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Encyclopedia > Sexuality
Look up Sex on Wiktionary, the free dictionary

A sex is one of two specimen categories of species that recombine their genetic material in order to reproduce, a process called genetic recombination. The somewhat similar term gender has more to do with identity than biology. Typically, a species will have two sexes: male and female. The female sex is defined as the one which produces the larger gamete (i.e., reproductive cell) and which bears the offspring. The categories of sex are, therefore, reflective of the reproductive functions that an individual is capable of performing at some point during its life cycle, and not of the mating types, which genetically can be more than two. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary full URL is a sister project to Wikipedia intended to be a free wiki dictionary (including thesaurus and lexicon) in every language. ... Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ= give birth) is the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms. ... Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. ... Genetic recombination is the process by which the combination of genes in an organisms offspring becomes different from the combination of genes in that organism. ... Gender is the perceived or projected (self-identified) masculinity or femininity of a person. ... In biology, a species is, loosely speaking, a group of related organisms that share a more or less distinctive form and are capable of interbreeding. ... Male symbol Male is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces sperm. ... Female symbol Female is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces egg cells. ... Gametes (in Greek: γαμέτες) —also known as sex cells, germ cells, or spores—are the specialized cells that come together during fertilization (conception) in organisms that reproduce sexually. ...

Contents


Sex in non-animal species

Main article: Plant sexuality

Plants are generally hermaphrodites, but this terminology is quickly complicated by variations in the degree of sexuality. As with animals, there are only two types of gametes. These are generally called male and female based on their relative sizes and motility. In flowering plants, flowers bear the gametes. In some cases, flowers may contain only one type of gamete while in others they may contain both. Plant sexuality deals with the wide variety of sexual reproduction systems found across the plant kingdom. ... Divisions Land plants (embryophytes) Non-vascular plants (bryophytes) Hepatophyta - liverworts Anthocerophyta - hornworts Bryophyta - mosses Vascular plants (tracheophytes) Lycopodiophyta - clubmosses Equisetophyta - horsetails Pteridophyta - true ferns Psilotophyta - whisk ferns Ophioglossophyta - adderstongues Seed plants (spermatophytes) †Pteridospermatophyta - seed ferns Pinophyta - conifers Cycadophyta - cycads Ginkgophyta - ginkgo Gnetophyta - gnetae Magnoliophyta - flowering plants Adiantum pedatum (a fern... The 1st-century BC sculpture The Reclining Hermaphrodite, in the Museo Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme in Rome In zoology, a hermaphrodite is an organism of a species whose members possess both male and female sexual organs during their lives. ... Classes Magnoliopsida - Dicots Liliopsida - Monocots The flowering plants (also angiosperms or Magnoliophyta) are one of the major groups of modern plants, comprising those that produce seeds in specialized reproductive organs called flowers, where the ovulary or carpel is enclosed. ... Wildflowers A flower is the reproductive organ of those plants classified as angiosperms (flowering plants; Division Magnoliophyta). ...


In other varieties of multicellular life (e.g. the fungi division, Basidiomycota) sexual characteristics can be much more complex, and may involve many more than two sexes. For details on the sexual characteristics of fungi, see: Hypha and Plasmogamy. Divisions Chytridiomycota Zygomycota Ascomycota Basidiomycota The Fungi (singular: fungus) are a large group of organisms ranked as a kingdom within the Domain Eukaryota. ... Classes Subdivision Teliomycotina    Urediniomycetes Subdivision Ustilaginomycotina    Ustilaginomycetes Subdivision Hymenomycotina    Homobasidiomycetes - mushrooms The Division Basidiomycota is a large taxon within the Kingdom Fungi that includes those species that produce spores in a club_shaped structure called a basidium. ... A hypha (plural hyphae) is a long, branching filament that, with other hyphae, forms the feeding thallus of a fungus called the mycelium. ... Plasmogamy is a stage in the sexual reproduction of fungi. ...


