Him and Her Sex Blog

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Topic #3: Pansexuality

Pansexuality – often confused with bisexuality, pansexual individuals are defined by Urban Dictionary as “one who can love sexuality in many forms. Like bisexuality, but even more fluid, a pansexual person can love not only the traditional male and female genders, but also transgendered, androgynous, and gender fluid people.” People who identify themselves pansexual also use the terms “omnisexual” and “anthrosexual” (datingtips.com).

Now, what really is the difference between pansexuality and bisexuality?

Pan means “all” and bi means “two”. Using these prefixed we can define bisexuals as individuals who are attracted to two specific genders (typically male and female), while pansexuals are individuals who are attracted to many genders. Now, some might be wondering, what are these other genders?

Pansexuals may be attracted males, females, transgender individuals, intersex individuals, and other genders that go outside of the gender binary of male and female. Note that just because someone identifies as pansexual, they may not be attracted to all of the above mentioned gender identities, it is really individual preference.

Let’s go more in depth with the above mentioned concepts.

 

The male-female binary

The traditional mainstream society accepts and promotes concept of binary gender – that is, we can all be categorized strictly as being either male or female. The dominant system forces into sexual and societal roles based on this binary.

As a concept, it suggests that society is composed of only two types of people: male and female (specifically, straight men and straight women). Thus those who don’t fall within the bounds of this concept are considered “outsiders.” The reality is, many people don’t fall into the distinct male-female binary. This leads to the discourse on homosexuality, bisexuality, transexuality, transgenderism, queer, and pansexuality.

 

Pansexuality is..

If you’ve ever been actively involved in the LGBT community, chances are you already know who the gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, and transexuals are. But there are also those people who defy biological and social standard delineations of what makes a gay a gay, a lesbian a lesbian, or bisexual a bisexual.

They are the pansexuals who categorically reject the system of labelling. They acknowledge that the gender spectrum does not only include heterosexuals, gays, and bisexuals but also transexuals, transgendered, intersexed, androgynous, andgenderqueer.

Pansexuals can be in long-term heterosexual or homosexual relationships. Pansexuality, however, may also lead to a kind of relationship between people who have nonstandard sexuality. For example, a born-male pansexual might be in a relationship with a female-to-male transexual.

 

Pansexuality is not…

Pansexuality is not bisexuality. Although bisexuality is a subset of pansexuality, they differ in that the latter acknowledges the potential for sexual attraction, aesthetic appreciation, or romantic love for not only two sexes. Pansexuals also have the desire to have sex, appreciate, and love those in the further human gender spectrum.

While the Latin prefix “pan-” means “all”, pansexuality only applies to human gender and it doesn’t imply attraction to all people. The term also doesn’t mean that all pansexuals are promiscuous or polyamorous.

Negative mainstream understanding has placed pansexuality alongside fetishes or paraphilias. It must be emhasized that pansexuality does not signify acceptance of paraphilias, as these are totally separate socio-sexual issues.

  

So, to conclude, as a group on Facebook puts it:

Pansexual: Liking/loving someone for who they are and not what they are. The ability to love someone regardless of gender. Universal love.

 

Sources:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pansexuality

http://www.datingtips.com/relationships/gay-lesbian/gay-dating/sexual-identities-gay-lesbian-bi-or-pansexual/

 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Being-Pansexual-and-Liking-Someone-For-WHO-They-Are-Rather-Than-WHAT-/366859486030


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Her: Topic #2

This week’s topic can be controversial to many people, but not to me. I think that intersex individuals are just as “normal” as a person with strictly female or male “features”. In reality you could think of them as even more beautiful, since the term hermaphrodite comes from a god and a goddess of sexuality, love, and beauty.

With that said, if I were to be a parent of a child born with one of the mentioned intersex conditions I would not choose one gender for the child. I would wait until they are old enough to decide for themselves. It would probably be more difficult while they were growing up, people will most likely ask if it’s a boy or girl, will want to know what names you are thinking of naming them, and will want to know whether to buy pink or blue. I would probably respond by choosing a gender-neutral name such as Jess, Devon, Riley, Peyton, Jamie, or one of the other many choices. As for pink or blue, I would say green!

People in society seem to be so obsessed with the gender binary of male and female, but why? If the individual is happy with whom they are, as an intersex individual, why do people care what gender they identify as?

