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sex, n.1

Keywords:
Quotations:
Pronunciation: 
Brit. /sɛks/
U.S. /sɛks/
Forms: 

α. ME–16 sexe, ME– sex, 15 seex.

β. 15 sext.

(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Of multiple origins. Partly a borrowing from French. Partly a borrowing from Latin. Etymons: French sexe; Latin sexus.
Etymology: < Middle French, French sexe the genitals (c1200 in Old French as sex  ), gender, state of being male or female (c1230, 14th cent. as a social category, 1546 with reference to plants), sexuality, physical lovemaking, eroticism (1856) and its etymon classical Latin sexus (u-  stem) state of being male or female, specific qualities associated with being male or female, males or females collectively, sexual organs, of uncertain origin (perhaps compare secāre   to cut (see secant adj.), though the semantic connection is unclear). Compare Old Occitan sexe (1420), Catalan sexe (1515), Spanish sexo (first half of the 15th cent.), Portuguese sexo (1572), Italian sesso (14th cent.).
Latin had also a form secus  , neuter (indeclinable).
 
With the third sex at sense 1b   compare French troisième sexe   (1817 with reference to masculine women, 1847 with reference to homosexuals).
 
With the weak sex at Phrases 1a   compare post-classical Latin sexus fragilis   (c1455 in a British source), Middle French, French sexe fragile   (1546), also sexe foible   (1601). With the fair sex at Phrases 1a   compare French beau sexe   (1646). With the better sex at Phrases 1c   compare post-classical Latin sexus melior   (a1200 in a British source).
 
With the   in sense 3a   after Middle French, French le sexe women, the female sex collectively (1580).
 
A number of compounds from various semantic fields have earlier equivalents formed with sexual adj.   (e.g. sexual organ at sexual adj. 3a, sexual discrimination n. at sexual adj. and n. Special uses 1, sexual offence n. at sexual adj. and n. Special uses 2).
 1.

 a. Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions; (hence) the members of these categories viewed as a group; the males or females of a particular species, esp. the human race, considered collectively. Occasionally with plural verb.

a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) (1959) Gen. vi. 19   Of all þingez hauyng soule of eny flesch: two þou schalt brynge in to þe ark, þat male sex [L. sexus] & female: lyuen with þe.
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add.) f. 303   In suche Wormes is no sexe of male and femele.
?c1400  (c1380)    Chaucer tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (BL Add. 10340) (1868) iv. pr. vi. 137   Þilke same ordre neweþ aȝein alle þinges growyng and fallyng a-doune by sembleables progressiouns of seedes and of sexes, þat is to sein, male and female.
c1447   Queen Margaret To King in R. Willis & J. W. Clark Archit. Hist. Univ. Cambr. (1886) I. Introd. p. lxiii (MED)   Docteurs sentences..parformyd daily twyes..to laude and honneur of sexe feminine.
1532   T. More Confut. Tyndales Answere ii. p. clii   I had as leue he bare them both a bare cheryte, as wyth the frayle feminyne sexe fall to far in loue.
1559   J. Aylmer Harborowe sig. E4v   Neither of them debarred the heires female..as though it had ben..vnnatural for that sexe to gouern.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) ii. ii. sig. P3v   The sexe of womankind of all other is most bound to haue regardfull eie to mens iudgements.
1600   T. Nashe Summers Last Will sig. F3v   A woman they imagine her to be, Because that sexe keepes nothing close they heare.
1612   R. Johnson Crowne-Garland Goulden Roses sig. E8v   Our sex are given to range.
1615   H. Crooke Μικροκοσμογραϕια 274   If wee respect the..conformation of both the Sexes, the Male is sooner perfected..in the wombe.
1671   Milton Samson Agonistes 774   It was a weakness In me, but incident to all our sex .  
a1704   T. Brown Satire against Woman in Wks. (1707) I. i. 82   Thy Sex are all Pandora's; Mischiefs all.
1730   Swift Let. to Mrs. Whiteway 28 Dec.   You have neither the scrawl nor the spelling of your sex.
1763   G. Williams in J. H. Jesse G. Selwyn & his Contemp. (1843) I. 265   It would astonish you to see the mixture of sexes at this place.
1768   O. Goldsmith Good Natur'd Man iv. 54   Our sex are like poor tradesmen.
1780   J. Bentham Introd. Princ. Morals & Legisl. (1789) vi. §35   The sensibility of the female sex appears..to be greater than that of the male.
1839   H. Malcom Trav. (1840) 40/1   Neither sex tattoo any part of their bodies.
1846   Ecclesiologist Feb. 41   The propriety and necessity of dividing the sexes during the publick offices of the Church.
1847   Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848) xxv. 210   She was by no means so far superior to her sex as to be above jealousy.
1864   Dickens Our Mutual Friend (1865) I. ii. i. 161   It was a school..for both sexes.
1914   Amer. Med. 9 531/1   By nature all human beings are psychically bisexual—capable of loving a person of either sex.
1958   Listener 27 Nov. 891/2   By using this technique of ‘colour-ringing’ the author was able to record the histories of some forty birds of each sex.
1980   Times 22 May 12   Once you put them on a horse the female sex are far more deadly than the male.
2007   J. Mansell Thinking of You v. 30   Gavin was an enthusiastic chatter-upper of the opposite sex.

a1382—2007(Hide quotations)

 

 b. In extended use, esp. as the third sex . A (notional) third division of humanity regarded as analogous to, or as falling between, the male and female sexes; spec. that consisting of:  (a) eunuchs or transsexuals;  (b) humorously clergymen (obsolete);  (c) homosexual people collectively.

1821   Byron Don Juan: Canto V xxvi. 148   A black old neutral personage Of the third sex stept up.
1821   Byron Don Juan: Canto IV lxxxvi. 114   From all the pope makes yearly 't would perplex To find three perfect pipes of the third sex.
1873   Ld. Houghton Monogr. 280   Sydney Smith..often spoke with much bitterness of the growing belief in three Sexes of Humanity—Men, Women, and Clergymen.
1896   J. A. Symonds Probl. in Mod. Ethics (new ed.) vi. 78   Burton..was led to surmise a crasis of the two sexes in persons subject to sexual inversion. Thus he came to speak of ‘the third sex’.
1924   J. Riviere et al. tr. S. Freud Coll. Papers II. xviii. 230   A very considerable measure of latent or unconscious homosexuality can be detected in all normal people. If these findings are taken into account, then..the supposition that nature in a freakish mood created a ‘third sex’ falls to the ground.
1977   C. Isherwood Christopher & his Kind ii. 20   Hirschfield..was..as a leading expert on homosexuality. Thousands of members of The Third Sex, as he called it, looked up to him as their champion.
2005   N.Y. Mag. 21 Nov. 77   He..tracks down..the ‘third sexhijras of India, the ‘lady-boy’ kathoey of Thailand, [etc.].

1821—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 2. Quality in respect of being male or female, or an instance of this; the state or fact of belonging to a particular sex; possession or membership of a sex.

 a. With regard to persons or animals.Since the 1960s increasingly replaced by gender (see gender n. 3b) when the referent is human, perhaps originally as a euphemism to distinguish this sense from sense 4b. The word sex tends now to refer to biological differences, while gender often refers to cultural or social ones.

c1475   tr. A. Chartier Quadrilogue (Univ. Coll. Oxf.) (1974) 239 (MED)   By the mouthe of a womman of fraile sexe was this woord passed.
1577   T. Kendall tr. Politianus et al. Flowers of Epigrammes f. 71v   If by corps supposed may be her seex, then sure a virgin she.
1616   T. Scot Philomythie sig. ¶2   Like as hares change shape and sex, some say Once euery yeare.
1658   Sir T. Browne Garden of Cyrus iii, in Hydriotaphia: Urne-buriall 50   A criticall view of bones makes a good distinction of sexes.
1682   G. Hartman Digby's Choice Coll. Rare Secrets ii. 225   Persons of all Ages and Sexes.
1711   Swift Jrnl. to Stella 7 Mar. (1948) I. 208   I find I was mistaken in the sex, 'tis a boy.
1757   T. Smollett Reprisal iv. v   As for me, my sex protects me.
1787   J. M. Adair Med. Cautions (ed. 2) x. 289 (heading)    The quantity..of foods and drinks used by persons in health ought to be accommodated to age, sex,..and climate.
1825   Scott Betrothed xiii, in Tales Crusaders I. 250   I am but a poor and neglected woman, feeble both from sex and age.
1851   Waukesha (Wisconsin) Democrat 21 Oct. 1/5   This right to franchise has been governed by..sex in the most liberal communities.
1882   J. E. Tenison-Woods Fish New S. Wales 116   Oysters are of distinct sexes.
1933   L. Spier Yuman Tribes vii. 209   She needed to know no more than the sex and relative ages of the siblings.
1962   Diss. Abstr. 22 2829/1   The sex of the recipient animal had no effect on the survival of isografted fetal tissue.
1997   T. Mackintosh-Smith Yemen (1999) vi. 137   This time the sex was in no doubt—a pair of stupendous breasts could be seen.
2004   Nation's Restaurant News (Nexis) 23 Aug. 4   It..agreed to hire workers without regard to sex and to make sex-neutral job descriptions.

c1475—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. With regard to plants (cf. female adj. 1d, male adj. 2).

1567   J. Maplet Greene Forest f. 28   Some seeme to haue both sexes and kindes: as the Oke, the Lawrell and such others.
1631   D. Widdowes tr. W. A. Scribonius Nat. Philos. (new ed.) 49   There be sexes of hearbes..namely, the Male or Female.
1720   P. Blair Bot. Ess. iv. 237   These being very evident Proofs of a necessity of two Sexes in Plants as well as in Animals.
1790   W. Smellie Philos. Nat. Hist. I. 245   There is not a notion more generally adopted, than that vegetables have the distinction of sexes.
1848   J. Lindley Introd. Bot. (ed. 4) II. 80   Change of Sex under the influence of external causes.
1867   A. S. Fuller Small Fruit Culturist xi. 252   The Shepherdia, being diœcious, it is therefore necessary to plant one of each sex to obtain fruit.
1957   Fassett's Man. Aquatic Plants (rev. ed.) 182   In each sex the scales are often hairy, the many overlapping silky hairs of the expanding catkins making the familiar ‘Pussies’.
1990   National Gardening Mar. 38/1   The sex of an asparagus plant is dependent on a gene that breeders call the ‘m’ gene—a capital ‘M’ for male, and a small ‘m’ for female.

1567—1990(Hide quotations)

 
 3.

 a. With the. The female sex. Now arch. or literary.

1589   G. Puttenham Arte Eng. Poesie iii. xix. 190   As he that had tolde a long tale before certaine noble women, of a matter somewhat in honour touching the Sex.
1608   D. Tuvill Ess. Politicke, & Morall f. 101v   Not yet weighing with himselfe, the weaknesse and imbecillitie of the sex.
1697   J. Vanbrugh Provok'd Wife ii. 24   He has a strange penchant to grow fond of me, in spight of his Aversion to the Sex.
1762   O. Goldsmith Citizen of World II. 139   The men of Asia behave with more deference to the sex than you seem to imagine.
1789   A. Young Jrnl. 3 Nov. in Trav. France (1792) i. 220   The sex of Venice are undoubtedly of a distinguished beauty.
1823   Byron Don Juan: Canto XIII lxxix. 94   We give the sex the pas.
1863   R. F. Burton Wanderings W. Afr. I. 22   Going ‘up stairs’, as the sex says, at 5 a.m. on the day after arrival, I cast the first glance at Funchal.
1920   D. Lindsay Voy. Arcturus i. 2   He was used to such receptions at the hands of the sex.
1986   T. Mo Insular Possession xi. 90   O'Rourke's antipathy to the sex may be entirely apocryphal.

1589—1986(Hide quotations)

 

b. In predicative use, without the. Feminine. Obsolete. rare.

1700   Dryden tr. Boccaccio Cymon & Iphigenia in Fables 554   She hugg'd th' Offender, and forgave th' Offence, Sex to the last.

1700—1700(Hide quotations)

 
 4.

 a. The distinction between male and female, esp. in humans; this distinction as a social or cultural phenomenon, and its manifestations or consequences; (in later use esp.) relations and interactions between the sexes; sexual motives, instincts, desires, etc.Now usually coloured by the more explicit sense at 4b.

a1631   J. Donne Primrose in Songs & Sonn. in Poems (1912) I. 61   Should she Be more then woman, she would get above All thought of sexe, and think to move My heart to study her, and not to love.
a1643   W. Cartwright Siedge iii. vi, in Comedies (1651) sig. I8   My Soul's As Male as yours; there's no Sex in the mind.
1749   W. Melmoth Lett. by Sir Thomas Fitzosborne II. lxii. 119   There may be a kind of sex in the very soul.
1751   J. Harris Hermes i. iv. 41   Besides Number, another characteristic, visible in Substances, is that of Sex.
1878   W. E. Gladstone Homer 68   Athenè..has nothing of sex except the gender, nothing of the woman except the form.
1885   G. Meredith Diana of Crossways II. xiii. 325   A damsel..pursued by the idea of sex as the direct motive of every act of every person surrounding her.
1887   K. Pearson Ethics of Freethought (1888) xv. 429   What is the true type of social (moral) action in matters of sex?
1895   Crackanthorpe in 19th Cent. Apr. 614   The writers and readers who have strenuously refused to allow to sex its place in creative art.
1912   H. G. Wells Marriage ii. §6. 72   The young need..to be told..all we know of three fundamental things; the first of which is God,..and the third Sex.
1960   J. Bayley Characters of Love ii. 52   The appearance of Courtly Love..has left an immense legacy of received ideas about sex and society.
2005   Guardian (Nexis) 11 Nov. 18   A lot of women now like men to pay for them on dates... We've dealt with the outdated view of sex underpinning this.

a1631—2005(Hide quotations)

 

 b. Physical contact between individuals involving sexual stimulation; sexual activity or behaviour, spec. sexual intercourse, copulation. to have sex (with) : to engage in sexual intercourse (with).Now the most common general sense. Sometimes, when denoting sexual activity other than conventional heterosexual intercourse, preceded by modifying adjective, as gay, oral, phone sex, etc.: see the first element.
 
safe, unprotected, unsafe sex, etc.: see the first element.

1900   H. G. Wells Love & Mr. Lewisham xvii. 144   We marry in fear and trembling, sex for a home is the woman's traffic, and the man comes to his heart's desire when his heart's desire is dead.
1929   D. H. Lawrence Pansies 57   If you want to have sex, you've got to trust At the core of your heart, the other creature.
1953   S. Kauffmann Philanderer x. 174   Her arms went around his neck and his hand rested on her waist, and they had a brief moment of friendship before the sex began.
1962   Listener 7 June 1006/2   Why wasn't Bond ‘more tender’ in his love-making? Why did he just ‘have sex’ and disappear?
1971   Petticoat 17 July 6/2   The most conspicuous consequence of sex before marriage is the possibility of pregnancy.
1991   Locus May 38/3   She strongly disapproved of the sex and violence now making its way into young-adult fiction, under the guise of ‘problem stories’.
2005   Time 10 Oct. 45/3   Multiple studies have found most teens with same-sex attractions have had sex with both boys and girls.

1900—2005(Hide quotations)

 

 5. slang or euphem. A person's genitals.