Sex in the animal kingdom

Some species, such as earthworms, honeybees, and geckos, are capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction. In the insect order Hymenoptera, which includes honeybees, the queen (i.e., fully functional female) can decide to fertilize an egg or to lay it without its being fertilized. Fertilized eggs will develop into females -- workers if given standard nutrition in their larval stages and queens if lavishly fed with royal jelly. Unfertilized eggs, which have only half the number of chromosomes as fertilized eggs, develop into drones, i.e., male bees. In other species (e.g. earthworms), all individuals are hermaphrodites, that is, individuals that have male and female sex organs. Earthworm is the common reference for the larger members of the Oligochaeta (which is either a class or subclass depending on the author) in the phylum Annelida. ... The honeybee is a colonial insect that is often maintained, fed, and transported by farmers. ... This article describes gecko lizards. ... A pair of lions copulating in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. ... Asexual reproduction the simplest form of reproduction and does not involve meiosis, gamete formation, or fertilization. ... Suborders Apocrita Symphyta Many families, see article Hymenoptera is one of the larger orders of Insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants. ... Royal jelly is a type of bee secretion that aids in the development of immature or young bees. ... This article is about the biological chromosome. ... Drone can refer to: Male honeybees - see drone (bee) In music, a continuous note or chord - see drone (music) Shortened form of the music genre known as dronology An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), often used for target practice In the fictional Star Trek universe, a humanoid enslaved by the Borg... In zoology, a hermaphrodite is a species that contains both male and female sexual organs at some point during their lives. ...


In mammals, birds, and many other species, sex is determined by the sex chromosomes, called X and Y in mammals, and Z and W in birds. For mammals, males typically have one of each (XY), while females typically have two X chromosomes (XX). All individuals have at least one X chromosome, the Y chromosome is generally shorter than the X chromosome with which it is paired, and is absent in some species, this pattern admitting some considerable variation. One interesting variation is in the platypus, a rather unusual mammal in many other ways, where sex is determined by 10 chromosomes. Males are XYXYXYXYXY and females XXXXXXXXXX. In birds, males have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (ZZ) and females have one of each type (ZW). In other species, including crocodiles, and most insects, sex may be determined by various other sex-determination systems, including those controlled by environmental factors such as temperature. Yet other species change sex during their lifetime. Orders Subclass Monotremata Monotremata Subclass Marsupialia Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Microbiotheria Dasyuromorphia Peramelemorphia Notoryctemorphia Diprotodontia Subclass Placentalia Xenarthra Dermoptera Desmostylia Scandentia Primates Rodentia Lagomorpha Insectivora Chiroptera Pholidota Carnivora Perissodactyla Artiodactyla Cetacea Afrosoricida Macroscelidea Tubulidentata Hyracoidea Proboscidea Sirenia The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals primarily characterized by the presence of mammary... For other meanings of bird, see bird (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Ornithorhynchus anatinus (Shaw, 1799) The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a small, half-aquatic mammal endemic to the eastern part of Australia, and one of the four extant monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young (the other three are echidnas). ... Genera Crocodylus Osteolaemus Tomistoma A crocodile can be any of the 14 species of large, water-loving reptiles in the family Crocodylidae (sometimes classified instead as the subfamily Crocodylinae). ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Symphypleona - globular springtails Subclass Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails) Subclass Dicondylia Monura - extinct Thysanura (common bristletails) Subclass Pterygota Diaphanopteroidea - extinct Palaeodictyoptera - extinct Megasecoptera - extinct Archodonata - extinct Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Blattodea (cockroaches) Mantodea (mantids) Isoptera (termites) Zoraptera Grylloblattodea Dermaptera (earwigs) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets... A sex-determination system is a biological system that determines the development of sexual characteristics in an organism. ...


