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The Sex Dictionary
The Letter P
How To Have Good Sex, Inc.


Pairbond: a strong and long-lasting closeness between two human beings or other creatures, such as exists between parent and child or two lovers.

Pairbondedness: the tendency to form pairbonds; one of the five universal exengencies of being human.

Para-: a prefix meaning beside, near, beyond, aside, amiss, and sometimes implying alteration or modification [from Greek, para].

Paranoid (noun, paranoia): characterized by thinking that is delusional and, maybe, hallucinatory. It is incorrectly used as a synonym for suspicious.

Paraphilia: a condition occuring in men and women of being compulsively responsive to and obligatively dependent upon an unusual and personally or socially unacceptable stimulus, perceived or in the imagery of fantasy, for optimal initiation and maintenance of erotosexual arousal and the facilitation or attainment of orgasm [from Greek, para-, altered + -philia]. Paraphilic imagery may be replayed in fantasy during solo masturbation or intercourse with a partner. In legal terminology, a paraphilia is a perversion or deviancy; and in the vernacular it is kinky or bizarre sex. (adjective, paraphilic): an erotosexual condition of being recurrently responsive to, and obsessively dependent on, an unusual or unacceptable stimulus, perceptual or in fantasy, in order to have a state of erotic arousal initiated or maintained, and in order to achieve or facilitate orgasm. The majority of paraphilias are believed to occur significantly more frequently in males than females. For examples, see Table 5-2 in the text. See also Antonym , normophilia.

Paraphiliac: a person who manifests a paraphilia. Synonym, paraphile. Either of the two endings, -iac and -ile, may be used for each of the philias. ; a person with a paraphilia.

Paraplegia: paralysis with numbness and total loss of sensation and control of voluntary movement in the legs and lower body. It follows spinal cord injury or disease that disconnects the brain from its nerve supply to and from the body below.

Parasympathetic nervous system: pertaining to that part of the autonomic nervous system which usually prepares the organism to deal more effectively with a situation of peace, rest, and recovery, the functions of which contrast with or reciprocate those of the sympathetic system Paradoxically, the parasympathetic system is responsible for the physiological phenomenon of sexual arousal, but not sexual orgasm and/or ejaculation,See also autonomic.nervous system; parasympathetic nervous system

Paraurethral glands: in females, a zone of glandular tissue located around the canal of the urethra that, in some cases, releases a fluid which escapes from the urethral opening at the time of orgasm. The male counterpart is the prostate gland.

Parthenogenesis: development of an egg into a newborn without fertilization by a sperm. Parthenogenic species are monochoric, that is, all members of the species are of the same gonadal type; for example, some species of whiptail lizard.

Partialism: fetishism of the type in which the fetishistic attachment is not to an object but to a part of the partner's body, for example the hair or, in the case of acrotomophilia, the stump of an amputated limb.

Pathognomonic: pertaining to a distinctive sign, symptom, or characteristics of a disease on which a diagnosis can be made.

Pederasty: literally, boy love. Pederasty is usually used in the restricted sense to refer to anal intercourse performed by an older youth or man on a prepubertal or early pubertal boy. {The term is based on} the custom, tracing back to classical Greece, of older men having younger adolescent male lovers as the recipients of anal intercourse [from Greek, pais, boy + erastes, lover]. It is not conventionally applied to the relationship between an older woman and a boy. It is not a synonym for pedophilia, nor for ephebophilia.

Pedophilia: a paraphilia of the stigmatic/eligibilic type in which sexuoerotic arousal and the facilitation or attainment of orgasm in a postpubertal adolescent or adult male or female are responsive to and [dependent upon]{contingent on} having a juvenile partner of prepubertal or peripubertal, developmental status [from Greek, paidos, child + -philia]. Pedophile relationships may be heterosexual or homosexual or, more rarely, bisexual. They may take place in imagery or actuality, or both. The technical term for the reciprocal paraphilic condition in which an older person impersonates a juvenile is paraphilic juvenilism. The age and developmental status of the partner distinguishes pedophilia from nepiophilia and ephebophilia. (adjective, pedophilic): the condition in which an adult is responsive to or dependent on the imagery or actuality of erotic/sexual activity with a perpubertal or early pubertal boy or girl, in order to obtain erotic arousal and facilitate or achieve orgasm. A pedophiliac may be a male or a female. Pedophilic activity may be replayed in fantasy during masturbation or copulation with an older partner. See also gerontophilia.