1664   T. Killigrew Princess ii. ii, in Comedies & Trag. 22   Another ha's gon through with the bargain... One that will find the way to her Sex, before you'le come to kissing her hand.
1807   R. S. Pandeet in J. H. Hindley Antient Indian Lit. 129   Taking two pieces of coloured cloth, dyed red, one of them for hiding his sex and the other for clothing his body [etc.].
1938   D. Gascoyne Hölderlin's Madness 18   And the black cypresses strained upwards like the sex of a hanged man.
1956   H. Gold Man who was not with It xviii. 162   His eyes turned to his pants, gaping open, and his sex sick as an overhandled rattler gaping through.
1977   T. Allbeury Man with President's Mind i. 9   The narrow white briefs that barely captured her sex.
2003   Daily News (N.Y.) (Nexis) 2 Mar. 2   And he put in a fake sex (penis) because he wanted to make the scene more real, more rude.

1664—2003(Hide quotations)

 

Phrases

 P1.

 a. the fair (also gentle, soft, weak, etc.) sex : the female sex, women. Similarly †the devout sex , †the woman sex , the second sex .In more recent use often ironical or humorous (as also in senses Phrases 1b   and Phrases 1c).

1536   P. Melancthon Confessyon of Fayth of Germaynes f. 24   This happenyd also..in Monasteries of women..not withstonding that the weake sexe or kynde ought more to haue ben spared.
[1583   P. Stubbes Anat. Abuses sig. Eviiv   The magnificency & liberalitie of that gentle sex.]
1652   R. Brome Joviall Crew iii. sig. H4   I am bound by a strong vow to kisse all of the woman sex I meet this morning.
c1660   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1644 (1955) II. 246   The Pillar..at which the devout sex are always rubbing their Chaplets.
1688–9   J. Evelyn Mem. (1857) III. 294   Lovers and courters of the fair sex.
1694   N. H. Ladies Dict. Ded. sig. A2   To the Ladies, Gentlewomen, and Others, of the Fair-Sex, the Author Humbly Dedicates this following Work.
1716   Pope tr. Homer Iliad II. v. 435   The King insults the Goddess as she flies..Go, let thy own soft Sex employ thy Care.
1732   G. Berkeley Alciphron I. ii. xxiv. 142   The fair Sex have now nothing to do but dress and paint.
1801   Port Folio (Philadelphia) 23 May 166/3   I prefer the favours of the fair sex to the company of the soakers, and so there is an end to all drinking.
1821   Byron Don Juan: Canto IV cviii. 125   Benign ceruleans of the second sex! Who advertise new poems by your looks.
1836   W. Irving Widow's Ordeal in Magnolia for 1837 257   It is somewhat remarkable that..the gentler sex should have been most frequently the subjects of these rude trials.
1838   E. Bulwer-Lytton Alice II. iv. vi. 14   In addition to those qualities which please the softer sex, Legard was a good whist-player.
1896   J. K. Bangs House-boat on Styx vii. 86   But go along and have your ladies' day here, and never mind my reasons for preferring my own society to that of the fair sex.
1928   D. K. Parker tr. Schopenhauer: Selections 443   Women..form the sexus sequior—the second sex.
1953   H. M. Parshley tr. S. de Beauvoir (title)    The second sex.
1974   J. Mitchell Psychoanal. & Feminism ii. ii. 306   Woman is the archetype of the oppressed consciousness: the second sex.
1996   L. Lowndes How to make Anyone fall in Love with You xxxvi. 217   Another gentle habit of the gentle sex that, unfortunately, drives men stark raving berserk.
2008   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 26 June 44/3   The translation is sometimes old-fashioned (who now describes women as ‘the fair sex’?).

1536—2008(Hide quotations)

 

 b. With comparative adjectives: the fairer (also gentler, softer, weaker, etc.) sex .

1578   T. Churchyard Disc. Queenes Entertainem. sig. F. iij   The weaker sexe, in beautie doth excell.
1618   R. Brathwait Good Wife sig. B6, in P. Hannay Happy Husband (1619)    He should dispence with lighter faults, not vex Himselfe for trifles, shee's the weaker sex.
1665   R. Boyle Occas. Refl. v. ix. sig. Ll8v   Persons of the fairer Sex.
1702   C. Beaumont J. Beaumont's Psyche (new ed.) xiv. l. 213   The softer sex, attending Him And his still-growing woes.
1753   W. Hogarth Anal. Beauty x. 65   An elegant degree of plumpness peculiar to the skin of the softer sex.
1786   Adventures George Maitland II. v. 116   Her voice was shrill, but melodious, she spoke with a readiness and facility upon most subjects, and possessed an understanding not very common in the softer sex.
1860   ‘G. Eliot’ Mill on Floss I. i. vi. 76   It was rather hard on Maggie that Tom always absconded,..but the weaker sex are acknowledged to be serious impedimenta in cases of flight.
1894   C. D. Tyler in Geogr. Jrnl. 3 479   They are beardless, and usually wear a shock of unkempt hair, which is somewhat finer in the gentler sex.
1961   ‘F. O'Brien’ Hard Life v. 42   Decent people should look after women—isn't that right? The weaker sex.
1997   Daily Express 19 Feb. 23/1   Far from being the gentler sex, they [sc. women as bosses] are more likely to behave like dictators.
2005   Good Weekend (Austral.) 8 Jan. 8/2   A distinctive Japanese style of manga cartoon for the fairer sex.

1578—2005(Hide quotations)

 

 c. the sterner (also†better, †rougher, stronger) sex : the male sex, men. Now rare.

1608   Bp. J. King Serm. St. Maries Oxf. 27   Nature hath more enabled the stronger sexe to vndergoe this burthen.
1665   T. Herbert Some Years Trav. (new ed.) 22   Whiles the better sex seek prey abroad, the women (therein like themselves) keep home and spin.
1702   G. Miège New State Eng. (ed. 4) ii. 82   A Queen, whose incomparable Wisdom will ever be admired by future Ages, as..a Pattern to Princes of the better Sex.
1724   Love upon Tick 18   Whatever Influence, Age, or Infirmities, may have on one, and that the rougher sex, yet the Impressions made on the other are so deep [etc.].
1782   W. Cowper Conversation in Poems 254   Divest the rougher sex of female airs.
1819   J. Foster Contrib. Eclectic Rev. (1844) I. 508   It was not..thought too much for persons of the stronger sex, to go and return many miles on foot.
1822   Scott Fortunes of Nigel I. Introd. Ep. p. ix   I abide by the general opinion, that he is of the rougher sex.
1849   C. Brontë Shirley III. xiv. 312   ‘Mama’ is rather a misanthropist, is she not? Not the best opinion of the sterner sex?
1861   Southern Literary Messenger May 397/2   It is perhaps from utter despair..that so many of the better sex have..perpetrated of late years so many extravagancies in that region [sc. the north].
1915   New Fun 12 June 11/2   Now, through not taking a man's part, we have turned them into a weaker sex, and it is we girl-boys who are the stronger sex.
1927   Bright Ideas for Entertaining (rev. ed.) 233   If women are to do men's work in the world, the occupations of the sterner sex must change also and become those formerly handled by women.
1997   Harper's Mag. June 29/2   If women are to do men's work in the world, the occupations of the sterner sex must change also and become those formerly handled by women.
2005   Statesman (India) (Nexis) 5 Sept.   King Parikshit and maybe King Janaka restore our faith in the sterner sex somewhat, but..the draw of the novel lies in the strength of its women.

1608—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

 d. the opposite sex: see opposite adj. 2b.

 
 

 P2. organ of sex: (usually in plural) any one of the reproductive organs in sexed animals or plants; = sex organ n. at Compounds 3.

1792   tr. P. M. F. de Pagés Trav. Round World III. xxix. 237   The general colour of the Whale is black; the under part and edges of the mouth are white,..the paps of the female, and the organs of sex, are white.
1872   Amer. Naturalist 6 610   On the floor of this last grotto, Senhor Penna found several urns... All the tubular vases..have the organs of sex, male or female, carefully and prominently represented.
1896   Science New Ser. June 826   The stamen is..as much a member or organ of sex as the root is an organ of nutrition.
1955   Proc. National Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 41 670   In these animals [sc. young opossums] the internal organs of sex were all strongly transformed.
2000   Wisconsin Employment Law Let. (Nexis) Nov.   Identifying emotionally or psychologically with the sex other than one's biological or legal sex at birth, whether or not there has been a physical change of the organs of sex.

1792—2000(Hide quotations)

 

 P3. sex (and) drugs and rock 'n' roll : used to denote a hedonistic and extravagant lifestyle of a type associated with rock music and rock musicians, or with youth culture generally. Cf. rock 'n' roll adj.

[1969   Life 17 Oct. 77   The counter culture has its sacraments in sex, drugs and rock.]
1971   Spectator 16 Oct. 556   Not for nothing is the youth culture characterized by sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
1977   I. Dury & C. Jankel (title of song)    Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
1978   Observer 28 May 30/6   King's College, Cambridge is ‘probably the zappiest college with quite a lot of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll’.
1986   M. Davies et al. Half Earth xii. 267   Goa is seen by Indians as the place, par excellence, where hippies congregate with their sex and drugs and rock' n' roll.
2006   Chicago Tribune (Midwest ed.) 17 Mar. (Life Suppl.) 4/3   Boyden's gripping debut novel follows childhood pals from their first game of truth or dare down the rabbit hole of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

1971—2006(Hide quotations)

 

 P4. Chiefly Brit. sex and shopping: a genre of popular fiction featuring wealthy and glamorous characters who typically engage in frequent sexual encounters and extravagant spending, esp. on designer goods. Frequently attributive: designating (a novel of) this genre. Cf. bonkbuster n.

[1985   Ladies' Home Jrnl. May 92   Jackie Collins, charming, vibrant and stunningly attractive, could serve as at least a minor character in one of her sex-and-shopping-among-the-rich-and-famous page-turners.]
1986   Washington Post 20 May b4/3   Sure enough, her powerful brand of S&S (sex and shopping) sold 4.6 million copies and made little Judy Tarcher an overnight success.
1987   Times (Nexis) 11 May   A researcher employed on Conran's ‘sex and shopping’ blockbuster, Lace.
1995   Daily Tel. 20 Mar. 6/4   He's not a writer because he writes the ‘other stuff’, I'm not talking about people who write sex and shopping.
2000   Book May 52/1   The bestselling author and creator of the ‘sex and shopping’ genre is thin as a sparrow and looks a well-preserved fifty.

1986—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 P5.

  Sex on the Beach   n. (also with lower-case initials) orig. U.S. a sweet cocktail made with vodka, liqueur (usually peach schnapps), and fruit juice.

1986   Frederick (Maryland) Post 23 May g8/2 (advt.)    ‘Sex on the Beach’ shooters $1.50.
1994   St. Louis (Missouri) Post-Dispatch (Nexis) 22 May (Mag. section) 18   Vodka and juices; Absolute preferred—from sex on the beach, with cranberry and pineapple juices and peach schnapps, to the Cape Cod, with cranberry juice.
2006   J. G. Hayes Map of Harbor Islands xvi. 213   She'd only had two and a half Sex on the Beaches but she could never hold her booze when she was dieting.

1986—2006(Hide quotations)

 

 P6. colloq. (chiefly Brit. and Austral.). sex on legs: extremely sexy or sexually desirable. Chiefly as predicate.

1988   Herald (Melbourne) 28 Mar. (Gold TV Guide Suppl.) 16/3   Those searching for something beyond his ‘sex-on-legs’ persona were rewarded.
1995   Evening Standard (Nexis) 27 Apr. 29   Female friends say he's sex on legs.
2002   M. Gayle Dinner for Two 351   You have to believe you're sex on legs. It's a survival mechanism.

1988—2002(Hide quotations)

 

Compounds

 C1. General attributive, with sense ‘of, relating to, or characterized by sex, involving sex’ (chiefly in senses 2   and 4).Many of the compounds listed here are paralleled by uses of sexual: see sexual adj.
 

  sex activity   n.

1898   C. P. Stetson Women & Econ. iii. 44   Woman..has developed in the lines of action to which she was confined; and those were always lines of sex-activity.
1949   M. Mead Male & Female x. 208   The burden of choosing between sex activity and other activities has been taken off the individual.
1996   Gazette (Montreal) (Nexis) 15 Aug. e1   Longueuil police have been sending four undercover police officers into the park..to clear out daytime sex activities.

1898—1996(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex addict   n.

1927   Chicago Tribune 19 Nov. 16 (advt.)    Sex-addicts who advertise.
1965   Xenia (Ohio) Daily Gaz. 1 Feb. 14/2   They play up the thrill seekers and the sex addicts.
2003   Marie Claire Dec. 112/1   John is a diagnosed sex addict... John..has had 24 affairs.

1927—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex affair   n.

1912   W. Healy Case Stud. Mentally Abnormal Types 29   Miserable sex affairs of lowest order, on occasions over long time... Boy himself admits affairs.
1996   Seattle Times (Nexis) 17 Mar. i. 1   She had occasional sex affairs. It was always understood with the men that the affairs were to be temporary.

1912—1996(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-anger   n.

1903   J. H. Yoxall Alain Tanger's Wife vii. 47   Sex-anger rose in me; it was not cupidity alone that stirred me now.
1923   D. H. Lawrence Kangaroo xiii. 294   And if for a time you do overcome her with reason, the sex-anger only arises more hideously.
1991   Independent (Nexis) 14 Apr. (Sunday Review section) 16   They had a very cold relationship. And this explains why she explodes into sex-anger when he dies.

1903—1991(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex antagonism   n.

1896   19th Cent. Nov. 780   Women have desired that their public work should be on the broad line of homo man..not on the narrow one of sex affinity, much less of sex antagonism.
1952   A. Christie Mrs. McGinty's Dead xii. 93   We really get a feeling of sex antagonism between the chap and the girl.
2000   Sunday Telegram (Mass.) (Nexis) 15 Oct. b4   Although she occasionally felt sex antagonism from male scientists,..her accomplishments gave her tremendous satisfaction.

1896—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex awareness   n.

1914   J. A. Thomson Wonder of Life vi. 411   In Echinoderms, for instance, the absence of ganglia puts definite sex-awareness out of the question.
1996   Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) (Nexis) 18 Aug. b3   The organization plans to work with local school systems to raise sex awareness among parents and children.

1914—1996(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex behaviour   n.

1913   A. Moll tr. E. Paul Sexual Life of Child (ed. 2) Introd. p. vii   For the physician in such cases to..give more than perfunctory general counsel, knowledge of the psychology of sex-behavior, as well as its physiology, is necessary.
1949   M. Mead Male & Female xvii. 354   The exaggerated over-concern with the other..puts an extraordinary strain on sex behaviour.
1992   Jrnl. Public Health Policy 13 20   It is easier to establish safer sex behaviour from the beginning than it is to change existing sexual behaviour.

1913—1992(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex circuit   n.

1920   D. H. Lawrence Women in Love xvi. 221   Each acknowledges the perfection of the polarised sex-circuit.

1920—1920(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex clinic   n.

1914   Marshall (Mich.) News-Statesman 26 Sept. 4/3   There is no sex clinic, no white slave discussion,..it is a good old drama of our childhood days.
1972   Newsweek 27 Nov. 65   The sex clinic is fast becoming as vital a part of the modern hospital as the emergency room.
2007   Evening Standard (Nexis) 23 Nov. a26   A sex clinic is offering teenagers pregnancy tests and infection checks from a vending machine.

1914—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex complex   n.

