Welcome to the ever-growing Smart Love glossary. I realized that people reading this blog might not necessarily understand all of the terms used here. If you notice terms to be missing, please let me know. I would be happy to add them. I am trying to stay away from words describing specific acts, as there are already sites like Urban Dictionary and Sex Dictionary that cover those well. The purpose of this is to provide a common lexicon to use in discussing relationships.

Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB) / Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB): If it’s necessary to refer to the birth-assigned sex of a trans, genderqueer, or genderfluid person, this is the way to do it. Also phrased female-assigned at birth or FAAB.

BDSM: An acronym referring to the combination of Bondage, Dominance and Submission, and Sadomasochism. It is generally characterized by participants being tied up and/or otherwise restrained, some sort of power dynamic between participants, and some form of fetishized pain and/or punishment.

Bigender: Refers to those who feel they have both male and female sides to their personalities, most commonly used by cross-dressers.

Bisexual: Refers to a person who is attracted to both people of the same sex and the opposite sex as they are. 

Binary Gender / The Gender Binary: A system of viewing gender as consisting solely of two categories, termed male and female, in which no other possibilities for gender or anatomy are believed to exist. This system is troublesome to transgender people who do not fit neatly into one of these categories.

Bondage: Restraining an individual using ropes or other devices for sexual reasons. This is often used in conjunction with other sexual activities or role play, but some people enjoy being tied up and restrained enough that simply being bound is a scene in itself. Likewise, some tops enjoy tying enough that it can constitute an entire scene for them.

Bottom: In the context of a scene: a person to whom things are done during a scene. In the context of identity: a person who enjoys being the bottom when in scene.

Butch: An identity or presentation that focuses on masculine traits, including short hair, masculine style-clothing, and sometimes masculine behaviors. Most commonly used to describe masculine lesbian/queer women.

-Chaser: Refers a person who fetishizes a certain type of person, e.g. trans-chaser would be someone who fetishizes and sometimes objectifies transgendered individuals.

Chew Toy (a.k.a. Hook-Up): 
This term describes an extremely casual relationship which is purely on the Physical Axis. The partners are interested exclusively in physical contact and little else.

Cross-dressing: The act of dressing and presenting as the “opposite” gender. One who considers this an integral part of their identity may identify as a cross-dresser (also spelled crossdresser). Cross-dressers are usually comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth and do not wish to change it. Transsexuals (on who intends to transition their sex in the future or has already done so) are sometimes incorrectly described as cross-dressers, but this is inaccurate. 

Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not necessarily tied to erotic activity. Cross-dressing is not indicative of sexual orientation.

Dominant: One who enjoys taking on the dominant role in the Dominance/Submission dynamic. Discussed in this article.

Drag Queen / Drag King: Drag is exaggerated and theatrical gender presentation, most commonly used to describe cross-dressing performers. Doing drag does not necessarily have anything to do with one’s sex, gender identity, or orientation.

Femme: An identity or presentation that leans towards femininity, including traditionally feminine clothing, make-up, and behavior. Also spelled fem.

Fetish: The technical definition of a fetish is something that a person must have to orgasm. In common use, however, a fetish is any strong interest that a person has sexually. Examples include: rope, leather, service, bondage, and pain. The most popular social networking site for people interested in and involved in kink.

FtM: An adjective describing the process of transitioning from female to male. Sometimes seen written as F2M or FTM. Some use this term as an adjective ("an FtM person"), while others use it as a noun ("a 27 year old, Asian FtM"). There is some disagreement on the proper grammatical use.

F*&%buddy (a.k.a. Acquaintance With Benefits): 
This is a casual, sex-based relationship in which the participants have social contact and might even have a bit in common, but the main cohesive force of the relationship is sexual relations.

Gender Dysphoria: Anxiety and dissatisfaction over one’s assigned gender/sex.

Genderfluid / Gender Fluid: A general term for non-binary gender identities (GF on FetLife). Overlaps with genderqueer and bigender, implying movement between different gender identities and/or presentations.

Gender identity disorder (GID) is the formal diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to describe persons who experience significant gender dysphoria (discontent with the biological sex they were born with). It is a psychiatric classification and describes the attributes related to transsexualitytransgender identity, and transvestism. This is highly controversial as most transgendered people do not believe that they have a mental illness, merely a different identity than the mainstream.
Source: Wikipedia

Gender Expression / Presentation: External manifestation of one's gender identity through clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics, etc. (typically referred to as masculine and feminine or butch and femme).

Gender Identity: One's internal, personal sense of being a male or female, man or woman, genderqueer, etc. For transgender people, their birth-assigned sex and their own internal sense of gender identity do not match

Genderqueer: A general term for non-binary gender identities (GQ on FetLife). Individuals who identify as genderqueer may prefer not to identify as either male or female, may see themselves as outside of or in between the binary gender boxes, and may feel restricted by gender labels, categories, and pronouns. One may identify genderqueer but also be comfortable identifying as female or male.

Heteroflexible: Similar to bisexual, but with a stated heterosexual preference. Commonly used to indicate that one is interested in heterosexual romance but is “flexible” when it comes to sex and/or play. The same concepts apply to homoflexible.

Heteronormative: Referring to the stereotypical dynamics between primarily heterosexual masculine men and primarily heterosexual feminine women.