Peeping Tom: see voyeurism. ; voyeur. penetration phobia: a hypophilic condition or syndrome, variable in etiology, of irrational panic and disabling fear that prevents having the vagina (or anus, or mouth) entered by something, particularly the penis, or the penis enveloped in something, particularly the vagina (or anus, or mouth). Synonym, aninsertia.

Penis: the male urinary and copulatory organ, comprising a root, shaft, and at the extremity, glans penis and foreskin [from Latin, penis]. The shaft or body of the penis consists of two parallel cylindrical bodies, the corpora cavernosa, and beneath them, surrounding the urethra, the corpus spongiosum. The penis in the male is the homologue of the clitoris in the female.

Penoclitoris: in cases of birth defect of the sex organs, a protuberant structure that could be either a small and deformed penis that lacks a urinary tube, or an enlarged clitoris. Synonym, clitoropenis.

Peodeiktophilia: a paraphilia of the solicitational/allurative type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent on evoking surprise, dismay, shock, or panic from a stranger by illicitly exhibiting the penis, either flaccid or erect, with orgasm induced or postponed [from Greek, peos, penis + deiknunain, to show + -philia]. There is no technical term for the reciprocal paraphilic condition, namely staring at the penis, which is subsumed under the broader concept of voyeurism. There is also no technical term for paraphilic exhibitionism of the female genitalia. See also exhibitionism.

Peptide hormones: a class of hormones biochemically constructed of the same components of which proteins are made. They include neurohormones that govern the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland, e.g., gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). They include several of the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland, e.g., growth hormone; see also steroid hormones.

Perceptual image: an image in the mind as presently being perceived through one or more of the senses; see also fictive image.

Perineum (adjective, perineal): the region between the thighs, bounded by the anus and the scrotum or the vulva in, respectively, males and females. The region between the thighs, bounded by the anus and the scrotum or the vulva.

Peripheral nervous system: That portion of the nervous system which lies outside of the protective cranium and vertebral column (containing the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system), and which consists of a musculo-skeletal and usually voluntary somatic nervous system and a visceral and usually involuntary autonomic nervous system.

Personality: the uniqueness that characterizes an individual as a person as compared with, and in response to others, with respect to consistency or inconsistency of behavior and life-style [from Latin, persona, a mask, as worn by actors].

Perversion: a vernacular [pejorative] and legal term for paraphilia, now outdated in biomedical usage. petit mal seizure: an epileptic seizure characterized by lapse of attention and awareness, and failure of subsequent recall, but without convulsing and unconsciousness. See also grand mal seizure.

Petticoat punishment: a vernacular term for a masochistic transvestite practice in which a male, dressed like a school girl or servant girl, gets spanked.

PET scan: in nuclear medicine, an advanced technique of positron emission tomography (PET) for visualizing or scanning details of soft internal organs, for example, the brain, that do not show up on an X-ray film.

Phalangeal: pertaining to any bone of the phalanges, that is the fingers or toes.

Phalloplasty: in plastic surgery, the procedures for attempted construction or reconstruction of a penis in cases of birth defect, of female-to-male transexualism, and of accidental or surgical amputation of the penis.

Phallus: a synonym for penis, which is also used to refer to the enlarged clitoris or penis-like structure of a female hermaphrodite.

Phenotype: the observable traits that characterize the morphology, function, or behavior of individual members of a genotype. The phenotype may be many steps removed from the genotype. See also genotype.