1912   B. Hart Psychol. Insanity viii. 103   In certain elderly unmarried women the ‘sex complex’, including in that..the various instincts belonging to sex, has been denied its natural outlet.
1989   N.Y. Times (Nexis) 1 Oct. iii. 8/5   He lost the [Funniest Accountant in America] contest because the judges felt he used his sex complex as a crutch.

1912—1989(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex compulsion   n.

1906   J. Y. F. Cooke Stories Strange Women 56   I have denounced..and desired them [sc. women]:..wondering always wherein their potency lay—how much to the universal sex compulsion, which is nothing to their credit, and how much to..the mere clothes.
1928   D. H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley's Lover vi. 66   Be damned to the artificial sex-compulsion! I refuse it!
1992   Jrnl. Consumer Res. 19 173/2   Edward was unable to control his drug and sex compulsions even though he knew he was under police surveillance.

1906—1992(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex conflict   n.

1883   S. S. Hennell Present Relig. (1887) II. ii. i. 291   The giving to the bond of Marriage its own perfecting self-consistency, by the means of the included perfecting of the Sex-conflict.
1948   H. R. Mowrer in H. Becker & R. Hill Family, Marriage & Parenthood xii. 369   Sex conflict usually develops early in the marriage.
2003   Evolution 57 2591/2   Sexual selection and sex conflict have minimal consequences.

1883—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex consciousness   n.

1891   M. D. Conway Prisons of Air xvi. 209   In physique, in sex-consciousness, she was still childlike.
1953   D. A. Bannerman Birds Brit. Isles II. 193   ‘Sex consciousness’..remains for a long time, the male continuing to feed the female..even after the young are hatched.
2001   Irish Times (Nexis) 6 Jan. (Weekend section) 60   The most ascetic sort of sex consciousness—that of the elderly academic cleric—with its passion for bruising the body to pleasure the soul.

1891—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex contrast   n.

1905   Amer. Jrnl. Sociol. 11 369   The psychological obliteration of the sex-contrast, found so conspicuously in the social life of the Syrians,..terminated in the conception of divinities which combined the two.
1911   J. A. Thomson Biol. of Seasons iii. 263   The male ‘ends’ are salmon red or dull pink; the female ‘ends’ are greenish-grey or drab—the sex-contrast eking itself out in colour.
1993   Jrnl. Occup. Psychol. (Nexis) Mar.   The sex contrast effect, which is characteristic especially of the perception of women, cannot completely explain the results [of a behavioural study].

1905—1993(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex correlation   n.

1905   Lancet 5 Aug. 381/2   Sufficiently wide investigation would demonstrate the sex correlation of even the infective diseases, such as tuberculosis.
1978   Wildlife Soc. Bull. 6 33/2   Hunting participation is predominantly by males,..and we found a similar (but weaker) sex correlation for hunting attitudes.

1905—1978(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex craving   n.

1893   Amer. Jrnl. Psychol. 6 22   Snuff-taking may be conceived as an exploitation of the pleasure of the sneeze-craving, as lewd dances..are of that of the sex-craving.
1921   D. H. Lawrence Psychoanal. & Unconscious i. 20   The incest-craving is not the result of inhibition of normal sex-craving.
2005   Sunday Life (Belfast) (Nexis) 18 Dec.   A disgraced former priest... has talked about his sex cravings and internet addiction.

1893—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex difference   n.  [compare French différence sexuelle (1761)]

1870   A. J. Davis Fountain ii. 28   There is a constitutional difference between a woman-nature and a man-nature which lies deeper than any habits or circumstances... This sex-difference was illustrated by Mr. R. Grant White.
1918   M. C. Stopes Married Love iii. 19   Vaguely, perhaps, men have realised that much of the charm of life lies in the sex-differences between men and women.
2000   Internat. Jrnl. Advertising 19 46   The proposition that sex differences in communication may indeed be biologically based rather than socially controlled.

1870—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex disqualification   n.

1877   F. A. Maxse Woman Suffrage, Counterfeit & True i. 5   We demand that where it [sc. property] qualifies a man it shall qualify a woman—that there shall be no sex disqualification.
1919   Act 9 & 10 Geo. V c. 71 § 4   This Act may be cited as the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, 1919.
1994   L. A. Hall in S. Oldfield This Working-day World xvii. 193   By the 1920s women over 30 had obtained parliamentary suffrage, and certain sex disqualifications had been removed.

1877—1994(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex distinction   n.

a1713   T. Ellwood Hist. Life (1714) 199   Sex-Distinctions too are laid aside. The Women wear the Trowsies and the Vest: While Men in Muffs, Fans, Petticoats are drest.
1894   H. Drummond Lowell Lect. Ascent Man 317   From a state marked by a mere varying of the nuclear elements,..the sex-distinction slowly gathers definition.
1924   W. Lewis in New Statesman 24 May 191/2   The sex distinction has been very much diminished A period of sex-fusion having set in, sex qua sex has lost its importance.
2007   Sunday Times (Nexis) 11 Nov. (Culture section) 54   Smith derides conventional sex distinction: ‘She was as brave and handsome and rough as a girl. She was as pretty and delicate and dainty as a boy.’

a1713—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex distribution   n.

1885   Times 14 Jan. 4/1   While correcting these figures for age and sex distribution,..[he] makes no mention of adding the deaths of the inhabitants..who die in the public institutions.
1949   M. Mead Male & Female xiii. 266   The very simple accidents of sex distribution inside any family give a structure within which a child can feel unwanted.
2007   Dis. Risk Factor Week (Nexis) 10 June 655   Twenty-six patients had HCV [sc. hepatitis C virus]. The sex distribution, mean age, and dialysis duration were similar between groups.

1885—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex divergence   n.

1899   Biblical World 13 403   There will also be interests more or less peculiar to sex, especially during those years when sex-divergence is marked.
1999   Proc. Royal Soc. B. 266 2148/1 (caption)    Sex divergence in tail length relative to snout-vent length within red-sided gartersnakes.

1899—1999(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex education   n.  [compare French éducation sexuelle (1892)]

1893   J. A. Symonds Let. 11 Feb. in S. Brady J. A. Symonds & Homosexuality (2012) 247   I feel very doubtful as to whether the Southern or Northern view of sex-education is the right one.
1908   Amer. Jrnl. Nursing 8 246   With the quack medicine crusade waged by Collier's..and the sex education of the child on the part of Ladies Home Journal, there are hardly any of these magazines which the nurse may not choose..not only to read aloud but for her own edification.
1969   Guardian 7 Aug. 7/6   A series of sex-education talks I'd been giving at a North-east London youth club.
2002   V. Coren & C. Skelton Once more, with Feeling lii. 322   The brigade of Daily Mail piano-leg-covering prigs who think that a liberal sex education is some sort of foul perversion.

1893—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex educator   n.

1912   I. S. Wile Sex Educ. i. 35   Enlightenment by parents as to the evolution of life..forestalls the vulgarity and obscenity of the usual sex educators—companions, servants, and gangsters.
1934   J. K. Folsom Family xvii   Sex differences and reproduction. This knowledge, it is now agreed by most sex educators, should be given at an age much earlier than our traditional culture has favored.
2006   Guardian (Nexis) 15 May (Features section) 10   The second party had a female sex educator talk to attendees about female ejaculation.

1912—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex emotion   n.

1897   K. Pearson Chances of Death II. 350   She [sc. the primitive mother-goddess] becomes a centre of sex-emotion, and a symbol of archaic race feeling.
1967   A. Marshall in Coast to Coast 1965–6 108   He was sure the men he knew were incapable of any sex emotion other than an animal lust.
2000   Guardian (Nexis) 4 Nov. (Weekend section) 5   We're putting our sex-emotions where our nesting-emotions should be.

1897—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex equality   n.

1882   Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Weekly Times 17 Aug. 1/5   It was a time of furore on the sex equality question.
1921   Daily Mail Year Bk. 42/1   The organization of the League of Nations has from the outset been founded on the principle of sex equality.
2006   Independent (Nexis) 2 Mar. (Features section) 18   She calls for a legal requirement for employers in the private sector to promote sex equality and eliminate sex discrimination.

1882—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex excitement   n.

1903   E. A. Kirkpatrick Fund. Child Study vii. 113   Looking at the matter from the physiological side, we note that not infrequently some physical defect is the cause of sex excitement and perversion in childhood.
1980   Signs 5 706   A common insight about sex excitement to be found in many women's novels is that each person's history is an encoded set of reasons for arousal.

1903—1980(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex experience   n.

1892   A. W. Besant Reïncarnation 57   It seems likely that sex-experience constantly redresses the balance of the evolutionary process.
1919   M. C. Stopes Married Love (ed. 7) ix. 141   Women so harried by the undue drains of unregulated sex-experience.
2004   Pulse (Nexis) 16 Aug. 24   Nearly a third of males and a quarter of females aged 16 to 19 have had their first sex experience before the age of 16.

1892—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex exploitation   n.

1908   Reno (Nevada) Evening Gaz. 17 Jan. 2/2   Along with economic exploitation has often gone sex exploitation.
2007   Philadelphia Inquirer (Nexis) 29 Aug.   A..man was arrested yesterday after allegedly using the MySpace Internet site to lure a 15-year-old..girl into an odyssey of rape, sex exploitation and drug abuse.

1908—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex feeling   n.

1869   Practitioner June 339   He was given to onanism, being quite overpowered by the sex-feeling: he deplored it.
1918   M. C. Stopes Married Love v. 50   Even after a woman's dormant sex-feeling is aroused..it may even take as much as from ten to twenty minutes of actual physical union to consummate her feeling.
2006   Harvard Jrnl. Law & Public Policy (Nexis) 22 June   Ten [topics on a student questionnaire] were sexually explicit:..‘Getting scared or upset when I think about sex’, ‘Having sex feelings in my body’, ‘Can't stop thinking about sex’, [etc.].

1869—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex festival   n.

1897   K. Pearson Chances of Death II. x. 57   The important part played by women in the Dionysian sex-festival.
2004   Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (Nexis) 27 June (Entertainment section) 17 f   A weird backwoods sex festival that is a combination of spring-break orgy and biker rally.

1897—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex fiend   n.

1915   C. Hamilton Miracle of Love ii. 98   He was a sex fiend, in the same way as men are opium fiends.
1976   T. Heald Let Sleeping Dogs Die vi. 111   She was picked up by a sex fiend..and raped.
2005   J. Trunk Dirty Fan Male 2   His uncanny resemblance to Aleister Crowley, London's legendary black magician and sex fiend.

1915—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex film   n.

1914   Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) 9 July 12/5 (headline)    Sex film at Grand is given the O.K. by local censors.
1970   Guardian 10 Dec. 10/4   From time to time we have to see, not sex films, but sex-instruction films.
2003   M. Bronski Pulp Friction iv. 255   Sex films of the fifties that were introduced by a ‘doctor’ explaining why the movie was ‘educational’.

1914—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-flow   n.

1929   D. H. Lawrence Pornogr. & Obscenity 26   The sex-flow is dying out of the young.

1929—1929(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex function   n.

1869   Practitioner June 338   These men [sc. in an insane asylum] are debarred from any natural exercise of their sex-function.
1929   D. H. Lawrence Pornogr. & Obscenity 15   The sex functions and the excrementory functions in the human body work so close together, yet they are..utterly different in direction.
1997   Vancouver Sun (Nexis) 5 May a1   The vigorous bike ride facilitated arousal in women with normal sex function as well as those with low sex desire.

1869—1997(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex game   n.

a1911   D. G. Phillips Susan Lenox (1917) II. x. 244   The favorite children's games, often played in the open street with the elders looking on.., were sex games.
1976   J. Crosby Nightfall xxvi. 148   ‘Don't you like sex games?’ she said.
2003   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 14 Aug. 5/2   Telling how humiliated she was by her husband's sex games.

a1911—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex guru   n.

1970   Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, Calif.) 18 Sept. a3/2   Some of the most damning testimony to come out against the sex guru in the now 15-week-old trial.
2004   Eve Dec. 167/4   Could you go without sex..forever? Thousands of women do, says US sex guru.

1970—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-hate   n.

1914   H. de V. Stacpoole New Optimism iii. 107   The wicked and blasphemous people who talk of sex-hate.
1997   Guardian (Nexis) 30 Aug. t36   Their ‘fun night out’ ended with one of the worst sex-hate crimes in Britain since the Yorkshire Ripper killings of the late Seventies.

1914—1997(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-hatred   n.

1897   E. B. Dietrick Women in Early Christian Ministry 52   The bitter misogyny of Tertullian's works, which were rousing fierce sex hatred on the part of men.
1998   Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) (Nexis) 11 Oct. 9   It's this wistful wallflower who brings the undercurrents of violence and sex-hatred to full, tabloid-headline boil.

1897—1998(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex heredity   n.

1907   Science 8 Mar. 377/2   A very definite material basis, therefore, exists for a treatment of the sex characters as if they were Mendelian alternates, sex determination, as opposed to sex heredity, being a matter of Mendelian dominance.
1919   R. C. Punnett Mendelism (ed. 5) 100   They have been able to correlate these peculiar differences in sex-heredity with differences in the minute structure of the cells of which the bodies of the two sexes are composed.
1990   Times (Nexis) 20 July (Features section)   He [sc. A. Parkes]..had published an essay on sex heredity in Science Progress [in 1921].

1907—1990(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-inertia   n.

1907   H. Adams Educ. Henry Adams xxx. 387   History looked doubtful when asked whether race-inertia had ever been overcome without destroying the race in order to reconstruct it; but surely sex-inertia had never been overcome at all.
1929   D. H. Lawrence Pornogr. & So On (1936) 45   You may even bring about a state of utter indifference and sex-inertia.

1907—1929(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex instruction   n.

1907   Amer. Jrnl. Sociol. 13 25   On the part of the young, ignorance of the dangers which come from the irregular exercise of the sex function is compulsory; sound sex instruction is forbidden as improper.
1935   E. Bowen House in Paris i. iii. 42   We do not consider him ripe for direct sex-instruction yet, though my husband is working towards this through botany.
2006   Columbia Jrnl. Gender & Law (Nexis) 1 Jan. 12   These students are unlikely to appreciate that they should and could seek more comprehensive sex instruction from a more reliable source.

1907—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex joke   n.

1910   I. Zangwill Ital. Fantasies xi. 404   The French..have too hobbledehoyish a devotion to the sex-joke, the Germans are too tamed, the Americans too untamed.
1941   ‘G. Orwell’ in Horizon 4 155   More than half, perhaps three-quarters, of the jokes are sex jokes.
2006   Globe & Mail (Toronto) (Nexis) 11 Sept.   He cracked sex jokes..[and] flirted with reporters.

1910—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-killing   n.

1936   Fresno (Calif.) Bee 2 Sept. 1/6 (headline)    3 Quizzed in sex killing of rich spinster.
1997   Cosmopolitan (U.K. ed.) May 82/1   The house was the scene of a vicious sex-killing.

1936—1997(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-longing   n.

1912   J. D. Beresford Candidate for Truth 90   ‘She seems devoid of the sex longing.’ ‘Happily, yes!’
1925   T. Dreiser Amer. Trag. II. iii. xiv. 183   All those..sex-longings..had long since been covered with an easy manner.
1958   New Statesman 5 Apr. 430/1   The mechanical two-dimensional sex-longings of a frustrated adolescent.

1912—1958(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex love   n.

