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Hermaphrodite - Hermaphrodism In Humans

female male sex organs

True hermaphroditic humans do not exist, but pseudohermaphrodism does, where an individual has both male and female external genital organs, sometimes at the same time. Female embryos exposed to high levels of androgens (the male hormones) develop female internal reproductive organs but male external genitalia. Alternately, genetic defects cause children to be born with female external genital organs, which change at puberty, with the development of a penis and the closure of the false vagina.


Resources

Books

Campbell, N., J. Reece, and L. Mitchell. Biology. 5th ed. Menlo Park: Benjamin Cummings, Inc. 2000.

Elia, Irene. The Female Animal. New York: Henry Holt, 1988.

Jorde, L.B., J.C. Carey, M.J. Bamshad, and R.L. White. Medical Genetics 2nd ed. New York: Year Book, Inc., 2000.

Stern, Kingsley R. Introductory Plant Biology. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown, 1991.

Periodicals

Berreby, D. "Sex and the Single Hermaphrodite." Discover 13 (1992): 88-93.


David L. Brock

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Gonad

—An organ that produces sex cells.

Protandry

—A change in sex from male to female.

Protogyny

—A change in sex from female to male.

Pseudohermaphrodite

—A person who has the physical traits of one sex, while having the genetic instructions of the other.

Sequential hermaphrodite

—An organism that has male or female reproductive organs at one time, and which develops the opposite sex organs.

Simultaneous hermaphrodite

—An organism which develops both male and female reproductive organs at the same time.

[back] Hermaphrodite - Sequential Or Serial Hermaphrodites

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about 4 years ago

There are some obvious emotions expressed here, which is to be expected. I am a bit shocked about how harshly some people have reacted to each others comments when everyone pretty much agrees. How about we constructively point out issues?
The terms we use are extremely important. Given that Western culture has been dominated by a few set religions which deal in stark good/evil dichotomies, our language developed along similar lines. Hence the poor wording used. I feel that the authors were not trying to insult anyone; rather they were doing their best to describe situations that the English language simply does not have the adequate wording for.

I take my hat off to gio, their comments echo what I would have to say.

To dave, the research I have done shows that doctors have, in fact, been hiding hermaphrodites from general public knowledge (though there is no reason to believe that a conspiracy to do so exists). Remember that religion used to pay a major role in society and Western religious teachings only allow for male or female. If a doctor only sees the world as having male or female, any deviation from that would be seen as an abnormality to be corrected. I do not think the doctors were acting maliciously, rather they were doing what they felt was medically (and/or morally) correct as products of the society they lived in.
Many of these ideals persist, just look at the arguments surrounding gay marriage. Now imagine trying to include a third gender to that equation.

I do not, to my knowledge, personally know any hermaphrodites. I would like to believe that it would not make a difference, but if I were to meet someone who was, it would take work on my part (being a product of my culture) not to allow engrained ideas to dictate my relationship.
Hopefully one day we will live in a world where we can truly accept each other as we are, not as we would have each other be. Until then, try to keep an open mind and open heart.

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almost 5 years ago

I met one at an abercrombie and fitch, on the outside she was an incredibly attractive female, which forced me to hit on her, but after a few days she said she had a secret to tell me. She did , in fact, have a penis.I found myself more intrigued than disgusted and while i'm not trying to have sex with her/him anymore we are still good friends. I'm also happy that it wasn't bigger than mine, because that wouldn't have been fair.

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over 5 years ago

I met a gorgeous and dynamic woman many years ago. I fell madly in love with her and later, when secure about my feelings for her, she told me she was a hermaphrodite who had been raised as a boy and later went through multiple surgeries to change gender completely. Frankly, I knew something was up but couldn't care less, other than I wondered how much more of my devotion she needed to feel right about telling me; but it's understandable. She is everything I could want in a love partner. She has the beauty and sensuality of a top model with brains and and is the best buddy I could ask for. The mix of the two genders in her personality (what ever proportion of each, and it is ever changing) makes her the perfect mate. Physically, I could not ask for a more exotic and perfect body. To me she is proof that God does his best work in very few numbers.

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over 5 years ago

I actually know a hermaphrodite, and what do you know, he/she is pregnant. Not from herself.

Hermaphrodites exist. They have both organs on the outside.

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almost 5 years ago

This is in response to gio. gio, in an apparent defense of hermaphridites said the following: "these Star Trek versions of the human species are very real and exist in nature are a natural part of nature".