Intersex: Describing a person whose natal physical sex is ambiguous (IS on FetLife). There are many genetic, hormonal or anatomical variations which make a person's sex ambiguous (i.e., Klinefelter Syndrome, Adrenal Hyperplasia). Parents and medical professionals usually assign intersex infants a sex and perform surgical operations to conform the infant's body to that assignment. This practice has become increasingly controversial as intersex adults are speaking out against the practice, accusing doctors of genital mutilation.
Kink: Sexual practices beyond what are considered conventional. This includes but  is not limited to sadomasochism, Dominance and Submission, sexual role play, bondage, and fetish.

Limerence: An involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire for another person. The term was coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe the ultimate, near-obsessive form of romantic love. Limerence is sometimes also referred to as infatuation, or is colloquially known as a crush. In common speech, infatuation includes aspects of immaturity and extrapolating from insufficient information, and is usually short-lived.
Source: Wikipedia

Masochism: Enjoying receiving pain in a sexual context. This pain is generally experienced pleasurably due to the pain/pleasure conversion mechanism in which the stimulus leads to a release of Endorphins creating a natural high.

MtF: An adjective describing the process of transitioning from male to female. Sometimes seen written as M2F or MTF. Some use this term as an adjective ("an MtF person"), while others use it as a noun ("a 27 year old, Asian MtF"). There is some disagreement on the proper grammatical use.

Pansexual: Similar to bisexual but with a specific acceptance of transgendered people.
Passing: Being perceived by others as a particular identity, gender, age, race, etc., e.g. passing as straight, passing as a woman, passing as a youth.

Primary: This is a polyamory term for the main relationship. Generally, this relationship is a serious, committed relationship. If it is necessary to choose between partners (e.g. one is moving across the country and the other is staying behind, what should you do?), the primary is generally chosen. The primary partner may also have some control over other relationships that their partner has.

Queer: General term for any sexual identity or orientation outside of the straight, cisgendered mainstream.

Role Play: Taking on a role or character. This can be a simple as adopting a trait or as complex as taking on a full character identity complete with name and background and possibly even script. This activity is often used to play out sexual scenes which would be unsafe or unreasonable to do for real but which have titillating aspects.

Rope Top/Bottom: Similar to general definition of Top and Bottom. A Rope Top enjoys being the one doing the tying, while the Rope Bottom enjoys being tied. If someone is referred to as a Rope Top or Bottom outside of a specific scene, it generally indicates that they are rope hobbyists, actively developing their skills and equipment.

Sadism: Enjoying the causing of pain in a sexual context. Generally, this refers to pain caused in a consentual manner to a willing masochist who enjoys to experience. One who practices sadism is referred to as a sadist.

Sadomasochism: The practice of using pain to induce pleasure in a sexual context. Physiologically this occurs because the pain leads to release of Endorphins which cause the recipient of the stimulation not to notice the pain but to instead experience the pleasant sensation caused by the Endorphins. This is the same mechanism as the "runner's high" that people receive from exercise.

a Scene: A general term used in the kink community to refer to a single sexual encounter, particularly on which has kinky elements or is well planned out.

the Scene: Term used to describe the kink community (or any other community, depending on context.)

Secondary: This is a polyamorous term for relationships beyond the primary relationship. These relationships can be every bit as serious as the primary relationship or they can be relatively casual. The important factor is that it is understood that  the primary relationship takes precedence over secondary relationships.

Sex (identity): The classification of people as male or female based on physical characteristics, including: chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitals.

Sexual Orientation: Describes an individual's enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to others. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same and not necessarily related.

Sex Reassignment Surgery / SRS: Refers to several different surgical procedures, and is only one small part of transition. Preferred term over "sex change operation." Not all transsexual people choose to or can afford to have SRS. Overemphasizing the importance of SRS to the transition process should be avoided.

Straight: Colloquial term for a heterosexual, one who is attracted to people of the opposite sex only. 

One who enjoys taking on the submissive role in the Dominance/Submission dynamic. Discussed in this article.

Switch: One who is both dominant and submissive depending on the circumstance.

Thug Play: A kind of sadomasochistic impact play characterized by punching and other "thuddy" impacts on muscular areas such as the chest, upper back, buttocks, thighs, and calves.

Top: In the context of a scene: a person who is in a controlling role during a scene. In the context of identity: a person who enjoys being the top when in scene.

Trans: Prefix or adjective used as a simultaneous abbreviation of both transgender and transsexual. Because it avoids the political connotations of both those terms, many consider trans to be the most inclusive and useful umbrella term. Derived from the Greek word meaning “across from” or “on the other side of.”

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differ from the sex they were assigned at birth (TG on FetLife). The term transgender is not indicative of sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, or physical anatomy.

Transition: The lengthy and complex social, physical, and psychological process of changing from one assigned sex to another. Transition includes some or all of the following cultural, legal and medical adjustments: telling one's family, friends, and/or co-workers; changing one's name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) some form of surgical alteration.

Transphobia: Fear, disdain, or discomfort with the idea that some people may not fit into the gender binary.

Transsexual: Similar to transgender in that it indicates a conflict between one’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth, but with implications of hormonal/surgical transition. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term, as many transgender people do not identify as transsexual. Transsexual people are transgendered, but transgendered people are not necessarily transgendered.

Trans Woman / Trans Man: Trans woman refers to a transgender person who self-identifies as a woman, likewise for Trans Man. Considered impolite to refer to someone as "Trans Man/Woman" unless there is some reason why the person's trans nature is relevant.