Sex, Sexual Orientation And Gender


The act of sexual intercourse has spent many centuries being taboo in almost every society. This has led to difficulty for many people in expressing their desires and even medical conditions. This unfortunate practice has continued into modern times. This essay seeks to distinguish between three related but distinct terms: sex, sexual orientation and gender.

Sex

The sex of an individual is apparent from birth and is physiologically determined. Based on the perceived presence of male or female genitalia, a baby is determined to be either male or female. There are cases where babies are born with ambiguous genitalia. Such people were once called hermaphrodites after the Greek mythological character Hermaphrodite who had a similar condition. They are now referred to as inter-sex and rather than deciding on a sex for them and performing surgery to suit, they are more likely to be allowed to choose when they are old enough.

Sexual Orientation

There are many variations on sexual orientation, the sex of partner which a person is attracted to. Although the majority of the population is heterosexual, many people are homosexual and thus attracted to people who are the same sex. There are people who are bisexual and thus attracted to both. There are people who are attracted to others based only on intelligence and even people who have sexual attraction toward inanimate objects or no sexual attraction at all. Many of these are considered perfectly normal as they do not interfere with the individual’s ability to live a normal life without harming others. Pedophiles are not on that list because their attraction to children causes harm to others when expressed and when suppressed without appropriate therapies it harms the individual.

Gender

The gender of a person refers to the cultural characteristics ascribed to a certain sex that a person adopts. This means that a person may have a gender that is opposite to the sex they were born with. They may even adopt a gender identity that does not quite fit into any prescribed concepts of what either sex should look or act like. In some cases, a person may feel like they were born in the wrong body and get surgery so that they physiologically resemble the sex they believe they were intended to be.

While sex remains difficult to discuss for many, the need to have mature discussions about all of these topics will only increase over time. In this case knowledge is highly useful.