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Intersex vs. Hermaphrodite

Intersex is a better term for ambiguous genitalia and confusing sexual anatomy than Hermaphrodite.

Michael Bermant, MD - Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

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Intersex and Intersexuality - The gray area between male and female.

Intersex: a general term for a variety of conditions of being intermediate between male and female. Genitalia or reproductive anatomy is difficult to label as Male or Female. Secondary sexual characteristics having features of both sexes. Intersexual anatomy may be present at birth, not become apparent until later in life, or in some situations only reveal itself on investigation of infertility or on autopsy. Just what defines intersexuality is vague since this is a transition zone between male and female and covers a wide spectrum of situations both of the body and of the mind. What is Intersex? has a much more extensive discussion on this issue.

hermaphrodite statuePicture of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus Struggling about 100 BC Hermaphroditus was the child of Aphrodite and Hermes. Born a remarkably handsome boy. The nymph Salmacis found him bathing in her spring. As she forcibly embraced him, he struggled to get away. Salmacis prayed the never be apart. The gods granted her wish and combined the two into one body. His name is the basis for the word hermaphrodite.

sleeping hermaphrodite louvrePicture of Hermaphrodite Statue Roman copy of Greek statue about 2nd BC

Artists through the centuries have tried to express the image of someone sharing characteristics of both men and women. There is often a blending a female like body with male genitalia or other male features.

 

hermaphrodite statuehermaphrodite statue Picture of Hermaphrodite Statue Mesopotamia, 1st century BC

Right Picture of Hermaphrodites Hellenistic. From Rhodes, 3rd century BC

Breasts and a female body fat seem to be a common feature.

 

intersex picture male female intersex picture male female

pictures intersex male - femalepictures intersex female - maleThis is a genetic XX female with untreated Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia who has lived his life as a male. Since he was in his mother's womb, his body and brain have been exposed to high levels of both male and female hormones from his defective Adrenal gland. He relates that he was "diagnosed" at birth as a Hermaphrodite with ambiguous genitalia. He says there was no uterus and his only ovary was removed surgically. The clitoris is large. His breasts have kept growing (that is why he fist came to Dr. Bermant for a Revision Gynecomastia Surgery for Recurrence after breast reduction by another surgeon. Secondary sexual characteristics are mixed male and female. He has male pattern hair for his face, head, chest, and groin. Body fat distribution is female for the hips thighs, and breast. The muscle pattern is male. His voice pitch is high for a male and low for a female. To learn more about this patient, start here.

Hermaphrodite a person or animal having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics, either abnormally or (in the case of some organisms) as the natural condition. Hermaphrodite and Hermaphroditism are now considered by many to be outdated derogatory terms for intersex and intersexuality.

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pictures of congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH female and male body shape congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH photos of female and male body contours Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) intersex vs. hermaphrodite intersexualish better than hermaphroditism Intersex is a Better Term Than Hermaphrodite
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This page last updated on: January 10, 2013

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