1890   Amer. Jrnl. Psychol. 3 252   The basis of sex love among men is reproduction, and among savages exists as such and nothing more.
1976   R. Delmar in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley Rights & Wrongs of Women ix. 281   There are several conditions which, in Engels..make sex love the rule within the proletariat.
2007   M. R. B. Muhaiyaddeen God's Psychol. 126   One is true love and one is selfish love, sex love, carnal love.

1890—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex magazine   n.

1920   D. Byrne Foolish Matrons xix. 271   She picked up a cheap sex magazine.
1980   P. Kinsley Vatchman Switch vii. 66   The customs officer..sold any sex-magazines he could confiscate from foreign tourists.
2003   E. Schlosser Reefer Madness iii. 117   A sex magazine produced at least twenty times the revenue per copy of a remaindered comic book.

1920—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex man   n.

1925   W. Deeping Sorrell & Son xii. §1   He was more than a sex-man.
2004   K. E. Riggs Granny @ Work iv. 95   There might be a pedophile. A sex man on there.

1925—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex mania   n.

1895   Fortn. Rev. Apr. 592   Sex mania in art and literature can be but a passing phase.
1976   E. Trudgill Madonnas & Magdalens ix. 243   The hysterical reaction against aestheticism, the fiction of sexuality, and other symptoms of sex mania in literature, was partly the product of a sudden fear about the country's moral health.

1895—1976(Hide quotations)

 

  sex maniac   n.

1893   H. H. Gardener Facts & Fictions Life 185   That it [sc. the licence for debauchery allowed young men] should end in the wreck of the sex maniac himself and in his own destruction.
1971   Daily Tel. 14 Dec. 3   The Jersey sex maniac..was jailed for 30 years yesterday for 13 indecent and sexual offences against young girls and boys.
2001   P. Burston Shameless viii. 114   He already knew that David found his father attractive. What if the E turned his father into a sex maniac?

1893—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex manifestation   n.

1899   E. Hubbard Little Journeys to Homes of Eminent Painters ii. 62   Ambition is the concomitant of rivalry, and sex is its chief promoter—it is a secondary sex manifestation.
1949   M. Mead Male & Female viii. 167   These [sc. seizures] are extremely violent, but without specific sex manifestations.
1990   J. Sapp Where Truth Lies iii. 72   [In Hartmann's theory of sexuality] the sex manifestation by a cell is the result of a weakening or strengthening of the expression of either the male or the female potency.

1899—1990(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex manual   n.

1922   T. J. Pierce (title)    Sex manual: a scientific, physiological and hygienic study of the sex question.
1975   H. McCloy Minotaur Country iii. 21   He would be a sober, industrious lover. He would read all the sex manuals.
2006   Time Out N.Y. 31 Aug. 167/2   [The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex] is better than most sex manuals because it's comprehensive.

1922—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-mate   n.

1929   G. W. Deeping Roper's Row vii. § 1   She saw in him a man-child who would need the mother in woman more than the sex-mate.
1995   M. Garber Vice Versa iv. xxi. 488   And Jean knew Christopher's ‘sexmates’ but ‘showed no desire to share them’.

1929—1995(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex movie   n.

1921   New Castle (Pa.) News 19 Jan. 2/5 (heading)    Prevent ‘sex’ movies in Chicago.
2004   D. Kepler in N. Foster Skin Deep 2 193   Making all that noise like you were in a sex movie. Nice girls don't do that.

1921—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex novel   n.

1895   Critic 23 Mar. 223/2   The tedious and tawdry sex-novel is long dead; even at the libraries it lies neglected in the catacombs.
1951   M. McLuhan Mech. Bride 23/2   Amid the unmitigated torrent of sadistic sex novels works of reflection are tolerated only if they are..‘warmly human’.
2002   Sociol. Perspectives 45 155   In the course of a century, The Awakening moved from reviled sex novel..to revered icon firmly established in the pantheon of American literature.

1895—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex obsession   n.

1897   G. B. Shaw in Sat. Rev. 2 Jan. 12/1   [Shakespeare] gave to its [sc. his London world's] perpetual sex-obsession the relief of individual character and feminine winsomeness.
1920   F. M. Ford Let. 19 Sept. (1965) 127   The end would be the most horribly costive neurastheniac you can imagine, with incredible sex obsessions sedulously concealed.
2004   Independent 22 June i. 32/1   The Britain I see around me every day howls with the pain of drugs, alcoholism, violence,..[and] sex obsession.

1897—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex orgy   n.

1914   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 1 Mar. 5/6   A prolonged sex orgy set to music.
1962   J. Heller Catch-22 xxi. 208   Officers' clubs everywhere pulsated with blurred but knowing accounts of lavish, hushed-up drinking and sex orgies there.
2000   Elle Sept. 184/1   Incredibly involved sex, where the male half of one [hermaphrodite snail] is screwing the female half of the other, and vice versa—a sort of simultaneous, four-way sex orgy.

1914—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex partner   n.

1913   W. A. McKeever Training the Boy 203   The mating off and choosing sex partners in the games, and the other forms of accentuating the individual sex consciousness.
1949   M. Mead Male & Female ix. 195   But patterns that regulate competition in the choice of sex partners are learned patterns.
2005   M. O'Connor Bitch Posse i. 5   [Sex] addicts do it with random people in dark alleys, strangers they'll never see again, have sex partners into the hundreds.

1913—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex party   n.

1927   F. M. Thrasher Gang iii. xiv. 267   Gang shag, sex party in the alley.
1957   J. Kerouac On the Road i. i. 8   He told him of..his innumerable girls and sex-parties and pornographic pictures.
2007   Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram (Nexis) 14 Sept. d8   Stories emerged that sex parties had been held for football recruits at Colorado.

1927—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex power   n.

1903   Waterloo (Iowa) Daily Courier 21 Mar. 9/3   Fremont was a beautiful girl, a charming woman, had that mysterious sex power over men so much prattled about.
1977   London's Outrage i. 7   The bully-boy sex-power of Nazism/fascism is very attractive and an easy solution to our complex moral and social dilemmas.
2007   Nation (Kenya) (Nexis) 19 May   A man who lost his sex power through electric shock as he worked near Kenya Power and Lighting Company..live wires has been awarded Sh4 million.

1903—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex pride   n.

1893   W. D. Howells Coast of Bohemia xii. 81   She had her sex-pride in the Synthesis..because..women had borne an important part in founding it.
1925   G. W. Deeping Three Rooms xxv. § 2   She was in a state of emotional confusion, rebel and lonely child, the victim of her unrealized sex-pride.
1994   Women's Rev. Bks. (Nexis) Jan. 11   Trying to whip up some old-fashioned sex pride among the demoralized troops.

1893—1994(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex privilege   n.

1876   T. Hardy Hand of Ethelberta II. xxxvii. 105   You cannot have celebrity and sex-privilege both.
1924   Amer. Jrnl. Nursing 24 834/2   Health is not a sex privilege.
2002   Washington Times (Nexis) 8 Aug. a17   The system of race and sex privileges known as quotas that are thoroughly institutionalized throughout the government, private industry and universities.

1876—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex problem   n.

1887   Amer. Naturalist 21 399   To those who have studied the sex problem from the scientific stand-point, the doctrine that the sexes are thoroughly distinct mentally as well as physically goes without saying.
1900   J. X. Merriman Let. 1 July (1966) 222   The shrieking sisterhood who write on sex problems and scream out for votes.
1993   W. Self My Idea of Fun 150   There was this sex problem, of course, and there was something else, a rootlessness, an atemporality about my life.

1887—1993(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex question   n.

1880   N. Amer. Rev. July 69   In arguments upon the sex question it is usually claimed that women have a finer moral development than men.
1917   F. W. S. Browne in Proc. Brit. Soc. for Study Sex Psychol. 7   General early marriage, even if possible under present conditions, does not solve the sex question.
2007   University Wire (Nexis) 27 Sept.   This is a bit embarrassing, but I'm sure all sex questions are. I just recently got together with my boyfriend... Our sex is, well, boring.

1880—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex scandal   n.

1913   Des Moines (Iowa) News 31 Aug. 7/4   Mason is the woman in the case in a brand new sex scandal.
1958   A. Mayce tr. R. Lewinsohn Hist. Sexual Customs 176   There were sex-scandals in Protestant circles in no way behind those of papal Rome.
2002   Independent 27 Sept. 17/1   Australia's top intelligence agency is being undermined by sex scandals, nepotism and corruption.

1913—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex show   n.

1948   Amarillo (Texas) Sunday News-Globe 8 Aug. 19/3   The regular run of movies have more suggestive scenes and lines than most sex shows.
2007   Boston Globe (Nexis) 16 Sept. m1   Prostitutes, explicit sex shows, and X-rated shops..abound.

1948—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex slave   n.

1905   Arena Dec. 582/1   [He] still esteems it akin to treason for the sex-slave in marriage to refuse to render sex-service.
2007   Irish News (Nexis) 16 Aug. 28   He denied that Asian women were forced to work as sex slaves in military brothels during the war.

1905—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex slavery   n.

1893   M. D. O'Brien Nat. Right to Freedom xvi. 261   The calm and peaceful ‘affinity’ of reason is independent of sex and lust, and no one need break their agreements or plunge into a sex slavery in order to find it.
2006   Winston-Salem (N. Carolina) Jrnl. (Nexis) 23 Aug. 10   Children are either sold into sex slavery by their parents or are kidnapped after being lured to the big cities with promises of work.

1893—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-specificity   n.

1922   G. S. Hall Senescence vi. 298   Male and female hormones..have a sex specificity that is the main factor in directing growth.
1947   V. G. Dethier Chem. Insect Attractants & Repellents 19   There are reasons why sex specificity also must exist... The food preferences of both sexes are not always identical (e.g., mosquitoes).
2001   D. Rowland et al. Sex Differences in Antisocial Behaviour i. 5   All too frequently, the findings from samples of females are discussed as being female-specific, but single-sex studies cannot address the sex-specificity of their findings.

1922—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex starvation   n.

1894   E. Carpenter Marriage in Free Soc. 11   The special evils of sex-starvation and sex-ignorance on the one hand, and of mere licentiousness on the other.
1994   Age (Melbourne) (Nexis) 26 Nov. 4   It was generally infidelity as a result of sex starvation that led to the final [marriage] breakdown.

1894—1994(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex stereotype   n.

1949   M. Mead Male & Female vi. 137   A sex stereotype that decries the interests..of each sex is usually not completely without a basis.
1999   Austin (Texas) Amer.-Statesman (Nexis) 15 Apr. a15   Sex stereotypes are endorsed if they're positive (e.g. that women are more nurturing than men) and denounced if they're negative (e.g., that women are less intelligent than men).

1949—1999(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex stereotyping   n.

1946   G. H. Seward Sex & Social Order ix. 113   We should also bear in mind that the problem of sex stereotyping is complicated by the factor of emotional security.
2005   Irish Independent (Nexis) 4 May   A Vodafone newspaper ad was held guilty of sex stereotyping. It carried a picture of five cleaners, all women.

1946—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex story   n.

1896   in H. Kingsley Austin Elliot (Advt. section)   To readers who are weary of ‘problem-studies’ and sex-stories..the volume will afford infinite pleasure.
1936   ‘G. Orwell’ Keep Aspidistra Flying xi. 295   Fools demanding crime-stories and sex-stories and romances.
2004   Vanity Fair (N.Y.) Dec. 400/2   A black rain of political agendas, deadline pressures, raging lawyers, and weird sex stories.

1896—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex talk   n.

1910   E. H. Muncie Four Epochs Life vii. 54   This first little sex talk to my boy I hope to make the foundation of a series of Nature Stories.
1931   G. J. Renier English iv. 85   The wide-spread ignorance of the technique of love among average Englishmen..results from the taboo on direct sex-talk.
1977   ‘C. Fremlin’ Spider-orchid xiii. 94   They have these sex talks..at school from the age of nine.
2000   W. Self How Dead Live (2001) iv. 94   All this Freudian sex talk was the preview, a blabbermouthed precursor of all the feckless promiscuity that was to follow in the sixties.

1910—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex thrill   n.

1913   Indianapolis Star 20 July 26/7   The modern girl can not understand that exquisite spirit which permeates ‘Little Women’, but they respond to the sex thrill of plays like ‘The Common Law’.
1928   D. H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley's Lover i. 6   In the actual sex-thrill within the body, the sisters nearly succumbed to the strange male power.
2007   Daily Star (Nexis) 13 Sept. 26   [Men] found it the ultimate sex thrill during a night out when their girl suddenly announced: ‘I'm not wearing any [knickers] tonight.’

1913—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex union   n.

1871   S. S. Hennell Present Relig. (1873) II. i. 417   Individuality..depends..on relational influences..and especially on subjection to that primal one of Sex-union, round which all of the others are grouped.
1923   M. C. Stopes Contraception iii. 39   The type of woman who..has acquired the view that all sex union after the procreation of the desired number of children has been accomplished, is wrong.
1996   Washington Post (Nexis) 23 June x. 1   There is a chapter ‘Sexual Entitlement Therapy’, where impotency strikes all sex unions, except those based on love and equality.

1871—1996(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex war   n.

1905   D. Forster Sex Radicalism vi. 26   Among the worst effects of the sex war are the divisions it causes among women.
1969   M. Pugh Last Place Left vii. 45   She was a freedom fighter in the sex war.
2001   C. Coker Humane Warfare iv. 86   The ‘Nation of Islam’..was profoundly conservative on the issue of the sex war. It segregated women at its meetings.

1905—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex warfare   n.

1896   B. Russell German Social Democracy 176   Mary Wollstonecraft, in her ‘Vindication of the Rights of Women’, sketched the problem as one of sex warfare, with a democratic rather than a socialistic solution.
1994   Chicago Sun-Times (Nexis) 8 Mar. 26   Both women are black, so the tension grows out of class and sex warfare rather than race.

1896—1994(Hide quotations)

 
 C2. Forming adjectives.
 

  sex-abusing adj.

1781   W. Cowper Expostulation 415   Sin, that in old time Brought fire from heav'n, the sex-abusing crime.
1978   Amer. Jrnl. Orthopsychiatry 48 250   We have seen striking growth in passively sex-abusing women.
2006   Nation (Nexis) 6 Jan. 3   The Catholic Church..can no longer condone cover-ups to protect sex-abusing priests.

1781—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-alive adj.

1923   D. H. Lawrence Birds, Beasts & Flowers 156   Now you've come sex-alive, and the great ranch dogs are all after you.

1923—1923(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-angry adj.

1923   D. H. Lawrence Kangaroo xiii. 294   You can reason with a sex-angry woman till you are black in the face.

1923—1923(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-conscious adj.

1899   ‘G. F. Monkshood’ Rudyard Kipling 124   Mrs. Mountstuart cannot shine till she is self-conscious and sex-conscious.
1953   S. Kauffmann Philanderer ii. 30   But she's certainly a sex-conscious girl. It's in her voice, in the way she sits, the way she drinks.
2007   Financial Times (Nexis) 6 Feb. 11   The title of Jack Thorne's Fanny and Faggot leads you to expect something more intensely sex-conscious and homosexually orientated than you are given.

1899—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-crazed adj.

1920   O. A. Hill Ethics ii. v. 276   Dr. Averling..lived as a husband with Eleanor Marx... When his love grew cold, she drank poison. Averling sex-crazed soon after died.
1954   R. P. Bissell High Water xx. 218   Well I'm reading this here story about a sex-crazed maniac.
2006   N.Y. Times (National ed.) 23 Apr. iva. 31/2   A sex-crazed media culture in which many feminists are adopting a[n]..approach that views pornography as expression, not exploitation.

