Table 1

Sexual health definitions

SexBiologic characteristics (sex chromosomes, hormones, reproductive organs, genitalia) used to describe someone as male, female, or variation thereof
Sex assigned at birthIn many cultures, sex is assigned at birth based on the appearance of the neonate’s external genitalia. Male: presence of a penis. Female: presence of a vulva. Intersex: sexual anatomy that does not fit typical definitions of male or female
GenderA social construct, rooted in cultural expectations that drives an individual’s outward appearance and behavior
Gender identityCorresponds to the individual’s fundamental and innate sense of being female, male, or identifying with both or neither
CisgenderAdjective to describe people whose gender identity aligns with sex assigned at birth
TransgenderAdjectives to describe people with gender identity not aligned with sex assigned at birth
Gender expression/rolesWays in which people communicate gender identity to others.
Gender dysphoriaMental health term that refers to discomfort or distress caused by the lack of alignment between gender identity and sex assigned at birth
Sexual orientationRefers to the emotional, physical and erotic attraction that people experience to other people, independent of gender identity.