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Sex Glossary

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Condyloma (genital warts): Growths or bumps on the penis, vagina, vulva (vaginal lips), cervix (the opening between the vagina and womb), rectum, or groin. Genital warts are spread by a sexually transmitted virus.

Connective tissue: A group of supporting body tissues that connect fat, muscle, blood vessels, nerves, bones, and cartilage.

Corpus luteum: The structure formed during the luteal phase of a woman's menstrual cycle. The corpus luteum secretes progesterone which prepares the uterus with the rich lining needed for the fertilized egg to implant.

Cowper's glands (bulbourethral glands): Pea-sized structures located on the sides of the urethra just below a man's prostate gland. These glands produce a clear, slippery fluid that empties directly into the urethra. This fluid serves to lubricate the urethra and to neutralize any acidity that may be present due to residual drops of urine in the urethra.

Cross-dressing: A preference for dressing as the opposite sex.

Cryosurgery: The use of extremely cold temperatures to freeze and destroy abnormal tissues. This procedure is used to treat pre-cancerous tumors. It often is used to remove abnormal tissue of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens into the vagina (birth canal).

Cryptorchidism: A condition in which the testicles do not descend from the abdomen, where they are located during development, to the scrotum shortly before birth. Also called undescended testicle.

Culdocentesis: A procedure in which a needle is inserted through the vaginal wall just behind the uterus. Fluid is removed through the needle and examined for signs of bleeding or infection.

Cystoscope: A procedure in which a lighted tube is passed up the urethra to view the bladder.

Date rape: When one person forces another person to have sex. It differs from rape because the victim agreed to spend time with the attacker. Perhaps he or she even went out with his or her attacker more than once.

Diagnostic laparoscopy: A surgical procedure used to examine a person's internal organs. A laparoscope, a thin viewing tube similar to a telescope, is passed through a small incision in the abdomen. Using the laparoscope, the doctor can look directly at the organs.

Diaphragm: A round piece of flexible rubber with a rigid rim used by women for birth control. The woman places the diaphragm in her vagina and against her cervix. The diaphragm prevents semen from entering the womb. Spermicide should be used with a diaphragm.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES): A drug given to many pregnant women from 1945 to 1970 to prevent miscarriage. Exposure to DES is a risk factor for a special type of vaginal cancer (adenocarcinoma), as well as other abnormalities of the genital tract.

Diagnosis: The process by which a doctor determines what disease a patient has by studying the patient's symptoms and medical history, and analyzing any tests performed (blood tests, urine tests, and brain scans, for example)

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