1920—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-emancipated adj.

1929   D. H. Lawrence Pornogr. & Obscenity 27   The most high-flown sex-emancipated young people.

1929—1929(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-hungry adj.

1916   T. Dreiser Hoosier Holiday xliv. 364   Those who, sex hungry or wealth hungry or adventure hungry, have no part or parcel with morality.
2005   People (Nexis) 20 Mar. (Features section) 8   Thousands of sex-hungry married men and women are logging on in search of sleazy one-night stands with strangers.

1916—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-mad adj.

1895   Morning Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) 13 Jan. 11/4   It has been said that the modern school of French novelists is sex mad.
1943   E. M. Almedingen Frossia ii. 58   Look at all this promiscuity... They have all gone sex-mad.
2001   Sun 27 Jan. 6/1   A sex-mad monk who groped four women in the Confessional Room..was yesterday jailed for six years.

1895—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-obsessed adj.

1909   P. White Love & Wise Men xxiii. 276   The first English philosopher to point out that art, literature, politics and human society generally are sex-obsessed.
1979   London Rev. Bks. 25 Oct. 13/1   Civilised human beings are remarkable among animal species for being sex-obsessed.
2002   N.Y. Times 14 Apr. iv. 13/6   Rome doesn't care a fig about the hurt feelings of spoiled, sex-obsessed Americans.

1909—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-related adj.

1909   C. P. Gilman in Papers & Proc. 3rd Ann. Meeting Amer. Sociol. Soc.,1908 3 16   We must consider it [sc. the family] first on its biological basis, as a sex-related group for the purpose of rearing young.
1977   Detroit Free Press 11 Dec. 9- c/1   A high-ranking official of Planned Parenthood says television's standards on sex-related programming should be as much a public issue as its standards on televised violence.
2007   Atlanta Jrnl.-Constit. (Nexis) 3 Mar. 4 b   A..bill..which would require felons who get probation to provide a DNA sample if their crimes were violent or sex-related offenses.

1909—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-segregated adj.

1923   E. B. Reuter Population Probl. xvi. 242   Studies have shown that the marriage rate of college graduates is less than the average of the population... This is true..of the graduates of the co-educational schools as well as those of the sex-segregated type.
2002   J. Eugenides Middlesex ii. 92   The house was sex-segregated like the houses in the patridha , the old country, men in the sala , women in the kitchen.

1923—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-smelling adj.

1922   J. Joyce Ulysses ii. xv. [Circe] 512   The dark sexsmelling theatre unbridles vice.
1984   Callaloo 22 160   One-night trysts in cheap, sex-smelling motel rooms.

1922—1984(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-specific adj.

1921   Sci. Monthly June 495   By an age and sex specific death rate is meant the rate got by dividing the number of persons of a particular specified age and sex dying from a particular cause by the total number of persons living in the same population of the same age and sex.
1964   G. Pincus et al. Hormones IV. iii. 145   This inhibitory hormone from the brain is neither species nor sex specific.
1998   N. Lawson How to Eat (1999) 178   The disinclination to spend hour upon hour in the kitchen every night is not sex-specific.

1921—1998(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-starved adj.

1920   R. Van Saun Honey-comb 396   The sex-starved woman carries an offensive odor.
1978   M. Birmingham Sleep in Ditch 164   Their first guess is that I'm a sex-starved grass-widow, glimpsing seducers behind every door.
2003   J. R. Lennon Mailman i. vi. 317   Amateur Hotties: page upon page of..young-to-middle-aged women baring all for..the lonesome sex-starved jerkoffs of America.

1920—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-transforming adj.

1642   H. More Ψυχωδια Platonica sig. Ev   Mad-making waters, sex trans-forming springs.
1922   Amer. Naturalist 56 199   If environment..plays such an important sex transforming rôle, why do male tadpoles never transform into females.
1993   Evolution 47 488   Sex-transforming mutations with temperature-dependant expression have been found in Drosophila..and nematodes.

1642—1993(Hide quotations)

 
 C3.

sex-abolitionist   n. Obsolete nonce-use a person who seeks to abolish sexual differences, or discrimination on the basis of sex.

1887   Jrnl. Educ. Jan. 29   If this examination craze is to prevail, and the sex-abolitionists are to have their way.

1887—1887(Hide quotations)

 

  sex act   n.  [compare earlier sexual act   (compare quot. 1880 at sexual adj. 4a); compare also French acte sexuel (1883)] a sexual action or activity, especially the act of sexual intercourse.

1888   Amer. Naturalist 22 329   Forms like the parent plant are produced by means of so-called spores... They are..no more a product of the sex act than the buds used in grafting.
1894   E. Carpenter Homogenic Love 34   That any kind of love-union could exist in which the sex act might possibly not be the main object was an incredible proposition.
1958   Listener 21 Aug. 263/1   A consciousness of guilt in the sex act.
2003   E. Schlosser Reefer Madness iii. 114   ‘Hard-core’ now generally refers to porn in which the intercourse or oral sex is..unmistakably real. In soft-core porn these sex acts may be simulated.

1888—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex aid   n. a device designed for sexual stimulation or to enhance sexual pleasure or performance; a sex toy; cf. marital aid n. at marital adj. Special uses.

1964   Times (San Mateo, Calif.) 31 Mar. 8/2   The eternal search for youth has made elderly people the prime targets for the peddling of sex aids and potency pills.
1976   M. Schofield Promiscuity xv. 219   It may be possible to make use of sex aids like vibrators; and erotic books, pictures or films might be helpful in some situations.
2006   Evening Chron. (Newcastle) (Nexis) 9 Mar. 25   Permission to sell explicit products, including R18-rated videos and sex aids.

1964—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  sex appeal n. character or quality which appeals to the sexual instinct; (originally, in a play, novel, etc.) sexuality or sexual relations as a theme; (later, in a person, esp. a woman) sexual attractiveness (also fig.); cf. S.A. n. at S n.1 Initialisms 1.

1908   T. Travis Young Malefactor iii. 162   It is not immoral plays with the sex appeal [that are indicted]—it is that style of theatre, like the Thalia of the Bowery, which is constantly filled with children.
1910   Current Lit. July   The play which contains no sex appeal is described by professional critics as being ‘undramatic’ or ‘not a play at all’.
1913   F. A. Kummer Song of Sixpence Pref.   Did not the fact that the vast majority of women devote the bulk of their..energy to personal adornment argue that they themselves regard sex appeal as their most valuable asset?
1924   Amer. Mercury 2 318/1   An actress with sex appeal is four times out of five a more effective actress.
1953   Encounter Nov. 32/2   For the frustrated and starved, it [sc. Communism] has all the sex-appeal of a strong, monolithic creed.
2003   N.Y. Mag. 11 Aug. 38/2   This babe..shows you can be covered up and still ooze sex appeal.

1908—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-appeal   v. transitive to attract or appeal to (someone) sexually; (also) intransitive to be sexually attractive.

1924   G. R. Chester On Lot & Off 25   She'd sex appeal me all right!
1928   Sunday Dispatch 9 Dec. 12/3   A person not being ‘sex-appealed’ is simply inconceivable to them.
2004   San Diego Union-Tribune (Nexis) 23 Mar. e4   Actor Landon Vaughn makes you see both why he sex-appealed to Evy.

1924—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-appealing adj. having or exerting sex appeal.

1923   G. L. Morrill Near Hell in Far East 256   How unlike our vulgar, sex-appealing jazzes that some consider social accomplishments.
1932   News Chron. 20 June 4/1   Both [stories] are glittering, glamorous, sex-appealing.
1994   Russ. Press Digest (Nexis) 4 Nov. 1   Provocative pictures of Grachev in the company of a sex-appealing pop-singer.

1923—1994(Hide quotations)

 

  sex attractant   n. chiefly Zoology a volatile substance produced by an individual in order to attract others of the same species for the purpose of mating; a synthetic substance with the same property; a sexual pheromone; also attributive or as adj.

1952   Amer. Midland Naturalist 47 107   The sex attractant is produced chiefly by virgin females.
1964   Listener 27 Aug. 291/2   The study of sex-attractant odours in insects has shown that these may be so highly specific that a very slight change in their chemical structure may make them less effective or even quite ineffective.
1996   Amateur Gardening 25 May 14/1   I saw..an answer about controlling codling moths with a pheromone trap, based on attracting the male moths to a sticky board using a sex attractant.
2005   New Scientist (Nexis) 29 Jan. 17   A mystery chemical that young women deploy as a sex attractant pheromone seems to work for post-menopausal women too.

1952—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-blind adj. blind to or unaware of sex or sexual differences; (now) spec. that does not discriminate between the sexes.

1929   W. Deeping Roper's Row v. 44   He was sex blind, a little celibate with eyes that saw nothing in woman save a creature anatomically different from man.
1967   Jrnl. Marriage & Family 29 799/1   Forcing those in decision-making posts to discard all they think, feel, and know about sex in favor of sex-blind policies.
2006   University Wire (Nexis) 4 May   Even in those fields or workplaces alleged to be race- or sex-blind, white men consistently out-earn women and minorities.

1929—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  sexboat   n. U.S. slang = sexpot n.

1955   Los Angeles Times 8 May iv. 6/1   In the 20s Harriet was a ‘new’ woman—faintly Boehmian, faintly incredible... Now she is Gloria Grahame—a sex-boat and a lady.
1988   San Diego Union-Tribune (Nexis) 1 Apr. e1   Hutchence has the skinniest legs of any sex-boat, bo-hunk lead singer in the world.
2004   R. Kubey Creating Television viii. 324   She was the best home economist in the world, but in her mind, she was a devastating sexboat.

1955—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  sex bomb   n. colloq. a person, esp. a woman, who is very sexually exciting or active; cf. sexpot n.

1954   Traverse City (Mich.) Record-Eagle 19 June 4/5   She has such a fiery disposition to go with her sensual beauty and well-distributed curves, that enthusiastic West Germans are calling her the ‘Yugoslav Sex Bomb’.
1976   P. Cave High Flying Birds iii. 42   Sex-bomb, Sonya Stelling might be. Oscar contender she was not.
2006   Brides Sept. 97/1   Remind him he's marrying a sex bomb..by giving him the sexiest strip show he's ever seen.

1954—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  sex call   n.  (a) Zoology a vocal call used for attracting a mate or initiating mating; (in extended use) any other signal having such a function;  (b) a sexually explicit telephone call, spec. one made for the purpose of sexual gratification (cf. phone sex n. at phone n.2 Compounds 2).

1901   Lancet 5 Jan. 50/2   Certain lizards of the South African veldt, the so-called ‘clucking sand lizards’ do, as their name suggests, utter a ‘cluck’, which in their case is probably a sex-call.
1927   New Internat. Encycl.: Suppl. II. 1498/1   This light in the firefly is used as a sex call.
1951   R. Rugh Frog iii. 41   Amplexus is achieved as the females reach the ponds where the males are emitting their sex calls.
1976   M. Wilding Scenic Drive 84   I've put a woman's name in the phone book so I get the sex calls. Then I can tape them.
1976   Family Health June 25/3   The problem has been to find a way to isolate and identify the chemical ‘sex call’ of each species.
1995   Mammalian Species No. 488. 5/1   Captive [civet] females often emit characteristic sex calls, to which the male responds with a contact call.
2007   Advertiser (Adelaide) (Nexis) 14 July (Magazine) w14   Belle takes sex calls while watching TV and Adam lives more in his computer than the real world.

1901—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  sex cell   n. Biology a reproductive cell, either male or female in function; a gamete (sperm or egg cell), or a cell which gives rise to gametes.

1889   P. Geddes & J. A. Thomson Evol. Sex 91   Very commonly the sex-cells originate in the ectoderm and ripen there.
1934   J. A. Thomson & E. J. Holmyard Biol. for Everyman I. i. 11   Sexual multiplication by means of special germ-cells or sex-cells is much more economical.
1999   Independent 27 May i. 9/8   Scientists believe the sex cells, or germ line, in the gonads monitor levels of reproduction and send out signals that cause the ageing of highly fertile worms.

1889—1999(Hide quotations)

 

  sex change   n. a change of sex; esp. a change in a person's physical sexual characteristics brought about by surgery, hormone treatment, etc.; also attributive.

1922   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 14 Sept. 11/3   Dr. Orton thinks that the sex change [in oysters] is due to changes in the environment.
1960   20th Century Mar. 258   Sex-change may well seem, as The Times said, ‘unprepossessing’ as a subject for comedy.
1970   Daily Tel. 21 Dec. 2/6   More people with transsexual problems are seeking National Health sex-change operations.
1997   G. S. Helfman et al. Diversity of Fishes x. 139/2   Many fishes go through a prematurational sex change, differentiating but not maturing first as females, with some individuals later changing to males.
2000   Ralph 7 July 66/2   I had a sex change 11 years ago, I've worked with transgender people for more than 10 years.

1922—2000(Hide quotations)

 
1882   Amer. Naturalist 16 994   There are a few abnormal individuals of each sex, whose sex characters are not pronounced.
1948   C. D. Turner Gen. Endocrinol. viii. 263   The primary sex characters are the gonads.
1998   Isis 89 461   The female puberty-gland did not just leave the male sex characters alone: it actively inhibited them.

1882—1998(Hide quotations)

 
1890   Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 17 103   The value of some distinguishing sex characteristic in the case of seedling Ailanthus trees..would be appreciated by all who are acquainted with these ornamental trees.
1951   A. Grollman Pharmacol. & Therapeutics xxvi. 581   The estrogenic hormones are responsible for certain secondary sex characteristics in the female, such as the plumage markings of some birds.
2002   J. Eugenides Middlesex i. 41   I possess all the secondary sex characteristics of a normal man except one: my inability to synthesize dihydrotestosterone has made me immune to baldness.

1890—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex chromatin   n. Biology (originally) the material of the sex chromosomes; the part of the chromatin of a cell which acts as a sex determinant; (later) spec. the material comprising a small heterochromatic mass (the Barr body, believed to be an inactivated X chromosome), of which there is one in a normal (XX) female cell and in general one less than the number of X (or Z) chromosomes in a cell.

1909   G. N. Calkins Protozoöl. 257   A statement which, if true, gives..confirmation of the early hypothesis of Balfour and Minot that the nucleus of the primordial egg or sperm cell contains both kinds of sex chromatin, the opposite kind being eliminated by the reducing divisions of each sex.
1952   Graham & Barr in Anat. Rec. 112 709   The term ‘sex influenced chromatin’, or simply ‘sex chromatin’, will be used in the description to follow for the nuclear structure characterized by a size relation to sex.
1962   Lancet 27 Jan. 216/2   In all cases the sex-chromatin pattern was shown to be consistent with the morphological sex.
1994   D. Tulchinsky & A. B. Little Maternal–Fetal Endocrinol. (ed. 2) xv. 300/2   The inactive X chromosome is attached to the inner surface of the nuclear envelope as a heterochromatic body, also known as the Barr body or sex chromatin body.

1909—1994(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-chromosomal adj. Biology of or relating to the sex chromosomes.

1913   Jrnl. Exper. Zool. 15 593   The two white females..came from the union of the two-X egg with the no-X sperm of the vermillion pink male, and should be entirely maternal and entirely non-paternal in sex chromosomal composition, i.e., they should be exact counterparts..of their mother.
1994   A. Kolker & B. M. Burke Prenatal Testing iv. 48   Only a few counselors routinely mentioned sex chromosomal abnormalities.

