Sex steroids, also known as gonadocorticoids and gonadal steroids, are steroid hormones that interact with vertebrate steroid hormone receptors. The sex steroids include the androgens, estrogens, and progestogens. Their effects are mediated by slow genomic mechanisms through nuclear receptors as well as by fast nongenomic mechanisms through membrane-associated receptors and signaling cascades. The term sex hormone is nearly always synonymous with sex steroid. The polypeptide hormones luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and gonadotropin-releasing hormone are usually not regarded as sex hormones, although they play major sex-related roles.