Sex among humans

See Human sexuality for the article about the expression of sexual sensation and related emotional intimacy between human beings

In humans, sex is conventionally perceived as a dichotomous state or identity for most biological and social purposes, such that a person can only be female or male. However, when the criteria which are generally used to define femaleness or maleness are examined more closely, it becomes apparent that the assignment or determination of 'sex' occurs at multiple levels. Environmental, biological, social, psychological and other factors are all believed to have some role in this process, and the complex interaction of these factors is expressed in the diversity of biological and psychosocial 'states' or levels found amongst the human population. A significant fraction of the human population simply does not correspond exclusively to either 'female' or 'male' with regard to every level of definition expressed in the following table. This discordance is discussed in more detail below. The sexuality of human beings comprises a broad range of behavior and processes, both physiological, psychological, cultural, political, and spiritual or religious. ... Biology studies the variety of life (clockwise from top-left) E. coli, tree fern, gazelle, Goliath beetle Biology is the science of life (from the Greek words bios = life and logos = word). ... // Latin root meaning The term social is derived from the Latin word socius, which as a noun means an associate, ally, companion, business partner or comrade and in the adjectival form socialis refers to a bond between people (such as marriage) or to their collective or connected existence. ...


The table outlines the major levels at which we currently recognize a difference between human females and males. Some criteria are dichotomous and some, such as body size, exhibit sexual dimorphism (i.e. characteristics which are statistically more likely to be found in one sex than the other). Some of the levels are more amenable to scientific study or measurement than others; some are "imputed" or assigned to individuals by the society of which they are members (e.g. whether human males must wear trousers is a result of social norms); and some seem to be generated within each individual as a subjective identity or drive. Female (left) and male Common Pheasant, illustrating the dramatic difference in form between the sexes Sexual dimorphism is the systematic difference in form between individuals of different sex in the same species. ... For Wikipedia statistics, see m:Statistics Statistics is the science and practice of developing human knowledge through the use of empirical data expressed in quantitative form. ... The characterization phase can require extended and extensive study, even centuries. ... The word norm coming from the latin word norma which means angle measure or (lawlike) rule, has a number of meanings: A social or sociological norm; see norm (sociology). ...


"Primary" sexual characteristics are typically present at birth and directly involved in reproduction. "Secondary" sexual characteristics typically develop later in life (usually during puberty) and are not directly involved in reproduction. A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in a complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis... A peafowl displays its secondary sexual characteristics (long, colored feathers). ... Puberty refers to the process of physical changes by which a childs body becomes an adult body capable of reproduction. ...

Level of definition Female Male
Biological levels (Sex)
Primary sexual characteristics (Sex)
Usual sex chromosomes XX in humans XY in humans
Usual gonads ovaries testes
Usual level of sex hormones oestrogen, gestagen testosterone
Usual anatomy of internal genitalia clitoral crura, vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes corpora cavernosa, urethra, prostate, seminal vesicles
Usual anatomy of
external genitalia
glans clitoris, labia, vulva, clitoral hood
perineal urethra
glans penis, scrotum, phallus, foreskin
fused perineum
Secondary sexual characteristics (Sex)
Usually Breasts, menstrual cycle, development of "hourglass" body form, relatively shorter height, relatively more body fat Facial and body hair, development of "triangular" body form, relatively higher height, relatively less body fat
Usually both sexes Pubic hair, underarm hair
Psychosocial levels (Gender)
Usual Assigned sex "It's a girl" "It's a boy"
Usual Gender of rearing "You are a girl" "You are a boy"
Usual Gender identity "I am a girl/woman" "I am a boy/man"
Usual Gender role "feminine" social behavior "masculine" social behavior
Usual sexual orientation androphilic gynephilic