1913—1994(Hide quotations)

 

  sex chromosome   n. Biology each of the chromosomes (normally two in number) in a cell's chromosomal complement, the particular combination of which normally determines an individual's sex; contrasted with autosome n.In humans and other mammals, normal females have two X chromosomes, males one X and one Y. In birds and some other animals, males have two Z chromosomes, females one Z and one W.

1906   E. B. Wilson in Jrnl. Exper. Zool. 3 28   These chromosomes are the bearers of the male and female qualities (or the factors essential to the production of these qualities) respectively. They may also be designated (whenever it is desirable to avoid circumlocution) as sex-chromosomes.
1926   J. S. Huxley Ess. Pop. Sci. 46   From all the facts, we can, I think, be sure that all the higher animals possess special X or sex-chromosomes, two in one sex, one in the other, by whose agency sex is determined.
1974   U. Goodenough & R. P. Levine Genetics x. 466   The sex of a fly is determined, in part, by the number of euchromatic sex chromosomes, called X chromosomes, possessed by an individual.
2002   J. Eugenides Middlesex iv. 411   The webbed-necked girl teens with Turner's syndrome, who had only one sex chromosome, a lonely X.

1906—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex comedy   n. a play, film, or television programme which combines erotic and comic elements, or whose plot centres on romantic relationships or sexual encounters.

1915   Catal. Copyright Entries: Pt. 1, Group 2 (Libr. of Congr. Copyright Office) 12 235/1   Adamless (The) Eden; sex comedy in 3 acts, by C. Moore.
1970   Observer 31 May 38/5   A haphazardly contrived sex comedy played for more than its worth by a skilled cast.
2014   K. Feil in M. DeAngelis Reading Bromance vi. 167   Vulgarity..figured centrally in..1980s male-dominated ‘gross-out’ sex comedies.

1915—2014(Hide quotations)

 

  sex crime   n. a crime involving sexual assault, or having a sexual motive; crime of this nature.

1906   Physiol. Sex for Parents 68   In different countries sex crime is handled in various ways.
1908   T. Travis Young Malefactor 26   Manslaughter, murder, sex crimes, [etc.].
1925   Amer. Mercury Feb. 196   Sex crimes, which are commonly regarded as a natural result of drug taking, actually never occur among addicts.
2000   N.Y. Times 6 Aug. i. 28/1   Since 1991, state health law has required emergency rooms to examine survivors of sex crimes with rape kits.

1906—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex criminal   n. a person who commits a sex crime or crimes.

1914   San Antonio (Texas) Light 22 Mar. 42/4   As we have murderers among us, so we have these sex criminals, though not in anything like the same numbers.
1972   J. Symons Players & Game xv. 100   Inadequacy. That's the mark of sex criminals.
2001   C. Palahniuk Choke ii. 15   Prostitutes and sex criminals out on a three-hour release from their minimum-security jail.

1914—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  sex determinant   n. Biology a factor (esp. a genetic factor) which determines an individual's sex.

1902   Biol. Bull. 3 73   If we accept the theory that chromatin is the bearer of hereditary qualities, there could be little doubt regarding the necessary chromosomic character of a sex determinant.
1926   R. S. Lull Org. Evol. x. 151   Among certain animals,..variation in nutrition is a sex determinant.
1995   Science 6 Oct. 113/2   The search for genetic sex determinants has involved several false starts.

1902—1995(Hide quotations)

 

  sex determination   n. Biology the biological process by which an individual becomes male or female.

1889   P. Geddes & J. A. Thomson Evol. Sex iii. 49   The temperature of the time, not of birth but of sex determination, must of course be noted.
1909   R. H. Lock Variation, Heredity, & Evol. ix. 277   It is not necessarily to be supposed that the above description of the facts of sex-determination will hold good for every kind of organism.
1936   S. J. Holmes Human Genetics & its Social Import iv. 44   Sex determination would..appear to be settled at the time of fertilization, when the individual receives his or her allotment of chromosomes.
1977   Dædalus 106 iv. 137   Primitive wasps..evolved the sex determination mechanism of haplodiploidy, whereby unfertilized eggs yield males and fertilized eggs yield females.
2005   New Scientist 15 Jan. 42/3   The fact that these insects have evolved sociality perhaps a dozen times owes much to their curious method of sex determination.

1889—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  sex determiner   n. Biology a gene which determines the sex of the individual bearing it.

1909   Science 5 Mar. 397/2   Bateson completes the explanation by offering the further suggestion that there is no disjunction of the sex-characters in spermatogenesis because the male does not carry the female sex-determiner at all.
1960   E. J. Gardner Princ. Genetics vii. 123/2   When the parallelism was discovered between the chromosome cycle and gene behaviour it was generally assumed that genes other than sex determiners were also located in the sex chromosomes.
2002   S. J. Gould Struct. Evolutionary Theory v. 460   In these developmental studies, Goldschmidt recognized normal sexuality as a quantitative phenomenon produced by a balance of male and female sex determiners.

1909—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-determining adj. Biology determining an individual's sex.

1896   Amer. Naturalist 30 269   In frogs, butterflies, etc. the sex determining power of the soma has been experimentally demonstrated.
1901   P. Geddes & J. A. Thomson Evol. Sex (ed. 2) 51   In regard to rotifers (Hydatina), Maupas maintains that temperature is the sex-determining factor.
1966   Lancet 24 Dec. 1397/1   This discrepancy between mammals and birds..might reflect different evolutionary origins of chromosomal sex-determining mechanisms in the two classes.
1998   Science 25 Sept. 1990/2   Generally, in mammals, maleness is determined by the presence of the Y-linked gene Sex-determining region Y (Sry).

1896—1998(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-discriminating adj. that discriminates or differentiates the sex of something; (also) that discriminates against a person (typically a woman) on grounds of sex.

1955   Evolution 9 219/2   If it [sc. a snake] was..another coral snake, the proper sex discriminating releasers would probably be elicited and courtship or aggressive behavior..would result.
1964   C. Barber Ling. Change Present-day Eng. iv. 105   The sex-discriminating word used to indicate that the member of some profession or the holder of some office is a woman.
1976   Listener 4 Mar. 264/3   I do not care if it is unfair, or sex-discriminating, for a woman to get an old age pension five years before a man.
2003   University Wire (Nexis) 5 Nov.   Wal-Mart is... a sex-discriminating, union-busting..mega-giant that will do anything to maintain superiority over its employees.

1955—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  sex discrimination   n. discrimination or differentiation on grounds of sex; spec. = sexual discrimination n. (b) at sexual adj. and n. Special uses 1.

1885   Daily Nebraska State Jrnl. 11 Dec. 3/5   One [of the buildings] will be used for a male and the other for a female college. The plan is so broad as to shut out sex discrimination.
1916   Campaign Text-bk. (National Woman's Party) 62   Enfranchised women in the United States regard the removal of sex discrimination from our national constitution as a political need of primary importance.
1965   Financial Times 24 Nov. 3/3   New guideline interpretations on sex discrimination have just been issued by the Commission... So far the Commission has received over 400 complaints of sex discrimination.
2000   N.Y. Times 5 May b10/6   A black job-seeker..charged that race and sex discrimination barred her from being hired as a driver.

1885—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-discriminatory adj. that discriminates against a person or group (esp. women) on grounds of sex.

1929   Ann. Amer. Acad. Polit. & Social Sci. 143 267/1   They are some of the minorities who, through superior skill or opportunity, have found their way to places seldom filled by women, and who therefore find sex-discriminatory laws endangering their economic security.
2004   Jrnl. Social Issues (Nexis) 22 Dec. 755   When people conceive of women as nice and men as competent, they are less likely to notice and dismantle sex discriminatory practices than when they conceive of women and men as equally nice and equally competent.

1929—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex doll   n.  (a) = sex kitten n.;  (b) a sex toy resembling a woman's body in shape, size, and appearance.

1934   W. Deeping Seven Men came Back xxii. 340   She would go and meet Sherring as the complete dowd,..in stockings that were most unprovocative. Figging up the silly sex-doll because a mere man was expected! Just like some little wench.
1962   Lima (Ohio) News 20 Mar. 10/6   Janet, who became a sex doll in ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’.
1967   Film Q. Summer 61/2   Anna permits Stephen to make love to her, submitting limply like a rubber sex doll.
2003   N.Y. Times (National ed.) 7 Mar. b31/4   After..coming into possession of a life-size, molded plastic sex doll with the body of a 20-year-old woman, he develops an erotic obsession with the toy.

1934—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  sex drive   n. the urge to seek satisfaction of sexual needs.

1916   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 21 June 8/6   That so much trouble and evil come to people through the sex drive is due to the fact that it is that emotion which most influences character.
1963   A. Heron Towards Quaker View of Sex 54   There may be a period..when the sex-drive is latent.
2002   Daily Tel. 5 July 20/7   A field trial involving muira puama found that about two out of three women with self-reported loss of sex drive noticed an improvement in intensity of sexual desire.

1916—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-free adj.  (a) having a liberal attitude towards sex (now rare);  (b) not involving sex.

1929   D. H. Lawrence Pornogr. & Obscenity 24   But the bohemian is ‘sex free’.
1960   Encounter Sept. 72/1   Gerda is one of those sex-free affairs between tormented men and life-accepting women.
2006   Sunday Times (Nexis) 22 Oct. (Style section) 47   Sex is a huge part of intimacy... There are couples who say they enjoy successful sex-free relationships, but they are rare.

1929—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  sex gene   n. Biology a gene responsible for determining sex.

1911   Amer. Naturalist 45 69   These chromosomes undoubtedly contain many other factors than those of sex whose presence might obscure size relations even when such exist in the sex genes.
1951   Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 16 173/2   Similarly in Drosophila, the sex gene is diffuse, scattered throughout the active portion of the X [chromosome].
2003   S. Greenfield Tomorrow's People (2004) v. 129   Hundreds of diseases are linked in this way to the sex genes, and other genes relating to diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, are found on other chromosomes.

1911—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  sex gland   n. Biology (usually in plural) a glandular organ associated with reproductive functions; esp. a gonad considered in terms of its production of sex hormones.

1877   A. Wilson Zoology v. 81   In Anodon..the sex-gland, as the reproductive organ is named, is situated on the foot-mass, and grows very large in the winter and spring.
1916   Arch. Internal Med. 17 887   We may consider boys in the period of prepubescence as individuals..as yet scarcely influenced by the internal secretions of the sex glands.
1954   I. Asimov Chemicals of Life ix. 126   The gonads..are sometimes called the sex glands, because the hormones they produce are responsible for the changes that take place when a boy or girl grows up to become a man or woman.
2002   R. Porter Blood & Guts iv. 95   The thyroid, pancreas, sex glands and the adrenals all became recognized as endocrine glands, essential regulators of health.

1877—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex god   n.  (a) Mythology a god associated with or ruling over sex or procreation;  (b) a man who is exceptionally sexually attractive or accomplished.

1899   K. R. Budde Relig. of Israel to Exile Contents p. x   Yahweh was the god of the covenant of the tribes—along with him in Israel were household gods, sex gods, tribal gods.
1969   Music Educators Jrnl. 56 46/3   The popular arts portray endless variations of the playboy, the jet set, the beautiful people, the sex gods and goddesses.
1999   S. O'Hara Rarely Pure & never Simple 14   Perpetuating the popular notion of Italian men as nothing but sex gods.
2007   Gold Coast Bull. (Austral.) (Nexis) 17 Apr. 6   A man claiming to be the ancient Egyptian sex god Min.

1899—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex goddess   n.  (a) Mythology a goddess associated with or ruling over sex or procreation;  (b) a woman who is exceptionally sexually attractive or is regarded as a sex symbol.

1933   G. MacMunn Underworld of India xi. 204   This is a widow story.., and through it all runs the fanatical influence of a sex goddess.
1959   Washington Post 4 July b9/7   She slithered admirably, giving the criminal the impression—apparently—that she is some kind of sex goddess.
2003   Marie Claire Dec. 345/2   Sex goddess Brigitte Bardot wore nude lipstick.
2006   D. L. Paxson Essent. Ásatrú ii. 89   Freyja is much more than a sex goddess.

1933—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  sex hormone   n. Biology any of the (natural or synthetic) hormones that affect sexual development or behaviour, esp. those produced by the gonads.

1915   New Phytologist 14 142   The author..suggests that this [inconstancy of secondary sex characters] may be due to the much more restricted action of sex hormones among plants.
1934   J. A. Thomson & E. J. Holmyard Biol. for Everyman II. 1328   Among the seminiferous tubules of the testes there are some interstitial cells which produce a special sex-hormone.
1965   New Scientist 22 Apr. 218/3   The materials contained in the various forms of The Pill are synthetic sex hormones.
2002   Daily Tel. 28 Mar. 9/7   Sex hormone pollution is causing female birds..to sing along with their male counterparts.

1915—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex hygiene   n. the set of behaviours intended to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted disease; (also more widely) sex education.

1899   S. H. Rowe Physical Nature Child xii. 131   Clark University..and Stanford University..have of late entered on a campaign for the study of sex and of sex hygiene.
1934   E. R. Mowrer in E. R. Groves & L. M. Brooks Readings in Family xiii. 283   A program of sex hygiene..will teach individuals what to expect in sex relations in such a way as to raise these contacts from the realm of the release of physiological tensions to that of a mutually satisfying experience.
1980   M. T. Connelly Response to Prostitution in Progressive Era iv. 78   The phrase ‘sex-hygiene education’ is somewhat misleading, because what was advocated was not an open knowledge of sexuality and sexual behavior but rather an enlightened indoctrination in proper and safe sex roles.
2005   Kansas City Star (Nexis) 16 Feb. 4   They campaigned against spitting on streetcars and for sex-hygiene classes in high schools.

1899—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  sex impulse   n. the impulse, or an impulse, towards satisfaction of sexual needs.

1883   S. S. Hennell Present Relig. (1887) II. ii. i. 349   The sex-impulse that is at [the] root of all love.
1912   Amer. Jrnl. Psychol. 23 134   The sex impulses find no outlet before puberty.
2006   Guardian (Nexis) 20 Feb. (Features section) 24   The arrival of the sex impulse—alarming, exciting, excruciating—had been a key moment in my school years.

1883—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex industry   n. the commercial trade in sex and sexually stimulating materials, including prostitution, pornography, etc.; cf. sex worker n.

1965   N.Y. Times 20 Jan. 15 (advt.)    Here's a no-holds-barred attack on the U.S. sex industry, the full, shocking story of..the big business boom in filth.
1978   Washington Post 8 Jan. a16/3   For example, the District of Columbia is known as a ‘fast town’ tolerant of the sex industry, whereas Norfolk supposedly is conservative and open only to soft-core pornography.
1996   L. Al-Hafidh et al. Europe: Rough Guide (ed. 3) II. ix. 383   Nowadays this quarter is ruled by the sex industry, with its nerve centre on the notorious Reeperbahn.

1965—1996(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-influenced adj. chiefly Biology (esp. of a gene) affected in its properties or expression by the sex of the individual.

1926   Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 53 207   There are sex-limited or sex-influenced factors in both allosomes and autosomes.
1951   Jrnl. Nat. Cancer Inst. 12 244   During accelerated synthesis of Nissl material the sex-influenced chromatin moves from its usual position, next to the nucleolus, toward the nuclear membrane.
2007   Northern Miner (Austral.) (Nexis) 16 Jan. 9   Because of the complex pattern of inheritance and the sex-influenced nature of the genes, DNA markers are needed to help integrate polled genes into cattle breeding populations.

