Sex – A Biological Concept

Sex, in this instance, is not just what happens between the sheets or on the kitchen counter. It is a biological concept, your biological make up including chromosomes and hormones. In short, it’s what’s in your pants!

The initial notions of biological female and male are challenged by the term, intersex. Some even call it the third sex.

Intersex is a set of medical diagnoses that feature “congenital variance of the reproductive and sexual system.” Intersex people are born with chromosomes, external genitalia, and/or internal reproductive systems that are not considered “standard” for either male (penis, testes, XY chromosomes) or female (ovaries, vagina, uterus, XX chromosomes). Intersex is a fairly common occurrence. It is estimated that 1 in 2000 babies are born obviously intersex. That number does not include the large number of people who are diagnosed as intersex later in life.

Intersex people’s bodies have historically been, and continue to be, viewed as “social emergencies” by doctors. When discovered at birth in most Western countries, unnecessary cosmetic surgery is performed on the majority of intersex babies, them to conform to either male or female aesthetic binary standards (obviously, an infant cannot consent to having surgery). These surgeries often require multiple follow-up repair surgeries and are ridden with complications. Adult intersex people are often haunted by a lifetime of these unnecessary procedures, robbing them of their sexual sensations as well as having long term affects on their ability to feel present and safe in their bodies.

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