The relationship between the various levels of biological sexual differentiation is fairly well understood. Many of the biological levels are said to cause, or at least shape, the next level. For example, in most people the presence of a Y chromosome causes the gonads to become testes, which produce hormones that cause the internal and external genitalia to become male, which in turn lead parents to assign 'male' as the sex of their child (assigned sex), and raise the child as a boy (gender of rearing). However, the degree to which biological and environmental factors contribute to the psychosocial aspects of sexual differentiation, and even the interrelationships between the various psychosocial aspects of differentiation, are less well understood (see the nature versus nurture debate). A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in an complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis... A sex-determination system is a biological system that determines the development of sexual characteristics in an organism. ... Karyogram of human female A karyotype is the complete set of all chromosomes of a cell of any living organism. ... Karyogram of human female A karyotype is the complete set of all chromosomes of a cell of any living organism. ... A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in an complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis... Human female internal reproductive anatomy Ovaries are a part of a female organism that produces eggs. ... Human male anatomy The testicles, known medically as testes (singular testis), are the male generative glands in animals. ... Sex hormones are hormones that affect the reproductive system. ... Estrogens (or oestrogens) are a group of steroid compounds that function as the primary female sex hormone. ... Progestagens (also spelled progestogens or gestagens) are hormones similar in effect to progesterone, the only natural progestagen. ... Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group. ... Anatomical drawing of the human muscles from the Encyclopédie. ... A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in an complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis... A womans clitoris extends from the visible portion to a point below the pubic bone. ... Human female internal reproductive anatomy The vagina (from the Latin for sheath or scabbard ) is the tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. ... Female internal reproductive anatomy The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ of most mammals, including humans. ... Female internal reproductive anatomy The Fallopian tubes or oviducts are two very fine tubes leading from the ovaries of female mammals into the uterus. ... A corpus cavernosum is one of a pair of a sponge-like regions of erectile tissue which contain most of the blood in the male penis during erection. ... Male anatomy Female anatomy In anatomy, the urethra is a tube which connects the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. ... Male Anatomy The prostate is a gland that is part of male mammalian sex organs. ... Male Anatomy The seminal vesicles are a pair of glands on the posterior surface of the urinary bladder of males. ... Anatomical drawing of the human muscles from the Encyclopédie. ... A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in an complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis... A womans clitoris extends from the visible portion to a point below the pubic bone. ... Parts of a vulva The external genital organs of the female are collectively known as the vulva (also sometimes called the pudenda). ... Appearance of the vulva Labeled picture of external female reproductive anatomy. ... In female human anatomy, the clitoral hood, or prepuce, is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the clitoris. ... A perineal urethra is a human urethral opening that is located on the perineum rather than at the tip of the phallus. ... The penis (plural penises or penes) or phallus is the external male copulatory organ of some animals, and, in mammals, the external male organ of urination. ... The scrotum (human variant shown) is a thin extension of the abdomen that contains the testes and helps regulate their temperature. ... The phallus usually refers to the male penis, or sex organ. ... Male Anatomy This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The muscles of the male perineum In anatomy, the perineum is the region between the genital area and the anus in both sexes. ... Secondary sex characteristics are traits that distinguish the two sexes of a species, but that are not directly part of the reproductive system. ... A pair of female breasts The term breast, also known by the Latin mamma in human anatomy, refers to the upper ventral region of an animals torso, particularly that of mammals, including human beings. ... Menstrual cycle The menstrual cycle is the set of recurring physiological changes in a females body that are under the control of the reproductive hormone system and necessary for reproduction. ... In biochemistry, fat is a generic term for a class of lipids. ... A full beard A beard is the hair that grows on a mans chin, cheeks, neck, and the area above the upper lip (the opposite is a clean-shaven face). ... Hair is also a musical: see Hair (musical) and Hair (movie) Hair is the filamentous outgrowth of the epidermis found in mammals. ... Gender is the perceived or projected (self-identified) masculinity or femininity of a person. ... Sex assignment refers to the assigning of sex at the birth of a baby. ... Two Tamil girls in Tiruvannamalai. ... A boy is a male human child or adolescent, as contrasted to a female child, which is a girl. ... Gender of rearing is the gender in which parents rear a child. ... In sociology, gender identity describes the gender with which a person identifies (i. ... It has been suggested that Masculinity be merged into this article or section. ... A bagpiper in Scottish military uniform. ... Masculinity, is seen to be a virtue in a man, a characteristic or trait which is part of a successful males persona The word masculine can refer to: the property of being biologically male a traditionally male gender role James Sweeneys physique the masculine grammatical gender The antonym... Sexual orientation refers to the sex or gender of people who are the focus of a persons amorous or erotic desires, fantasies, and spontaneous feelings, the gender(s) toward which one is primarily oriented. The alternative terms sexual preference and sexual inclination have similar meanings. ... In the context of male homosexuality, androphilia is the mutual attraction of adult men. ... 1. ... The human Y chromosome is one of two sex chromosomes, it contains the genes that cause testis development, thus determining maleness. ... A hormone (from Greek horman - to set in motion) is a chemical messenger from one cell (or group of cells) to another. ... A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in an complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis... Nature versus nurture is a shorthand expression for debates about the relative importance of an individuals nature versus personal experiences (nurture) in determining or causing physical and behavioral traits. ...