In direct response to “some health care professionals will swear that the best course of action is for the parents to choose a sex for their child and allow an operation to take place that would define their gender,” why should the parents have the privilege of deciding? The child may end up realizing they feel more like the other gender, or they may end up feeling more androgynous (combination of masculine and feminine characteristics). If the parents choose wrong, the child may end up feeling even more confused.

This is just my opinion on the matter. Just last week an organization at my school that I am a part of played the film Orchids: My Intersex Adventures. Unfortunately I missed the film, but I would really jump at the chance of seeing it because I hear it portrays the topic of intersex accurately. 

Link to Orchids homepage: http://www.orchids-themovie.com/

Also I would like to note that I wrote this before reading “Him”s post, so I find it quite funny that we have very similar view points on the issue. 


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Him: Topic #2

To be totally honest this isn’t my first encounter with Intersex. When I was in high school I read a truly moving novel called “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s an engaging and utterly enthralling tale that sweeps the reader up in the mysteries and life of an intersex person who lives at times as a man who enjoys cigars and at other times as a woman. The reason I bring this particular book up is that it was the first book I’d ever read that actually let me look at the idea of intersex from the perspective of someone who was actually intersex. 

As the topic states, the old term for intersex was hermaphroditism, which is the term I was always most familiar with. I don’t believe I’ve ever actually talked to an intersex person for any real length of time. I’ve conversed with transexual men and women, transvestites, drag queens, but never an Intersex individual. I find this to be, if nothing else, a horrible loss on my part. 

I have a nearly insatiable curiosity when it comes to things like Intersex folks, if only because they, in all their forms, are beautiful. Of course, so are every other person on the planet, and my curiosity is just as insatiable for all of them. That’s not the point though, the point is, I’ve yet to get the chance to sit down and have a face to face conversation with someone who is Intersex! 

Changing gears, I want to talk about the very end of the Topic #2 Entry, specifically,

“Some health care professionals will swear that the best course of action is for the parents to choose a sex for their child and allow an operation to take place that would define their gender.

I’ll be perfectly clear how I feel about those particular healthcare “Professionals,” fuck them all. I understand the knee jerk reaction that some parents can have when they have a child that does not have clearly defined male or female genitals to fix everything immediately. When you think about it though, how horrible for that child will it be if the parents pick the WRONG gender? 

When a child is growing up, they are taught certain gendercentric characteristics. It happened to me, it happened to you. Boys are “supposed” to play with guns and like rough housing. Girls are “supposed” to like pink and play with dolls. Now imagine growing up being told you are one gender, but feeling deep down inside that you’re the other gender.

That particular emotion is one that Transexual men and woman can understand well, the rest of us though simply cannot. This is my personal opinion mind you, but if someone, including myself someday, has a child that is intersex, I’m leaving everything exactly as it is until my child can decide what gender he or she might end up wanting. Also, if it’s medically safe for them, and they want to keep their genitals as they are, well then, fantastic.

All in all, I think I’ve made it clear that on this topic at least, I have no reservations or detractions. Intersex individuals are people just like the rest of us and deserve the chance to live happy, peaceful lives. Sure they might be different from what society deems to be “normal” but so what? Society isn’t right about everything, I think slavery is a testament to that. 


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Topic #2: Intersex

Intersex, in humans and other animals, is the presence of intermediate or atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish female from male. 

The older term for this condition, hermaphroditism, came from joining the names of a Greek god and goddess, Hermes and Aphrodite. Hermes was a god of male sexuality (among other things) and Aphrodite a goddess of female sexuality, love, and beauty.

From Intersex Society of North America:

“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.”

Intersex individuals can apparently be placed on a “Spectrum,” Here provided by Carl Gold of NOVA: 

  • CONGENITAL ADRENAL HYPERPLASIA (CAH)—ONE IN 13,000 BIRTHS

Two hormones are critical in normal sex differentiation. The testes of normal 46,XY males secrete both Müllerian Inhibiting Substance (also known as MIS or antimüllerian hormone) and masculinizing androgenic hormones, while the ovaries of a normal 46,XX female secrete neither. In CAH, the absence of a critical enzyme allows a 46,XX fetus to produce androgens, resulting in ambiguous external genitals. A CAH individual may have an oversized clitoris and fused labia.

  • TESTOSTERONE BIOSYNTHETIC DEFECTS—ONE IN 13,000 BIRTHS

In a condition related to CAH, some 46,XY individuals do not have the properly functioning enzymes needed to convert cholesterol to testosterone. When such enzymes prove completely incapable of creating testosterone, the genitals appear female; when the enzymes function at a low level, ambiguous genitals form.

