • MSM: Men who have sex with men. Sometimes this term is used to include men who aren’t affiliated with mainstream gay communities or who identify as gay, bi, or queer. 
  • Non-binary (ENBY, enby): This term spans a range of people who don’t identify exclusively as being a “man” or a “woman.” This includes people who identify as not having a gender and people whose gender identity spans multiple genders. Some non-binary people identify as trans and some don’t.
  • PEP: Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. A type of pill that can stop HIV from establishing itself in your body. You take it after potentially being exposed to HIV. 
  • PIP: PEP in Pocket. A prescription on hand for PEP. 
  • PrEP: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. A type of pill that can stop HIV from establishing itself in your body. You take it before being exposed to HIV. 
  • STI: Sexually transmitted infection. 
  • T: Testosterone. When it comes to party drugs, T can also refer to crystal methamphetamines (crystal meth, meth, Tina).
  • Top surgery: For people who are assigned female at birth, “top surgery” covers a range of gender-affirming surgical procedures that change the chest. 
  • Trans: This term spans a wide range of people whose gender identity is different from the sex that they were assigned at birth. 
  • Trans man: A man who was assigned female at birth. 
  • Transmasculine: This term spans a wide range of people assigned female at birth whose gender involves or leans toward a male or masculine identity. This can include butches, studs, Ts, genderqueer, and genderfluid people. Trans men may or may not identify as transmasculine. Sometimes written as trans masculine. Also shortened as transmasc or trans masc.  
  • Two-Spirit: “Two-Spirit” is a modern term (coined in 1990) that describes centuries-old traditional practices and identities held by some Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island (North America). It often describes someone Indigenous to Turtle Island whose sexual, gender, and/or spiritual identity has both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Among its other meanings, “Two-Spirit” can describe societal and spiritual roles that certain people on Turtle Island held before European settlement (e.g., as visionaries and healers). Also written as Two-Spirited and 2-Spirit
  • UTI: Urinary tract infection.