Discordance

As indicated above, the levels of this paradigm imply a certain level of 'discordance' amongst the human population as a result of diversity amongst humans. Since the late 1800s, the word paradigm (IPA: ) has referred to a thought pattern in any scientific discipline or other epistemological context. ... Human variability, or human variation, refers to the range of possible values for any measurable characteristic, physical or mental, of human beings. ...


Some discordances are purely biological, such as when the sex of the chromosomes (genetic sex) does not match the sex of the external genitalia (anatomic sex). This type of discordance is fairly well understood and is described briefly in the next section and more fully in the article on intersex. An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ...


Discordances between the biological and psychosocial levels, such as when the gender identity does not match the anatomic sex, or between the various psychosocial levels, such as when the gender role does not match the gender identity, are even more common but less well understood. These levels of definition and discordance are described below and in individual articles. In sociology, gender identity describes the gender with which a person identifies (i. ... It has been suggested that Masculinity be merged into this article or section. ... In sociology, gender identity describes the gender with which a person identifies (i. ...


Understanding discordance is important for several reasons. We can learn much about the processes of sexual differentiation, both biological and psychosocial, from people with biological discordances. Some of the levels of discordance have enormous significance to the lives of those affected and their relationships with society. In some cases, the causes of the discordances have acquired controversial political significance. Societies vary on the values placed on some discordances. In the last several decades the public consensus of many Western societies has come to view some discordances as less undesirable and more tolerable than much of the rest of the world, although this view may itself exhibit a certain level of cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting the culture or language of one nation in another. ...


Biological varieties of discordance

Human variability occurs in all the levels by which sex and gender are defined. Discordance at the biological levels is often referred to as an intersex condition. For example, some women may have an XY karyotype (chromosomal constellation). Some boys may have a rudimentary uterus, or an extra X chromosome. In a small subset of boys or girls with intersex conditions, the external genitalia may be undervirilized or overvirilized. If the degree of virilization is "in-between", the genitalia are described as "ambiguous". Many people with intersex conditions do not have ambiguous genitalia. However, for these people the relationships between biological factors (such as hormones) and environmental factors and the psychosocial levels of sexual identity such as gender identity and sexual orientation have proven to be complex, with plenty of exceptions to proposed theoretical systems. For example, there have been cases of male genetic/chromosomal sex, with female external genitalia, assigned and raised as female, but discovering or deciding upon a male gender identity by adolescence. The degree to which a person's gender identity is affected by hormones, by genetic factors distinct from hormones, by early education, by social factors, and by "existential choice" remains imperfectly understood and a subject of contention. An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ... Karyogram of human female A karyotype is the complete set of all chromosomes of a cell of any living organism. ... Female internal reproductive anatomy The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ of most mammals, including humans. ... In biology and medicine, virilization refers to the development of changes which make a male body different from a female body. ... An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ... In sociology, gender identity describes the gender with which a person identifies (i. ... Sexual orientation refers to the sex or gender of people who are the focus of a persons amorous or erotic desires, fantasies, and spontaneous feelings, the gender(s) toward which one is primarily oriented. The alternative terms sexual preference and sexual inclination have similar meanings. ... Hormone is also the NATO reporting name for the Soviet/Russian Kamov Ka-25 military helicopter. ...


Psychological, behavioral, and cultural varieties of discordance

In contrast to the small percentage of people with biological discordances of sex, a fairly large proportion of human beings may be "discordant" in one or more behavioral or psychological dimensions. The vast majority of these people who are discordant in some aspect of psyche or behavior do not have any detectable biological intersex condition (although some recent studies point towards biological factors in at least some of those conditions). Human societies respond to, or accommodate, these behavioral and psychological discordances in many different ways, ranging from suppression and denial of difference to acknowledging various forms of "third sex".