Pheromone: an odorous substance or smell that acts as a chemical messenger between members of the same or different species and serves as a foe repellant, boundary marker, child-parent bonding agent, or lover/lover, mating attractant. See also hormone; an odoriferous substance that acts as a chemical messenger between individuals. By contrase, a hormone acts as a chemical messenger within the bloodstream of a single individual. In mammals, pheromones serve as foe repellants, boundary markers, child-parent attractants, and sex [lover-lover] attractants. -

Phile: a word ending, grammatically transformed from -philia, for noun usage. Example: one person, a paraphile. Synonym, -philiac, as in one person, a paraphiliac. -

Philia: a word ending meaning love, or erotic and sexual love of a person, thing, or activity [from Greek, philos, loving, dear] See also normophilia; paraphilia. -

Philiac: a word ending, grammatically transformed from -philia, for noun and adjectival usage. Examples: one person, a paraphiliac (noun); one paraphiliac person (adjective). See also -phile; -philic. -

Philic: a word ending, grammatically transformed from -philia, for adjectival usage. Example: a paraphilic syndrome. Synonym, -philiac, as in a paraphiliac syndrome.

Phimosis: constriction of the foreskin so that it does not pull back, retracted over the glans of the penis. phlogiston: a hypothetical substance which, prior to the discovery of oxygen, was thought to produce fire. phobia (adjective . phobic): morbid and persistent dread or fear [from Greek, phobos, fear].

Phocomelia: a birth defect of a limb, likened in everyday speech to a seal flipper, the hand or foot being attached to the trunk of the body by a single, small, deformed bone without, respectively, an elbow or knee [from Greek, phoke, seal + melos, limb].

Phyletic: of or pertaining to a race. Phyletic components or aspects of behavior in human beings are those shared by all members of the human race, as compared with behavior that is individual and biographically or ontogenetically idiosyncratic [from Greek, phylon, tribe or race]. Phyletic behavior is the product of both prenatal and postnatal determinants, as is personal biographic behavior. Each is the end product of both innate and experiential determinants.

Phylism: a newly coined term (Money, 1983) used to refer to an element or unit of response or behavior of an organism that belongs to an individual through its phylogenetic heritage as a member of its species [from Greek, phylon, tribe or race] See also phyletic; phylogenetic. Synonym, phylon.

Phylogenetic (noun, phylogeny): belonging to the developmental history of an animal or vegetable species, which is the genealogical history shared by all members of the species [from Greek, phylon, tribe, race, or genetically related group +-geny, generation or development] See also ontogenetic.

Phylogeny: in biology, the developmental history of a species, which is the genealogical history shared by all members of the species. See also ontogeny.

Pictophilia: a paraphilia of the solicitational/allurative type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are not only responsive to, but also contingent on viewing pictures, movies, or video cassettes of activities commonly classified as dirty, pornographic, or obscene, alone or in the presence of the sexual partner [from Latin, pictus, painted + -philia]. The same term is used for the reciprocal paraphilic condition, namely of having sexuoerotic arousal contingent on showing visual erotica to the partner. See also narratophilia; (adjective, pictophilic): the condition of being responsive to or dependent on erotic pictures in order to obtain erotic arousal and facilitate or acheive orgasm.

Pituitary gland: an endocrine gland situated deep in the brain in the midline behind the eyes, and directly {below} associated with the hypothalamus. The hormones of the anterior pituitary regulate many functions of the other endocrine glands of the body. The pituitary is also known as the hypophysis.

Placenta: the thick plaque of tissue that forms when an embryo attaches itself to the inner wall of the womb, and which is joined to the baby by the umbilical cord [from Latin, placenta, flat cake].

Plateau phase: the second of four sexual phases delineated by Masters and Johnson. See also excitement, orgasmic, and resolution phases.

Polemicist: a person skilled in polemics, that is, in the art of controversy and disputation.

Polyandry: the practice or the condition whereby a woman has more than one established erotic/sexual female partner; see also polygyny.

Polygamy: the practice of having more than one marriage.

Polygyny: the practice or the condition whereby a man has more than one established erotic/sexual female partner. See also polyandry.

Polyiterophilia: a form of hyperphilia in which a person's own erotosexual responsiveness is built up toward orgasm by reiterating the same activity (manual, oral, anal, vaginal, or penile) many times with many partners.