I, for one, can tell that gio put a lot of thought into his/her carefully formulated contribution to this forum. In my opinion, we should not try to pretend to understand hermaphrodites -- we don't. Lets start by trying to understand ourselves. In other words, why do we waste our time with issues like this? Why do we write rash comments which we have not thought through, and which end up making us look ignorant, if we actually want to enlighten people and help them understand the world (and hermaphrodites, who can understand this, it doesn't make sense to our perception of sexuality at all)? In short, what are we talking about here? No-one on this forum so far has denied the existence of hermaphrodites, so, fundamentally we all agree. These people do exist. Is there anything we can personally do to help them? probably not. Unless, the people with far-fetched (and probably fabricated) stories about the hermaphrosites in their personal lives are honest. If this is actually the case (which is unlikely considering the incredibly small percentage of hermaphrodites in our population) do your friends a favour and don't turn them into freakshows on the internet.
The most interesting point gio raises, I think, is the issue of whether or not "doctors throughout history have tried to hide the existence of hermaphrodites from public knowledge"? Is this true? If so, why? Would it benefit doctors to perpetuate a lie? Are we going to believe in some sort of a massive doctors conspiracy whereby the hide all the true scientific information they know from the general public, and filter down only what they believe we can handle? If so, why wouldn't they hide the knowledge of HIV and cancer from us too?
I believe it is much more likely the parents of these 'intersexual' children who have attempted to cover things up over the years.
Fundamentally, the problem lies in Wester civilization, where we are taught and indoctrinated to view sexuality as a binary -- male vs female. The truth is, these two "opposites" are not so fundamentally distinct from another. In fact, gender is much more fluid than we'd like to believe, and hermaphrodites provide a perfect example of this. Male, female, whats the difference? Its all in our socially constructed brains.


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almost 3 years ago

I am very eager to meet a real hermaphrodite for a serious relation. I'm looking forward to meet one who can get pregnant. I would prefer her to be in her 30's. Can anyone help me to meet the partner of my dreams???? Thanks in advance.

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over 5 years ago

My very best friend is a hermaphrodite. She identifies as female to most fo the world, identifies as intersexed/hermaphrodite to those of us who know her well.



No, its physically impossible for her to impregnate herself. You cant have ovaries AND testes because the ambiguous organ developes into one OR the other. AE my friend has ovaries. A few more steps in the development as a fetus and she would have had testes.



Many hermaphrodites are like a mule in a sense though, very rarely can they get pregnant reguardless of the exhistance of female organs, simply because the halted development prevents life-supporting elements.



No-one should be afraid of heraphrodites, wether they identify as one gender, the other, or as a person in the middle. My girl is the sweetest friend I have. Trying to avoid people who are BORN different is just like saying "I dont hang with people who are in wheelchairs" or "I dont roll with blind people" its something you are born with, the same way you are born boy or girl. People are born in between.



This is a very informative article btw. :)

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over 6 years ago

I think it has been false idead from different people that,the pseudoharmaphroditic humans can satisfy themselves sexually hence the status.

Please reply to me.

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about 4 years ago

This is a response to Dave, who said:

"Male, female, whats the difference? Its all in our socially constructed brains."

You're certainly spot on accurate that gender is not all black and white, one or the other. This statement, however, reveals what is IMHO a terrible, terrible leap, going from the recognition that there is a full spectrum of gender variability in human beings to the completely erroneous assumption that gender "makes no difference."

There is almost nothing in our lives more important than our gender. Just because it is not all black and white, that doesn't mean we should disregard it! The depth of the error in that way of thinking is simply beyond calculation. Show me someone who rejects their gender, and I'll show you someone who is severely emotionally crippled and who is just trying to "fake" their way to happiness. Wherever you are in the spectrum, you had better be honest about who you are, or you are in for a lot of unnecessary turmoil. Above all, the suggestion that there's "no difference" between male and female is just patently absurd. IMHO, that's just an incredibly infantile conclusion to draw from what was otherwise a sensible post.

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over 5 years ago

and, BTW... I see that so many people make statements about hermaphrodites in a manner as if they were aliens from another planet, probably not unlike it may have been done long ago (I hope no more) to African Americans or people of other cultures. Really folks, a little education on the subject is all it takes and, yes, THEY DO EXIST and they have feelings like the rest of us. One gentleman below raved about the sweetness of his very best friend but then compares her to a mule or someone blind or in a wheelchair. I really do not see hermaphrodites as being handicapped and if any see themselves that way it is because people around them lack the sensitivity and kindness to just accept them as they are. I realize I may be bias but the woman I love (who is a hermaphrodite) outshines any man or woman I have met, in EVERY way! The proper way to look at it, IF you have to draw a comparison, hanging out with "them" is like hanging out with a person of another culture. There may be some physical differences (not always visible), maybe even personality or cultural differences, but that is it. If they have what one might refer to a "social adjustment issues", it is likely due to how society, including their own family who was supposed to protect them, made their life more difficult instead of accepting them as they are. To the person who wrote below, I know what you meant and I know you meant no disrespect to your friend, but I cringe at how others talk about a group of people who is already struggling to fit in a place that is just as much theirs as ours. Look further down and you see someone writing this: "can a hermaphrodite theoretically get its self pregnant?". I never thought a human being should be referred to as "it". Again, I can only hope that some people are not THAT prejudicial but are merely choosing their words carelessly and in the process hurting others. As we are frantically learning to be "green" with the environment, why don't we also start learning how to LIVE AND LET LIVE. That about covers it from me on the subject.