1926—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  sex instinct   n.  [compare French instinct sexuel (1835)] the behaviour and feelings associated with sexual reproduction considered as an instinct for the survival of the species; (also) = sex impulse n.

1883   Amer. Naturalist 17 911   Sex instinct could not have existed prior to the origin of the male sex.
1898   C. P. Stetson Women & Econ. iii. 56   What business has a little girl with the instincts of maternity?.. They are sex-instincts, and should not appear till the period of adolescence.
1913   D. H. Lawrence Sons & Lovers ix   The sex instinct that Miriam had over-refined for so long now grew particularly strong.
1931   Times 3 Aug. 13/3   We talked about a sex instinct, but it was very blunt.
1976   A. Montagu Nature of Human Aggression (1978) iv. 64   Everyone ‘knows’ from his or her own experience that there is such a thing as a sex instinct.
1996   Jrnl. Social & Evolutionary Syst. 19 97   Freud reduced everything to the omnipresent and omnipotent role of the sex instinct: Eros is the sex instinct and love is Eros.

1883—1996(Hide quotations)

 

  sex interest   n.  (a) interest in or concern with sex or sexual relationships;  (b) this as a theme in a story, film, etc.; (also) an actor or character who arouses sexual desire or interest (cf. love interest n. at love n.1 Compounds 6).

1885   Amer. Naturalist 19 821   It is not divorce laws which are to be feared, but something which lies deeper; that is the weakening of the metaphysical sex interest.
1911   Maclean's Apr. 139/2   There is scarcely any ‘sex interest’ in it at all.
1940   ‘G. Orwell’ in Horizon Mar. 189   Both of these papers admit a certain amount of sex-interest into their stories.
1975   P. Kronhausen & E. Kronhausen Sex People xvi. 200   The question of whether..those who have to deal professionally with sexuality in one form or another..have to reckon with a loss of sex interest as a possible ‘professional hazard’.
2003   G. Burn North of Eng. Home Service (2004) iv. 153   Diana Dors, who was the sex interest in It's a Grand Life.

1885—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  sex intergrade   n. chiefly Biology an individual in which both male and female characteristics are present; an intersexual individual.

1916   Proc. National Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2 578 (title)    Sex intergrades in a species of crustacea.
1924   J. A. Thomson Sci. Old & New xxi. 114   The occurrence of sex-intergrades, such as very masculine females, is well known among pigeons.
1962   Lancet 27 Jan. 216/2   The hypothesis, advanced by Lang, that some male homosexuals are sex intergrades—i.e., morphologically male but genotypically female.
2006   Africa News (Nexis) 29 Jan.   At times the chromosomes or the hormones become unbalanced and various degrees of sex intergrades result.

1916—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  sex killer   n. a murderer who sexually assaults his or her victim(s).

1935   Logansport (Indiana) Pharos Tribune 27 June 1/2   Keep close watch on sex killer.
1959   M. Gilbert Blood & Judgement ii. 26   You'd be surprised..how many sex-killers turn out to be their mothers' favourite sons.
2002   Express (Nexis) 26 June 8   A sex killer was being hunted last night after a young woman was found semi-naked with her throat cut on a golf course.

1935—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex kitten   n. colloq. a young woman who asserts or exploits her sexual attractiveness.

1958   Daily Sketch 2 June 11/4   Clever film men have moulded her sex-kitten type.
1966   Guardian 7 Jan. 9/2   Brigitte Bardot..the original sex kitten with the French charm.
2002   Loaded July (Encycl. Eroticus Suppl.) 18/1   Kylie. Has managed to morph from the cute girl next door to sex kitten extraordinaire.

1958—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-kittenish adj. like a sex kitten, characteristic of or resembling a sex kitten.

1963   J. Fowles Collector ii. 166   Antoinette was almost parodying herself, she was so sex-kittenish.
1995   Ottawa Citizen (Nexis) 18 May f13   The clothes are short, tight, sex-kittenish: crop-tops, slogan T-shirts, little skirts.
2003   Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) (Nexis) 17 Jan. 53   She's a little girl one minute, a sex-kittenish woman the next.

1963—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex life   n. the aspect or part of life that involves sex; (now) spec. a person's sexual activity and relationships considered as a whole.

1873   J. P. Lacroix tr. A. Wuttke Christian Ethics II. i. 75   The greater dependence on..the changes of the seasons in the entire female sex-life [Ger. Geschlechtsleben].
1919   Jrnl. Social Hygiene 5 590   A man's sex life is not merely a matter of the individual.
1936   ‘P. Quentin’ Puzzle for Fools xx. 181   I get no kick out of the sex-life of the white-tailed baboon.
1976   Vogue 15 Mar. 13/2   He is being reviled for apparently having absolutely no sex life, none at all.
2003   ‘Zane’ Nervous ix. 55   What really pissed me off was Jon talking about my sex life. Something she didn't know jack shit about.

1873—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex machine   n. (originally) a person, typically a woman, who performs a sexual role or function mechanically and without feeling; (later usually) a person characterized as vigorous, unremitting, and insatiable in his or her pursuit and performance of sex.

1922   M. E. Cousins Awakening of Asian Womanhood vii. 95   These things turn the women of the household often into drudges, overworked cooks, and mere sex-machines.
1935   H. Edib Clown & his Daughter viii. 43   Now she wants to burden me with another sex-machine.
1970   J. Brown (song) in Sex Machine (MS transcript)    Get up (I feel like being a) Sex Machine.
2002   Sunday Mirror (Nexis) 15 Dec. 15   Her tales of their kinky lovemaking helped fuel the Nicholson legend... ‘When I knew him he was absolutely the sex machine,’ she said.

1922—2002(Hide quotations)

 
1883   S. S. Hennell Present Relig. (1887) II. ii. 335   In the now-supposed general Design of things, Christianity was the initiatory stage of Sex-morality.
1958   Listener 4 Dec. 933/2   Queen Victoria..instituted a new reign of sex-morality.
2001   S. T. Joshi Dreamer & Visionary ix. 150   Among his published works was at least one..treatise on sex morality.

1883—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  sex mosaic   n. Biology an individual having some cells that are genetically of one sex and the rest of the other sex.

1903   Bull. Museum Compar. Zool. Harvard Coll. 40 197   Unilateral and mixed hermaphrodites are an exceptional form of sex-mosaic.
1955   Japanese Jrnl. Zool. 11 350   The 1st gynandromorph is a simple bilateral sex mosaic showing yellow Ww gene in the left male wings and white Ww gene in the right female wings.
2002   Proc. National Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99 13232/2   The use of sex mosaics to define centers and circuits responsible for courtship behavior is somewhat limited.

1903—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-negative adj. that has or promotes a conservative, repressive, or intolerant attitude towards sex and sexuality; anti-sex (cf. sex-positive adj.).

1931   in H. Steiner Sexualnot und Sexualreform 86   The sexual misery of the working class is caused by..the sex-negative education [Ger. sexualverneinenden Erziehung]..of children during puberty.
1984   Family Planning Perspectives 16 108/1   Sex-negative values..prevent people from talking openly about sex, and thinking of sex as something to be enjoyed for its own sake.
2004   Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) (Nexis) 3 Dec. b8   By endorsing abstinence, one is embracing a sex-negative ideology that is a euphemism for sexual repression.

1931—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-neutral adj. not differentiated on the basis of sex; suitable for both males and females; (also) not biased towards either sex.

1957   Amer. Anthropologist 59 238   Tagalogs employ sex-neutral kinship terms much more than we do. The following kinship words of this nature are in general use: asawa, spouse; apo, grandchild; [etc.].
1989   M. Moffatt Coming of Age in New Jersey v. 182   Daily informal dress..was relatively sex-neutral, a loosely unisex style.
2002   Times of India (Nexis) 11 Mar.   The test had proved to be ‘sex neutral’,..both men and women performed equally well in it.

1957—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex object   n. a person towards whom or thing towards which sexual impulse or desire is directed; (now esp.) a person regarded by another only as an object of sexual interest.

1911   Amer. Jrnl. Psychol. 22 423   Instead of sublimating the sex impulse, he [sc. Leonardo da Vinci] directed it towards the physical Jesus in toto. It was simply the substitution of one sex object for another.
1963   B. Friedan Feminine Mystique xi. 266   For the woman who lives according to the feminine mystique, there is no road to achievement, or status, or identity, except the sexual one: the achievement of sexual conquest, status as a desirable sex object, identity as a sexually successful wife and mother.
1980   G. Greene Dr. Fischer ix. 59   Deane is not an actor: he is a sex object. Teenage girls worship him.
2000   A. Dutney in A. Hastings et al. Oxf. Compan. Christian Thought 134/2   The encyclical identifies dangers in the use of ‘artificial birth control’ including the encouragement of promiscuity, the reduction of women to sex objects, [etc.].

1911—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  sex offender   n. orig. U.S. a person who commits an illicit action or (now esp.) a criminal offence involving sex.

1911   M. Cox Spiritual Curiosities 41   A memory left..by Puritan ancestry with its pillories and scarlet letters for sex offenders.
1916   C. J. Weidensall Mentality Criminal Woman App. 294   She then became a domestic and after a year was a sex offender for the first time... Domestic on a farm. Was a continuous sex offender with one of the farm hands.
1939   Columbia Law Rev. Mar. 535   Prior to the enactment of this statute in Illinois, a criminal sex offender received no special treatment.
2005   A. Masters Stuart xxiii. 254   His main topic of conversation about prison is his hatred of sex offenders.

1911—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  sex offence   n. orig. U.S. an offence (originally a social offence, now usually a criminal offence) involving sex or a sexual act.

1910   A. Wilson Unfinished Man vi. 111   These cruel, cunning sex offences [sc. seduction of young girls, infidelity, etc.] and their far-reaching effects.
1911   J. London Let. 8 Jan. (1966) 330   You are suffering from what you deem a sex-offence.
1977   J. Thomson Case Closed vii. 85   The offences..included fraud, burglary,..assault, sex offences of various sorts.
2007   Guardian 13 Nov. 30/4   In half of the [reported rape]..cases involving alcohol..the suspects had not been investigated, despite having a history of sex offences.

1910—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  sex organ   n. (usually in plural) a reproductive organ; = sexual organ at sexual adj. 3a.

1847   A. Tulk tr. L. Oken Elements Physiophilos. 533   Their sexual parts [Ger. Geschlechtstheile]..do not open posteriorly, but far forwards on the ventral side of the body, this being the case with even the male sex-organs [Ger. selbst die männlichen].
1978   Times 15 Mar. 6/3   Old symbols like mutilation of sex organs..are passé.
2002   New Yorker 16 Dec. 60/1   There are probably more euphemisms for vodka than for anything other than the male sex organ.

1847—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex pest   n. colloq. (chiefly Brit.) a sex offender; a person who sexually harasses another.

1985   Times 7 Aug. 5/1   Sex pest's one-way ticket back. A convicted sex offender, sent by a Californian judge..to Florida,..is to be returned to where he came from.
1992   Independent 6 Jan. 5/4   Women are frightened to complain about sex pests because of the attitude of employers, researchers said.
2005   Cairns (Queensland) Post (Nexis) 12 Apr. 9   A serial sex pest who tormented Cairns women and girls over a two-year period was jailed..yesterday.

1985—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  sex play n.  (a) a drama about sex, or having sexual content;  (b) play having a sexual nature, spec. sexual activity that does not involve intercourse.

1899   Naugatuck (Connecticut) Daily News 14 Mar. 3/2   This play, which has been termed the great sex play, made a tremendous sensation when it was first produced on the London stage.
1922   U. Sinclair Bk. of Life II. xxxiii. 34   Their games and dances were sex play, and so also, in great part, was their religion.
1945   W. C. Kvaraceus Juvenile Delinquency & School ix. 94   The very early sex play indulged in by the ‘rebel’ and his sister, forced to share a bed until the beginnings of adolescence.
1998   Agence France Presse (Nexis) 19 June   Arthur Schnitzler's classic highly-charged sex play ‘La Ronde’.
2006   Time Out N.Y. 15 June 183/1   Masturbation toys..might add a new sheen to cockcentric sex play.

1899—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-positive adj. that has or promotes a tolerant, progressive, or candid attitude towards sex and sexuality; pro-sex (cf. sex-negative adj.).

1953   W. Reich Biogr. Material II. iv. 81   With the change of the basic adjustment from sex-negative to sex-positive, naturally not very much was altered in the character structure.
1997   G. S. Rubin in M. P. Levine et al. In Changing Times v. 113   The safe-sex campaigns were a sex-positive response to the illness.
2002   Isis 93 476/2   The gradual shift to sex-positive views of masturbation in the twentieth century.

1953—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sexpot   n. colloq. a sexually attractive, exciting, or active person, esp. a woman.Occasionally (quot. 1961): a person who is sex-obsessed.

1953   Winona (Minnesota) Republican-Herald 14 Sept. 4/2   After talking about her next picture, ‘Mogambo’, in which she is a real sexpot, I happened to mention her herculean husband.
1961   Harper's Bazaar May 57/2   Ovid..the dirty old sexpot.
1975   New Yorker 5 May 115/1   Graham Chapman, John Cleese..with Connie Booth and Carol Cleveland as their sexpot aides.
2002   ‘Mistress Chloe’ Dominatrix xiii. 199   The place was full of tarty sexpots hired to attract punters to the various exhibits.

1953—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex ratio   n. the ratio of male to female individuals in a population.

1886   Jrnl. Statist. Soc. 49 474   There is therefore some, but not much, evidence of an increase in Hertfordshire of the sex-ratio during the twenty-one years.
1913   T. H. Morgan Heredity & Sex 221   A curious sex ratio appeared in one race of fruit flies. Some of the females persisted in producing twice as many females as males.
1974   J. Burnett Useful Toil i. 48   Because of the unequal sex ratio one in three [Victorian] women were ‘doomed’ to spinsterhood.
2003   Daily Tel. 7 Mar. 19/5   The falling sex ratio across Punjab prompted the Akal Takht, Sikhism's supreme religious and temporal seat, to issue an edict last year banning female foeticide.

1886—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  sex relation   n. the relation between the sexes, or an instance of this; spec. (usually in plural) = sexual relations n. at sexual adj. and n. Special uses 2.

1871   S. S. Hennell Present Relig. (1873) II. i. 321   His mind appears notably at conflict with itself as to the nature of the Sex-relation.
1880   Decatur (Illinois) Daily Republican 14 Aug. 4/4   If the state should listen to the petitions of those who ask that sex relations be exemplified from control, the experience [etc.].
1911   O. Schreiner Let. in R. First & A. Scott Olive Schreiner (1980) vii. 291   [She] thinks it's wrong for people, even if married, to have sex relations with each other except just when they want to make a child.
1948   A. C. Kinsey et al. Sexual Behavior Human Male xxi. 613   The behavior pattern of the animal,..its position relative to the other animal in the sex relation.
2007   CNN (Nexis) 10 Aug. (Larry King Live)   So then you're like a lesbian... I identify as lesbian, yes, absolutely... So your sex relations would be with a woman... Yes.

1871—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex relationship   n. the relationship between the sexes, esp. as involving sexual intercourse.