Polymorphism: the quality or character of occuring in several different forms. pornography: explicit erotic writings and especially [pictures] graphic depictions of a sexuoerotic nature that are legally or by custom classified as forbidden. See also erotography.

Praxic: requiring visuomotor coordination and characterized by action and doing something rather than talking about it [from Greek, praxis, practice, doing something]. ; related to hand-eye coordination in making things and in figuring out the logic of how shapes fit together.

Praxon: a unit of action or behavior that, by analogy, corresponds to a word or word-group in a sentence. [from Greek, praxis, practice, doing something]

Precocious puberty: see premature puberty. Synonym, pubertas precox.

Predation: plunder; pillage; taking without permission. predicate: to know or proclaim the nature or outcome of something from a knowledge of its beginnings.

Prednisone: the generic name of one of the synthetic glucocorticoid hormones, used therapeutically as a substitute for cortisol from the adrenal cortices.

Premature ejaculation: a hypophilic condition or syndrome, variable in etiology, of being unable to sustain the preorgasmic period of sexuoerotic stimulation, so that ejaculation occurs too soon relative to a self-defined, or partner-defined criterion, for example, at the moment of intromission. The partner of the premature ejaculator has the reverse condition of not climaxing soon enough; orgasm recurrently attained too soon before or at the acceptive phase of an erotic/sexual episode.

Premature puberty: puberty that begins before the normally appointed time and is completed by nine years of age or earlier in girls, and eleven or earlier in boys. It may be an error of timing only, or may be associated with a brain lesion that affects the biological clock of puberty in the brain. Synonym. precocious puberty. See also pubertal delay.

Prenatal masculinization: in embryonic and fetal life, the masculinizing effect on the sexual anatomy and/or the sexual pathways of the brain that is induced by testosterone, estradiol, or other androgenizing sex hormones. The male fetus produces its own androgenic hormones. The female fetus does not need to, produce feminizing hormones in order not to masculinize, as nature's basic design is to differentiate a female. Masculinizing is nor synonymous with defeminizing. Thus some masculinization and some feminization of the brain and behavior may coexist.

Preoptic: situated anterior to the left/right crossover of the optic nerves at the optic chiasm in the hypothalamic region of the brain, behind the bridge of the nose.

Preoptic nucleus: a group of nerve cells in the anterior or frontal region of the hypothalamus.

Prepuce (adjective, prepucial): the foreskin of the penis; or the hood of the clitoris.

Present (pronounce pree-zent'): in animal mating, the position assumed by the female to allow the male to mount and thrust. For the penovaginal part of human sexual intercourse, either sex may present to the other. See also coitus; copulate; copulation; intercourse.

Priapism: persistent abnormal and painful erection of the penis, usually without sexual desire. The cause is often unknown. Untreated, it almost always results in destruction of the spongy tissues of the penis as a result of coagulation of blood in them, with resultant irreversible impotence.

Priapus: in Greek and Roman mythology, the male god of generation, often represented with an erect penis.

Primatologist: a scientist whose specialty is the study of apes and monkeys, i.e., the subhuman primates.

Proceptive phase: in a sexuoerotic relationship, the initial phase of reciprocal signaling and responding to attraction and solicitation, in a ritual of wooing or courtship prerequisite to the acceptive (copulatory) phase. Proceptive rituals are species specific, and the signals are variably odors, visual displays, movements, sounds, or mixed. In human beings proceptive rituals are known to be represented in imagery as well as carried out in behavior; in an erotic/ sexual relationship, the initial phase in which the two partners both woo in a ritual of solicitation, attracting, responding, and courtship. The signals are chiefly odors, motions, or visual signs, or mixed. See also acceptive phase; conceptive phase.

Progesterone: pregnancy hormone, one of the two sex hormones chiefly characteristic of the female. It is produced by the ovary in the corpus luteum, following ovulation, and also by the placenta during pregnancy. The metabolic pathway of hormone production in the body leads from progesterone to androgen to estrogen.

Progestin: a synthetic type of progesterone. Synonym, gestagen; progestogen; any one of the class of synthetic sex-hormonal steroids that has a physiologic action resembling progesterone; also known as gestagen.