  • ANDROGEN INSENSITIVITY SYNDROME(AIS)—ONE IN 13,000 BIRTHS

AIS affects the section of the 46,XY population that is physically unable to react to androgens. In Complete AIS (CAIS), testes exist in the abdomen while the external genitals are female. The Wolffian, or male, duct structures do not form because of the lack of response to androgens. The Müllerian, or female, duct structures do not evolve because the testes still release MIS. At puberty, CAIS individuals grow breasts but do not menstruate. The testes are sometimes removed from the abdomen because they may develop cancer.

Partial AIS (PAIS) is marked by a limited response to androgens. The external genitals are ambiguous and duct development is incomplete. Depending on the selection of hormone treatment, PAIS individuals may exhibit partial male or partial female development at puberty.

  • GONADAL DYSGENESIS—ONE IN 150,000 BIRTHS

In gonadal dysgenesis, the androgen receptors are intact while the androgen-secreting testes are not. Complete Gonadal Dysgenesis, in which neither androgens nor MIS are produced, yields female genitals and Müllerian duct formation, despite a genetic profile suggesting maleness. With estrogen treatment, female puberty can be achieved. Partial Gonadal Dysgenesis results in ambiguous genitals and duct development, as some androgens and MIS are produced. Like PAIS, the choice of hormone treatments determines the physical gender of the adult with Partial Gonadal Dysgenesis.

  • 5-ALPHA REDUCTASE DEFICIENCY—NO ESTIMATE AVAILABLE

5-Alpha Reductase is the enzyme that facilitates the conversion of testosterone to another hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). When a genetic male is deficient in 5-Alpha Reductase, the powerful DHT hormone is not produced. While testes and Wolffian ducts do exist, the male external genitals are similar in size to those of a normal female. If left intact, an adult 5-Alpha Reductase Deficiency individual will appear generally male but with small genitals and no facial hair.

  • MICROPENIS—NO ESTIMATE AVAILABLE

In order to create a proper penis in a 46,XY individual, androgens must be secreted twice during fetal life. First, the androgens help to shape the basic structures into a penis and scrotum; later, the androgens enlarge the penis. A micropenis is the result of normal androgen secretion in the first stage and little or no androgen secretion in the second. The penis is normal in shape and function, but extremely small in size. While earlier surgeons often converted micropenises to female genitals, today micropenises are often left intact. Individuals with intact micropenises are often given testosterone to stimulate masculinizing puberty.

  • KLINEFELTER SYNDROME—ONE IN 1,000 BIRTHS

Sometimes chromosomes join but do not form standard 46,XX or 46,XY combinations. Individuals with Klinefelter Syndrome are genetically 47,XXY and live as men. Small penis and testes, low androgen secretion, and possible female breast development are characteristics of this syndrome.

  • TURNER SYNDROME—NO ESTIMATE AVAILABLE

Like Klinefelter Syndrome, Turner Syndrome is marked by an abnormal karyotype, 45,XO. While Turner women have female external genitals, the individuals lack properly formed ovaries. Without estrogen treatment, no breast growth occurs. Other possible features of Turner Syndrome include short stature, webbing of the neck, and misshapen internal organs.

  • TIMING DEFECT—NO ESTIMATE AVAILABLE

If all of the proper stages of normal male sex differentiation occur, but the timing is incorrect by just days, errors may arise. The occasional outcome in a 46,XY individual with this timing defect is ambiguous external genitals.

The symptoms associated with intersex will depend on the underlying cause, but may include:

  1. Ambiguous genitalia at birth
  2. Micropenis
  3. Clitoromegaly (an enlarged clitoris)
  4. Partial labial fusion
  5. Apparently undescended testes (which may turn out to be ovaries) in boys
  6. Labial or inguinal (groin) masses — which may turn out to be testes — in girls
  7. Hypospadias (the opening of the penis is somewhere other than at the tip; in females, the urethra [urine canal] opens into the vagina)
  8. Otherwise unusual appearing genitalia at birth
  9. Electrolyte abnormalities
  10. Delayed or absent puberty
  11. Unexpected changes at puberty
Intersex is a hot button topic in the world of Sexuality and Sex. Some health care professionals will swear that the best course of action is for the parents to choose a sex for their child and allow an operation to take place that would define their gender. There are other Health care professionals that would recommend letting the child choose for themselves once they’ve reached puberty.