It is interesting, and perhaps significant, that some societies identify youths with atypical behavioral characteristics and, instead of giving them corrective therapy or punishing them, socialize them in such a way that their individual characteristics let them provide a needed and/or useful function for the society in a recognized and respected role (e.g. individuals who take on the role or customs of shaman, medicine man or tong-ki). The shaman is an intellectual and spiritual figure who is regarded as possessing power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, primarily that of a healer ( medicine man). The shaman provides medical care, and serves other community needs during crisis times, via supernatural means (means... Medicine man is an English term used to describe Native American religious figures; such individuals are analogous to shamans. ... Tong-ki is a Chinese word (童乩 the Mandarin pronunciation tong2 ji1 represented in pinyin romanization is used here, in Cantonese, it is called San4 Daa2 神打) that refers to a person who experiences himself as having been chosen by a particular god to be his vehicle for expression here...


See the article Pictogram for an example of a pictogram of a man and a woman, to indicate the respective toilets. It shows the man with broader shoulders (sex dimorphism) and the woman in clothing that is in the western world rarely worn by men, a dress (which functions as a gender signal). (Presumably these "male human" and "female human" pictograms are not used in countries where men wear dress-like clothing.) In most societies, it is considered improper for a person of one sex to misrepresent himself or herself as a member of the opposite sex by donning inappropriate clothing (thereby practicing transvestism or cross-dressing). Such behavior receives severe social and/or legal sanctions in some cultures. Pictogram for public toilets A pictogram or pictograph is a symbol which represents an object or a concept by illustration. ... Flush toilet A toilet is a plumbing fixture primarily intended for the disposal of bodily wastes such as urine and feces. ... (See also List of types of clothing and Clothing terminology) Humans nearly universally wear articles of clothing (also known as dress, garments, or attire) on the body. ... The term dress may refer to either clothing or attire in general a specific type of garment, discussed in the article on skirt and dress This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The term transvestism has undergone several changes of meaning since it was coined in the 1910s; and it is still used in all of these meanings except the very first one. ... This articles is about cross-dressing in general, that is the act of wearing the clothing of another gender for any reason. ...


See also berdache, hijra, xanith and transgender. Berdache (from French, from Arabic bardajo meaning kept boy) is a generic term used by some for a third gender (woman-living-man) among many, if not most, Native American tribes. ... Two Hijras bless a baby in a Hindu ceremony. ... Xanith, also written as khanith is a vernacular Arabic term for both mukhannath and khuntha. Mukhannath refers to individuals with a gender identity that is discordant with their visible sexual organs. ... Transgender (TG) is also a style of fanart. ...


Such complex situations have led some scientists to argue that the two sexes are cultural constructions. Some people have sought to define their sexuality and sexual identity in non-polar terms in the belief that the simple division of all humans into "males" and "females" does not fit their individual conditions. A proponent of this movement away from polar oppositions, Anne Fausto-Sterling, once suggested we recognize five sexes: male, female, merm, ferm and herm. Although quickly rejected as a bizarre flouting of human nature and social reality, and inimical to the interests of those whom she was attempting to champion, it expresses the difficulty and imperfection of the current social responses to these variations. Anne Fausto-Sterling, Ph. ...


Social and legal considerations

Forms of legal or social distinction or discrimination based on sex include sex segregation and sexism. Notably, some businesses, public institutions, and laws may provide privileges and services for one sex and not another, or they may require different sexes to be physically separated. To discriminate is to make a distinction. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination against people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all differentiations based on sex. ...


In gender theory, the term "heteronormativity" refers to the idea that human beings fall into two distinct and complementary categories, male and female; that sexual and marital relations are normal only when between two people of different genders; and that each gender has certain natural roles in life. Gender studies is a theoretical work in the social sciences or humanities that focuses on issues of sex and gender in language and society, and often addresses related issues including racial and ethnic oppression, postcolonial societies, and globalization. ... Heteronormativity is a term used in the discussion of sexual behavior, gender, and society, primarily within the field of gender theory. ...


See also

Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Sexual differentiation is the process of development of the differences between males and females from an undifferentiated zygote (fertilized egg). ...

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