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about 2 years ago

i would love to meet a real hermaphrodite ..its a big fantasy of mine ...can anyone know how or where to contact?

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over 6 years ago

yes,i agree.it is not physically possible,since they are not male and female at the same time;they change from being one to the other..besides,i do not think they really exist.

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about 1 year ago

I went with a herme about 20 years ago..we wanted to get married but her strict parents took her from me...I am in search of another beautiful herme...addresses and pics will b kept to myself....330 310 4637.....

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about 1 year ago

I went with a herme about 20 years ago..we wanted to get married but her strict parents took her from me...I am in search of another beautiful herme...addresses and pics will b kept to myself....330 310 4637.....

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over 1 year ago

Male

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about 2 years ago

I've seen cross - sexed women before. With one of them who just so happened to have both male and female genitalia, contrary to how most are, with breasts and penis - varying dramatically in size although. In the case of that hem (I jargonize some words when needed), however, the vagina was overlapping or riding just atop of the penis. But you wouldn't perceptualize it to be a "false vagina", per se, not immediately at least.

Some pseudohermaphrodites, or what I'd call cross-gendered women have exiguously sized penises, like Lady Gaga, as hers would barely count, being of such a nanoscopic size. Some you'd never believe to be both man and woman, the beguilement is ever increasing as a sociological phenomena, I'd vouche. You have some who are quite full breasted and have subsequently impressive endowment downstairs.

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about 2 years ago

I've seen cross - sexed women before. With one of them who just so happened to have both male and female genitalia, contrary to how most are, with breasts and penis - varying dramatically in size although. In the case of that hem (I jargonize some words when needed), however, the vagina was overlapping or riding just atop of the penis. But you wouldn't perceptualize it to be a "false vagina", per se, not immediately at least.

Some pseudohermaphrodites, or what I'd call cross-gendered women have exiguously sized penises, like Lady Gaga, as hers would barely count, being of such a nanoscopic size. Some you'd never believe to be both man and woman, the beguilement is ever increasing as a sociological phenomena, I'd vouche. You have some who are quite full breasted and have subsequently impressive endowment downstairs.

Vote down Vote up

about 2 years ago

I've seen cross - sexed women before. With one of them who just so happened to have both male and female genitalia, contrary to how most are, with breasts and penis - varying dramatically in size although. In the case of that hem (I jargonize some words when needed), however, the vagina was overlapping or riding just atop of the penis. But you wouldn't perceptualize it to be a "false vagina", per se, not immediately at least.

Some pseudohermaphrodites, or what I'd call cross-gendered women have exiguously sized penises, like Lady Gaga, as hers would barely count, being of such a nanoscopic size. Some you'd never believe to be both man and woman, the beguilement is ever increasing as a sociological phenomena, I'd vouche. You have some who are quite full breasted and have subsequently impressive endowment downstairs.

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over 5 years ago

Although doctors throughout history have tried to hide the existence of hermaphrodites from public knowledge, the public is now fully aware that these Star Trek versions of the human species are very real and exist in nature are a natural part of nature.

Hermaphrodites are as much a natural part of nature as any other human being. Doctors have been giving hermaphrodite babies sex changes throughout history in order to hide their existence. But a sex change does not change the fact that these people are both male and female.

While it may be difficult for any of us to imagine what it would be like to be both male and female in one body, it is not difficult for a hermaphrodite to realize. It is as natural for them to be who they are as it is for us to be who we are.

As far as having sex with a hermaphrodite, this is neither a gay, straight, or bisexual encounter since the hermaphrodite is both male and female. Don't label it. Just accept that it is different than any other sex and realize that sex is different anyways with everyone as everyone is different.

We are all a little (or a lot) different from one another. No two of us are exactly alike- not even identical twins.

Once your reality has been expanded to include the natural existence of hermaphrodites, I hope you consider the many other variations of human beings.

What I realized is that as much as some may want to paint this natural world with limited and restrictive views, the truth is human beings exist in a wide variety of formulations, including hermaphrodites, straights, gays and bisexuals.

Variety is the beauty of being a part of nature. If everything in nature was the same we would have a very boring world.

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almost 6 years ago

ok so i met a hermaphrodite and well umm i am kinda confused here i read pretty much everything i could find about it but there are still some unanswered questions here can a hermaphrodite theoretically get its self pregnant if both organs work and produce egg and sperm then couldnt it do that if it ummm penetrated itself...and to answer the questions about meeting the woman/male yes i ran like a b**** lol