1873   N.Y. Times 7 Mar. 5/3   [In society] polygamy and every other form of sex relationship are represented.
1963   A. Heron Towards Quaker View of Sex i. 8   There are certain historical characteristics of the Society of Friends that ought specially to lead to..understanding of the significance of the sex relationship.
2000   Industr. & Labor Relations Rev. 53 326   Gilman's central thesis is that because in the human species alone the female depends on the male for food,..for us the sex relationship is also an economic relationship.

1873—2000(Hide quotations)

 
1899   ‘G. F. Monkshood’ Rudyard Kipling 39   The writings of Rudyard Kipling do not appeal to women... He does not write of adulterous entanglements prettily,..does not exhibit a study of sex-repression labelled religious fervour.
1958   J. Cannan And be Villain i. 27   Richard used to treat me as a case of sex repression.
2007   Herald Sun (Austral.) (Nexis) 27 June 20   We have moved from sex repression to sex obsession.

1899—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  sex reversal   n. the adoption of a physical form or behavioural role characteristic of the opposite sex.

1910   Science 22 Apr. 632/2   Since none of these plants were subjected to the vigorous traumatic treatment described above it is held that some factor other than traumatism produces the sex reversal.
1926   J. S. Huxley Ess. Pop. Sci. iv. 53   Hens which had undergone sex-reversal to cocks.
1949   M. Mead Male & Female vi. 129   Peoples may provide sex-reversal rôles for both sexes.
2003   Science 19 Dec. 2050/1   Each year, a few babies are born with a male set of chromosomes and female sexual organs. This sex reversal..can happen when changes in a protein called SRY impair its function.

1910—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-reversed adj. that has undergone sex reversal.

1925   E. W. Sinnott & L. C. Dunn Princ. Genetics 230   If such a sex-reversed hen were barred, what would be the appearance of her offspring when bred to a non-barred hen?
2001   Scientist (Nexis) 23 July 18   A fertilized female mouse egg will become male when injected with SRY. The animal in question..was the first sex-reversed mouse ever produced in this way.

1925—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-reversing adj. that reverses the sex of an animal or person; (also) that changes sex.

1926   J. S. Huxley Ess. Pop. Sci. iv. 52   Some sexually abnormal human beings are the victims of this sex-reversing power.
1989   Evolution 43 1559/1   This lack of direct natural selection on the breeding sex ratio is perhaps nearly universal for typical dioecious species. Interestingly, this result is not true for sex-reversing organisms.
2002   New Scientist (Nexis) 24 Aug. 29   Sex-reversing mutations have spawned new species of cichlid fish in Lake Victoria.

1926—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex ring   n. an organization or network of people engaged in crimes of a sexual nature, esp. the trafficking of children for the purpose of sexual abuse.

1937   Logansport (Indiana) Press 5 Oct. 1/4   [The] 19-year-old accused in a vicious ‘sex ring’ expose pleaded not guilty..on charges that he had assaulted a small girl.
1952   Chicago Tribune 19 Mar. iv. 10/6   A multi-million dollar sex ring, engaged in the distribution of dirty films..and in the production of off-color ‘girlie’ shows at smokers, was smashed tonight in a series of raids.
2004   C. Sanderson Seduction of Children (2005) i. 53   Sex rings consist of groups or networks of unrelated adults, in which they trade related, or unrelated, children.

1937—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  sex role   n. orig. Social Psychology the culturally determined role or pattern of behaviour which a person learns as appropriate to his or her sex.

1917   B. Glueck & J. E. Lind tr. A. Adler Neurotic Constit. 103   The longer the uncertainty as to the sex-rôle [Ger. Geschlechtsrolle] exists, the more urgent becomes the effort..to attain the masculine rôle.
1977   China Now July 3/3   The sex-roles are traditionally presented and the girl who helps Mummy to hang out the washing is rewarded.
2005   N.Y. Times 18 Sept. (T: Style Mag.) 132/2   They experiment with relationships and sex roles, from boy toy to breadwinner, from date-to-the-ball to tantric-sex partner.

1917—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex scene   n. (in a book, film, or play) a description or scene of a sexual nature, esp. one featuring sexual intercourse.

1915   Englewood (Chicago) Times 17 Dec. i. 1/5   Rancid sex scenes.
1925   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune (Electronic text) 19 Nov.   [The play] contained the most strenuous sex scene ever known to New York..so daring that all other daring scenes seemed tame.
2002   V. Coren & C. Skelton Once more, with Feeling vi. 36   A sex scene between two girls is absolutely de rigueur in any mainstream porn film.

1915—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex shop   n. a shop selling goods relating to sex, as pornography, sex aids, etc.

1949   J. V. D. Houston Armed Pilgrimage i. 14   The ‘sex-shops’ at Kobe, where instruments for carnal satisfaction were sold openly and publicised in English.
1970   Guardian 26 Nov. 4/2   ‘Sex-shops’..are now established in many West German cities.
2002   D. Aitkenhead Promised Land xi. 113   Next door to the prim fifties dating culture of Camps Bay are Green Point's new sex shops, brothels and gay bars.

1949—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex surrogate   n. a person who or thing which acts as a substitute for sexual activity or a sexual partner; spec. a person employed to have sexual relations with someone undergoing sex therapy.

1916   C. E. Long tr. C. G. Jung Coll. Papers Analyt. Psychol. iii. 172   Enuresis must be regarded as an infantile sex-surrogate [Ger. Sexualsurrogat].
1975   Transcript (North Adams, Mass.) 16 June 3/1   ‘We try to be like the girl next door,’ said Bonnie, who calls herself a therapist and a sex surrogate.
1979   Guardian 10 July 9/1   Dr. Martin Cole's Institute for Sex Education and Research..has been supplying sex surrogate therapy for ten years.
2007   Globe & Mail (Toronto) (Nexis) 9 Feb. r35   The film's abrupt shift to 3-D porn and plastic sex surrogates explores only fetishism without truly addressing the isolation and alienation it exposes.

1916—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  sex symbol   n.  (a) a symbol that represents sex, or (the attributes of) a particular sex (now rare);  (b) a person widely regarded as the epitome of sexual attractiveness and glamour (now the usual sense).

1871   J. H. Jones Kingdom of Heaven 14   It resulted inevitably, therefore, that..the woman, the sex-symbol of the spirit, should become the slave of the man, the sex-symbol of the flesh.
a1911   D. G. Phillips Susan Lenox (1917) II. xx. 442   Men..might regard her as nothing but sex symbol; she regarded herself as an intelligence.
1951   M. McLuhan Mech. Bride 94/2   The ‘line’ [of chorus girls] itself..is even more basic than the sex symbol of the flower.
1976   N. Botham & P. Donnelly Valentino i. 12   The olive skin of the man who would..become the world's first and most enduring sex symbol.
2000   Daily Tel. 23 Nov. 5/2   Once a cone bra-wearing sex symbol.., she [sc. Madonna] now talks about little but her forthcoming marriage.

1871—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex therapist   n. a therapist who addresses sexual problems.

1950   G. Heard Morals since 1900 ii. 141   It is as a master of language and of myth rather than as a specific sex-therapist..that he [sc. Sigmund Freud] will be remembered.
1977   J. S. DeLora & C. A. B. Warren Understanding Sexual Interaction iv. 90   Sex therapists, who direct their creative energy toward the specifically sexual difficulties of individuals or couples.
2005   San Antonio (Texas) Express-News (Nexis) 17 Sept. 12 e   The sex therapist may want to work with him alone at first, then eventually include couple therapy.

1950—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  sex therapy n. therapy (now esp. counselling) which addresses a person's (perceived) psychological or physical sexual problems.

1952   Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner 8 Aug. 9/2   Sex Therapy. Homosexuals can cure themselves if they resolutely wish to do so.
1970   F. Belliveau & L. Richter Understanding Human Sexual Inadequacy (1971) iii. vii. 77   Success in sex therapy is dependent upon communication between the sex-partners.
2003   Wall St. Jrnl. 15 May d1/4   Erotic materials or sexual activity aren't part of mainstream sex therapy.

1952—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex tour   n.  (a) a guided tour of a city's red-light district, museums of erotica, etc.;  (b) a holiday taken specifically for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities; spec. a trip to a country (frequently in the developing world) made in order to take advantage of the lack of restrictions imposed on sexual activity, esp. the more open availability and lower cost of prostitutes.

1974   N.Y. Times 8 Sept. 18/2   On the back of the..folder, entitled ‘Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen’, were listed the six excursions, with the sex tour labeled, ‘Copenhagen's Naked Truth’.
1977   Economist 7 May (Survey) 52/2   It is normal to smooth deals with much business hospitality, which has a special meaning in a country where ‘sex tours for Japanese businessmen’ are part of the invisible exports drive.
1995   Village Voice (N.Y.) 19 Aug. 53   Any lonely shlub with a passport can feel like a stud..on 10-night sex tours in the Philippines.

1974—1995(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex tourism n. tourism (usually to a developing country) undertaken specifically for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities; the taking of sex tours (see sex tour n. (b)).

1979   N.Y. Times 5 Aug. 10/3   Protests against Japanese sex tourism..seem likely to mount in Asia's developing countries, concurrently with criticism of Japanese business practices.
1997   Bangkok Post 26 Feb. (Outlook section) 8/4   Sri Lanka is forming a Child Protection Authority to oversee a national campaign against youth-centred sex tourism.

1979—1997(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex tourist   n.  (a) a person who visits a place in search of sexual titillation (rare);  (b) a person who engages in sex tourism (now the usual sense).

1954   C. Timberlake Bishop of Broadway xxv. 377   This ‘play for the sex-tourists’—this ‘evening among the lesser fleshpots’—this ‘Darling of the Bawds’.
1979   Associated Press Newswire (Nexis) 11 Nov.   They are not the only sex tourists in Bangkok, which attracts other moneyed nationalities.
1984   E. Kim in E. Y. Yu & E. H. Phillips Korean Women in Transition (1987) viii. 137   To understand the motives of Western sex tourists, one cannot ignore the importance of their fantasies about Asian women.
2002   D. Aitkenhead Promised Land p. xiii   We kept company with sex tourists and murderers, made friends with gangsters and racists, found some of the finest clubs in the world, and witnessed some of the worst dancing in evidence anywhere on the planet.

1954—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  sex toy   n.  (a) a person viewed as a sexual plaything;  (b) a device or object designed for sexual stimulation (as a dildo, vibrator, etc.) or to enhance sexual pleasure or performance.

1963   J. Rechy in A. Baraka Moderns 146   Tiny, like a sextoy, she squirms her butt cutely.
1972   Stud. in Family Planning 3 255   The current products clearly indicate the trend to view condoms not only as a contraceptive but also as a sex tool. Japan has a long tradition from the feudal days of such sex toys.
1976   Leicester Trader 24 Nov. 22/2 (advt.)    Sex toys catalogue pack.
1999   J. Burchill Married Alive xiv. 206   Michaela turns to me and smiles as if all her Christmases have come at once and she's getting sex toys for all of them.

1963—1999(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex trade   n. the sex industry, spec. the business of prostitution.

1931   Internat. Jrnl. Ethics 42 41   The income and budget of the sex trade, the control of venereal disease, sterility, arrangements with police.
2007   Guardian (Nexis) 18 July (Final ed.) 13   No men have yet been prosecuted for sex with women or girls forced into the sex trade.

1931—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex trafficking   n. the action or practice of coercing people into prostitution, pornography, or other forms of commercial sexual exploitation, usually involving illegal or forcible relocation.

1913   Ottumwa (Iowa) Daily Rev. 30 Oct.   The girls and women of the country are found to be safe and not even knowing of a single case of sex trafficking in their whole city.
1977   Monroe (Louisiana) News-Star 27 May a4/5   The CBS-60-Minutes show discussed this tragic subject of sex trafficking in children.
2013   F. Malekian & K. Nordlöf Prohibition Sexual Exploitation Children ix. 219   Increasing poverty in different parts of the world leads to sex trafficking.

1913—2013(Hide quotations)

 

  sex-typed adj. Sociology and Psychology categorized or ‘typed’ as being characteristic of either the male or the female sex.

1941   N. E. Miller & J. Dollard Social Learning & Imitation xii. 198   The punishments meted out to adults who actually exhibit such tendencies tend to maintain and strengthen the sex-typed habits acquired.
1979   Bull. Amer. Acad. Arts & Sci. Feb. 31   The modal pattern for each sex is, nonetheless, conventionally sex-typed.
2000   C. L. Williams in M. S. Kimmel & A. Aronson Gendered Society Reader 294   Few have looked at the ‘flip-side’ of occupational sex segregation: the exclusion of men from predominantly female sex-typed occupations.

1941—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex-typing   n. and adj.  (a) n. the categorization of people, or their appearance, behaviour, etc., according to conventional perceptions of what is typical of each sex;  (b) adj. that categorizes people in this way.

1938   Amer. Sociol. Rev. 3 732   One can see from the record the persistent sex-typing of character under the influence of his parents and colleagues.
1976   New Society 4 Mar. 509/1   The ‘blue/gun for a boy: pink/dolly for a girl’, sex-typing syndrome.
2001   N.Y. Observer (Nexis) 24 Dec. 5   Of course, women can enjoy ‘male’ fiction,..want to flee domesticity and become monks or action heroes... That's what makes any kind of rigid sex-typing absurd.

1938—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  sex urge   n. = sex drive n.

1920   M. Sanger Woman & New Race ix. 111   This man is not concerned with his wife's sex urge, save as it responds to his own at times of his choosing.
1966   D. Francis Flying Finish vi. 74   Bravery is built in... You can't stamp it out any more than the sex urge.
1991   K. Dalton Once Month (ed. 5) xx. 194   Sometimes when you feel most bloody-minded you nevertheless have an increased sex urge during the premenstruum.

1920—1991(Hide quotations)

 

  sex work n.  (a) the academic study of sexual behaviour or practices (rare);  (b) employment in the sex industry, esp. paid work providing sexual services, such as in the pornography business or as a prostitute.Typically used (esp. when in preference to prostitution) to avoid or reduce negative connotations and to evoke affinity with conventional service industries.

1934   Amer. Jrnl. Bot. 21 334   Hemp has been the subject of a great deal of study in regard to its sexual behavior. Malloch (1922) points out its desirability for sex work.
1970   N.Y. Times 27 Apr. 28/1   He [sc. Dr. William H. Masters] started sex work in 1954.
1983   in C. Leigh Unrepentant Whore (2004) 71   Subtitled ‘The demystification of the Sex-Work Industry’, this one-woman performance piece was written by a prostitute.
1996   F. M. Shaver in B. Schissel & L. Mahood Social Control in Canada ix. 205   Many feminist theorists simply denounce prostitution in particular and sex work in general as dangerous, degrading, and entirely undesirable as a profession.

1934—1996(Hide quotations)

 
 

  sex worker   n. a person who is paid or employed to provide sexual services, esp. one working in the pornography business or as a prostitute.Typically used (esp. when in preference to prostitute) to avoid or reduce negative connotations and to evoke affinity with conventional service industries.

1971   N.Y. Times 7 Nov. 1/5   Coupling rage and laughter, detailing joys among urban field hands, thieves, postal workers, sex workers, factory workers, and the inevitable unemployed, and letting them specify what America is to a great many black folks.
1984   Associated Press Newswire (Nexis) 18 July   ‘Sex workers unite’, declared Carol Leigh.
2001   N. Jones Rough Guide Trav. Health ii. 345   Syphilis prevalence has increased globally over recent years, especially in inner cities where it is associated with sex workers and drug use.

1971—2001(Hide quotations)

 

This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2008).

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