Progestin-induced hermaphroditism: a syndrome of hermaphroditic birth defect of the sex organs induced in the 46,XX gonadally female fetus by synthetic hormones, derivatives of progesterone and 19-nortestosterone, formerly used in cases of threatened miscarriage in the untried belief, subsequently proved erroneous, that they would preserve the pregnancy. After crossing the placenta,in a small percentage of cases the hormone given to the mother had a masculinizing effect on the external genitalia of the daughter fetus.

Progestogen: a synthetic type of progesterone. Synonym, gestagen; progestin. prognosis: a forecasting of the probable course and termination of a disease. a forecast as to the probable outcome of a disorder or disease, either with or without treatment.

Prolactin: the milk-stimulating hormone secreted from the pituitary gland.

Prostaglandins: a group on chemical compounds found in body tissues that belong to the class, fatty acids, and so named because they were first found in the prostate gland. Among other things, they induce uterine contractions and lower blood pressure.

Prosthesis: an artificial substitute for a missing organ or limb of the body.

Prosthetics: the field of knowledge relating to prostheses.

Prosthetic testis: an artificial testis made of a soft silicone compound and surgically implanted for cosmetic effect into an empty scrotum.

Prurient (noun, prurience): itching, longing, or having a desire, in particular a desire that meets with moral disapproval because of the quality of the lasciviousness or lewdness attributed to it.

Pseudohermaphrodite: synonym for hermaphrodite when the gonads are either both testes or both ovaries. See also hermaphroditism.

Pseudohermaphroditism: hermaphroditism. The prefix was once used to denote the fact that the gonads were not hermaphroditically mixed (ovarian plus testicular tissue) as in true hermaphroditism, but were either testicular (male pseudohermaphroditism) or ovarian (female pseudohermaphroditism). In modern usage, the preferred terms are male, female, and true hermaphroditism. Agonadal hermaphroditism is a fourth form.

Psychiatric (noun, psychiatry): pertaining to the medical specialty that deals with mental disorder. psychic: pertaining to the mind and its ideas and images.

Psychodynamics: changes in recognition, recall, imagery, ideation, or other mental processes that take place in synchrony with other processes manifested within or via the behavior of a living organism, and that are presumed to have a governing or determining effect.

Psychoendocrinology: the branch of knowledge that deals with the two-way relationship between mental functioning and endocrine or hormonal functioning.

Psychogenic (noun, psychogenesis): in psychological and psychiatric theory, the principle that some mental symptoms or syndromes can be explained mentally, i.e., psycho- logically without reference to the brain, the nervous system, or any other functional system of the body such as the endocrine system, immune system, or genetic code.

Psychohormonal: pertaining to the two-way relationship between mental life and hormones. Synonym, psychoendocrine.

Psychological (noun, psychology): pertaining to mental life as manifested through language and behavior.

Psychopathological (noun, psychopathology): pertaining to the origin and nature of mental disorder.

Psychosocial dwarfism: abuse-dwarfism. See also reversible hyposomatotropic dwarfism.

Pubertal delay: failure of puberty to begin until after the normally appointed upper limit of the age for its completion, namely thirteen years in girls and fifteen in boys. It may be an error of timing only, or it may be associated with a permanent hormonal deficit in the functioning of the gonads, the pituitary gland, or the hypothalamus in the brain. See also premature puberty.

Puberty: the developmental period of transition under the governance of hormones, especially sex hormones, from being a juvenile to an adolescent. the period between childhood and adolescence when the secondary sexual characteristics have the onset of their development, culminating in procreative maturity. See also precocious puberty; premature puberty; pubertal delay.

Pudendum (plural, pudenda): in human beings, especially females, the external genitals.

Pulsatile (noun, pulsatility): occurring not continuously but in bursts or pulses that may be either regular or sporadic in frequency. pulsating or functioning rythmically or in cycles.

Purdah: a screen or veil [from Persian, pardah, veil]; among women in Islamic cultures, the custom of veiling the face in public in the presence of men.


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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
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